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Bent Sword Found in 5th-Century Soldier’s Grave in Greece

Thursday, May 13, 2021

THESSALONIKI, GREECE—Live Science reports that Errikos Maniotis of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and his colleagues have uncovered seven graves, including a 1,600-year-old soldier’s arch-shaped grave, in an early Christian basilica discovered in 2010 ahead of subway construction in northern Greece. The soldier was buried with a shield, a spear, and a spatha, a type of long straight sword used from about A.D. 250 to 450, that had been bent. “Usually, these types of swords were used by the auxiliary cavalry forces of the Roman army,” Maniotis said. Because he was buried in the basilica, Maniotis explained, the man may have been a high-ranking officer. However, folded swords are usually found in Northern Europe, and are considered to be a pagan custom. Maniotis thinks the man may have come from a Germanic tribe and blended his past with Roman and Christian ways. To read about an extraordinarily rich Bronze Age grave unearthed at the site of Pylos in Greece, go to "World of the Griffin Warrior." 

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