King Richard "Lion Heart" meets Sultan Saladin
|Sir Walter Scott (1771 1832) was a popular Scottish writer. One might say he was the first internationally read novelist who catered to the (despicable, of course) common taste and thus made money. He wrote plenty of historical novels, always with valiant heroes doing heroic deeds, fair maidens in distress, and vicious villains needing to get hit hard with a good sword.|
| His partially still famous books
include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The
Lake, and The Bride of
Lammermoor. Donizetti's opera Lucia
di Lammermoor is based on Scott's novel. You should definitely go
see it if you have the opportunity. Consider: On their wedding night, Lucia
stabs the bridegroom, succumbs to insanity, and dies; but not before singing at
full throttle and in extremely high registers for a long time.
In 1825 Scott published "Tales of the Crusaders", a two volume cloak-and-dagger (plus swords) BS story with plenty of valiant knights, princes and physicians in disguise, kings, fair maidens, treacherous villains, and what not.
The first volume is "The Betrothed"; the second volume "The Talisman" contains the famous and purely fictitious encounter of King Richard the Lionheart and Sultan Saladin, where they compare their swords.
|Once more: King Richard the Lionheart and Sultan Saladin never met and thus never compared their swords. Note that pretty much all sword lore relating to the crusades is just as invented as this beauty.|
|The Talisman" attempts to
describe events at the end of the
The plot goes like this:
Scheming and partisan politics, as well as the illness of King Richard the Lionheart, are placing the Crusade in danger. The main characters are the Scottish knight Kenneth, based on the real David Earl of Huntingdon who did in fact return from the third Crusade in 1190, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, and Edith Plantagenet, a relative of Richard.
Sir Thomas de Vaux of Gilsland is one of the two knights in attendance on the King. He has the role of the naive and a bit stupid sidekick of the hero, a must in novels like this for comic relief.
|Here is the text of the part where the two main characters meet and compare their swords:|
|Note that there is a myth
inside a myth. Saladin's scimitar certainly had not been "anxiously ... welded" to produce "ten millions of meandering lines". I'm
not sure if we know what kind of blade the real Saladin wielded but Scott
describes in essence a wootz or "true damascene" blade that was made
from one kind of steel. Scott may have known some hearsay about wootz blades.
Their "secret" had no not yet been discovered (just as the
"secret" of any steel), and the scientists
of his and later
times were mightily puzzled by this.
King Richard's sword from around 1190 was most likely not pattern-welded either but made from uniform steel.
3.1.4 A Bit More About Tensile Testing
3.2.3 Fracture and Microcracks
11.5.3 Forging a Wootz Sword
Antique Texts Concerning Crucible Steel
Medieval and Modern Texts Concerning Crucible Steel
Old Sagas, Heroes and Swords
© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)