SEVENTH – EIGHTH-CENTURY SWORDS, SABRES, AND BACKSWORDS DISCOVERED IN TRANSYLVANIA, MARAMURES, AND THE ROMANIAN BANAT
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The chronological framework of the current subject is provided by the three main historical phases of the Avar Khaganate established in the Carpathian Basin. Geographically, the subject is limited to Transylvania, Maramureş, Crişana and the Romanian Banat. The catalogue of hitting/thrusting/cutting weapons discovered in western Romania lists 14 objects. The 14 artefacts were recovered from 12 cemeteries: 13 objects; and one settlement/house: one object. Based on the shape and characteristics of the blade, three main types of hitting, thrusting or cutting weapons have been distinguished: I – the Sabre; II – the Sword; III – the Backsword. The backswords have been further classified according to the characteristics of the hilt and cross-guard. Type III.1.a – backsword with the hilt ornamented with decorative thin precious metal foils covering the wood: Unirea/Vereşmort. Type III.1.b – backsword with an undecorated hilt, without a cross-guard: Dindeşti, Sfântu Gheorghe, Teiuş, Sânpetru German. Type III.2 – backsword with a hilt and a narrow rod-shaped crossguard fixed perpendicularly on the blade, with a rhombic part whose sharp ends point towards the blade and the hilt: Aiudul de Sus. Type III.3.a – backsword with a ring-shaped cross-guard and a semi-circular pommel: Valea lui Mihai. III.3.b – backsword with a ring-shaped cross-guard and a simple, straight hilt: Timişoara. All deceased of the 7th – 8th c. from western Romania that have been buried together with a sword, sabre or backsword, but also with other weapons or dress accessories, were men (adults). No woman’s or child’s grave contained, at least according to the current state of the research, swords, backswords or sabres. In the 7th – 8th c. western Romania the sword, the backsword and the sabre were the weapons used by the high-ranking Avar warriors within the military hierarchy of the Avar Khaganate.
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