In The Archaeology of Weapons, Ewart Oakeshott traces the development of European arms in logical sequence, showing how changes were wrought by the use of new materials and the ever-shifting demands of war and fashion. This history begins nearly two hundred years before the Christian era, covering among other subjects the charioteers of the Near East, the Roman attitude to arms and the Bronze Age weapons of Europe. The core of the book, however, is the middle ages: a general survey of the institution of chivalry, an understanding of which is vital to the appreciation of all the arms of the high middle ages, is followed by a classification covering all sword types from about 1050 to 1500. Oakeshott draws on a variety of sources, from the archaeological evidence provided by existing weapons to the clues to be found in literature as diverse as the Old Testament, the works of Homer, Norse sagas and medieval romances. The symbolic importance of the sword is treated as an essential part of this lucid study and adds much to its archaeological interest.