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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Albion Doge         Reply with quote

I Received my Albion Doge late last week and finally had a chance to do some serious handling of it this weekend.

While i am still getting used to its handling characteristics, I have to say so far I am really pleased with it. It handles very differently than any of my other Albions, which is to be expected, because it is a later period sword than my others. It is a cut and thrust sword, but from my interpretation of its handling it is leaning towards 'thrust'. The blade is long relative to its width, which makes cutting with it take more precision than another more dedicated cutter might. Also, making use of the finger ring, along with the more forward balance point allows for a very precise and "solid" feeling tip placement (I can't think of a better adjective to use here...but once your tip is in position it feels very easy to keep it in place, with no jitter...it feels perfect for thrusting opposition attacks/counters).

For the life of me, though, i can't think of any way to make use of the lug on the short edge of the blade! Any specific ideas (most probably it is used to catch/control the opponent's blade, but i can't think of any guards/wards/parries/oppositions where one is likely to catch the opponent's blade with the short edge of one's blade...). Is something like this illustrated in any period manuals?

Thanks for your ideas
Dustin
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm, I have had mine since January and I like it a lot. To me, this is a military broadsword more so than a fencing sword, a sword to use with a buckler and I:33 or Silver rather than than Fabris. Mine has a balance almost 5.75 down the blade and it is not a quick recovering sword thats for sure. I do agree that the finger over the guard can help with point control but you can do that with any sword, this just happens to have the guard for the finger (as do the Condottierre and the Machiavelli). As for the top edge you can parry with the top edge in outside hanging guard, also inside lying guard, and mountanata. It might also help with various disarms and for controlling an opponents buckler. yes a great sword from Albion! tr
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 3:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Albion Doge         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:

For the life of me, though, i can't think of any way to make use of the lug on the short edge of the blade! Any specific ideas (most probably it is used to catch/control the opponent's blade, but i can't think of any guards/wards/parries/oppositions where one is likely to catch the opponent's blade with the short edge of one's blade...). Is something like this illustrated in any period manuals?

Thanks for your ideas
Dustin


Maybe the spur could deflect a blade before it would hit the top " branch " ( quillon in French ) making this slightly more complex than a cross hilt sword more protective than it would seem and function like a more complex and later period rapier ?

The Doge seems to me to be sort of a proto-rapier type of sword with some extra protection to the hand even if not fully developed.

Well, the spur might give a little extra control of an opponents blade with the strong on his weak ? But just guessing.
Maybe there was a " secret " trick we don't know about ?

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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure it's just decorative.
Eric Myers
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Myers wrote:
I'm pretty sure it's just decorative.


Decorative only ? Probably/possibly but maybe it's just because nothing about it's use has come down to us ?

Now just using my imagination and something that might just be " Bad Hollywood " swordsmanship here is a low probability suggestion:

Lets say one was doing a parry using the Doge and a dagger crossed so as to block between them, the spur might be helpful in locking the dagger blade in place. This might be just as effective ( or not ) using the guard of the Doge but being able to block a few inches away from the guard might give the hands better protection or give better leverage and a stronger contact between sword and dagger harder to crash through the parry.

This kind of hard block might be used against a heavy blow from a polearm if one was forced to do so instead of deflecting to the side ( which is better ) or just moving out of the way i.e. not a first choice but a technique used when better ones can't for some reason.

Anyway, no need to take this seriously as THE reason for the spur but just as an example of what I can think of. Wink There might be something else it's for. Question

Eric: I'm also assuming that you know more about Renaissance fencing than I do, so if you can't imagine a use for it you may be right about that. Cool

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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 7:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jean,

To my knowledge, we don't have any other information about using such small features on swords that has been passed down to us, and a whole lot of information that can be applied to many types of swords. I for one would not want to plan my bodily defense on a 1/2" tiny spur like that Happy Also, stopping an adversary's blade that far out would give you less leverage than using the guard.

I think it's decorative, but whether it is meant to balance out the "spikyness"of the guard and pommel, or perhaps represents something, I couldn't say.

Eric Myers
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wonder if it has something to do with shield use, such as hooking over the edge of a shield or some such? I don't see why one would go to such trouble to add a feature like this if it serves no purpose.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 9:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am fairly certain it is not purely decorative. For starters it really complicates the scabbard. Also the spurs that I have seen (3 historical examples) all were located down the sword blade at the end of the "ricasso/foible" area, that is, as far down the blade as possible before the tapers of the sword are such that the blade thickness would be too thin to make for a strong spur. In this Albion reproduction, the spur is quite substantial, you would have a hard time breaking it off or cracking it and yet.... it is not so large as to affect the balance of the sword. It might also come in handy parrying a spear or pike. TR
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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:
I wonder if it has something to do with shield use, such as hooking over the edge of a shield or some such? I don't see why one would go to such trouble to add a feature like this if it serves no purpose.


Ever seen the Sistine Chapel? Happy Exaggeration aside, there are so many examples of historical arms and armor having decorative but otherwise useless elements, that I don't even know where to start listing them. I'm willing to be proven wrong, if there is some decent evidence of function, but I haven't seen it yet, and there is a lot of material out there....

Perhaps Peter Johnsson will chime in here about that spur.

Eric Myers
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The way the spur is made, I do suspect that somebody at one point probably had a reason for thinking it was a good idea. Whatever that reason, I also think its more important to look at the fact that this type of blade is an outlier, not the norm. So whatever purpose the maker had in mind, it still wouldn't change much in terms of the martial dynamics of fighting, and clearly most warriors felt they were just fine without the feature, otherwise we'd see far more of this type of blade.

While I can kind of imagine certain techniques where I could use such a spur, they'd be pretty exceptional scenarios, and they'd be scenarios where the spur would only make a *very* minor difference.

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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There has been some discussion about the lug on the Doge before and I have elaborated on my ideas about this special feature in that context. You might do a search to see what I said at that time.

I am of the opinion the lug is a parrying device.
If you look at manuals showing messer fighting you see parries/deflections made with the back edge.

Other Italian swords from this period (last half or last quarter of 15th C) have guards with projections along the back edge, that also seem to be intended to catch or lock an incoming blade in a sliding parry.
To me this seems to indicate a fighting style where a back edge parry/(deflection was thought effective at the time.

I would be very careful to declare an element as decorative, unless it has clearly decorative features.
Projections impose something on the blade, in a rather dominating way, having complications on the making of a scabbard and the planning and execution of forging and finishing.
It is not an unassuming element. It is a significant design element without any real decorative effects. Look at other decorations from this period. Either very elaborate and flowery or geometric planes and cut-aways defining existing shapes. The lug is not in style with decorative art or decorative concepts of this period. It must serve a purpose. Perhaps not effectively, but I feel pretty certain it was devised to fulfill a role.

I am curious to hear what modern swordsmen can find out in practice about this device.
I would start looking at manuals showing messer type fighting styles.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
I am of the opinion the lug is a parrying device.
If you look at manuals showing messer fighting you see parries/deflections made with the back edge.


In general, I agree that the lug likely was intended to have a purpose. Most false edge deflections and parries, however, are not on the forte, which is too slow for beats. Perhaps its to insure that a poorly done beat from below doesn't slide too far down, I don't know.

Quote:
Other Italian swords from this period (last half or last quarter of 15th C) have guards with projections along the back edge, that also seem to be intended to catch or lock an incoming blade in a sliding parry.
To me this seems to indicate a fighting style where a back edge parry/(deflection was thought effective at the time.


Certainly the Bolognese systems of the late 15th and 16th centuries use a number of false edge parries. That area of swordsmanship isn't my strongest point, but I've yet to see anything where the lug would make much of a difference. That doesn't mean something isn't out there, just that I haven't seen it.

Quote:
I would start looking at manuals showing messer type fighting styles.


While that could work, I don't think the messer would be the best starting point. I think the Bolognese material would probably be much more in line, or one of the parallel schools of the early Renaissance. I say this because wrapping the finger around the ricasso can really change the dynamics of certain techniques. Even though the styles are not completely alien to each other, that one tiny detail can affect quite a bit in terms of how you do certain manuevers.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:

Other Italian swords from this period (last half or last quarter of 15th C) have guards with projections along the back edge, that also seem to be intended to catch or lock an incoming blade in a sliding parry.
To me this seems to indicate a fighting style where a back edge parry/(deflection was thought effective at the time.


I am curious to hear what modern swordsmen can find out in practice about this device.
I would start looking at manuals showing messer type fighting styles.


Well I posted this Topic http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=13399 with a video of messer fighting and I could imagine where the lug/spur could be of some use and serve as a stop for winding or deflecting. One could argue , again, as was suggested before, that the guard could do the same thing and be more into the strong of the blade but this also puts the hand closer to the opponents edges should something go wrong: The Doge guard is more complex and more protective than a simple cross guard but not as protective as a fully developed rapier guard and the spur an idea that might have had some utility but wasn't such a perfect solution to become universal in later hilt evolution or simply other solutions did a better job.

At the same time the ordinary crossguard can be considered " enough " protection for the hand as the need for more complex guards didn't seem to be considered essential for a long time ? Use of gauntlets when in armour or the buckler or shield being used to protect the sword hand. When the sword " alone " or with a " dagger/main gauche " became common extra protection for the swordhand seems to have started around the middle of the 15th century I think and become fully developed mid 16th century.

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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I stand by my earlier comment - this is not a "proto-rapier" imho. It is a high medieval, early rennaissance, military broadsword when full plate armour was still the norm. Not to be critical - just coloring out of the lines a little - but most of these comments seem to assume that this sword was intended for someone fighting on foot, and I think that may be an erroneous assumption. This could be a very effective sword from horseback, and the lug/spur may be effective for parries - which we do not quite understand - from horseback. Having the Doge in hand, I personally would not want to fight on foot with this sword without a buckler in my left hand -its too slow on the recovery compared to a rapier or reitschwert of 16th c. That is, if I was un-armoured and if Bill Grandy came at me with the A&A Saxon Military sword in hand and all I had was the Doge, he would skewer me five times over before I could land a good blow. Wink TR
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B. W. Butler





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jun, 2008 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just took a closer look at the spur in the photos on Albion's site and had a thought: could the spur have been used to provide a better grip on the blade with a gauntleted hand? I'm sure actual practitioners could tell me whether or not this was feasible, but it seems that in a grappling situation the spur would make it easier to drive the point down with one hand on the hilt and the other on the blade.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jun, 2008 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the whole halfswording idea is a valid one - and fits with Ockham's razor in way - simplest explanation - but the bottom edge, opposite of the spur is sharp almost all the way to the finger guard on this sword. Now, that particular part of the bottom edge at the forte doesn't necessarily need to be as sharp as it came from the Albion shop - and since this is a sword for armoured combat and the type XIX is rather stiff for the thrust, I think the spur being a support of the free hand in a two handed thrust is certainly one of the more plausible ideas as to why the spur exists and why it is placed where it is on the blade. Still, the shape of the spur just looks as if it was intended for some type of parry........ I also think as per the earlier comments that the pommel also looks designed for pommel strikes as well. this is simply a really great sword Peter thanks for re-producing it! tr

Last edited by Thom R. on Thu 12 Jun, 2008 11:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jun, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking at Italian artwork from the late 15th C, showing military scenes, you see that heavily armoured mix with lightly armed troops. Men with a skull cap, brigandine or breast plate and greaves fight with sword and buckler, heavily armoured men fight with heavier arms, like pole axes.

There is an italian word for these swords: "spada di fanti", meaning infantry sword.
I am of the impression swords like the NG "Doge" & "Machiavelli" are typical infantry weapons of this period. You need weapons that straddle the light and agile while still being substantial enough to survive the occasional hit on armour.
Looking at original you will see some that are longer and slimmer and some that are lighter and shorter. The XIX used for the Doge and Machiavelli is a fairly mid range blade, possibly slightly on the sturdier side of the line.
To note: the blade for the Doge, with lug and typical fullered ricasso area might be outside the typology for true a XIX. It is an unusual and specific blade type that is at best a cousin of the XIX family.
Some blades with an edge and a half, so to say, are labeled Mezze Spade (=half swords) but not to be confused with the term "half swording". To call the Doge a Mezze Spada might be a more precise or correct name.

It is of course possible that mounted men could have used swords like this, but from artwork it seems that longer or stiffer swords were favored by them.

The lug is situated too far back on the blade to be of any real use in half swording, I think. The Doge is not so long and stiff that it is a weapon to be effectively used in half swording techniques. The charged thrusts in half swording would easily result in the blade flexing, rather than a powerful penetration.

I am of the impression that swords like this were often used by rather lightly armed men (skull cap, brigandine, greaves) together with a round shield or buckler. Skirmishers. A military situation prmarily, but the sword could possibly cross over to be of use in of duty brawling as well.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jun, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most of the Spada de Fante that I have seen documented for that late 15th c have been under 100 cm in total length, and falchions in the 75-90 cm total length area also seem to have been a common infantry weapon in northern Italy at that time from what I can tell. One of the reasons this sword is so interesting is that at 103 cm it falls right in-between that typical Spada de Fante and the longer Spada Da Cavallo. At 34 inches in blade length it certainly is large enough to be wielded from horseback and yet would be perfect for sword and buckler work. As far as the thrust, don't sell your sword short Peter, although not as stiff as the Type XVIII which would have been contemporaneous with this sword, the Doge is certainly stiff enough to be capable in the thrust for the types of armour you listed ........ when I first received this sword from Albion, Justin King and I traded a few emails back and forth and I told him at that time that I wasn't so sure about this sword. No particular issue with it - just that feeling of hmmm, I dunno about this one. But now that I have handled it for 5+ months I have come to really like this sword........ and I have often found that swords that take a little bit of time and handling to really connect with are usually the best swords as in some subtle ways those are the swords that push me out of my comfort zone just a little and help to grow my swordsmanship skills, if that makes any sense. tr
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Randall Pleasant




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jun, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am just guessing here so if it sounds silly just have a good hearted laught. WTF?! Big Grin

One possible use of the lug could be to add extra protection for the index finger when it is placed within the finger ring. If another blade slides down the True Edge (the edge with the finger ring) at a low angle it hits the finger ring without cutting the finger. However, if the other blade slides down the False Edge at a low angle then it could miss the finger ring and cut the finger. I would ask that Dustin and/or Thom perform a test of this by slowly sliding a blunt blade down the blade of their Doge to see if catches on the lug before it hits the finger. Of course, even if the test is successful it will not actually prove that was the actual function of the lug.

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