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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 06:30 GMT
Armouries invest in Roman sword
A roman sword at the Royal Armouries in Leeds
The sword is engraved with the name of its owner
A 2,000-year-old Roman sword has been bought to go on display in Leeds - for more than 56,000.

The "best-preserved" weapon of its type in the UK was bought by the Royal Armouries museum at auction this week.

It was discovered 30-years ago by an amateur archaeologist in Germany and restored by a collector in Switzerland before being sold.

The purchase is a "major acquisition" for both the Armouries and the UK said museum director Peter Armstrong.

The sword will be displayed beside a replica showing how it may have been carried by a Roman infantryman in the first century AD.

It is engraved with figures that could include Mars, the Roman god of war, and the name of its owner - Caius Valerius Primus.

"Even thought the Roman Empire wielded power and influence for centuries, Roman swords are surprisingly rare and seldom become available to purchase," explained Peter Armstrong.

"The quality, type and provenance of this sword make it important in the UK," he added.

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