Back Scabbard?

Back Scabbard?

Postby Dan Crowther on February 6th, 2007, 1:35 pm

I'm currently reading "The Ancient Celts" by Barry Cunliffe. On page 94 of that book I stumbled over this neat little tid bit of info:

"All these pieces of equipment [shields, spears, swords, mail armour], mentioned in the texts, are reflected in the archaeological record and in the surviving iconography, though it is sometimes possible to detect regional variations. Among the Parisii of Yorkshire, for example, the sword was sometimes worn across the back and therefore had to be drawn over the shoulder from behind the head."


Barry doesn't give any further details about how this information is known (grave find, statue or other carving, etc). Has anyone else heard of these Celts carrying their swords over the back?
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Postby Shane Allee on February 6th, 2007, 11:51 pm

Stead talks a bit about this in British Iron Age Swords and Scabbards. One of the groups has also put up a bit under the belt section of their website.

www.vicus.org.uk/kitguide/

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Re: Back Scabbard?

Postby Deborah Glennie on January 13th, 2009, 6:25 am

I know this is digging from the past, but I'm looking into doing this. I am intrigued by the chalk figures
Image
Anyone else had a go at the back mounted Scabbard? I've been thnking of a harness type arrangement, that I am keen to know what you think- have I over engineered the set up?
I usually 'die' on the battlefield at events rather quickly, with spear and shield in hand so whether I'll ever get to draw it is another thing!
Image

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Re: Back Scabbard?

Postby Jeff Scharp on January 18th, 2009, 2:13 am

Hi Deborah,

I wonder though, the area that these chalk figures were found produce scabbards with different suspension loops than those found elsewhere. In your pictures I couldn't help but notice that the scabbard is assumed to have the suspension loop high up on the mouth, whereas the Yorkshire scabbards had suspension loops from 1/2 to 1/3 the way down from the mouth. The leather strap you drew would still fit, but I wonder how off center it would be when worn? I guess you're already having a go at it. Let us know how it works out.

Oh, I find it interesting that these scabbards have such bulky chapes, unlike scabbards from elsewhere. I can't help but think that it performed some function besides looks.

Jeff
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Re: Back Scabbard?

Postby Colin McGarry on June 2nd, 2017, 3:25 pm

I can't offer much help in how to accomplish it, but the Irish sagas occasionally mention the sword being hung at the neck or shoulder, which implies it could be suspended from the back. The Irish, and possibly some areas of Northern Britain/Scotland used shorter swords than the long Gallic/South British style, so it'd be easier to deal with.
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