Swords

pdepaolis

New Member
Hello everyone! My name is Phil and Ive been a Tolkien Professor Podcast listener for about 5 years. Im really excited about this new project, and Im hoping to be able to contribute.

Ive long envisioned the early elvish weapons as being cast from bronze. So, this summer Im planning to build a backyard metal smelter and try my hand at casting some bronze swords. This will be the first time Ive done this so there will likely be a bit of a learning curve.

What I would love to get some help with is the design work. Im confident that I can learn to produce a sword, but Im not much of an artist so if anyone here would like to contribute some drawings I would be grateful. Some things to keep in mind; a bronze sword needs to be kept short (around 36 inches overall); the hilt, pommel, and blade will all be cast as a single piece; and the sword should be single handed and preferably double-edged.

Looking forward to seeing what we can come up with!
 

Nicolas

New Member
Sounds like a fun project, I'm curious to see how it turns out. I would appreciate seeing pictures of your process. I've not personally done any smith work but I do dabble in chain mail, scale, and light leather armour so I've spent a good bit of time browsing armour and weapons discussion boards. You might find some good technical advice in those sorts of places. I don't mind trying my hand at sketching for you, but I'm sure there are other more talented artists who would do better than I could. I look forward to hearing about your project.
 

Kimberly

New Member
Sounds like a fun project, I'm curious to see how it turns out. I would appreciate seeing pictures of your process. I've not personally done any smith work but I do dabble in chain mail, scale, and light leather armour so I've spent a good bit of time browsing armour and weapons discussion boards. You might find some good technical advice in those sorts of places. I don't mind trying my hand at sketching for you, but I'm sure there are other more talented artists who would do better than I could. I look forward to hearing about your project.
So this post was actually written by me...Not sure how I got switched to another person. I've seen that happen to other folks so I guess the system still has some glitches.
 

Bre

Active Member
I might be able to contribute some sword drawing designs, which weapons did you have in mind?
 

Koley Porter

New Member
I am of the mind that the elven swords should be straight.

If I recall, only the orcs are described as having curved swords.
 

Bre

Active Member
I mean specifics like, what moment in history were they made, which group of elves made them, and are these general weapons or owned by a specific character? Since you want to do bronze, that canon would probably better fit pre-Valinor during the great journey West perhaps, or at the latest early Valinor, since the Noldor do bring steel weapons into exile with them.
 

pdepaolis

New Member
So, I was able to pick up the supplies to build the furnace yesterday. I'll be busy this week, but maybe I'll get a chance to build it next week. Then the fun starts! I plan to do a few simple pieces to learn some technique before I try any swords. If anyone here has done any sand or investment casting I'd love to hear your thoughts!
 

Brandon Lovesee

New Member
I am of the mind that the elven swords should be straight.

If I recall, only the orcs are described as having curved swords.
Hmm, I seem to recall that Elven swords were generally curved, at least in the films (the sword Arwen has when she meets the party, Orcrist, elves at Helm's Deep, etc.)

 

Halstein

Active Member
In Tolkien I think curved swords are called crocked, and used by bad guys (orcs etc.). Good guys use straight swords. A bit like white hats and black hats in Westerns. I would think it a good idea, to base blade-shapes for humans on Geibig Type 1-5 and for the elves Geibig Type 7-13 (http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_geibig.html). Historically blade-shapes changes somewhat slow, where as hilts have varied more. Often in a single area/period sword-hilts are based on similar basic shape. An example of this is Petersen's typology of sword-hilts (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/25/38/6a/25386a402460869688913335ddccc0f1.jpg).
 

Halstein

Active Member
This photo is a good starting point for what Ive got in mind. I want to start with a historical idea and work forward from there. Something that looks like it developed over time with nods to the makers individual culture.
View attachment 82
Hi.
The leaf-shaped ones on the left have a silhouette similar to Sting, so they might be a good starting-point. The hilts should perhaps have roughly the same shape for the same groups, but with individual ornament.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
One thing that I think the filmmakers of the Jackson films were keeping in mind while creating swords and armor were the attributes that each culture would find attractive in a weapon. The elves wield light, fast blades, the humans, heavier ones. The Rohirrim are typically seen with shorter swords than the Gondorians for easy use on horseback. Dwarven weapons are thick and sturdy.
 

Halstein

Active Member
One thing that I think the filmmakers of the Jackson films were keeping in mind while creating swords and armor were the attributes that each culture would find attractive in a weapon. The elves wield light, fast blades, the humans, heavier ones. The Rohirrim are typically seen with shorter swords than the Gondorians for easy use on horseback. Dwarven weapons are thick and sturdy.
This is a good idea Nicholas. Not only for weapons, but for the material culture in general. Ordinary tools will mostly be design for utility, so they will be rather similar. Armament, clothes, furniture and buildings usually have decorative elements so here one should think of what appeals to the different cultures, in addition to utility.

If PJ explained that horsemen should have shorter swords than footmen, he is wrong. Horsemen need longer swords than footmen, to reach people on the ground. For example, swords found in Iran (of cavalry based Sassanid period) are long. A sensible explanation for giving shorter blades to the Rohirrim, would be that they had a less industrialized iron-production, than the Gondorians. Thus making iron dearer for the Rohirrim.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Of course, the main reason to give the Rohirrim the swords they have in the films is to relate them back to the cultures in which their roots are found. As to the length of the swords for cavalry, I believe the issue has something to do with the ability to wield the sword easily with one hand.
 

Richard Palazzo

New Member
This is a good idea Nicholas. Not only for weapons, but for the material culture in general. Ordinary tools will mostly be design for utility, so they will be rather similar. Armament, clothes, furniture and buildings usually have decorative elements so here one should think of what appeals to the different cultures, in addition to utility.

If PJ explained that horsemen should have shorter swords than footmen, he is wrong. Horsemen need longer swords than footmen, to reach people on the ground. For example, swords found in Iran (of cavalry based Sassanid period) are long. A sensible explanation for giving shorter blades to the Rohirrim, would be that they had a less industrialized iron-production, than the Gondorians. Thus making iron dearer for the Rohirrim.
 

Richard Palazzo

New Member
Also, lifespans would play a part, I think. Men would often focus on the moment, so their swords etc might be for the most part, thought of as a tool. Long life gives one time to really work at craftsmanship, and a sword would become, over one's lifetime, a work of art...
 

Brandon Lovesee

New Member
Something that just came to mind is that we do have two named swords from the First Age that we have seen on screen - Glamdring and Orcrist. I'm not saying we have to be beholden to those looks, but they are swords we do know a little bit about. Glamdring was known as the "Foe-hammer" and "Beater", so I picture it as a large, heavy sword. Orcrist was the "Goblin-Cleaver" and "Biter" and I picture it as a bit smaller than Glamdring, but still a hefty blade.
 
Something that just came to mind is that we do have two named swords from the First Age that we have seen on screen - Glamdring and Orcrist. I'm not saying we have to be beholden to those looks, but they are swords we do know a little bit about. Glamdring was known as the "Foe-hammer" and "Beater", so I picture it as a large, heavy sword. Orcrist was the "Goblin-Cleaver" and "Biter" and I picture it as a bit smaller than Glamdring, but still a hefty blade.
Glamdrimg has to be in it because it's former owner was Turgon King of Gondolin, we could make Sting and Orcrist have a owner but it would make sense to make it a Gondolin Lord.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I read a presentation somewhere of elf lords in Gondolin who could have owned Orcrist. In short, the person who wrote this thought that Ecthelion of the Fountain would be the most probable candidate. There were a number of lords who didn't use swords, and goven that Orcrist is called the mate of Glamdring, it would have to be someone rather important, like Ecthelion. It's pure speculation, though.
 
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