Dagger and its scabbard

Augustan period to the middle of the 1st century

National Museum of Slovenia

National Museum of Slovenia

The dagger and the scabbard are among the best-preserved Roman daggers and their scabbards.
The handle is of sandwich-like construction, in that the exterior is formed of two iron plates, whereas the interior comprises a flat tang. The two iron plates encased the upper end of the blade and the tang, as well as the wooden parts on both sides. The wood is partly preserved only in the upper disc of the handle, as neutron radiography clearly reveals. The front of the iron handle was decorated with red enamel. The gap between the two iron plates of the handle was closed from the side by a strip of brass sheet, surviving only as a small fragment on the upper disc. The front of the iron scabbard was decorated with red enamel and brass inlays, which delimited circular, rectangular and triangular ornamental areas, as well as with red enamel encircled by a shiny silver-like layer of pewter at the tip of the scabbard. The iron must have been darkened, otherwise the decoration with silver appearance would not have stood out and would not have had a decorative effect.
The construction and decoration characteristics of the scabbard and dagger indicate a date from the Augustan period to the middle of the 1st century.

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  • Title: Dagger and its scabbard
  • Date: Augustan period to the middle of the 1st century
  • Date Created: Augustan period to the middle of the 1st century
  • Physical Dimensions: l. od dagger 34.1 cm, l. of scabbard 26.4 cm
  • Provenance: Ljubljanica near Rakova Jelša, Slovenia
  • Type: Dagger and scabbard
  • Rights: Narodni muzej Slovenije
  • Medium: Wood and iron, decorated by brass, enamel and pewter