Fight Like a Maccabee

You and your family can pretend to be Maccabee warriors. Fight the Seleucids with homemade swords and shields.

Introduction

The Maccabees obtained most of their swords from dead or wounded Seleucid soldiers. One type of sword the Seleucids used was called a xyphos. It was easy to maneuver with one hand, and was especially effective for soldiers on horseback. The xyphos was favored by Alexander the Great. It is depicted in the famous Alexander Mosaic in Pompeii. The Alexander Mosaic is a copy of a Greek painting from the 3rd Century BCE.

The Seleucids fought with shields called hoplite shields. They were made of three layers.clxvi The center was made of wood, the outer layer was made of bronze, and the part of the shield that was held against the body was made of leather. The shields were very creatively decorated. The Maccabees were able to obtain some shields from the Seleucid soldiers as well.

Ingredients

Make Your Own Maccabee Cardboard Sword


You can make your own version of the xyphos. The blade of the xyphos was shaped like a leaf.

  • 3 sheets of cardboard 

  • Marker 

  • Hot glue gun 

  • Scissors or craft knife 

  • Copper colored tempera paint 

  • Brown tempera paint



Make Your Own Maccabee Cardboard Shield

  • 1 cardboard sheet 

  • Duct tape or clear shipping tape 

  • Hot glue gun 

  • 1 thumbtack 

  • String 

  • Marker 

  • Tempera paint

Preparation

Make Your Own Maccabee Cardboard Sword


Step 1


Measure out 18 inches (45 centimeters) length from one point to another on one cardboard sheet. This is a good length for a sword to be easily handled by a child. 



Step 2


Take the marker and copy the shape of the ancient xyphos sword, including the hilt. 



Step 3


Cut out the shape of the sword. Trace this shape onto the second and third pieces of cardboard. 



Step 4


Cut out the second and third swords. 



Step 5


Apply some hot glue to the first sword.  



Step 6


Adhere the second sword to it. Repeat this process with the third sword.



Step 7


You should have 3 layers of swords attached, sandwiched atop one another. 



Step 8


Paint your blade with the copper color. Paint your hilt brown. 




Make Your Own Maccabee Cardboard Shield


Step 1


Pin the thumbtack in the middle of the cardboard sheet. 



Step 2


Tie a piece of string to the tack. 



Step 3


Measure the string to get 10 inches (25 centimeters) from the center of the circle. This is a good size for children. 



Step 4


Tie the other end of the string to a marker. 



Step 5


Stretch out the string and draw a circle. 



Step 6


An adult should cut out the circle with a box cutter or some scissors. 



Step 7


Cut a strip of cardboard to make a shield handle, 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and 3 inches (7 centimeters) wide. 



Step 8


Paint the shield. Be as creative as you like with the designs and colors. 



Step 9


When the paint is dry, wrap duct tape around the edges of the shield. 



Step 10


Use the hot glue gun to attach the handle to the back of the shield.