More History of Swords
The bronze age ranges in time period depending on geographical location, but is generally considered to have lasted from 3,300 BCE until 1,200 BCE. This era was classified by metalworking technique of which the most advanced form was the smelting of copper and tin ores in order to create the bronze alloy. Before this time, many cultures were using short bladed daggers, typically composed of wood or flint. However, with the advent of bronze, it became possible to craft longer blades which led to the evolution of the sword. Early swords were made of solid bronze or copper, and were hard but quite brittle. Swords longer than 90cm were uncommon because they would exceed the tensile strength of bronze and therefore would bend easily.
The first bronze swords were likely to be used by the Hittites and Sumerians. Bronze daggers dating to 3,300 BCE were found in Turkey, and the Sumerian designed “sickle-sword” is thought to be the predecessor of the backsword, a single-edged sword which was widely used throughout Europe in the early bronze age. Other cultures that ushered in the bronze age were those in the regions of Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, and the Aegean civilizations including Cyprus, Minoan, and Mycenae. The Trojan War is considered to have been fought during the Mycenaean Bronze Age although Troy had likely been destroyed and rebuilt several times prior.
The European swords of the late Bronze Age typically had leaf-shaped blades and were designed for both cutting and thrusting. The carp’s tongue sword is a type of bronze sword that was common to western Europe during the 8th century BCE. The blade of the carp’s tongue sword was wide and parallel for most of its length but the final third narrowed into a thin tip intended for thrusting. The design was probably developed in north-western France and combined the broad blade useful for slashing with a thinner, elongated tip suitable for thrusting.
The range of time for the Chinese Bronze Age is very difficult to define. It seems that they began working with iron much sooner than European nations and the Middle East, however they continued their use bronze. Nevertheless, swords which shared similar design to those in Europe were produced in the far east roughly during this time period. However, the swords produced in China used a high tin alloy which is very hard and would break if stressed. On the contrary, most other cultures preferred low tin bronze which is much more flexible and would allow for bending.
Nordic nations shared a very late Bronze Age which ranged from about 1,800 BCE through 500 BCE.