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Famous Blacksmiths

Blacksmithing is an ancient art. And there are many blacksmiths throughout the centuries who have established the reputation of making superior swords and weapons. Often times these smiths and their weapons are closely associated with famous figures in time.

When a famous figure is granted a famous sword the blacksmith who made it is often associated with the figure or the legend.

A blacksmithing monk

 

 

Wayland the Famous Blacksmith

Wayland - He is a famous (possibly mythical) Norse and Germanic Blacksmith. He is purported to have forged many famous swords including the Sword of Roland (Durendal). In the ancient norse he was known as Volundr.

 

 

 

 

MasamuneMasamune - (1264 - 1343)

He is considered to be the best japanese blacksmith and swordsmith of all times. He is the smith that forged what is possibly the finest Japanese sword ever made: The Honjo Masamune.

He is honored by a prize given to Japanese swordsmiths called the Masamune prize.

His swords are of remarkable beauty and quality and he was a master of the art of forging with martensite crystals embedded in a pearlite matrix which gives the rememblance of stars in a dark sky.

Other notable blades he has made include the Fudo Masamune and the Hocho Masamune.

 

Tubal CainTubal-cain - He is credited in the book of Genesis as being the very first blacksmith. "forger of all instruments of bronze and iron" Genesis 4: 22 (Hebrew Bible) He was a descendent of Cain.

The picture is of a tapestry depicting Tubal-cain at his forge. Picture credit

 

 

 

 

Sculpture of Tubal-Cain

Here is a sculpture of Tubal-cain at his forge.

 

Picture Credit Sculpture by Andrea Pisano 1334-1336

 

 

 

 

Seppo Ilmarinen

Seppo Ilmarinen - A famous blacksmith in Finnish mythology.

He is most famous for forging something called the Sampo which was some kind of a magical artifact that would bring good luck to its holder. In the mythology of the story it was said to be stolen then in a battle it was smashed, destroyed and lost.

Image: Painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, depicting a scene from Kalevala , a Finnish epic poem. Smith Ilmarinen is forging the magical mill called Sampo, a centerpiece in many of Kalevala's stories.

Public Domain

 

 

VulcanVulcan - In ancient Roman Mythology he is the God of both beneficial and hindering fire, also the god of volcanoes. He is often depicted in art as carrying a blacksmiths hammer.

There is some interesting mythology behind the story of Vulcan:

The tells of how he used to play in the sea with dolphins and one day in his childhood be found the remains of a fisherman's fire on the beach. He took one of the red hot coals and shut it in a clamshell.

He took it back to his underground grotto to examine.

On the first day he stared at it endlessly. On the second day he discovered it got hotter when a bellows blew on it. And certain stones sweated under this increased heat including iron, silver and gold. On the third day he beat the cool metals into shapes like bracelets, chains, swords and shields.

Painting by Andrea Mantegna ( 1431-1506)

 

Temple of HephaestusHephaestus - A Greek God, the Son of Zeus and Hera. He was the God of technology including Blacksmithing. He served as the blacksmith of the gods and forged many of the famous and magical items for the gods including the Hermes' winged helmet and sandals, Achilles' Armor and Helios' chariot.

The picture is of the temple of Hephaestus. I took this picture while on a trip to Greece.

 

 


 

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