"Lady of the Mercians"
Isn't that Donald Trump's missus?
The legendary sword has been pulled from the stone – but the owner wants it back and a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to replace the blade. The iron sword in question was sunk into a rock beside Llangorse Lake in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, by local campsite owner Garnet Davies. "The whole purpose is for kids to have a …
...then he should have the blade made of grade 304 stainless steel, make it a foot longer than is needed, get the bottom of the blade bent into small circle, and then have that hidden by casting it into some good MOT grade concrete (itself with folded, hidden rebar). A bit of moss, and it'll look just like a regular sword in a regular stone. If anyone can pull that out without destroying the "stone", they deserve to be king.
Reached the Iron Age?
How dare you! I had that new fangled gas lighting fitted in my cave last week, mind you.
*Note. I am Welsh, we're allowed to take the piss out of ourselves. I don't want anyone being offended (on my behalf) because they might think this is a troll post by an Englishman. ;)
*Note. I am Welsh
Well, I'm (sort of) half and half. Mother was Welsh, father was from Yorkshire. Slightly confusing is the fact that the family name probably originates in the Forest of Dean area in the Middle Ages. So, that being the old Welsh Marches, it's been populated by Ancient Britons/proto-Welsh, Romans, Saxons (and the odd Viking raiding up the Severn), Normans and uncle Tom Cobbley and all..
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm the original British mongrel (-Scottish as far as I can tell though.Oddly, the only British native language other than English that I speak at all is Scots Gaidhlig. I do know a few words of Cornish and Welsh but not enough to count.)
 Also confusingly, born in Dorset to someone also born in Dorset but of Welsh parents and with a Welsh surname. And all her relatives were still resident in Wales. Her family moved back to Wales when she was a youngster.
Retrofitting. Before iron, the woady ones would have seen bronze forged, so iron was not exactly magical. The only difference is that bronze swords are more easily cast (and in wooden moulds as well as, say, clay) and iron ones more easily forged. Watching someone forge an iron blade is not magical -- you watch someone banging and banging and banging as a bit of red-hot quickly turns black. I have done blacksmithing, and the 'ooooo, glowing hot' becomes less magical with every weary smite.
@AC, metal swords aren't cast. They're forged and ground. Cast metals aren't strong enough. It needs to be worked to gain the correct strength and grain structure. The closest you'd get is casting a rather short, fat-ish bar of metal to save on the hammering a little bit, but it would in no way resemble a sword at that point. Even after the forging it's only roughly sword shaped. It doesn't become something we'd call a sword until the grinding is completed.
Look up Damascus steel and forge welding. Or better, look up forging blades from steel cable. There is probably something on YouTube. (I have a scythe I forged from old chainsaw chains. Holds an edge really well when mowing grass; I haven't tried it on anything tougher.)
Bronze swords were cast, and hen ground and honed. You can beat bronze on an anvil, but we know that UK bronze-aged swords were done in moulds. If memory serves me, Time Team cast a rather nifty one. These aren't strong swords, but then again Samurai swords are brittle as well, despite their beautiful forging. Most early swords shattered on impact with another hard thing. This is why sword-on-sword (ooo, missus) fights in movies are nonsensical. You fend off with a shield.
his is why sword-on-sword (ooo, missus) fights in movies are nonsensical
Depends on the era and the sword technologies used. From about 1350 onwards, sword-making was advanced enough to be used in sword-sword combat (ie - the German School - while it did involve a shield also taught sword-sword techniques). You generally (unless you were desperate) didn't meet swords edge-to-edge as that would damage your cutting edge (and potentially break or shatter your sword) but instead focussed on redirection of the enemy sword.
Also, swords were generally not (except the cheap ones) single material - the core and edges were treated in different ways. So the core would be more flexible and the edge more brittle.
Fighting against armoured foes also required a sharp, heavy sword (broadsword) - which could either cut through or crush armour. So those swords had to be able to take the shock of hitting against 1/2 inch armour plate while remaining sharp enough to potentially cut through and also while being light enough to use with one hand. Admittedly, a hand that had been wielding a sword since the age of 4 and so had muscle development more like a leg!
Later on, you had the growth of the Italian School which emphasised more use of rapier-like swords (but with sharp edges) and which also used various 2-sword techniques where the shorter (offside) sword was used more to parry than to stab (although it could also be used for that too). And from that era comes the adage "the point always beats the edge" (although the Romans knew that - the standard legionary gladius was almost purely a stabbing sword since, when you are in a long shield wall, you generally don't have the space to swing a sword but you can stab. The Roman cavalry adopted the Celtic longsword for their use since they did have the room to swing a sword).
The Italian School is where the various modern forms of fencing come from, even though the names we use are French (Foil, Epee and Sabre). You can still learn traditional longsword fighting and participate in international competition, just not the Olympics.
So to sum up - you are right and you are wrong, depending on era :-)
That's a great image, but swords are not cast iron. They're forged from metal bars heated, beaten and folded many times, producing a strong and flexible blade - there are any number of YouTube videos illustrating the process. I don't doubt that ironworking would have been indistinguishable from magic to bronze age peoples. See Clarke, Sir Arthur.
They're forged from metal bars heated, beaten and folded many times
Some swordmakers do that, especially the Japanese, who had to work with pretty crappy steels and the folding process helped blend the properties of hard, brittle steel and soft iron. Other swordmaking techniques welded together pieces without folding - an iron core, high carbon steel edges, and medium carbon skins. The Japanese did that, using their folded billets for parts but not all of the blade.
When I read the tales of Arthur and his knights of the round table a few years ago I was put in mind of a bunch of hells angels riding around having punch ups and being given free rein to tax the serfs for whatever they wanted. Why a country would be proud of this as a heritage I couldn't work out.
Romano-Briton who was fighting to save Britain from the invading English
Efste brimhengest ofer þa hornrade
famiheals flota on þære saltyðe þære sæ
fram gotlande ond fryslande hengest us ciegde
to wyrtgyrnes rice his here to beonne
swetran þonne seolfor sceol ure sceatt
ure sceatt scineþ beortre þonne gold
for þæt hengest gehet us land for campdome
land for þæm sunum þære seaxe to healdenne
(My favourite bit of Saxon - https://www.reddit.com/r/anglosaxon/comments/1raj1i/saxon_war_song_shield_wall_translated_in_modern/)
One historian's description of anglo-saxon warriors, based on the things they were buried with = psychopathic peacocks.
That's a very un-historian-y thing to say. Also strikes me as incredibly unfair - and probably not terribly accurate - as well as being rather anacronistic.
It was a different time, with different expectations of violence - i.e. there was a lot more of it in everyday life. Something that didn't really change in this country until the 18th Century. Plus of course there were regular invasions, mainly of vikings, and conflicts among the various British kingdoms.
The anglo-saxons had a pretty rich life going on. As well as some quite sophisticated crafsmanship, they were starting to develop a literary culture in ango-saxon, as well as latin. Obviously amongst a limited number of literate people. They also had a stable coinage and government administration going on by the 11th Century - which was one of the main attractions that drew William the Conqueror in the first place.
They had a class of what you might call professional warrirors, who were mostly retainers to the various earls - and you'd expect them to be buried with war gear as well as whatever shinies they could afford. See the comment about the flowering of anglo-saxon craftsmanship above, for details of just how shiny that might be. The British Museum and Sutton Hoo have lots of it on display.
The peacocks thing might be fair, but they'd managed to build a sophisticated society, so psychopaths seems unlikely. At least there being more than the usual number of them.
They also had a stable coinage and government administration going on by the 11th Century
They also had a form of early democracy too. Which William the Unmentionable promptly did away with in order to implement the foulness that was the Feudal System (aka legalised slavery)
Which makes it more ironic that William claimed that Edward had promised him the kingship - it wasn't up to Edward to give it to him. It was up to the Witan to select the next king..
tales of Arthur and his knights of the round table
Which are almost entirely a Middle-Ages made up fiction, possibly based on a late Roman Age British war leader trying to hold back the Saxons.
That bloke Mallory has a lot to answer for in his "Morte D'Artur". Which was largely forgotten about until the Victorians revived it (probably at much the same time as they invented the Scottish Tartan system).
Yes we killed it several times but its loot table was rubbish :)
It was a humungous beaver/wolf cross and had an annoying habit of teleporting large chunks of the 'raid' into the lake. That zone was one of my favourites.
I was on the US Galahad server, playing a Minstrel called Kallisti - you may have seen some of my maps from back then...
-> No it's not. Bala Lake is a natural lake and 3 times the area of Llangorse. I am sure there are other reservoirs larger too.
Absolutely right - it doesn't even make the top 10. However, it is the second largest natural lake in Wales (after Bala) and is the largest in South Wales.
Typically, HMG has already put plans in place to deal with any potential usurpers. Spoilsports. Waving Excalibur and expecting to be crowned is likely to be met by Xcalibre, where X=4.7mm.
Waving Excalibur and expecting to be crowned is likely to be met by Xcalibre, where X=4.7mm.
Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. You don't get to run a government just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
But.. But.. think of the fun. Plus you may have some very confused & ancient knights accompanying you, and possibly a competing claim from dear'ol Arthur Pendragon. And if you've also found a Merlin, there's some legal protection as an opressed religious minority. Or it might just be an easier life if you threw the sword back.
"Waving Excalibur and expecting to be crowned is likely to be met by Xcalibre, where X=4.7mm."
Ah, but it's only illegal if it's done "without lawful authority or reasonable excuse". Being destined to be King would be both lawful authority and reasonable excuse...
Was the "stone" made of concrete? If it was a real stone, how do you carve a sword sized slit 3' deep into a stone, and how do you keep the sword from being trivially removed after that's done and the sword is inserted? Was it epoxied in or was there a hole in the bottom of it for a bolt to go through?
I'm assuming it came loose due to rust, hopefully the crowdfunding gets enough for a stainless steel sword this time!
>According to the legend, the wizard Merlin embedded a sword into a
>stone, swearing that whoever pulled it out again would become king of
>The sword was stuck in a bloody ANVIL
Meh. "...a great stone four square, like unto a marble stone; and in midst thereof was like an anvil of steel a foot on high, and therein stuck a fair sword naked by the point, and letters there were written in gold about the sword that said thus:—Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England."
"And whan matyns & the first masse was done there was sene in the chircheyard ayēst the hyghe aulter a grete stone four square lyke vnto a marbel stone And in myddes therof was lyke an Anuylde of stele a foot on hyghe & theryn stack a sayre swerd naked by the poynt and letters there were wryten in gold aboute the swerd that saiden thus who so pulleth oute this swerd of this stone and anuyld is rightwys kynge borne of all Enlond"
Not a lot of punctuation back then.
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