Axes Swords & Daggers.
BRONZE AGE Anonymous
18th BCE-16th c BCE French Bronze Age Industrial Arts
(c. 2000 BCE - c. 500 BCE)
1800 BCE-1500 BCE
18th BCE-16th c BCE
St. Germain-en-Laye. Musée des Antiquitiés Nationale.
Bronze tools made it much easier to work the land. However, the strength and sharp edge of bronze weapons transformed warfare, and the groups that possessed bronze weapons were feared by all.
Later, bronze weapons and tools were replaced by iron, an even harder material. Iron was first discovered in the form of meteorites, which the Sumerians named the "metal from heaven." These black stones were worshipped by people from many cultures. Some early groups learned to hammer or work the metal. Only much later did they learn how to extract iron from the ore by smelting it, a much more difficult process than the smelting of copper. Around 1500 BCE the Hittites of Anatolia began to use iron weapons, and within another 500 years the Indians had learned to make steel. The best early steel was found in the Samurai sword made by the Japanese from 800 AD. In all cases, the working of the metal was surrounded by precise ceremonials that served both a very practical, as well as spiritual purpose. The gods were evoked to make sure the process was successful, but the ritual itself detailed the technical steps necessary to make it so.
We will later see how the peoples who possessed the new weapons were able to upset the established agricultural empires, all over the Ancient World. Smiths who had the knowledge of metallurgy were highly prized, and were never killed in battle, but taken as booty and made to serve their new masters.
The development of metallurgy encouraged travel and trade. Not only was the new material in great demand, but often the necessary minerals were not present in the same locality. Many early cultural contacts can be traced to the need to find tin as well as copper. We now know that smithies sometimes traveled on boats along with a supply of metals and that they would stop along the shore in order to create metal articles to suit.
BRONZE AGE | Axes Swords & Daggers. | 1800 BCE-1500 BCE | French | Bronze Age