Spatha Views-the Saddest Day

JOHN THURSTON is back and eager to discuss Western Martial Arts, especially relating to its history.


Spatha Views-the Saddest Day

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:18 pm


Some Spatha views.

Reproductions of a 4th or late third century Cavalry Spatha dating from the time of the mid fourth century Roman Empire, "Adrianople Gothic" type (self labeled). I will post a picture of an unearthed sword of this type.



Reproduction of a 3rd Century Roman infantry sword of the Staubing- Nydam hoard type.


Still researching.

The last photo seems to point to a design carried into early Medieval Blade designs.

The former two show a lighter but clearly longer slashing type blade quite unlike those we associate with Roman usage.

I suppose one could say NEITHER fir our conception of "Roman Usage".

By the time of Adrianople the sword of the first type would have been widely carried by both sides.

To me, despite the unenviable social record of the Empire, Adrianople is "The Saddest Day".

In 378 the Goths Crushed the Legions in a battle I hope to discuss.

In armament because of Gothic acquision and copying of Roman Arms, both sides might well have been armed in a similar manner.

The Roman Army was a bit more Infantry centered than the Gothic Army, as was the custom. Although it lacked the maneuverabily and speed of Gothic cavalry, the core of the Roman Army was composed of hard bitten professionals, or so it is believed.

Despite the manpower reserves of an entire Empire, Valens was unable to musted perhaps no more that 40,000 men to meet the threat of the Goths and their Allies who perhaps numbered no more than 25,000 despite exagerrations setting the number as much as 20 times that number.


In classical times it had often been shown that the Legione could hold their own against cavalry, if the flanks of the Legiones were secure.

At Adrianople Roman Cavalry was intended to do so, but the cavalry buckled and fled, leaving the Legiones with their flanks unprotected.

Despite this the Heavy Infantry of the Roman Center (Jovianni and Manteianii (sp) refuse to yield and were wiped out by Gothic Cavalry with Avar Support.

Although, as Sensei Fred inquired, this victory conicided with the introduction of the stirrup to Europe, the stirrups introduction came a century and one half later.

I will post more pictures later.

"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
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