Roman Knives

Roman knives come in a great many shapes and sizes. The best classification so far is the one by Manning, which is often used to identify knifetypes. One of the most characteristic of Roman bladeshapes is the gracefully curved utility knife, with a concave cutting edge and a downward slope of the point. This page shows a selection of knives made by Vvlpivs, our Roman blacksmith.
 W73lY1389624153.jpg

A larger utility knife with bone handlescales. The decorations served both to enhance the grip on the handle and to increase it's esthetic appeal. The curved blade indicates a drawknife. The original bladetype was found in a first century context in Germany. Manning 7a.

 8jLSE1389621209.jpg

This knife, made to be worn on a belt, has a straight spine and a bone handle. The eye was punched hot and drawn to shape by using punches of increasing size.

 uCw3j1385039123.jpg

A Late Roman knife, the original of which was found in the large Late Roman cemetery at Donderberg, Rhenen, Netherlands. In the Late Roman period, knife blades become wider and often have a plate at the end of the tang. The tang runs all the way through the handle, which in this case is a piece of antler. 

 4B2OW1389706896.jpg

Another Late Roman knife, the original of which was found in the large Late Roman cemetery at Donderberg, Rhenen, Netherlands.  The tang runs all the way through the boxwood handle. Boxwood was much loved by the Romans, they also used it to make swordgrips.

 X3EqZ1389792614.jpg

Late Roman knife, the original of which was also found in the large Late Roman cemetery at Donderberg, Rhenen, Netherlands. This time, yew was used for the handle. Because of its evergreen appearance and the fact that it will sprout new shoots from the bare stem, yew was considered the tree of eternal life and held sacred.

 tjBFr1389706904.jpg

The original of this knife was found at Augsburg, where quite a few larger knives were recovered. This one is over 30 centimeters overall. The gripplates are made of horn, the shape is exacly as the original, down to the T shaped lugs at the end of the knife, creating an integral buttplate, which is quite unusual in Roman knives. 

 70d711389792915.jpg

Another type of knife found at Augsburg, this time with boxwood handle scales and bronze rivits. Here also the handle ends in an integral buttcap. Length is about 20 centimeters.

 YHI7w1389708245.jpg

Utility knife with a pointy tang. This knife is fitted with a solid horn handle and could be a mordern knife by the looks of it. The original is also from Augsburg, but the type 11a found in many other first and second century Roman locations.

 CSnrl1390161180.jpg

Two personal knives with scabbards. Little is known about the Roman scabbards of the first centuries. However, there have been a few scattered finds indicating the scabbard was made from a single piece of leather, stitched or held together by an interwoven leather thong and with a carrying strap. The beltstrap common today did not appear untill after Medieval times.

 qD4cj1415447011.JPG

Late Roman knife with oak handle based on a find from Illerup Adal. Blade is 26 cm, overall length is 40 cm. The oak is black from being submerged in water, it dates from 1095 AD. The sheath is based on a reconstruction of an original in a Nordic museum, also found at Illerup. The ring and chape are of iron.