3000-year-old bronze sword discovered in China
An 11-year-old boy was washing his hands in the Laozhoulin River in Gaoyou County, China, when he felt something hard and metallic. He pulled out the object and found that it was a rusty sword, now identified as a 3,000-year-old ancient sword made from bronze. According to the news release in IBN Live , the relics bureau and municipal museum of Gaoyou City have sent a reward to the boy and his father in honour of their deeds of protecting and donating the cultural relic.
After fishing the sword out from the river, 11-year-old Yang Junxi took the relic home to his father, Yang Jinhai. As news spread around their town, locals began flocking to Yang’s home, with some offering high prices to purchase the artifact. However, Jinhai felt it was best to preserve the sword for its cultural value and sent it to the Gaoyou Cultural Relics Bureau.
The bureau organized a team of local cultural relics experts to identify the sword. Initial identifications found that the 26cm-long bronze sword could be dated back to around the time of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, more than 3,000 years ago, which is among the oldest swords ever recovered – the first bronze swords are believed to have first been developed in China around 3,200 years ago.
A bronze Shang dynasty sword. Credit: Huhan Provincial Museum *Note: Photo of sword this article refers to has not yet been released.
Sword production in China is believed to have started during the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty, from around 1200 BC. The technology for bronze swords reached its highpoint during the Warring States period and Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC). During this period, some unique technologies were used, such as casting high tin edges over softer, lower tin cores, or the application of diamond shaped patterns on the blade. Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze (17-21% tin), which is very hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually 10%), which bends if stressed too far. Although iron swords were made alongside bronze, it wasn't until the early Han Dynasty that iron completely replaced bronze, making China the last place where bronze was used in swords.
According to Lyu Zhiwei, head of the cultural relics office of the bureau, the newly-discovered sword, which does not contain any decorative patterns, is an example of a bronze short sword, which was often used by civil officials for decorative or status reasons. Swords of this period were typically made from bronze with high tin content for the cutting edge and bronze with low tin content for the spine, resulting in a sword with hard and durable cutting edges and a flexible spine to absorb shock. There was also extensive use of copper sulphides as anti-corrosion coatings.
The sword is the second ancient bronze artifact to have been recovered from the Laozhoulin River in recent years. The river connects to China’s Grand Canal, which is the world’s longest artificial waterway with a history of more than 2,400 years. Archaeological excavations of the river and nearby areas are planned for the future.
Featured image: A Chinese warrior with sword. Image source .
Five Year Veteran Coin
Image of Physical Five Year Coin.
As part of the August 22, 2013 update, the Five Year Veteran Coin is awarded to players who were a member of the Counter-Strike community for over 5 years. To be eligible to receive the coin the player must have a game from the Counter-Strike series. The player must have owned the game for five years, played the game at least once, and the account must be in a good standing (no ban/s).
If a player fulfills the requirements for a 5 year veteran coin but has not received a coin, the user can file a ticket with Steam Support.
Players who own the coin in-game can purchase a physical version of the coin in the Valve Store.
The Coin's Origination
It's not completely clear exactly where and why the challenge coin tradition began. However, we do know that military service and coins go back much farther than the modern age -- possibly as far back as Ancient Rome.
In Rome, if soldiers excelled in battle one day, they would receive their typical day's wages along with a separate bonus coin each. According to some accounts, these bonus coins were specially minted, featuring the marks of the legions from which they came. As a result, some soldiers apparently kept their coins as mementos, instead of spending them on wine and women.
These types of coins are still handed out today to reward people for jobs well done, particularly in the military. However, some administrators treat them much like autographs and business cards that they can store in their own collections.
Still, some soldiers use challenge coins today as identification badges proving that they served in certain units. Meanwhile, other challenge coins are distributed to the civilian population for publicity purposes or are sold as fundraising tools.
Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 207 BC)
Emperor Qin Shi Huang conquered the other "warring states" in 221 BC and in so doing unified China for the first time in its history. He proceeded to standardize the various scripts, weights and measures that were in use.
In order to standardize the monetary system, he abolished the other forms of money. This meant that the cowrie, spade money, knife money, and round coins of the other states could no longer circulate. Instead, there would be a two tier system with a "higher" form of currency ( shang bi 上币) made of gold and a "lower" form of currency ( xia bi 下币) made of bronze.
The "lower" form of currency, shown at the left, was established as a round bronze coin having a square hole in the middle and with a value of a half "tael" or half liang (两). A "liang" consisted of 24 zhu (铢) so the coin pictured here was worth half ( ban半) a "liang", or 12 zhu (铢), and is known as a ban liang ( banliang 半 两) coin.
The Qin Dynasty ban liang was a coin that was named after its weight. It was rimless in that it did not have a rim on either the outside edge of the coin or around the central square hole. It also had a flat reverse side with no inscription.
This is a fairly rare Qin Dynasty ban liang variety which was cast during the period 300-200 BC.
As you can see, the ban (半) character to the right of the square hole is similar to that of other Qin banliangs, such as the specimen illustrated above.
However, the liang (两) character to the left of the hole is upside-down (inverted).
If you rotate or "circumgyrate" the coin clockwise 180 degrees, the liang (两) character will be right-side up on the right side of the coin and the ban (半) character will then be upside-down on the left.
The Chinese refer to this as xuan du (旋读).
It is unknown why a very small number of ban liang coins were cast in this way.
This coin has a diameter of about 31.7 mm and a weight of 6 grams.
This form of currency proved to be very practical. Coins could be easily strung together and conveniently carried. The ban liang , with its round shape and square hole, established the shape of Chinese coins for the centuries to come. This tradition of Chinese coins being round with square holes, known as "Chinese cash", continued for about 2,100 years until China's imperial history finally ended at the beginning of the 20 th Century.
A very rare ban liang coin made of silver is discussed at State of Qin Silver Banliang Coin.
A more detailed discussion of ban liang coins, accompanied by many images of specimens with special characteristics, can be seen at Emergence of Chinese Charms.
Specific varieties of Qin Dynasty ban liangs can also be seen by clicking on the links below:
|Type ||Inscript||Pinyin||Years Cast|
|State of Qin ban liang ("drilled hole" variety) ||半两 ||ban liang||475 BC - 207 BC |
|Qin ban liang||半两||ban liang||221 BC - 207 BC |
|Qin ban liang with dots (stars) ||半两||ban liang||221 BC - 207 BC|
|Qin/Han transitional ban liang ||半两||ban liang||Late Qin/Early Han |
|Qin/Han transitional ban liang with reversed inscription ||两半||liang ban ||Late Qin/Early Han|
Iron and the End of the Bronze Age
While the development of iron smelting put an end to the Bronze Age, the use of copper and bronze did not stop. In fact, the Romans expanded their uses for, and extraction of, copper. The Romans' engineering ability led to new systematic extraction methods that particularly focused on gold, silver, copper, tin, and lead.
Previously local copper mines in Spain and Asia Minor began to serve Rome, and, as the empire's reach broadened, more mines were integrated into this system. At its peak, Rome was mining copper as far north as Anglesey, in modern-day Wales as far east as Mysia, in modern Turkey and as far west as the Rio Tinto in Spain and could produce up to 15,000 tons of refined copper a year.
Part of the demand for copper came from coinage, which had begun when Greco-Bactrian kings issued the first copper-containing coins around the third century BCE. An early form of cupronickel, a copper-nickel alloy, was used in the first coins, but the earliest Roman coins were made of cast bronze bricks adorned with the image of an ox.
It is believed that brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, was first developed around this time (circa the third century BCE), while its first use in widely circulated coinage was in Rome's dupondii, which were produced and circulated between 23 BCE and 200 CE.
It is not surprising that the Romans, given their extensive water systems and engineering ability, made frequent use of copper and bronze in plumbing-related fittings, including tubing, valves, and pumps. The Romans also used copper and bronze in armor, helmets, swords, and spears, as well as decorative items, including brooches, musical instruments, ornaments, and art. While the production of weapons would later shift to iron, decorative and ceremonial items continued to be made from copper, bronze, and brass.
As Chinese metallurgy led to different grades of bronze, so did Roman metallurgy develop new and varying grades of brass alloys that had varying ratios of copper and zinc for particular applications.
One legacy from the Roman era is the English word copper. The word is derived from the Latin word cyprium, which appears in early Christian-era Roman writing and was likely derived from the fact that much Roman copper originated in Cyprus.
Guides to US Coins
United States coins are grouped into the following major categories:
- U.S. half cents (1793 to 1857)
- U.S. small cents (1856 to date)
- U.S. nickels/five cents (1866 to date)
- U.S. dimes/ten cents (1796 to date)
- U.S. quarters (1796 to date)
- U.S. half dollars
- U.S. one dollar coins
- U.S. gold coins (1795 to 1933)
- U.S. classic commemorative coins (1892 to 1954)
- U.S. modern commemorative coins (1982 to present)
Bronze Knife Coin - History
Ancient Brass or Bronze
Deut 8:7-9 "For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates a land of oil olive, and honey A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."
"and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."
In the Bible bronze is the Hebrew word "nechoshet" and the Greek word "chalchos." During Bible times bronze was an alloy of copper and tin and was used to an enormous extent. Bronze is derived from the Italian "bronzo", and was introduced into the English language during the 18th century to distinguish it from brass, copper, and other metals.
At the present time the term brass is applied to an alloy of copper and zinc or of copper, zinc and tin. The word translated "brass" in the King James Version would be more correctly translated bronze, since the alloy used was copper and tin (Ex 27:4). In some Scriptures copper is meant (Deut 8:9).
In ancient Israel there was no such metal known as brass. The one Hebrew word for copper and bronze was rendered brass by the King James translators because at that time the word bronze had not yet been introduced into the English language. Brass is an alloy of copper and tin. It is a word of old English origin and cannot be found in any other language. It appears in the English Bible, referring to either pure copper or to an alloy of copper and tin.
Ancient Palestine was not in the habit of producing metals, but rather obtained them from the surrounding lands. They obtained copper from the Edomites who were located in the South, and they obtained tin from the Phoenicians, who got it from Tarshish, apparently Spain. Bronze, being an artificial alloy, was known in Egypt in at least 1600 BC. It was probably known in Europe still earlier (2000 BC).
Bronze was probably of European origin and was carried to Egypt. At a later period the Egyptians made the alloy themselves, bringing their copper from Sinai, Cyprus or northern Syria, and their tin from the Balkan regions or from Spain or the British Isles.
There has been a great interest recently among scholars as to the source of the tin which was used so frequently in the manufacturing of the ancient bronzes, mainly because tin occurs in only a few localities. The bronze articles that were manufactured in the Punic (Phoenician) cities and colonies were exported all over the world in exchange for the products of every region, to enhance the wealth of Tyre and Carthage. There have been numerous discoveries of ancient copper works throughout the ancient world. The zinc mines at Laurium, in Greece, were extensively worked in ancient times.
In Deut. 8:9 Moses describing the Promised Land said:
"it is a Land whom stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."
Also Job tells a parable saying:
"surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold with a fine it, iron is taken out of the earth and brass is molten out of the stone" (Job 28:1-2).
The Bible also records in Ezra 8:27 that when Ezra journeyed from Babylon to Jerusalem to repair the city he brought with him:
"two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold."
When the Children of Israel came into the promised land, they found the Canaanites already skilled in the making and use of bronze instruments. The ancient Israelites used copper in many different ways, Among the most common were: weapons, knives, nails, lamps, hand mirrors, locks, works of art, and sacred vessels and later stamped coins. There was a vast amount of copper used in the construction of Solomon's temple.
The Tabernacle of Moses
When the children of Israel were asked to give in the building of the Tabernacle (the temporary tent that Yahweh would dwell in) they gave from what they had received from the spoils given them by the Egyptians, and they had given so much that they were commanded to stop giving. Out of the abundance of what they gave was Bronze. A total of 6,700 lbs. of bronze was given. The main use for bronze was in the tabernacle furniture within the outer court, in the places where exceptional strength and heat resistance was important. Bronze has a melting point of 1,985 degrees. Since the altar was a place where intense heat was present it was overlaid with bronze.
Ex 27:1-2 You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide--the altar shall be square--and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze. NKJV
"Bronze," naturally, is used in Scripture as the symbol of what is firm, stubborn, strong and enduring, thus we see "gates of bronze" (Ps 107:16), "hoofs of bronze" (Mic 4:13), etc. Is is mentioned in reference to people and cities.
But Bronze also represents judgement. In showing His anger over a certain city the Lord would say that the "heavens have turned bronze." When Moses raised the bronze serpent it spoke of the power of the serpent being judged through the raising of the Son of God:
Num 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
Bronze typifies the divine character of Christ who took upon Himself the fire of God's wrath, holiness and justice by becoming a sin offering.
2 Cor 5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
Matt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
Today in metallurgy, bronze is an alloy of copper, tin, zinc, phosphorus, and sometimes small amounts of other elements. Bronzes are harder than brasses. Most are produced by melting the copper and adding the desired amounts of tin, zinc, and other substances.
In modern metallurgy brass is an alloy having copper (55%-90%) and zinc (10%-45%) as its essential components. The properties of brass vary with the proportion of copper and zinc and with the addition of small amounts of other elements, such as aluminum, lead, tin, or nickel.
The Designs 1928-1969
Note: The harp side of a modern Irish coin is the obverse. The animals appear on the reverse.
This is in-line with common numismatic terminology where the side with the monarch or symbol of the state is termed the obverse. For some reason the Irish coins are frequently described with an incorrect attribution of sides.
The reverse design of each coin has its denomination in Irish script as well as in numbers and also features the initials PM (Percy Metcalf) within the field.
The common obverse (1928 to 1937)
The design chosen for the common obverse was of a 16 string Irish harp modelled on the 'Brian Boru' harp in Trinity College Dublin. The legend Saorstat Eireann (Irish Free State, in Irish) surrounds, and the date is divided either side of the harp.
The obverse design caused some metal flow problems particularly associated with the penny and halfcrown reverses. This is why many 'Saorstat' pennies and halfcrowns in otherwise uncirculated condition show weakness at the top of the sound box on the right of the harp and occasionally in the halfcrown at the handle on the left of the harp.
The common obverse (1938 to date)
The change of the official name of the country from the Irish Free State to The Republic of Ireland in 1938 required a change in the legend on the obverse of the coin.
At the same time the harp was modified to impact the reverse design less and the legend was modified to Eire (Ireland in Irish) and the date was moved to one side of the harp.
The new design was introduced in 1939 but two pennies and one halfcrown are known dated 1938 which use the newer design. These coins are trial strikings in proof quality but without frosted fields.
The Denominations 1928 - 1969
The farthing (quarter of a penny)
The animal chosen for the farthing is a woodcock in flight. Despite its diminutive size the woodcock was both an important game bird and an occasional addition to the table of the poorest agricultural labourer.
The farthing was first struck in 1928 and last struck for circulation in 1959. There was an additional issue in 1966, some of these 1966 farthings were used in the coin sets issued for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary 1916 rising.
The animal chosen for the halfpenny is a sow with piglets. The pig was a very important animal in Irish rural life. Most families kept at least one animal which was fed on the kitchen refuse and other vegetable and animal scraps.
The halfpenny was first struck in 1928 and was last struck in 1967. It was demonetised on 31st December 1969 along with the halfcrown.
The animal chosen for the penny is a hen with chicks.
The design of the hen was altered slightly in 1938 to improve the flow characteristics of the metal under striking.
The penny was first struck in 1928 and was last struck in 1968. It was demonetised on the 18th of February 1971 along with the remaining denominations which had no counterpart in the decimal coinage.
The animal chosen for the threepence is a hare.
The threepence was first struck in 1928, it was originally struck in nickel. The metal was changed to cupro-nickel in 1942 and it was last struck in 1968. It was demonetised on the 18th of February 1971 along with the remaining denominations which had no counterpart in the decimal coinage.
The animal chosen for the sixpence is an Irish wolfhound.
The sixpence was first struck in 1928, like the threepence it was originally struck in nickel. The metal was changed to cupro-nickel in 1942 and it was last struck in 1969.
There appears to have been an initial intention to retain the sixpence in its decimal equivalent of 2½ pence which explains its final striking date being later than the other coins in the series and in fact overlapping the first decimal issues in 1969. This plan never saw fruition and the sixpence was demonetised on the 18th of February 1971 along with the remaining denominations which had no counterpart in the decimal coinage.
The shilling (twelve pence)
The animal chosen for the shilling is a bull. The cow and the breeding of cattle was (and is) very important to Irish agriculture.
The shilling was first struck in 1928. The coin was originally struck in silver (750/1000). The final silver issue was in 1942. The 1951 issue was the first in cupro nickel.
There was a minor design change to the reverse in 1959 to improve the striking characteristics of the coin.
The shilling was last struck in 1968. It was succeeded in 1969 by the decimal 5 pence which had the same size, weight and basic design. The shillings continued to circulate as 5 pence pieces until 1992 when they were demonetised along with the original 5 pence and were replaced by a smaller coin.
The florin (two shillings)
The animal chosen for the florin is a salmon. The fishing industry was (and is) very important to the Irish economy. The salmon represents both the sea fisheries and the freshwater game fishing.
The florin was first struck in 1928. The coin was originally struck in silver (750/1000). The final silver issue was in 1943. The 1951 issue was the first in cupro nickel. The decision to issue change the coin's metal content to cupro nickel was made before the 1943 coins were issued. So these coins and some of the 1942 coins were returned to the mint for melting. A small number escaped and these surviving 1943 florins are the great rarity of the modern Irish series.
The florin was last struck in 1968. It was succeeded in 1969 by the decimal 10 pence which had the same size, weight and basic design. The florins continued to circulate as 10 pence pieces until 1993 when they were demonetised along with the original 10 pence and were replaced by a smaller coin.
The halfcrown (two shillings and six pence)
The animal chosen for the halfcrown is a horse.
The design was modified in 1938 to allow for better metal flow in the striking process. (see obverse design above).
A mule (a coin with mismatched sides) occurs in 1961 when an old die from the 1928-1937 coin was used to strike a small number of halfcrowns. The is the only major variety in the series (so far!). (see - Identifying a 1961 Mule halfcrown )
The halfcrown was first struck in 1928. The coin was originally struck in silver (750/1000). The final silver issue was in 1943. The 1951 issue was the first in cupro nickel. The decision to issue change the coin's metal content to cupro nickel was made before the 1943 coins were issued. So these coins and some of the 1942 coins were returned to the mint for melting. A number escaped and these surviving 1943 halfcrowns are scarce. (illustrated - 1943 Halfcrown )
The halfcrown was last struck in 1967. It was demonetised on 31st December 1969 along with the halfpenny.
The Ten Shilling Piece
In 1966, in an initial attempt at decimalisation, a ten shilling piece was introduced. Its design commemorates the Easter rising of 1916. Despite its patriotic design the coin was not popular and of the 2 million produced about 1 1/4 million were subsequently melted.
The Heroes of Olympus
The Mark of Athena
Annabeth leaves the knife on the Argo II, while she goes to New Rome. When they leave New Rome and set off to Charleston Harbor, Annabeth goes to the Battery with Piper McLean and Hazel Levesque, where they meet Aphrodite. When Octavian and the Romans attack, she tosses it into the water, to send out a signal to Percy so that he could help them. Octavian then complains, "That could've been evidence. Or spoils of war!". She also uses it to shatter the sacred cavern of Mithras and later it is dropped into Tartarus along with Daedalus' Laptop.
The House of Hades
Having lost her knife, Annabeth frequently feels sad. She nearly faints when she realizes how long she has had it for. She eventually gets it replaced with a Drakon Bone Sword.