A Carthaginian Sword; The Falcata

Level 0, Iberian, Phoenician and Punic culture...

Level 0, Iberian, Phoenician and Punic cultures, room 19. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Iberian falcata. Hilt ends in a feline's head....

Iberian falcata. Hilt ends in a feline’s head. Blade was decorated with stuffing silver motifs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Level 0, Iberian, Phoenician and Punic culture...

Level 0, Iberian, Phoenician and Punic cultures, room 19. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

While the Romans preferred their short stabbing sword, the gladius, the Carthaginians made use of a different sword, called the Falcata. The original design was actually stolen from the Greeks, whose sword was called the Kopis. 

The design of the Falcata is amazing, actually. The sword is single-edged and curved, but unlike almost all curved swords, the edge is one the inside of the curve, not on the outside like the Katana. Also, the blade is very thick at the end, making it heavier towards the tip. This enables an extremely powerful swing, and packs the power of an axe with the keenness of a sword, and small enough to take out of a scabbard without having to swing around an iron head on the end of a stick. 

The boulbous part near the end of the blade would have been used the most, and so good quality steel was needed there. Fairly high carbon steel could be used, as that part was so thick that there was little risk of breaking, rather, the best quality steel was needed near the handle, at the furthest indentation of the curve. Here was the most likely place to break, as it was thinnest and the force would always be coming from the same direction. 

The Falcata has a characteristic spine on the back; a ridge that is very thick and designed so that most of the kinetic energy is disposed here, and dissipates. If you notice here in the picture -> , the spine is thickest at the weakest point of the blade, near the handle. This makes up for the thinness, which otherwise would break farily easily.

The power that this sword could wield is amazing, and could, if not pierce the armor, could certainly break the bone underneath.

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