Toledo steel, known historically as unusually hard, is from Toledo, Spain, which has been a traditional sword-making, steel-working center since about 500 BC, and came to the attention of Rome when used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars. Soon, it became a standard source of weaponry for Roman legions.
Toledo steel was famed for its very high quality alloy, whereas Damascus steel, a competitor from the Middle Ages onward, was famed for a specific metal-working technique.
The Iberian peninsula had been known since pre-Roman times for the high quality of swords originating from this region, which related to their manufacture, design, and ergonomics. Models such as the Iberian Falcata (a short sword), or the Gladius Hispanensis (a Roman short sword), were used by the Carthaginian and Roman troops from the times of the Second Punic War (2nd and 3rd Centuries B.C.). In subsequent periods of time, the short sword successfully got its way as a part of the standard arms of the Roman legions, as a result of which the Gladius Hispanensis was used.