In movies, it’s not uncommon to see the hero wielding his sword and slicing his enemies into pieces. Over the years, the material used to make a sword has varied depending on the region and time period. In this article, you will learn more about swords being used as weapons, as well as other forms of defense in history.
The Chariot is Born
In the days of Crete, bows and arrows were quite popular during 3,000 BC. People also used war chariots when they engaged in battle. Shields were used to add further protection during battle.
Swords and Armor
Swords start to emerge as a form of protection. To enhance defense tactics, warriors started wearing armor around 2,000 BC.
Swords of the Bronze Age
During the late 3rd millennium BC, the Middle East produced swords developed from the prototype of the dagger, which offers longer blades for users. At first, the swords were fashioned out of arsenic copper, but then they were made out of tin-bronze. Older swords, like the ones fond in Turkey, date back to around 3300 BC. After improvements were made in the heat treatments of the swords, they became good enough to use for combat. Some people also used the swords to decorate their homes.
In China, swords were produced during the Bronze Age in the Shang Dynasty. During what was known as the Warring States period, the swords benefitted from advancements in technology. People were now casting high tin edges over softer, lower tin cores when making the blades of the swords. Chinese bronzes also used a high tin-bronze material, which was harder than other swords that actually bent when using a lower tin bronze material.
Swords of the Iron Age
From the 13th century BC, iron became an increasingly popular material used to make swords. The shift primarily took place because the civilizations known to produce bronze collapsed at the time. The early users of iron swords are the Hittites, Egyptians, and some Celtic cultures. The raw material of iron was more available than the bronze, which increased the production of iron swords. While they could bend, they had the ability to spring back into shape. Entire armies could have access to the swords because production was also much easier to accomplish.
Russian Mikhail Kalashnikov (born in 1919), created the machine gun that is named after him. To this day, more than 70 million have been produced.
The machine gun patented by Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling (1818-1903) was introduced in 1862. It offered a fire rate of up to 350 rounds per minute when it was cranked by hand. The gun made an appearance too late for it to be widely used in the Civil War of the United States. More efficient weapons took over the Gatling gun’s place. In later years, ‘gat’ became a slang term for any gun.