This is a large socketed iron spearhead meant to be mounted on a pole and used as a throwing javelin spear from the back of a cavalry horse by a mounted soldier. The blade visibly bent indicating this spearhead was used in actual combat. It was used by the Roman Byzantine military and is a superb example in rare, complete condition. Roman Byzantine cavalry employed a variety of spears and javelins, some thrown and some used for repeated stabbing of enemy soldiers. The thickness of the socket indicated the heft of the pole they were mounted on. Large poles with small heads were ideal for repeated use where the pole would not break and the head would not get stuck in an enemy's body. Larger heads with smaller diameter poles and shafts were designed for throwing where the larger head added weight for power in the throw, and the narrower shaft aided flight. With a complete socket! Professionally cleaned and conserved in our museum lab facility to ensure against further deterioration.
At this time in Byzantine Roman history, the cavalry was the primary strength of the Roman military! The cavalry was the most powerful and important weapon of the Byzantine Roman army as opposed to the ground forces of the earlier Roman Empire. Protection and support of the cavalry was vital to victory. Loss of the cavalry was a sure defeat as the ground troops of the Byzantine Roman army by this era, were ill-equipped and inferior to the invader armies.
This weapon was used by the Byzantine Roman armies defending the Empire's northern border along the Danube River in the present day East Balkans. This region was the northern-most boundary of the Roman Empire for most of its duration and evolution into Byzantium right up until 1336 AD when the area fell under Ottoman rule. In the Balkans, Roman camps and fortresses along the Danube were constantly being challenged by opposing tribes and armies. The river served as a natural barrier against attacks from the north. Collected from a region that was once occupied by the Byzantine Roman military as they fought against the challengers of the Christian Roman Empire, these weapons were utilized by Roman soldiers in one of the many violent and frequent battles that took place in defense of Byzantium.
Most metal artifacts sold on the market are untreated and uncleaned. Every metal artifact we offer has been properly cleaned, inspected and conserved in our museum conservation lab. Ancient metal that is not properly cleaned and treated in this way, is unstable and WILL deteriorate from further corrosion, possibly falling apart over time. The vast majority of antiquity dealers do NOT PROPERLY clean and treat their inventory or worse, do nothing at all.
Perhaps no other epoch in history is so unique, extensive and yet, as much forgotten as that of the Byzantine Roman Empire. From the founding of its new capitol in Constantinople, 330 AD to its final fall to the Ottoman invaders in 1453, over eleven hundred years of history has virtually been lost in most minds of the Western world. Ironically, it is this exact history that has extensively shaped the Western cultures today, especially those of the Christian faith.
No event in Western history was probably more pivotal than that of the Christian conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine I. Up to that time, Christians were heavily persecuted by many of the previous emperors and the religion was outlawed. That would all change in 324 AD with a miraculous military victory and subsequent conversion to Christianity by Constantine I at the Milvian Bridge. From this point on, Christianity became the official religion of the Empire. A new capitol was established in Constantinople (present day Istanbul, Turkey) and power was fully transferred from Rome to Constantinople in 476 AD. It was not the end of the Roman Empire but a continuation and fascinating transformation of Roman rule that would last for another one thousand years!
In the Byzantine Period, the Roman Empire and Christianity were completely interwoven. It was the quintessential example of the UNION of church and state. What was once the ancient world's greatest enemy of the faith, overnight became its most devoted advocate. The classic architecture, style of dress, and overall appearance of all that was "Old Rome" took on a new and intricate style that the world has never seen before or since. This was not only attributed to the influence of the capitol's new geographic location, but also to the foremost prominence of Christianity in the Roman world.
A well-known remnant of the Byzantine Period is the stunning and unique art of the religious Icons. This abstract spiritual style can be immediately recognized and is evident in not only paintings and mosaics but also the era's architecture and coins. What was once thought of as crude numismatic issues are now appreciated as highly stylized symbols of the Romans' devout faith.
After the establishment of Constantinople as the new capitol and navel of the Roman world, the Empire continued for almost a millennium eventually bridging ancient and medieval history but not without its share of enemies. Numerous challenges of foreign armies took its toll on defenses and finally, on May 29, 1453 AD, the Muslim Ottomans overran the crumbling city walls and the sun set forever on the greatest empire that the ancient world had ever known.