Object Title

Scabbard mounts for gladius

Scabbard mounts for gladius

Date

50-100 AD

Object Number

IX.5583 B

Provenance

Purchased at sale, the Axel Guttmann collection, of Ancient Arms and Armour, Part 2, Wednesday 28 April 2004; Found at Wiesbaden, Germany, by Wolfgang Johe in 1971-1972.

Physical Description

The scabbard mounts (for a 'Pompeii-type' sword; gladius,- IX.5583 A) consist of bronze mounts with the remains of tinning, with cut-away and engraved, motifs,The sheath itself, originally awwod body covered in leather has long since perished.
The locket has two pierced and engraved panels decorated with two helmeted figures. The upper panel with a warrior moving towards the right, his head turned back, holding spear and shield, and wearing a muscled cuirass and crested helmet. The lower panel with a figure of winged Victory writing on a shield hanging from a palm tree, wearing drapery around her lower body.
The chape bears another figure of winged Victory holding a palm leaf.
The separate ornate palmette applique with scrolling pattern mounted above the chape.
There is also a modern collar attachment.

Techniques

Handmade

Inscriptions and Marks

None, apart from the above decoration.

Bibliographic References

H Schoppa, Ein Gladius vom Typus Pompeeji, Germania 52, 1974, pp.102 -108.Die Romer zwischen Alpen und Nordmeer, Rosenheim, 2000, p.330, pl.38d.

Notes

Originally the scabbard mounts were mounted, for the Guttmann collection, on a perspex sheet cut-out in the general shape of the original scabbard.
The 'Pompeii type' 'gladius' (so called after four examples found at Pompeii and thus giving a 'terminus ante quem' of 79 AD for this type) has been found at sites in France, Germany and Britain (including 'Pompeii-type scabbard fittings from Hod Hill) (Bishop & Coulsen:71).
The Schoppa article describes the discovery of the sword and scabbard mounts in 1971 -72 by the amateur archaeologist Wolfgang Johe, who made the discovery on a spoil heap at Wiesbaden, from the excavation work of a Roman site in Mainz. Schoppa discusses the subsequent work carried out on the pieces at Wiesbaden Museum and the iconography of the scabbard mounts.
The punched-out shapes of the locket were 'presumably designed to contrast the colour of the underlying sheath with the white metal (Bishop & Coulsen:71).
Similar scabbard mounts are discussed and illustrated in:
M Feugere 'Weapons of the Romans', Tempus, Stroud, 2002, (p.113 and p.114,(pl. 149b. which shows an ornate applique in the form of a palmette from Rottweil: P Connolly 'Greece and Rome at War', Greenhill Books, London, 1998, (p.232) illustrates one of the swords, with similar scabbard mounts from Pompeii (pl.5), similar scabbard mounts from the Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum, Mainz, (pls.10-11) and shows how this type of scabbard was worn with baldric and dagger belt, 'mid-to late 1st century AD.' (pl.22); MC Bishop & JN Coulsen, 'Roman Military Equipment', Batsford, London, 1993, discusses the construction of the scabbard and its decoration (p.71) and illustrates an example of a scabbard from 'Rhine at Mainz (p.73, pl38:4).