A sparkling damask is born
From soft iron, hard steel.
And the sword becomes a hundredfold stronger,
And on the blade - patterned spirals.
(Alexander Simonov, "The Damned Sword")
Originally from a fairy tale
Everyone knows that fairy tales are not just interesting stories that can be taken by children, but also a storehouse of wisdom that weaves a cunning pattern with historical events and epic stories.
In fairy tales about mighty heroes and noble onesKnights often find such a term as "damask armor." The strongest and most courageous heroes performed their exploits with bullet steel weapons. What kind of metal is this? Why is he so good? Why so expensive and so valuable? And in general, damask armor - what is it? Armor, shield, visor? Or maybe this metal is a secret development of blacksmiths that have sunk into oblivion, an experiment of aliens or a gift from above?
Is there in our time and is valued asin ancient times, damask armor? The meaning of the word "damask", the origin and use of this metal are described in this article. We will reveal all the secrets of a truly fairy-tale steel, which is actually quite real.
Weapons of illustrious heroes
Damaged armor is an outdated namecold steel weapons. And not armor, as it may seem at first glance. For comparison: analogies of the word "armor" in the twin languages bron and Czech (zbrane) mean exactly weapons of steel, such as a damask blade, a sword, a knife, a dagger or a saber.
Such famous fairy-tale characters as heroesIlya Muromets and Dobrynya Nikitich, King Arthur and Svyatogor, possessed an indestructible weapon from damask steel, thanks to which they were considered invincible soldiers. The meaning of the word "damask" is simple - it is reinforced steel.
Mystery from Space
The mystery of the ancient bulat lies in the distant past,more precisely in 1421, when an iron meteorite fell to Earth near the Russian city of Yaroslavl. A huge piece of metal, falling from the sky, was considered a gift of the gods and was spent only on a unique weapon. Access to extraterrestrial metal had only a few eminent blacksmiths, and blades and knives from bulat steel were forged for selected warriors.
Swords, forged from ordinary iron, were broken andbent after the first 2-3 blows, damn well served forever. They could easily cut an iron shield or rasporot armor of the enemy. It is also surprising that, despite its incredible strength, damask blades were very elastic and bent at 90-120 degrees, without losing its integrity. Thus, the enemy's simple cold steel in battle, if not dulled, then fell to pieces like broken glass, while bulat armor remained whole and sharp. If you believe the legend, for the bullet sword they gave as much gold as the blade weighed, and he weighed a lot!
Despite the fact that the meteorite was great, and the blacksmithsextremely thrifty, stocks of a unique metal have been exhausted. The bullet armor eventually evolved into a legendary weapon from the past, thanks to which many great victories were won. Information on miraculous weapons was passed from mouth to mouth, from old men to young ones.
Since that time many years have passed, but the heroicDamascus armor, the value of which only rose over the years, did not give people peace. Patterned blades, forged from steel, were sung in epics, myths, and legends. Here are just a few examples of how in tales mentioning a bulat and armor from it:
- in the book about Vladimir Krasnoy Solnyshko, one of the heroes, sparkling with bulat-colored armor, fights against the "enemy cursed";
- in "The Tale of Tsar Saltan," written by Pushkin, merchants, in addition to gold and silver, brought damask;
- the peasant son Ivan defeated the unknown Miracle-Yudo, knocking his head off with a bullet-like sword;
- in a fairy tale about the adventures of the resourceful tramp of Aladdin, travelers are scared with poison and bulat;
- brother Ivanushka, who drank water from a puddle and turned to a kid, calls his sister Alyonushka to help with the words: "The knives are sharp, they want to kill me ...";
- Finley the hunter in the fairy tale of the same name, a good fairy warns that they want to kill him with a sharp damask sword
- in the book "Mistress of the Enchanted Forest", the main character Velimir in search of the evil witch with a sword from Bulat cuts his way in the branches and thickets;
- the great and mighty bogatyr Eruslan Lazarevich cuts off with a damask sword the head of a cunning Serpent
In addition to ancient tales and legends, in modernverse and prose often the phrase "damask armor." The meaning of the word is invaluable in the literature, respectively, thanks to the modern authors of damask still exists. Here are the contemporaries, the efforts of which preserve the knowledge of super-sharp weapons:
- Victor Prishchepenko ("And armed with zelo").
- Andrei Shabelnikov ("The sword of damask of the brave Teuton").
- Sergey Semenov ("Riding on the Gorynych").
- Ninel Koshkina ("Does Shadow Know Their Place?").
- Sergey Stepanov ("The Fury of the Normans").
Treasure from india
The first artificially created Bulat learneddo in india. Then the secret of the production of high-strength metal leaked to Iran and Central Asia. True, in those parts damask steel, whose characteristics exceeded all the most daring expectations, was called differently. In India, it was "high school", and in Asia and Iran - "farand", "taban", "Khorasan".
Persian scholar and encyclopedist Al Biruni,who lived in the Middle Ages and possessed knowledge in almost all scientific fields of the time, he wrote a treatise on Bulat. It is preserved in the ancient archives to the present day. Al Biruni wrote: "The damask armor is obtained by melting two substances that melt unevenly and do not mix up to homogeneity with each other. As a result, two-color blades are obtained, which are highly valued."
Damask armor is easily recognizable by its characteristicpatterned pattern. It is obtained as a result of the crystallization of carbon and is a peculiar sign of distinction between such products. In addition, the blades of damask steel were incredibly sharp. For example, they easily cut through a shawl thrown over the tip of the thinnest gas fabric.
Damask smiths mastery
Most damask armor produced inSyrian Damascus. Bulat round ingots were brought to Syria from India, and Damascus blacksmiths had already forged a magnificent, fabulous weapon. Daggers, sabers and blades cost more than gold and were a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
The price of Indian damask grew in geometricprogression. And Syrian craftsmen by composing different types of steel and multiple forging created welded damask steel, which to this day is called Damascus steel and is very much appreciated.
After Syria was captured by one ofthe military leaders of Khan Togluk, Tamerlan, he took all the blacksmiths out of the conquered country and settled them in Samarkand. However, in captivity masters worked very badly. And over time, blacksmithing has withered. The descendants of the Syrian masters settled around the world, and the method of manufacturing damask and armor from it was completely forgotten.
In the footsteps of ancient merchants
There is evidence that steel, very similar to damask steel, made in Japan. Blades brought from this country had the same flexibility and durability as weapons made from space material.
With the expansion of trade routes eastern metal, andalso sabers, daggers and knives of damask steel were in Russia. Historical sources have information that Russian blacksmiths bought this material for the manufacture of very expensive weapons.
Damask armor, the value of which was extraordinaryhigh in those countries with which the East conducted trade, was very much appreciated in England. This is evidenced by the message of the Royal Academy of England, dated 1795 and preserved to our days. They describe events related to the purchase of blades of steel for research.
However, the secret of making wonderful metal was keptfor seven seals. And this is not surprising: after all, in ancient times there were no chemical laboratories or analyzes, so it was simply impossible to derive the formula for an ideal bulat. Everything was done by eye, and the approximate proportions and composition were kept in the strictest confidence. Few people knew for certain how to make damask armor correctly. The meaning of the word "damask" was nevertheless associated with the best quality of weapons and led the soldiers in awe.
Over the years, the blacksmiths of Europe tried to recreateat least Damascus steel, but failed. They had no choice but to learn how to make a false metal, the weapon from which externally looked like damask, but for the rest of the qualities it could not be compared with the true armor of myths.
In the 18-19th centuries, the production of fake damaskwas widespread in Italy, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria and France. Weapons from it, especially Germanic and Spanish, were wildly popular due to their beautiful appearance, which combines mirror polish and beautiful patterns. The quality of false bulat armor left much to be desired. Because the weapons were made from ordinary low-quality carbon steel.
Recreated from the darkness of ages
It took several centuries before in Russiacreated damask steel, which in its composition was almost a copy of the eastern samples. The reproduction of the legendary two-color metal was done personally by a mining engineer, a metallurgical scientist, and part-time a major general - Pavel Petrovich Anosov. He, a talented Russian, a patriot of his homeland, who grew up on fairy tales about heroes, was sure that damask armor is an unbreakable weapon.
It all started in 1828, when the Mining Departmentinstructed the head of the Zlatoust plant (Chelyabinsk region) Anosov to reveal the secret of heavy-duty steel and develop a bulat formula. Developments and experiences, a succession of successes and failures lasted more than 10 years. In the process of research, for the first time a scientist used a microscope for studying metals, and also replaced the gilding of blades with galvanization.
Anosov mixed iron ore and graphite, combined different types of iron, melted metals in air and in vacuum - in a word, he experimented.
At the end of 1838, Pavel Petrovich was stillmanaged to get a patterned steel - cast damask, in no way inferior in quality to the ancient oriental patterns. In 1839, metal bars and metal products went to the exhibition in St. Petersburg. And already in 1841, Anosov wrote one of his largest works - “On Bulat”, which was nominated for the Demidov Prize.
Thanks to this cleverest man, damask armor, the value of which was celebrated in ancient legends, ceased to be an unattainable dream.
What was the damask, recreatedAnosov? In terms of its chemical properties, this metal differed from steel by an increased amount of various carbon contents and was very similar in parameters to cast iron. However, unlike nekovkovogo, brittle cast iron, damask was softer and more pliable and at the same time incredibly hard and strong. To get high-quality bulat, it was necessary to strictly follow the production technology. Otherwise, improper processing can turn this strong metal into ordinary steel.
After the death of Anos, the secret of makingquality Bulat was again lost. Perhaps he was simply hidden from prying eyes, or maybe it happened as a result of negligence. However, after some time, the inventor and metallurgist Dmitry Konstantin Chernov set out to recreate the Anosov bulat.
He conducted a great many experiments, mixinglow-sulfur iron and graphite silver in different proportions. As a result, Chernov received a fine patterned metal, but found that the pattern disappears when forged. The scientist came to the conclusion that the main condition for creating damask armor is the right temperature for forging. Despite the attempts made, he did not succeed in obtaining that famous metal.
Is it molybdenum?
Relatively recently during the next excavationsA blade of Japanese damask made in the 12th century was found. Chemical analysis of weapons revealed one of the secrets of the unique qualities of this material. Scientists have discovered molybdenum in steel - a malleable transitional refractory metal that is not found in its natural form. In modern weapons industry, molybdenum has long been used as an alloying agent for various types of steel. This increases the strength and toughness of the weapon.
It is unlikely that the ancient Japanese knew about molybdenum. Most likely, the iron ore from which they manufactured the weapon contained a large amount of this chemical element.
The mystery is not solved!
To date, modern species have become significantly superior to bulat. Nevertheless, it is still one of the most advanced metals for the production of melee weapons.
If you set a goal, you can find a craftsman-blacksmith, who is able to forge a damask knife. After all, in life there is always a place for a fairy tale ...
The blade pattern is always unique,
With others, he is not similar as a person.
The sword to the warrior is both a friend and a twin ...
In him - the pain of war and peace poetry.
(Alexander Simonov, "The Damned Sword")