- Apr 2017
There were some stories about Celts having to straighten out their swords after becoming bent in battle, indicating their iron swords were soft. Some think tales like this may have been essentially propoganda by Roman writers, since tne Celts also had the reputation for making good swords too.
But perhaps the conflict between tne two stories abiut the quality of Celtic swords was a matter of time - perhaps the quality of Celtic swords improved over time, starting off with soft wrougnt iron swords, and later learning to add carbon and heat treat and cool them to make good steel swords. The Celts were accomplished iron workers, and no reason to assume their technology remained stagnant.
Or it could be that the Celts tnat Polybius talked about just got a bad batch of swords. Analysis of medieval swords reveal a great range in quality, some were essentially wrought iron, and others like the Uthbrecht swords, as hard as a katana. Even Roman iron swords exhibit a wide range of properties. It isn't until the later middle ages you start seeing swords witn mostly consistent metal properties
Swords bending after battle was not uncommon even if the steel was good. This is mostly due to design rather than the quality of the steel. Roman gladius because it is a short stabbing weapon is unlikely to bend. Celtic swords will bend after prolong battle