LITTLE METAL MEN – Celtic Pseudo-Anthropomorphic and Anthropomorphic Swords

Balkan Celts

UD: Jan. 2020

chattilon-sur-indre-mid-1-c-bc

Some of the finest examples of Iron Age metalwork are to be found on the anthropomorphic hilts of swords which appear in the 2nd c. BC, produced by the pan-Celtic tribes across Europe. In late Iron Age artistic compositions human heads become increasingly frequent and realistic, and appear to have had talismanic significance. The hilts of middle to late La Têne swords become truly anthropomorphic, with the figures body as sword grip and the arms and legs as cross bars. 

switzer 1

switzer 2

Celtic sword from Switzerland and detail of hilt (Iron blade, copper alloy hilt and scabbard)

(ca. 60 BC)

Celtic anthropomorphic sword hilts from Mouriès (Bouches-du-Rhône) and Tesson (Charente-Maritime), France

(2/1 c. BC)

reichstadtmuseum-rothenburg-ob-der-tauber-germany

Celtic anthropomorphic sword in the Reichstadtmuseum Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany (2nd c. BC)

the-head-of-an-anthropoid-hilt-in-besancon-france

The head of an anthropoid hilt from a Celtic sword, discovered at Besançon, France (2 c. BC)

Such anthropomorphic representations are…

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