MAIASK. 2017. No. 9

G. V. Baranov (Moscow, Russia).


DOI: 10.24411/2219-8857-2017-00009

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Pages: 248-283

The article reviews such as a group of early medieval swords with cross-guards having three main elements: a collar, a quillon and a sleeve. A significant number of such swords as well as separate cross-guards were found in Eastern Europe and are dated from the 9th c. (possibly as early as the second half of the 8th c.) to the 11th c.

This design of cross-guards is typical of the Mediterranean region. Its wide spread across Eastern Europe should be linked to the influence of the Byzantine Empire, where comparable items can be found in art. 

The paper categorizes cross-guards of this kind into three main types and describes the principal trends in their evolution: reduction of collar and sleeve height and increasing quillon length. Two types of pommels in such swords are described, as well as remaining elements of scabbards. 

This group of East European swords is linked to the main type of a long-blade weapon of the Byzantine army, the spatha.


Key words: sword-guard, spatha, Byzantine Empire, medieval arms, Byzantine arms.


Received November 29, 2017
Accepted for publication December 12, 2017


About the author:

Baranov Gennady Valeryevich (Moscow, Russia). Member of the Archaeologia Militaris Scientific Workshop at the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences