Tuesday, 5 November 2013

British Celtic anthropomorphic sword pommel

British Celtic anthropomorphic sword pommel,
ca. late 2nd cent BC. height 23 mm. front view
This anthropomorphic sword pommel is in typically British style with the hair represented by straight lines, and a simple line for the mouth. The eye sockets are drilled, and were perhaps originally filled with red enamel. Both sides are recessed where the arms would fit, and another drilled hole above one of the recessed sides was likely for a knop to better secure the pommel. On the base, there is another drilled hole in the centre to accommodate the end of the tang and this is surrounded by two recessed and rounded channels in the form of a cross which gives the appearance of a Philips type screw-head. However, the fore to aft channel is shallowly cut, while the side to side channel is deeper.

The elaborate securing mechanisms were needed because the Celts could neither solder nor weld and swords frequently lost their pommels through accident. The effort was to no avail, of course, it was still lost from its sword.

The closest parallel, and believed to have been manufactured on the continent, is Jope Plate 132 a-g from North Grimston Yorks, where the arms, like on this one, rest tight against the head in a similar manner to the second illustration on the left. the angle of the arms is different, though, more closely resembling the third illustration but set higher. Another British example, the third illustration, is from "Yorkshire" (Jope Plate 133 h.)

Other views of the pommel follow (click on them to enlarge)

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