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Old 3rd March 2023, 07:10 PM   #31
Teisani
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Thanks, great effort!
Glad you liked it!
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Old 4th March 2023, 05:12 AM   #32
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Not in my ballpark, but incredibly detailed information on these fascinating swords! Future generations of collectors will appreciate your great effort and knowledge on these!
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Old 4th March 2023, 08:53 AM   #33
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...Future generations of collectors will appreciate your great effort and knowledge on these!
Thank you! Thank you!...and to future generations, I prefer my statues in imaculate white marble (bronze is for peasants, yuck!). Oh! and placed in a sunny spot, with no pidgeons around.

================================================== =======

On a more serious note, one reason I started this compilation of available online information on these swords, is because people lump Iberian falcatas with Greek/Italic kopis together. More often falcatas get labeled as kopis, rather than the reverse, because extant kopis are much more rare, and usually not as well preserved (and the ancient Greeks have much better PR than Iberian celts, so more people). But I want to emphasize that kopis and falcatas are very distinct in shape, and possibly in function too.

P.S.: I regret not being able to provide the sources to all of the pictures/info posted. Some of them I have for a while, and just forgot where I acquired them.

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Old 28th May 2023, 06:14 PM   #34
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The Combat Archaeology of the Fifth-Century BC Kopis: Hoplite Swordsmanship in the Archaic and Classical Periods by Thomas O. Rover.
https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ssical_Periods

There are some nice videos accompanying the research paper on the author's YouTube channel, here: https://www.youtube.com/@thomasrover9295/videos

In my opinion this is a good example of the "kopis/falcata interchangeability" tendency which makes things confusing for beginners wanting to study these two ancient swords. I really like the reproduction, but it's clearly a falcata, not a kopis.

I also disagree with that statement in the paper that Fig.2 represents two kopis swords at the Met Museum. Unfortunately, the Met Museum seems to state the same here:https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/257576
But judging by their shapes, they are Iberian falcatas.

Still, the paper is full of useful data, a recommended read.
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Old 26th November 2023, 06:28 AM   #35
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2 - The Ancient Greek Kopis and Machaira - Catherine Sara Parnell (Trowel Volume XII 2010, pages 120-129)

https://trowelucd.files.wordpress.co...trowel-xii.pdf
Very happy to see someone as interested in these as I am. It's also interesting that Parnell claims that the kopis is rarely portrayed in sculpture as these examples (of at least the hilts) were found in Dodona, where the first example she cites was found. Maybe she thinks that because they could appear to look like straight swords when sheathed? An example of that can be seen in the painting of one from the tomb of Lyson and Kallikles, interestingly seen with equipment similar to that found with the Kopis from Prodromi.
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Old 26th November 2023, 06:32 AM   #36
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Here is another interesting example that was exhibited a few years ago in Bulgaria, described as a Thracian weapon, despite it sharing some key characteristics with the Macedonian examples. I suppose that doesn't mean much considering the example found in King Suethes III's tomb also shared these characteristics, which is curious. This example is notable as it's the shortest and broadest I've ever seen.
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Old 26th November 2023, 06:36 AM   #37
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Here is another example of the Macedonian type, though it is missing the blade. You can see a hole for the eye on the bird's head, which supposedly would hold a ruby.
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Old 26th November 2023, 06:58 AM   #38
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Here is another example though I'm not sure how to classify it. Based on its curve (or lack there of), and shape of the handle, I'm inclined to say it's Greek, similar to the Macedonian types. However, the handle is clearly a horse head rather than the typical bird head, the handle isn't solid iron (looks like center would have been organic), the guard is missing the characteristic bump before the point (though your 7th example seems to be missing that as well), and the blade is rather short. I'm curious what you think.

I will say I have seen an example of a long (96cm, even longer than the Macedonian-type kopis), straight blade with a very similar horse-head, non-solid handle that was described as a Greek makhaira from the 6th -5th c. BCE — but since it lacks a curve it's likely not a "kopis", so I won't post a picture here. But given that context, it makes me think that this example might be Greek and precede the Macedonian examples from the 4th c. BCE.
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Old 27th November 2023, 08:58 AM   #39
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Excellent finds! Thank you!

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Originally Posted by hrvsomerville View Post
Very happy to see someone as interested in these as I am. It's also interesting that Parnell claims that the kopis is rarely portrayed in sculpture as these examples (of at least the hilts) were found in Dodona, where the first example she cites was found. Maybe she thinks that because they could appear to look like straight swords when sheathed? An example of that can be seen in the painting of one from the tomb of Lyson and Kallikles, interestingly seen with equipment similar to that found with the Kopis from Prodromi.
Would you consider a kopis blade on a xiphos hilt still a kopis? What about a xiphos blade on a kopis hilt? To be fair some kopis examples have almost straight blades, the Prodromi example and this one, with a bit more work, look almost like xiphos blades.
I would argue that the only remaining distinguishing feature of a kopis, as opposed to a xiphos, might not be the forward curvature of the blade, but the asymmetric hilt. Actually, not the entire hilt even, sometimes just the hook shape at the end. Here are two examples with symmetric guards, but hooked ends.

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Actually you can find a nice contrast between the two types in the Tomb of Lyson and Kallikles example you posted.
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Source:
https://x-legio.com/en/wiki/kopis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A...de04a5a180.jpg
https://hetairoi.de/en/kopis-prodromi

Last edited by Teisani; 27th November 2023 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 27th November 2023, 05:21 PM   #40
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Here is another interesting example that was exhibited a few years ago in Bulgaria...
Good find. Yes, it's probably from the Dobrich regional history museum (Регионален исторически музей Добрич) in N-E Bulgaria. It is indeed an odd example, being closer to a knife than a sword. But if you make it longer it looks very similar to the Prodromi find.

Source:
https://pronewsdobrich.bg/ekspozitsi...oogle_vignette
https://rousse.info/тракийско-въоръж...#1083;о/
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Old 27th November 2023, 06:50 PM   #41
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Here is another example of the Macedonian type, though it is missing the blade. You can see a hole for the eye on the bird's head, which supposedly would hold a ruby.
Even though the blade is missing, the hilt is so nice, with the guard having that typical shape. Amazing how consistent these swords are in having that little bump detail on the guard, that mid-swelling in the handle. The contraction for the lower two fingers, which falcatas also poses, yet Italic/Etruscan examples seem to lack.

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Originally Posted by hrvsomerville View Post
Here is another example though I'm not sure how to classify it. Based on its curve (or lack there of), and shape of the handle, I'm inclined to say it's Greek, similar to the Macedonian types. However, the handle is clearly a horse head rather than the typical bird head, the handle isn't solid iron (looks like center would have been organic), the guard is missing the characteristic bump before the point (though your 7th example seems to be missing that as well), and the blade is rather short. I'm curious what you think.
How would you characterize a Macedonia type vs. a Greek type? What are their distinguishing features?

Although on this one the blade is almost straight, the handle is much more canted/curved. So the effect should probably the same. I'm guessing the blade tip is missing. Otherwise, I'm getting "parang' vibes coming from it
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Originally Posted by hrvsomerville View Post
I will say I have seen an example of a long (96cm, even longer than the Macedonian-type kopis), straight blade with a very similar horse-head, non-solid handle that was described as a Greek makhaira from the 6th -5th c. BCE — but since it lacks a curve it's likely not a "kopis", so I won't post a picture here. But given that context, it makes me think that this example might be Greek and precede the Macedonian examples from the 4th c. BCE.
I think you should post it. The larger the sample size, the better. This one from the Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins in France had me scratching my head, so I hesitated to post it. Its proportions seem strange. Any thoughts?
Name:  Mougins Musee.jpg
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Source: http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.39375.html

===============

I managed to find a better view. A photo by Michel Allal on Google.
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Last edited by Teisani; 28th November 2023 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 27th November 2023, 09:50 PM   #42
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Excellent finds! Thank you!



Would you consider a kopis blade on a xiphos hilt still a kopis? What about a xiphos blade on a kopis hilt? To be fair some kopis examples have almost straight blades, the Prodromi example and this one, with a bit more work, look almost like xiphos blades.
I would argue that the only remaining distinguishing feature of a kopis, as opposed to a xiphos, might not be the forward curvature of the blade, but the asymmetric hilt. Actually, not the entire hilt even, sometimes just the hook shape at the end. Here are two examples with symmetric guards, but hooked ends.

Attachment 232138
Attachment 232139

Actually you can find a nice contrast between the two types in the Tomb of Lyson and Kallikles example you posted.
Attachment 232141Attachment 232142 Attachment 232150
Source:
https://x-legio.com/en/wiki/kopis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A...de04a5a180.jpg
https://hetairoi.de/en/kopis-prodromi

I think those two blades might look like xiphos blades because they're more straight than other examples, but they do still have a slight curve, and appear to have more weight towards the end of the blade, both of which factors would contribute to it having the moment of inertia of an axe. They also likely both are single edged (except for maybe the top third of the blade, like Parnell describes), in contrast to a xiphos.

There does seem to be a grey area, but instead of classifying one as a kopis by the asymmetrical handle base I would still say the blade is more the defining feature. I like Tarassuk & Blair's classification, for example: a makhaira is generally a single-edged blade, and a kopis is a subvariant that is curved and meant to "cut" or "chop" as implied by its definition in ancient Greek. I have a hard time imaging that the Thracian example in that Bulgarian museum would be described as a kopis despite its characteristic handle just because it looks made more for thrusting than slashing. Although even that is an assumption because maybe it also is single-edged and has a moment of inertia similar to a short axe — it's hard to tell from the pictures.

Essentially, I think how they would have used the blades dictates what they would have called them, and it's not any one of these characteristics that would have defined a kopis, but some set of all of them; the asymmetrical handle helps keep the sword in hand when slashing, and the single-edged, forward curving blade with the moment of inertia of an axe helps deliver a slashing blow. For all we know, the asymmetrical handle might have been slapped onto the blade of a xiphos because it was comfortable, or a status symbol, or the hallmark of a contemporary craftsman/workshop — and maybe that's what the Thracian example from Bulgaria is.
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Old 27th November 2023, 10:39 PM   #43
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Even though the blade is missing, the hilt is so nice, with the guard having that typical shape. Amazing how consistent these swords are in having that little bump detail on the guard, that mid-swelling in the handle. The contraction for the lower two fingers, which falcatas also poses, yet Italic/Etruscan examples seem to lack.

How would you characterize a Macedonia type vs. a Greek type? What are their distinguishing features?
Another key characteristic I've noticed on these types is the notch in the handle right before the blade, easily seen on this example. All of these consistent features are factors in how I personally classify the "Macedonian" type: the bird head, usually with gems as eyes, the tapering shape of the handle as you described, the solid iron grip, the guard with the characteristic bump, the notch before the blade, a long blade with a slight curve and wider end, and a ridge originating from the notch on the handle but continuing out further from the flat edge of the blade the further from the handle it gets. And I guess a sharpened edge on the last third of the back of the blade is also characteristic, though it's harder to tell from just the pictures how many of these have that.

Maybe calling it "Macedonian" is misleading, despite most examples apparently coming from Macedonian sites or graves. I mentioned my theory above of all of these characteristics being a hallmark of a contemporary craftsman/workshop, and I think the King Seuthes III example gives some credibility to it — it shares many of these characteristics (the blade looks different but it was heavily reconstructed), and King Seuthes III was a king of Thrace while it was subjugated by Macedonia, and soon after Alexander the Great died he rebelled against the Macedonians. So at some point maybe these swords were being commissioned by opposing armies?

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Although on this one the blade is almost straight, the handle is much more canted/curved. So the effect should probably the same. I'm guessing the blade tip is missing. Otherwise, I'm getting "parang' vibes coming from it


I think you should post it. The larger the sample size, the better. This one from the Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins in France had me scratching my head, so I hesitated to post it. Its proportions seem strange. Any thoughts?
Attachment 232169
Source: http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.39375.html
Here's the makhaira example I was talking about, and another "Thracian" kopis, both of which fall outside my "Macedonian" classification but still share enough characteristics that make me want to describe them as Greek. They share some characteristics with this example I posted above, mainly the handle with rivets that would have secured an organic material, and the horse head. Both of these are from private collections, so the data isn't very reliable, but it's interesting that the "makhaira" on the left is completely straight and even longer than the typical Macedonian kopis (which probably would have been used by the Macedonian companion cavalry) — I wonder if it has a single edge or not. The other example comes from the Vassil Bojkov collection, and it's hard to tell how much of it is original, if any. I think we can reliably say the wood was a recent restoration, and I suspect the blade might be modern too. Maybe it is just the iron handle that is original?

What's interesting though is that this example you posted has a similarly-wide/thick guard to these two examples. The typical Macedonian examples have much more pointy guards. What do you think?
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Old 28th November 2023, 03:17 PM   #44
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I found a high resolution photo of the Vasil Bozhkov Museum (Васил Божков) makhaira. It says "makhaira sword of the 4th century BC, with a unique hilt with an exquisite hilt representing the figure of a galloping horse with a copper-inlaid bridle".
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Mahaira from Zlatinitsa - Malomirovo
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2. Mahaira from Zlatinitsa - Malomirovo

The Iron Sword /Inv. No. NAIM – 8621, Reg. 2/ was discovered in situ in 2005 during regular archaeological surveys of the Big Mound between the villages of Malomirovo and Zlatinitsa, Elhovsko by the team of the "Strandja" Archaeological Expedition, led by Daniela Agre. The sword was part of the rich funeral gifts of a Thracian ruler. It was placed next to his left arm. It is forged from a single piece of metal. Its dimensions are: length 81 cm, incl. handle 13.6 cm long, maximum blade width 6.5 cm. The handle is a combination of bone and wood, shaped like the head of a bird of prey. It was placed in a wooden scabbard. Typologically, it belongs to the swords - mahairi /crooked single-edged sword/, also known by the Thracian name "skalme" and by the ancient Greek name "kopis", and according to the archaeological material in the grave, its dating is the beginning of the 2nd half of the 4th century BC This type of personal assault weapon is one of the primary close combat weapons in Thrace. The mahairata is seen as a typical Thracian weapon, mentioned by ancient authors such as Homer, Herodotus and Thucydides, also depicted on the monuments of the Thoreutics and in tomb frescoes. The closest analogues of this sword are the swords from the Bashova Mogila and the Great Mogila at Duvanlii, as well as two mahairs from sub-tomb burials from the necropolis of Kabyle. The significance of this sword lies in the fact that, as part of the funeral gifts, according to the discoverer and researcher Daniela Agre, it belonged to the first-born son of the Thracian king Kerseblept - Iolaus. It is currently stored in the NAIM fund at the BAS.
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More info about the Bulgarian finds here
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Plus a few more, regarding which I have no further info.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kabile_001.jpg
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Old 3rd December 2023, 07:17 PM   #45
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This is not necesarily related to kopises.
If you like ancient objects, but don't have the budget to travel around, then this flickr account might interest you.
Enjoy! https://www.flickr.com/photos/dandiffendale/

This one is very nice as well
https://www.flickr.com/photos/prof_r.../albums/page10

Last edited by Teisani; 3rd December 2023 at 07:28 PM.
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