Synopses & Reviews
Eloquent, exceptionally erudite history of the "Queen of Weapons." Traces sword's origin — from prehistory to its full growth during early Roman Empire. Discusses earliest weapons of stone, bone, horn and wood as well as variations: sabre, broadsword, cutlass, scimitar and more. Enhanced by nearly 300 excellent line drawings.
Great Victorian scholar/adventurer's eloquent, erudite history of the "queen of weapons" -- from prehistory to early Roman Empire. Evolution and development of early swords, variations (sabre, broadsword, cutlass, scimitar, etc.), much more.
"The history of the sword is the history of humanity." With these words, British author, Victorian scholar, and world traveler Richard Burton begins his eloquent and exceptionally erudite history of the "Queen of Weapons."
Spanning the centuries and a wide range of cultures, Burton's rich and elegant prose illuminates the sword as both armament and potent symbol. For nearly all peoples of the world, the sword embodied the spirit of chivalry, symbolized justice and martyrdom and represented courage and freedom. In battle, it served universally as a deadly offensive weapon.
Drawing on a wealth of literary, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and other sources, the author traces the sword's origins, from its birth as a charred and sharpened stick, through its diverse stages of development, to its full growth in the early Roman Empire. Recounting man's long association with this weapon, the author describes in brilliant detail:
The ages of wood, bone and born
The appearance of stone swords and exotic weapons such as the boomerang
The ages of copper and alloys such as bronze and brass used in producing the long, narrow blades of rapiers
The Iron Age during which the Viking sword of carbonized iron took shape a weapon whose form would set the standard for the next thousand years.
Enhanced by nearly 300 excellent line drawings, the text provides an incredible wealth of detailed data about the sword and its variations: sabre, broadsword, cutlass, scimitar, rapier, foil, and a host of other arms, including dirks, daggers, throwing knives, flails, and much more.
Military and social historians, scholars and students of weaponry, as well as armchair adventurers will find this volume a fascinating, abundantly illustrated and highly readable account of this potent symbol of power.
Table of Contents
LIST OF AUTHORITIES
I. PREAMBLE: ON THE ORIGIN OF WEAPONS
II. "MAN'S FIRST WEAPONS-THE STONE AND THE STICK. THE EARLIEST AGES OF WEAPONS. THE AGES OF WOOD, OF BONE, AND OF HORN"
III. "THE WEAPONS OF THE AGE OF WOOD : THE BOOMERANG AND THE SWORD OF WOOD; OF STONE, AND OF WOOD AND STONE COMBINED"
IV. THE PROTO-CHALCITIC OR COPPER AGE OF WEAPONS
V. "THE SECOND CHALCITIC AGE OF ALLOYS-BRONZE, BRASS, ETC : THE AXE AND THE SWORD"
VI. THE PROTO-SIDERIC OR EARLY IRON AGE OF WEAPONS
VII. THE SWORD : WHAT IS IT?
VIII. THE SWORD IN ANCIENT EGYPT AND IN MODERN AFRICA
IX. "THE SWORD IN KHITA-LAND, PALESTINE AND CANAAN; PHŒNICIA AND CARTHAGE; JEWRY, CYPRUS, TROY, AND ETRURIA"
X. "THE SWORD IN BABYLONIA, ASSYRIA AND PERSIA, AND ANCIENT INDIA"
XI. THE SWORD IN ANCIENT GREECE : HOMER ; HESIOD AND HERODOTUS: MYCENÆ
XII. THE SWORD IN ANCIENT ROME: THE LEGION AND THE GLADIATOR
XIII. THE SWORD AMONGST THE BARBARIANS (EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE)