Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > George Silver on the Relative Advantages of Various Weapons Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next 
Author Message
David Lohnes




Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed 03 Oct, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: George Silver on the Relative Advantages of Various Weapons         Reply with quote

Read Silver's Paradoxes of Defense today.

Found the following quite interesting:

Quote:
First I will begin with the worst weapon, an imperfect and insufficient weapon, and not worth the speaking of, but now being highly esteemed, therefore not to be unremembered. That is, the single rapier, and rapier and poniard.

The single sword has the vantage against the single rapier.

The sword and dagger has the vantage against the rapier and poniard.

The sword & target has the advantage against the sword and dagger, or the rapier and poniard.

The sword and buckler has advantage against the sword and target, the sword and dagger, or rapier and poniard.

The two handed sword has the vantage against the sword and target, the sword and buckler, the sword and dagger, or rapier and poniard.

The battle axe, the halberd, the black-bill, or such like weapons of weight . . . have advantage against the two handed sword, the sword and buckler, the sword and target, the sword and dagger, or the rapier and poniard.

The short staff or half pike, forest bill, partisan, or glaive, or such like weapons of perfect length, have the advantage against the battle axe, the halberd, the black bill, the two handed sword, the sword and target, and are too hard for two swords and daggers, or two rapier and poniards with gauntlets, and for the long staff and morris pike.

The long staff, morris pike, or javelin, or such like weapons above the perfect length, have advantage against all manner of weapons, the short staff, the Welch hook, partisan, or glaive, or such like weapons of vantage excepted, yet are too weak for two swords and daggers or two sword and bucklers, or two rapiers and poniards with gauntlets, because they are too long to thrust, strike, and turn speedily. And by reason of the large distance, one of the sword and dagger-men will get behind him.

The Welch hook or forest bill, has advantage against all manner of weapons whatsoever.

Yet understand, that in battles, and where variety of weapons are, among multitudes of men and horses, the sword and target, the two handed sword, battle axe, the black bill, and halberd, are better weapons, and more dangerous in their offense and forces, than is the sword and buckler, short staff, long staff, or forest bill. The sword and target leads upon shot, and in troops defends thrusts and blows given by battle axe, halberds, black bill, or two handed swords, far better than can the sword and buckler.

The morris pike defends the battle from both horse and man, much better than can the short staff, long staff, or forest bill. Again the battle axe, the halberd, the black bill, the two handed sword, and sword & target, among armed men and troops, by reason of their weights, shortness, and great force, do much more offend the enemy, & are then much better weapons, than is the short staff, the long staff, or the forest bill.


What do you all think?
View user's profile Send private message
Gary A. Chelette




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 29 May 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 337

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As Mr. Scott would say, "The right tool for the right job!"
And a hand grenade would have an advantage over all? This depends on who, what, when, where, and why on the use of a weaponed. In some instance, one type of weapond would work better than another like a dagger in a very narrow hallway instead of a great sword or a club. You need the swing room for the larger stuff and the same would be true in the reverse.
I would not go after a man with a bill with just a dagger in an open field!
Think also on who is using it, is he an expert in this weapond? Has he trained most of his life in the use of it?
Too many variables to say truly what is a better weapon in a given circumstance.

Are you scared, Connor?
No, Cousin Dugal. I'm not!
Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
Oh, aye. Angus pees his kilt all the time!
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
David Lohnes




Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All those things you say are true.

But you have to take Silver's comments in the spirit given. It's clear from his treatise that he's referring to open-ground combat, whether between individuals during peace time or on the field of general battle. He even clarifies that some weapons that would serve very well in personal combat (like the staff) would not be suited for the battlefied.

I think it is fair to make generalized statements about which weapons bring a relative advantage against other weapons, all other things being equal. He doesn't suggest one weapon=automatic victory over another; he simply suggests it brings an advantage.

I find Silver's judgments worth talking about because he, unlike us, speaks from years of real-life experience with all of these weapons.

Just because there might be lots of variables doesn't mean the discussion isn't worth having.

Does it?
View user's profile Send private message
Gary A. Chelette




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 29 May 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 337

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Lohnes wrote:

Just because there might be lots of variables doesn't mean the discussion isn't worth having.

Does it?


Not at all. Discussion is how we all learn. I have not read any of the Silver's commits or books, but in general, I agree with him. Battles can change on a dime, I know, been there and done that. It's that ebb and flow of battle that tends to bring out the good and the bad points of each weapon.

I have used most types of weapons and generally, I'd be most comfortable standing behind a large shield and a arming sword or a good mace. Generally.
Big Grin

Any SCA people have any thoughts?

Are you scared, Connor?
No, Cousin Dugal. I'm not!
Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
Oh, aye. Angus pees his kilt all the time!
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 841

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Lohnes wrote:
I think it is fair to make generalized statements about which weapons bring a relative advantage against other weapons, all other things being equal. He doesn't suggest one weapon=automatic victory over another; he simply suggests it brings an advantage.

I find Silver's judgments worth talking about because he, unlike us, speaks from years of real-life experience with all of these weapons.


From what I heard, he also has a somewhat biased view of the rapier and everything Italian in general Happy

You can note that he says the rapier is inferior to everything. If the situation had ever been so clear, I don't think the rapier would have been developed, and yet it was used everywhere in Europe. Even with years of real-life experience you can still be wrong, because newer ideas do not fit in your frame of reference.

I think this quote only shows what weapon has the advantage in Silver's theory of fencing. That is, given that the opponents use Silver's style and conception of the fight, the advantages he gives is probably true. I don't know Silver's works well enough to have a clearer idea.

Remember that Thibault, for example, says that the single sword wins against any weapon: two-hander, rapier and dagger, rapier and targe, even musket Happy I'm quite confident that Thibault would have many of the advantages reversed because is system is so different. And this comes from years of experience as well...

In the end, it all depend on how you want to fight. What actions you want to favour, what goals you have, how you choose to take initiative. The weapon you favour is heavily dependent on what you have internalized (is that a word?), because it is what will come naturally. That's why the weapon of choice varies among individuals. It's more in the brain than in the weapon...

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Michal Plezia
Industry Professional



Location: Poland
Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Likes: 2 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 585

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary A. Chelette wrote:


I have used most types of weapons and generally, I'd be most comfortable standing behind a large shield and a arming sword or a good mace. Generally.
Big Grin


Me too.In larger battle it is easier to survive multiple blows,arrows,bags with flour fired from trebuchets and all kinds of vegetables and cubes of straw thrown down on your head by the defenders(non lethal substitute for boiling oil and rocks)when you have a large shield... Big Grin

www.elchon.com

Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:

From what I heard, he also has a somewhat biased view of the rapier and everything Italian in general Happy


Silver hated the rapier and Italian styles thereof, and said so on many occasions. He actually challenged several rapier instructors to single combat with blunted weapons, but they didn't show up. Silver took it as a disgrace, I say the disgrace is on them, and would have posted handbills saying such in his place.... but I wasn't there.

Silver was... in a way.... later proven right. In the English civil war 'long rapiers were used for a time, and then set aside.' (Who said that?) and the cutting sword remained in use by most troops who used swords (Mostly horsemen) almost until the sword went out altogether. (with years of real-life experience you can still be wrong, because newer ideas do not fit in your frame of reference. Though there were many movements to change that at one time or another.)

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:

You can note that he says the rapier is inferior to everything. If the situation had ever been so clear, I don't think the rapier would have been developed, and yet it was used everywhere in Europe.


True, but what's more immediately disabling? A cut-off swordarm, or a poke through the chest?

As Silver himself said, (And this is my very favorite of what I've read from Silver,)
George Silver wrote:


And again, the thrust being made through the hand, arm, or leg, or in many places of the body and face, are not deadly, neither are they maims, or loss of limbs or life, neither is he much hindered for the time in his fight, as long as the blood is hot: for example:

I have known a gentleman hurt in rapier fight, in nine or ten places through the body, arms, and legs, and yet has continued in his fight, & afterward has slain the other, and come home and has been cured of all his wounds without maim, & is yet living. But the blow being strongly made, takes sometimes clean away the hand from the arm, has many times been seen(12). Again, a full blow upon the head or face with a short sharp sword, is most commonly death. A full blow upon the neck, shoulder, arm, or leg, endangers life, cuts off the veins, muscles, and sinews, perishes the bones: these wounds made by the blow, in respect of perfect healing, are the loss of limbs, or maims incurable forever.

And yet more for the blow: a full blow upon the head, face, arm, leg, or legs, is death, or the party so wounded in the mercy of him that shall so wound him. For what man shall be able long in fight to stand up, either to revenge, or defend himself, having the veins, muscles, sinews of his hand, arm, or leg clean cut asunder?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Martin Wilkinson





Joined: 05 Mar 2006

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:

Silver was... in a way.... later proven right. In the English civil war 'long rapiers were used for a time, and then set aside.' (Who said that?)


If anyone knows where that quote or idea comes from i would love to know.

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 841

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Silver hated the rapier and Italian styles thereof, and said so on many occasions. He actually challenged several rapier instructors to single combat with blunted weapons, but they didn't show up. Silver took it as a disgrace, I say the disgrace is on them, and would have posted handbills saying such in his place.... but I wasn't there.


In fairness, I'd like to see both side of the argument, i.e. the rapier masters' point of view on Silver... Does that exist? And then, what rules would have existed for the challenge? Perhaps Silver insisted on rules favouring the cut over the thrust, and then I can understand the rapierists' position.

I'm just imagining things, obviously. I wasn't there either Happy

Quote:
True, but what's more immediately disabling? A cut-off swordarm, or a poke through the chest?


I don't know, I have no first hand experience about that, and I hope to keep it that way Wink My modern mind is a bit wary of drawing definitive conclusions from specific examples of fights. I think you can find examples going both ways. I believe quite a few people died in rapier duels, and since all the duels did not lead to double kills I have to assume that a thrust can very well stop the fight.

A rapier fighter countering a cut would block or void it and generally not leave an opening for an obvious follow-up cut. If you have a poke through the chest, with the blade still inside, I don't think it's so easy to cut efficiently. Your body has a somewhat limited range of movement in that situation.

I have stumbled a while ago upon a modern account of a thrusting accident. Reading this might not be advisable to sensitive minds, though the story ends rather better than could be expected. Here:
http://www.mindspring.com/~aedan/treatise.htm
I'm not advocating to do what they were doing in any way, and I think the author of the article does not either. But since someone made a stupid mistake, we can as well observe what happened... It seems that thrusts are not as innocuous as they look like.

Also, the rapier did not appear out of the blue. There has been a gradual evolution of the fighting style and of the weapons. Whatever the reasons were, be it mechanics, theory of the combat, social context, ease of learning maybe, I think there is sufficient evidence that eventually the rapier was dominant for personal combat. War is another story... If the rapier had lost consistently against the sword, in the intended context of its use, this would not have happened.

I don't want to steer the topic specifically towards cut vs. thrust or rapier vs. sword (even if I think that's the most debatable part of the original quote), but this is just an example of how such advantages are heavily modified by the context, and by the personal convictions of the writer. And how difficult they are to prove...

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,169

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By citing Silver's views on wounds, George brings up an excellent point. Silver was absolutely correct about the relative stopping power of the thrust against the cut. It's amazing what the human body can endure. Despite what you might think, men often don't stop immediately even when stabbed in the heart or face. You can't expect a thrust to quickly end the fight.

Blows are far from a sure thing, but they're significantly more likely to incapacitate. Silver seems to have understood that cuts wouldn't always end the contest. He referred to dealing with a wounded foe more than once. As far as I know, no other master has demonstrated such a level of knowledge about human response to injury.

Quote:
In fairness, I'd like to see both side of the argument, i.e. the rapier masters' point of view on Silver... Does that exist?


It does. Swetnam dismissed Silver's opinion. He made similarly inflated claims about great odds the rapier has against the sword. There's no question Swetnam knew how to fight, but he had some bizarre views. For example, he claimed a wound in the belly was more dangerous than one in the face.

By the way, that odd modern account of rapier fighting shows how variable wounding is. There are plenty of accounts of folks fighting on after more serious wounds to the leg.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,136

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let's not get too one sided on this argument. There's plenty of historical evidence to support both cutting and thrusting, and the fact that the debate lasted well until the end of the life of the sword should show that Silver wasn't any more right than the next guy.

George Hill wrote:
Silver was... in a way.... later proven right. In the English civil war 'long rapiers were used for a time, and then set aside.' (Who said that?)


Sir John Smythe. And that's only the English, not the rest of Europe.

Quote:
True, but what's more immediately disabling? A cut-off swordarm, or a poke through the chest?


That's a hugely lopsided statement. I could say, "What's more disabling, a thrust all the way through the head, or a little nick on the shoulder?" And my statement would be just as equally misleading.

Fabris quite often explained how one would pass with a thrust to the body, then follow up with an additional passing step, striking the opponent in the chest with your hilt. That sounds like stopping power to me. Likewise, Donald McBane talked about how he'd seen many men at war survive multiple cuts and live to tell the tale, but it was the thrust that was always lethal. Perhaps McBane is exagerrating, but certainly no more than Silver.

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Blows are far from a sure thing, but they're significantly more likely to incapacitate.


Not everyone agreed on this, including modern doctors. That's why the debate has never been settled, otherwise all cavalry sabers would have been heavy cutters. From the historical record, that wasn't always the case.

I'm not saying that the thrust is better than the cut. But I do think context is always important.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David Lohnes




Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find all these replies fascinating!

I will throw in that Silver emphasizes in several places that both the thrust and the blow are essential. I believe he stresses the strengths of the blow in that excellent passage quoted above because the thrust had become so overwhelmingly and exclusively popular in some quarters.

Quote:
There is no fight perfect without both blow and thrust: neither is there any certain rule to be set down for the use of the point only. . . .

There is in my opinion in our fence schools an evil order or custom in these days used . . . That is this, at the single sword, sword and dagger, & sword and buckler, they forbid the thrust, & at the single rapier, and rapier & dagger, they forbid the blow. Either they are both together best, or the thrust altogether best, or the blow altogether best. If the thrust is best, why do we not use it at the single sword, sword & dagger, & sword & buckler? If the blow is best, why do we not use it at the single rapier, rapier & poniard? But knowing by the art of arms, that no fight is perfect without both blow and thrust, why do we not use and teach both blow and thrust? But however this we daily see, that when two met in fight, whether they have skill or none, unless such as have tied themselves to that boyish, Italian, weak, imperfect fight, they both strike and thrust, and how shall he then do, that being much taught in school, that never learned to strike, nor how to defend a strong blow? And how shall he then do, that being brought up in a fencing school, that never learned to thrust with the single sword, sword and dagger, and sword and buckler, nor how at these weapons to break a thrust?


His strongest objection to the rapier is that it's excessive length makes it impossible for the swordsman to uncross without stepping backwards with his feet. A sword of "perfect length" is as long as possible but short enough that the tip can be passed back and forth behind a dagger held at arm's length in the other arm with the tip up. I've attached a picture below that demonstrates the principle.



 Attachment: 10.31 KB
paradox_stance.gif

View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,169

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 7:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the evidence for people continuing physical activity after fatal heart injuries is unambiguous. There's almost no way to assure an instant stop with a thrust. Hit the right part of the brain, perhaps, or the spine. These things manifestly easier to accomplish with a cut. You can find end endless accounts of cuts removing limbs and heads. Thrusts simply cannot cause the same kind of damage.

In order for thrusts to be superior, you have to believe that swords are extremely unlikely to remove limbs and heads, or cut deeply into the brain. Even then, unless you discount all the records of mighty cuts, the blow at least retains superior potential. I've never read any account of a man continuing to fight after being decapitated.

At least some 19th-century sources acknowledge that powerful blows could incapacitate instantly. Matthew J. O'Rourke, for example. But he still didn't believe in delivering such blows, because he thought they left the swordsman too exposed. They tended to use swords rather differently in that age. If you hold the sword with a the saber grip and don't make full blows from above, you won't get the kind of result Silver expected.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Greg Coffman




Location: Lubbock, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 254

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two points to bring into this conversation...

Doesn't Fiore have something to say on the thrust vs. the cut? Someone more familiar with those text than I should be able to find his comments.

And considering the medicine of the day and the lack of internal sutures, a ten inch long gash across the ribs is not a lethal as a little hole through the chest three inches deep. immediately incapacitating or not, it is more lethal in the long run...which may be three seconds or three days.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,169

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, thrusts can be deadly, though that's not a sure thing. But you want to stop your opponent from killing you. Killing him in the process isn't as important.

Do any champions of the point address the fact that thrusts are rarely immediately incapacitating?
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Greg Coffman




Location: Lubbock, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 254

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think sometimes (and more than rarely) thrusts are incapacitating and sometimes not. Likewise, cuts are not always incapacitating. Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. Yes, if you cut off an arm that will pretty much do it, but so will thrusting through sombody's eye.

What we need is study or even a book (!) on the results of medieval and renaissance weapons on the human body based on period accounts.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,136

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
In order for thrusts to be superior, you have to believe that swords are extremely unlikely to remove limbs and heads, or cut deeply into the brain. Even then, unless you discount all the records of mighty cuts, the blow at least retains superior potential. I've never read any account of a man continuing to fight after being decapitated.


But there are plenty of accounts of people's sword cuts being stopped or rendered inneffective due to clothing. A thick woolen doublet can make a difference. Likewise, armour can change the name of the game.

Again, it's all about context.

I believe Bondi di Mazo (maybe it's Pallaviccini?) who has a section on using the rapier against the sciabola, by the way. He clearly believed the more thrust oriented weapon had a full advantage over the more cut oriented weapon. Is he right? I don't know. I've never been in a real sword fight. Happy

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 225

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
George Hill wrote:
Silver was... in a way.... later proven right. In the English civil war 'long rapiers were used for a time, and then set aside.' (Who said that?)


Sir John Smythe. And that's only the English, not the rest of Europe.


Actually Sir James Turner wrote it on page 171 of Pallas Armata: Essays on the Ancient Grecian, Roman and Modern Art of War, Written in the Years 1670 and 1671. Smythe wrote in 1590 and would in all likeliehood have been long dead by the time of the Civil War 50 years later. The actual quote is "In the time of the late Troubles in England long Rapiers were used for a while, and then laid aside."

The section in question is Book III, Chapter IV, Of Offensive Arms, or Weapons used by the Cavalry of several Nations. In this chapter Turner states that the cavalry of every nation in Europe use short swords (i.e. what Silver would call a short sword, shorter than a rapier or a longsword) suitable for cutting and thrusting (except the Poles and Hungarians who used sabres). The single exception was the English at the start of the Civil War when, as the quote states, rapiers were used by some members of the amateur cavalry units that were hastily raised with a hotch potch of mainly personally owned equipment. Just before making this comment Turner states in the that "the Scots and English used constantly broad Swords". The use of rapiers at the start of the Civil War was an aberration due to people using what they had and were used to using, not weapons that were issued to them.

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 225

PostPosted: Thu 04 Oct, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I believe Bondi di Mazo (maybe it's Pallaviccini?) who has a section on using the rapier against the sciabola, by the way. He clearly believed the more thrust oriented weapon had a full advantage over the more cut oriented weapon. Is he right? I don't know. I've never been in a real sword fight. Happy


I forget which author it is, but I've had interesting discussions with Tom Leoni and Greg Mele about how this section is the mirror image of Silver's sword vs rapier section. Basically Silver warns that the good rapier fencer will do what the Italian author tells you to do and the Italian author warns that the good swordsman will do what Silver tells you to do. As always, it comes down to the man behind the sword.

Silver argued that the cut was undervalued by contemporary rapier fencers and that no fight is perfect without both blow and thrust. Each attack in its place.

Cheers
Stephen

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,169

PostPosted: Fri 05 Oct, 2007 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I think sometimes (and more than rarely) thrusts are incapacitating and sometimes not.


One study of physical activity after suicide with sharp weapons looks at eight cases of men stabbing themselves in the heart. Only one of them collapsed immediately. Two others lasted about ten seconds. The rest ranged from minutes to hours before incapacitation.

If you haven't already, I strongly suggest reading both the Dubious Quick Kill (http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/bloody.php) and "Medical Reality of Historical Wounds" in SPADA 2.

Quote:
Yes, if you cut off an arm that will pretty much do it, but so will thrusting through sombody's eye.


Hard to say. Cutting off the sword arm or hand should do it, though a particularly crazed foe might try to draw his dagger and continue. He'd be a great disadvantage. A thrust to the eye might not. I just read an article about a little girl got shot right above the eye by a spear gun. The projectile went to the back of her skull. It didn't stop her. You can find many similar accounts. Some are in the Dubious Quick Kill Part 2.

Of course, rapidly withdrawing the offending instrument may cause additional damage and make the wound more likely to stop.

Quote:
I believe Bondi di Mazo (maybe it's Pallaviccini?) who has a section on using the rapier against the sciabola, by the way. He clearly believed the more thrust oriented weapon had a full advantage over the more cut oriented weapon.


Look, there's a difference between believing the thrust is easier and safer to pull off and believing it has more stopping power. If, as McBane did, you rely on the protection of your cloak and the wet napkin under your hat, maybe the thrust is more dangerous. I have read plenty of accounts of seemly severe cuts to the head failing to incapacitate. Humans are remarkably tough.

Still, the cut has superior incapacitation potential. As I said, it can do things the thrusts cannot.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > George Silver on the Relative Advantages of Various Weapons
Page 1 of 3 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2017 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum