In the time around 7th century AD, the use of swords and shields was common in the middle east.

They should've required iron for that.

They didn't know much about smelting. So, how did they get the iron?

If there's any problem in my question please inform me. Thanks!

  • 2
    You might find this map interesting. – Denis de Bernardy May 16 '18 at 9:44
  • 7th century BCE or CE? Either way iron weapons and armour became common after 1200BCE, probably triggered by the late bronze age collapse 1300BCE making bronze essentially unavailable. Smelting knowledge to work iron spread quickly after 1200BCE. – PhillS May 16 '18 at 9:49
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    They didn't know much about smelting Why do you say this? Iron smelting may have been first discovered in the Middle East, thousands of years before the 7th century. – Semaphore May 16 '18 at 10:35
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    Trade with Britain is documented in the bronze age. Why would they have difficulty obtaining iron through trade? – MCW May 16 '18 at 12:48
  • Shields were mostly made of wood, with some metal parts like nails, rims, fasteners, etc. movies may put in sound effects of metal swords clanging on metal shields, but that doesn't make it correct. – MAGolding May 16 '18 at 21:03

Turns out the answer to your question touches on the rise and fall of the Hittites, and the rise of the Phoenicians (and later Carthaginians).

Metals were a large part of the return cargo on the Phoenicians' trade routes at that time, and Iron ores in particular seem to have been one of the main cargoes that were carried back on the Sardinian branch of the network. (The Iberian branch was more into Silver ores)

enter image description here

The only major source before that appears to have been in the Taurus mountains in central Anatolia, which helps explain why polities based there (eg: Hittites) were the first to develop widespread use of iron weapons, and were militarily dominant until the Phonecians developed that alternate source for iron.

The Hittites at their Greatest Extent (14th Century BCE) enter image description here

  • Your answer reflects exactly what I expected, but hadn't started the research yet. – Perry Webb Jul 19 at 0:11

Some steel for edged weapons would have been imported from places like India.

See Wootz steel and Damascus steel (but ignore the irrelevant and misleading modern use of the term for pattern-welded steel)

The original wootz was imported from India to Damascus, where Middle Eastern bladesmiths forged them into swords

  • The earliest known near-east documentation of wootz was from Alexander the Great's time. That doesn't mean it wasn't also getting imported 400 years earlier (the period the question is asking about), but it doesn't mean it was either. One does have to admit that Alexander's eastern adventures would have been a prime opportunity for the Greeks to have become aware of it. – T.E.D. May 17 '18 at 13:41
  • @T.E.D. the question refers to 7th century, Alexander was around a long time before that – user17382 May 18 '18 at 5:04
  • @T.E.D. You are causing me some confusion :-). Alexander was 356-323 BC/BCE. The Q asks about 7th century AD/CE. The Wikipedia article on Damascus Steel cites a book by Carla M Sinopoli for "From the 3rd century to the 17th century, steel ingots were being shipped to the Middle East from India" – RedGrittyBrick May 18 '18 at 13:04
  • Ahhh! My bad. I read that as BC (probably the because the "AD" was an edit, and question makes more sense with BC). OK. I understand this answer much better now that I'm clarified. – T.E.D. May 18 '18 at 14:03

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