Among the weapons which man has developed for attack and defence, the swords occupies a special place. This has its reason in the fact that the virtues of the sword bearer, and the virtues of the weapon itself har- moniously blend in an almost unique manner. Thus between the sword and its bearer a very special relation developed, which fact was emphasized by mythology to a far greater measure than this was the case with any other weapon in history. The first part of our survey is meant ro demonstrate this. The place held by the sword among tne weapons was conduci ve to the consequence, that the highest art of handicraft was developed for its pro- duction. In this connection the swordcut1ers and armourers, once the human being had taken to iron as a working material, had leamed to make use of the possibities which are inherent in this material, namely its forgeability and hardening capacity in a truly astonishing way. What is so surprising is the great similarity of the various techniques, which were developed at various localities and at various ages in the pro- duction of the sword. This is to be shown in the second part of our survey.
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