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Thread: Everestforge handmade Xiphos review

  1. #1

    Everestforge handmade Xiphos review

    Material: carbon steel

    Type: 1065 (I think but am not sure)

    Length: 68cm

    Minimum blade width: 2.8 cm

    Maximum blade width: 3.5 cm

    Balance point: 25.7 cm from end of pommel

    Weight: 635gr

    Overall: 3.5/5 not a bad reproduction of a xiphos with one historical accuracy let down.

    As we all know, finding historically accurate, realistically 450BC looking xiphoi to buy in 2021 is close to impossible.
    This may not be a surprise as I believe the total amount of xiphoi dug up is less than 10 total (including ones found outside Greece). Someone correct me if I am wrong.



    Positives:

    -It's hard to find an accurate handmade reproduction of a xiphos. If I was actually transported to 450BC and was hiding in some bushes and saw hoplites marching past me, what would their swords actually look like in 450BC? Not a freak, one in a million sword made for a king. But what I would see most often... everyday hoplites and their everyday swords.

    Most xiphoi you can buy today (KOA, Devil's Edge, etc) are Hollywood interpretations. Too machined, too accurate, too precise. Not handmade, not 450BC. I wanted something that may have actually existed back then for real.

    This is a paradigm shift (or a complete change of mind) that most 2021's buyers are not aware of. People want to buy items where the quality looks 21st century. The fit and finish. The shine. The symmetry, etc. We are used to 21st century purchases. Not actual ancient Greek weapons. So the handmade finish might be a shock to some.

    The look of this sword is one I specifically wanted. Handmade, rough, not precise, not symmetrical, messy. This may not be what you want. I.e. on the sword I received there are dents in the blade halfway through. I like this. You may think differently. Like Tod explains very well here:




    I wanted something "unsellable". Asymmetric, rough, messy, 450BC.

    Note: This is different than something "looking used". Like Tod explains "handmadeness" is either there or it isn't. I can't buy a KOA or Devils Edge Xiphos and run over it with a truck and expect it to look handmade.


    -Everestforge told me the weight of the sword was 972gr. Historically these should have been 500-750gr depending on the length. I asked for one under 700gr which the seller agreed to. The weight I received was 635gr. That is a very good weight for a 68cm xiphos.

    For me this is the most important aspect of a sword. The weight. As soon as you pick up a reproduction piece (like the Kopis I own) that weighs 1370gr you just know it's fake. A single handed sword that weighs as much as a bowling ball. Completely unusable. So the weight of this sword at 635gr is perfect.

    -The sword features a historically accurate light /white colored wood handle (which is accurate to a real Xiphos). Although it's a shame Everestforge oils up the handle together with the sword which darkens it.

    -The hilt is perfect in terms of historical accuracy. Shell type twin hilt plates with the pommel a part of the plates. Metal end cap with a peened finish. It is surprising how often this construction (pommel as part of the hilt plates) is seen on pottery, while the opposite (pommel separate from grip) would have been far easier to draw.

    -The sword features the notch in the guard that lines up with the scabbard which is historically accurate.

    -What's nice about this sword, because of the weight, you really understand how a xiphos was made to be used.

    For 80% I would consider this a thrusting weapon, thrusting upwards.

    You can slash with it horizontally, or even over the head as depicted on the Metaponto vase (F176 c. 390–380 BC) but it takes much more effort. Feels much more unnatural. It's like a slash would be as effective as a slap, a thrust as effective as a punch. Your fingers pushing up and along the guard, increasing the force vector make such a difference as compared to a swing where it feels weaker. One simply wouldn't slash unless absolutely necessary.

    Also don't forget that the Metaponto vase illustrates a swing against a hound. In that situation it is far more effective to swing than to thrust.

    This could explain the lack of thrusting illustrations on vases, it is a pose more difficult to accurately illustrate.

    At 635gr the sword really feels weightless. Just an extension of your wrist. The slight front heaviness I believe is a remnant of bronze swords where the structural integrity was boosted by the leaf shape. With this size and weight sword, I would consider a horizontal chopping motion a "salvage" or "emergency" manouver. The sword is so much more made for upwards thrusting. As soon as you start using it you understand. Same principle as a Roman Gladius!, but so much lighter and more flexible and personal. The thrust of this weapon is definitely more athletic than a gladius.

    So the leaf shape I would actually consider a slight disadvantage, unless I have missed something. The (very slight, almost unnoticeable) front heaviness I would consider unnecessary, as the sword is 80% designed for an upwards thrust, not a slash. You can slash, and the leaf shape may help get through material in a slash, but the percentage of times you will slash is just too low in my opinion. Then again what do I know, I'm not a hoplite. The leaf shape may help in terms of piercing wound size, I don't know. This sword is 2.8 cm and 3.5cm leaf. Also, I am holding a sword made with 2021 carbon steel, not what they would have had back in 450BC. The leaf shape may also be linked to the type of steel they had back then.

    I think this may be why the Galdius lost its leaf shape from the Hispaniensis to the Pompeii and subsequently the Fulham.

    If the cross section of the grip was slightly more circular rather than oval (slightly thicker grip) maybe some of the dynamics would change. I don't know.

    -The sword arrived in a long box. It was wrapped in clingfilm and bubble wrap inside the box.


    -The sword is sharp



    Negatives:

    -The sword is a mild leaf blade, not like you see in the advertisements. See the picture of the sword I received. The blade cross section at its narrowest is 2.8cm. The blade at its widest is 3.5cm.



    -The guard on the handle you see pictured on ads is not the one you receive. The guard on this sword is very small. Like a mini guard. The width is 7.2cm. It is not historically accurate to a xiphos, which the one pictured in the advertisement was. I don't believe any xiphos found or illustrated on pottery has a guard this small. I'm pretty sure the ancient Greeks sized the guard to be the minimum length as the hand that is gripping the sword. The ricasso is also not like you see on the pictures of the ad, it is the same width as the entire guard.

    Could this be considered some chimera between a Naue II and the first xiphoi? Maybe around 800BC-900BC? I don't know. Perhaps someone with more accurate views can enlighten us.


    -The scabbard doesn't feature the historically accurate locket or chape. Although it is functional.

    -The handle is a little on the thin /narrow side. It is about as thick as a large kitchen knife. For a functional sword I would have expected a little thicker handle. The sword would feel great with a handle that was just a bit thicker / less oval and more circular in cross section. Though the oval shape is better in allowing the user to determine the blade direction instantly. It is smaller in the hand, but you know the blade orientation instantly. I don't have enough knowledge to make a judgement on this. My hand size lies between Medium and Large when I buy gloves.


    -The sword does not feature the historically accurate gap between the guard and the hilt plates. The gap in the guard that both hilt plates slide under at the very top.


    -It appears the seller used a spray can of oil (not grease) to spray the entire sword (inc. handle) before wrapping it in clingfilm/cellophane. The sword was dripping with oil. This is not necessarily negative as it is easy to clean and protects it from moisture. But dripping with oil is a bit much, it makes the handle slippery and unsafe and darkens the wood.



    -Communication with Everestforge is close to impossible. He simply doesn't reply.

    He usually replies when you open a case and escalate to Etsy.



    All in all I like this sword. 3.5/5.

    I will probably sell it because it doesn't really have a historically accurate sized guard like you see on the advertisement, so the hunt for a historically accurate hand made xiphos continues.


    Conclusion:

    A real xiphos should feature the "handmade", "unsellable" and messy finish we see on this sword like Tod explains in the video above. That part is perfect (for me). It adds to that "actual 450BC sword" feel.

    The problem with this particular xiphos is that the construction itself is not (quite) accurate to a real xiphos. A real xiphos was not a crudely constructed weapon. See the one found in the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, an absolute marvel of ivory and gold. This sword doesn't get the guard size and construction quite right.

    This one is a little on the crude side in terms of build accuracy. But the crudeness of the finish I love.

    This sword is available on Etsy and Ebay for between EUR165-EUR200 depending on the sale.

    I will try to get in touch with Everestforge and see if I can help him change this design for a more historically accurate version. Because I love the "handmade", "unsellable", "actual 450BC" look of this xiphos.














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    Next to the kopis (Toledo wallhanger, 1372gr!). Bear in mind the kopis is quite large (74cm) for an accurate reconstruction. In terms of historical accuracy the kopis is a beast in terms of size. The xiphos is also of a little larger length than usual (68cm as opposed to 45-60cm).

    This picture illustrates something very well. The difference between an actual tool that is made to kill an actual skilled warrior and something that is a 21st century show off toy. The kopis and the xiphos. The kopis is bloated, oversized, shiny, fake, overweight. Obviously not an actual weapon. The xiphos is small, light, an actual killing tool as opposed to a fake show piece. That's what I love about real handmade swords. That initial sense of "is that it?", it's so small? That same feeling you get in a museum when you see these things for the first time. That is the sign of an actual killing weapon as opposed to a show off piece.

    The rocks are from the actual beach of Troy where the Achaeans are said to have landed. The horse is made by an artisan in Tevfikiye, the closest modern village to Troy (about 2 km away).
    Last edited by Emre Sahare; 09-16-2021 at 03:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Hey, congrats on a xiphos! While I certainly agree that it's hard to find good Greek swords these days, the ones from Deepeeka are pretty accurate in appearance because I made the prototypes based on artifacts. There are a *lot* more than 10 surviving xiphoi (especially if you count all the earlier Naue II examples), but finding good information on them is difficult, and preservation is usually not good enough to tell us much about fit and finish. Yes, there is a modern preference for "too good", but on the other hand I don't think "crude" is a good description. We can tell a lot about things like that from surviving bronze items from that era or before. The ancients were capable of exquisite workmanship, but don't seem to have worried much about symmetry and perfect fit. So on my own swords I don't worry about perfectly fitting pieces too much, but I *do* try to get all the modern grinder marks off! I guess I rely on my own impatience and lack of training to keep the piece from ending up "too good". That seems like a reasonable compromise.

    I'm not sure why a xiphos wouldn't be a good cutter? I don't have sword training (most hoplites didn't, either), but don't have any problem swinging my swords. Though thrusting was likely the preferred method in a tight phalanx! Certainly weight and balance would have varied, but with shorter blades, would it have mattered that much? It would be nice to see better data on the originals for cross-sections, thicknesses, and balance, but it does seem clear that the widest part of the blade was very thin, so a leaf-shaped blade wasn't necessarily "loaded" to be point-heavy.

    Agreed that the guard should be longer. Some were *very* long, but it should at least extend beyond the blade edges. There are a few depictions of what are apparently transition pieces between the Naue II style and the xiphos, some of which seem to have both styles of guard put together, while one or two are just strange and puzzling. Otherwise the size and shape look fine to me. Yeah, the scabbard should have a separate throat. Overall, for that price, I'd call it a win!

    Thanks for posting,

    Matthew

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