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Is arsenic, or arsenic alloy (arsenic + lead), deadly and can it be used for weapons in medieval / classical era?

If a leader of assassins' guild wants a special (reusable) toxic weapon (from dagger to the size of small sword), Is it a good idea to make it from arsenic? (what about arrow heads from arsenic?)

I know that arsenic was used to make bronze, but from what I know it wasn't significantly more poisonous than other copper alloys. (the copper oxides would probably do better job at that point)

Lets say that there is a lot of pure arsenic, enough to make an entire short sword. Could people at that time make a short sword out of it? And would it be any good? Would it keep its shape?

And would adding the lead help in any way (could it make a similar reaction as copper and lead and copper and arsenic do with bronze?), or is it better to have just pure arsenic?

I know that there are several questions now, but I think they are all just clues pointing at the answer for my original question. And you don't have to answer these.

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  • $\begingroup$ You need a melee weapon, or assassination weapon? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Dec 7 '17 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander dagger, small sword, detachable spearhead, small axe. Anything that is not too big and/or that doesn't shout "look I kill people". $\endgroup$ – Nuloen The Seeker Dec 7 '17 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ I mean the purpose of the weapon. For a melee weapon, you want your opponent dead or incapacitated immediately. For assassination weapon, your first wound can be tiny, but you want your target eventually be dead from it. Either way, I would agree with Vashu's answer. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Dec 7 '17 at 23:50
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  1. Arsenic is brittle. A pure arsenic tool would just break.

  2. If you stick a weapon in someone then pull it out, the only arsenic in the person would be what rubbed off while the weapon was in them. I suppose if it broke off inside them like some Morgul blade it would leach off arsenic, sort of like Andrew Jackson supposedly had chronic lead poisoning from the bullets in him. It did not slow him down much.

Arsenic poisoning is by ingestion or possibly inhalation or topical absorption. Even then it is very slow and not reliably lethal. The assassination attempt might even backfire - the Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini was famously poisoned (with either mercury or arsenic) which made him sick as a dog. On recovering he had been cured of syphilis.

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Arsenic bronze is not poisonous. It is arsenic fumes that are produced during bronze melting that are poisonous. I sometimes wonder what early invention of respirator (that would make arsenic bronze safe to process) would do to Late Bronze Age collapse - is could be caused by problems with mining and transporting tin.

Arsenic by itself has poor mechanical properties and it works slow as a poison. If you want poisonous weapon then your ordinary metal with ordinary poison on it is orders of magnitude better and more useful than anything from arsenic.

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