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Being å History of the Sword and its Use in all
Countries, from the Earliest Times.
Handsomely printed in demy 4to. cloth extra, 32 s.
EXTRACT FROM INTRODUCTION.
During the seventies’ I began, with a light heart, my Book of the Sword, expecting to finish it within a few months. It has occupied me as many years. Not only study and thought, but travel and inspection, were found indispensable ; a monograph on the Sword and its literature involved visiting almost alt the great armouries of continental Europe, and a journey to India in 1875-6. The short period of months served only to show that a niemoir of the Sword embraces the annals of the world. The long term of years has convinced me that to treat the subject in its totality is impossible within reasonable limits.
It will hardly be said that a monograph of the Sword is not wanted. Students who would learn her origin, genealogy, and history, find no single publication ready to hand. They rust ransack catalogues and books on 'arms 'and'armour' that are numbered by the score. They must hunt up fugitive pamphlets; papers consigned to the literary store-rooms called magazines ; and stray notices deep buried in the ponderous tomes of Récueils and general works on Hoplology. They must wade through volume after volume of histories and travels, to pick up a few stray
sentences. And they will too often find that the index of an English book which gives copious references to glass or sugar utterly ignores the Sword. At times they must labour in the dark, for men who write seem wholly unconscious of the subject's importance. For instance, much has been said about art in Japan; but our knowledge of her metallurgy, especially of her iron and steel works, is elemen-' -tary, while that of her peculiar and admirable cutlery is strangely superficial. And travellers and collectors treat the Sword much as they do objects of natural history.' They regard only the rare, the forms which they ignore, or which strike the eye,
and the unique specimens which may have no comparative value. Thus they neglect articles of far more interest and of higher importance to the student, and they bring home, often at great expense, mere lumber for curiosity shops.
After not a little study I resolved to distribute the Book of the Sword' into three parts.
Part I. treats of the birth, parentage, and early career of the Sword. It begins with the very beginning, in pre-historic times and amongst proto-historic peoples ; and it ends with the full growth of the Sword at the epoch of the early Roman Empire.
Part II. treats of the Sword fully grown. It opens with the rising civilisation of the Northern Barbarians and with the decline of Rome under Constantine (A.D. 313-324), who combined Christianity with Mithraism; when the worldcapital was transferred to Byzantium, and when an imitation of Orientalism, specially of Persic apparatus,' led to the art decay which we denote by the term * Lower Empire.' It proceeds to the rise of El-Islam ; the origin of ordered chivalry and knighthood; the succession of the Crusades and the wars of arms and armour before the gunpowder age, when the general use of ballistics by means of explosives became the marking feature of battle. This was the palmy period of the Sword. It became a beautiful work of art; and the highest genius did not disdain to chase and gem the handle and sheath. And its career culminates with the early sixteenth century, when the weapon of offence assumed its defensive phase and rose to a height of splendour that prognosticated downfall, as surely as the bursting of a rocket precedes its extinction.
Part III. continues the memoirs of the Sword, which, after long declining, revives once more in our day. This portion embraces descriptions of the modern blade, notices of collections, public and private, notes on manufactures ; and, lastly, the bibliography and the literature connected with the Heroic Weapon.
Part I., contained in this volume, numbers thirteen chapters. The first seven are formally and chronologically arranged. Thus we have the Origin of Weapons (Chapter I.), showing that while the arm is common to man and beast, the weapon, as a rule, belongs to our kind. Chapter II. treats of the first weapon proper, the Stone, which gave rise to ballistics as well as to implements of percussion. Follows (Chap. III.) the blade of base materials, wood, stone and bone, materials still used by races which can procure nothing better. From this point a step leads to the metal blade, in its origin evidently a copy of preceding types.
The first, (Chapter IV.) is of pure copper, in our translations generally rendered by 'brass or bronze. The intermediate substances (Chapter V.) are represented by alloys,
.' a variety of mixed metals; and they naturally end with the so-called 'age' of early iron, which prevailed throughout Europe at a time when the valleys of the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates wrought blades of the finest steel. This division concludes with a formal and technical Chapter (VII.) on the shape of the Sword