Roman Dura-Europos dagger with scabbard, 3rd century AD.
The name "Dura-Europos" comes from a city with the same name that was founded in 303 BC. This was conquered by the Romans in 165 AD - 468 years later. The city remained occupied by the Romans for just under a century until it was taken by the Persian Sassanids in 256 AD. After this conquest, the entire population was deported and the city was left to decay. Eventually, the city disappeared entirely under layers of sand.
In 1920, Dura-Europos was rediscovered by chance. The desert sand had protected all the walls, frescoes, artefacts and other finds. It turned out to be an incredibly important archaeological site.
The original of this dura dagger itself has not survived, which is why our replica is based only on the blade and handle parts of surviving or partially surviving examples from the 3rd century.
The blade is made of EN45 spring steel and is not sharpened. The handle is made of wood, the ferrule and pommel are made of brass. What is interesting here, however, is that the handle cap shows certain similarities to the knobs used later in the Migration and Viking periods, as they were used on some Sax knives at that time.
Better evidence is provided by the leather scabbard, which is based on fragments of metal forged decorative plates found during excavations in Dura Europos (1928-1937) and in Budapest (Hungary).
The scabbard has a large ornamental brass fitting that occupies the entire front. The shape is also very remarkable. Investigative evidence suggests that this type of large fitting and the shape of the scabbard are established features for late 2nd to 4th century Roman knife sheaths. The scabbard is also fitted with two brass rings and a leather strap. Other counter fittings found suggest that such scabbards were suspended from the belt by means of a cord and carried horizontally, with the unusual end piece serving as a counterweight to the dagger handle.
Details Dura dagger:
- Material: blade of EN45 spring steel (carbon steel, not stainless), wooden handle, ferrule and pommel of cast brass.
- Total length: approx. 31.5 cm
- Blade length: approx. 19.5 cm
- Handle length: approx. 12 cm
- Blade thickness: approx. 4 mm / 3 mm (cutting edges approx. 1 mm)
- Max. Blade width: approx. 2.2 cm
- Incl. wooden scabbard with red leather cover, brass fittings and carrying rings
- Weight without scabbard: approx. 207 g
- Weight with scabbard: approx. 342 g
Scope of delivery: 1x Dura dagger including leather sheath