AMORIUM: Byzantine swords found by Greek and Turkish researchers

Amorium byzantine swords

Live Science reports that independent researcher Errikos Maniotis and Zeliha Demirel-Gökalp of Anadolu University have studied two iron swords unearthed in Amorium.

Amorium was a military stronghold located between the East Roman (Byzantine) capital of Constantinople and the cities of Nicaea and Ancyra.

One of the swords, unearthed in 1993 in the ruins of a church, may have been placed there as an offering.

Weapons placed in churches, Maniotis explained, were usually associated with the remains of warrior saints.

This sword had a cross-guard, a piece of metal perpendicular to the blade.

The other weapon, a double-edged blade that was at least 24 inches long with a five and one-half-inch handle, was discovered nearby in the lower city in 2001.

Both swords have been dated to the tenth or eleventh centuries, and have a pommel shaped like a ring.

Ring-pommeled swords have been traced back to China’s Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), and have been found in central Asia, but are thought to have been rare in the Byzantine Empire, the researchers explained.

And a ring-pommeled sword with a cross-guard is thought to be unique, prompting Maniotis and Demirel-Gökalp to call these weapons “hybrid Byzantine ring pommeled swords.”

These unusual weapons may have been manufactured in Amorium, or their presence at the site may just be a coincidence, the researchers concluded.

This comes as Hürriyet Daily News reported in December 2021 that a 1,600-year-old flute made from a small cattle bone and a bronze ring with a key has been uncovered in southeastern Turkey, at the site of Zerzevan Castle.

This is a structure first built in the fourth century A.D. as a military base on an ancient trade route in the Eastern Roman Empire.

The castle site includes a temple of Mithras, 1,300 yards of walls standing up to 16 feet tall, a watchtower, an administration building, traces of dwellings, warehouses for grain and weapons, tombs, cisterns, and water channels.

Aytaç Coşkun of Dicle University said the presence of the flute in the fort suggests its inhabitants had an interest in art and music.

“The ring with key, which was used to open a chest keeping very special items, is also dated to the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.,” Coşkun added.

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