An Important Iberian Antenna Hilt Short Sword and Scabbard, ca. 4th - 3rd century BCE
Object No: RB1404
a fine example of type VI, Arcobriga Antenna sword, the acutely pointed, double-edged leaf blade with twin fullers running parallel to the cutting edges and merging to a point, the heavy iron handle with a pommel featuring twin projecting boss "antenna" terminals. With accompanying scabbard, originally constructed of wood supported by a rigid iron frame and embossed plates, three rotating rings used to attach the weapon to a baldric.
Background: It is widely held the prototype for the Roman gladius hispaniensis was a variation of an Iberian Sword. The Souda, a Byzantine lexicon compiled at the end of the 10th century, mentions the adoption of an Iberian sword by the Republican Romans from the Second Punic War onwards. It states the main characteristic of this sword was the pattern-welding of the blade (lamna) which was forged in several hard layers of steel and was used for both edgewise cutting and thrusting in dense fighting formations.
Scholars have proposed numerous alternatives for such a prototype, the most widely held opinion being a variation of the Hispanic antennae sword, namely the type VI, Arcobriga (Quesada, 1997), used in the Meseta during the 3rd-2nd centuries BC, because the short size was suitable for close-order fighting and the wasted blade was capable of a slashing action. However, Sanz argues the Roman Republican swords recently discovered in Delos, France, and the Iberian Peninsula are virtually identical to the early La Tene I swords imported from Europe throughout the 3rd century BC (Sanz, JRMES, 8, 1997, pp.268) and therefore provide a more relevant parallel.
On the other hand, the Iberian metal frame scabbard (with wooden or leather core) as seen here, suspended by rotating rings from a baldric placed across the chest, is, without doubt, precisely the model of scabbard adopted by the Roman Army.
Reference: B. Cunliffe, The Ancient Celts, London, 1999, p. 140, fig. 109 for the type.
F. Quesada Sanz, "Gladius hispaniensis: an archaeological view from Iberia", Journal of Roman Military Equipment, 8, 1997, 251-70.
M. C.Bishop and J. C. N. Coulston, "Roman Military Equipment from the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome, 2nd Ed" (London, 2006) pp. 54-56.
Raffaele D'Amato, Graham Sumner, "Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier: From Marius to Commodus, 112 BC-AD 192. " (London: Frontline, 2009).
Condition: Both sword and the scabbard have been professionally conserved and mounted to museum standards to ensure no further loss or damage. Overall the sword is intact and in excellent condition, it has some expected minor loss to the blade edge, sword point, and guard terminals, minor bowing to the blade. The scabbard lacks the lower section of the outer frame, with traces of the original wood core still found inside the frame. The full conservation report will be included with this sale.
Dimensions: Length: (Sword) 40.64 cm (16 inches) Length: (Scabbard) 34.29 cm (13.5 inches)
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired from the Alex G. Malloy collection, 1980-82.
Sands of Time provides a lifetime, unconditional guarantee of authenticity and provenance. Every artifact purchased from us is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, stating culture, provenance and age. Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.
Sands of Time Antiquities are proud to uphold the following Code of Conduct:
- We undertake to make, to the best of our ability, all purchases in good faith.
- We undertake not to purchase or sell objects until we have established, to the best of our ability, that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
- We will not dismember and sell separately parts of one complete object.
- We undertake to the best of ability to keep objects together that were originally meant to be kept together.
- As appropriate we will keep photographic records of objects prior to repair and restoration, to be honest and open by describing in writing the amount of repair and restoration undertaken to a prospective purchaser.
- To the best of our ability, we guarantee authenticity and provenance of all objects offered for sale.
- Deposit: A deposit of 15% of the total price is required upon purchase.
- Checkout: Order through our website and select the "layaway" option at checkout.
- Flexibility: You are not restricted to a set monthly payment; pay what you wish when you wish, however your balance must be paid within six months of the order date or you risk forfeiture.
- Title: Property title remains with Sands of Time Antiquities, Inc. until payment is made in full.
- Shipment: Once payment is complete, we will ship your order by the next business day.
Should you cancel your layaway purchase, a 15% restocking-fee will apply. If you exchange or trade-up the objet purchased while it is on layaway, the restocking fee for the original purchase will not apply. If you would like to take advantage of our layaway system or would like to discuss an alternative option that better suits your budget, please contact us via e-mail or call 1-202-342-0518.