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Nathan Cole




Location: Philly, PA
Joined: 08 Dec 2003

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 10:47 am    Post subject: Cruciform, Cross hilt, and prayer.         Reply with quote

I have heard that dying knights or men about to go into battle might stand up their sword hilt upward as a simple cross to pray. Or at least that a sword was sees as symbolically related to Christ and loyalty to the church owing to the cross shape. Some even having relics embedded in their sword hilts. (Song of Roland) I have not been able to find any scholarly references to this idea though it shows up in stories and legends. I am under no illusion that the Victorian idealization of knighthood was an entirely accurate portrayal of a typical Christian knight. However, there were certainly very devout kings and knights who took their religion very seriously.

What do people here think? Fairy tale or history? Any documentation or articles on the subject? I teach school children about the middle ages and would love to have my facts straight.

Nathan Cole
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Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
Likes: 10 pages

Posts: 493

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe there are multiple references in Oakeshott's books to swords with pommels arranged for the enclosure of relics, usually small swatches of cloth. I think he also reproduces some art showing what appear to be knights holding swords upright like a cross during prayer. I am sure I have seen this sort of artistic display in other books, if it is not in fact present in one of the Oakeshott volumes.
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Patrick Jones




Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 1:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Cruciform, Cross hilt, and prayer.         Reply with quote

Nathan Cole wrote:
I have heard that dying knights or men about to go into battle might stand up their sword hilt upward as a simple cross to pray. <SNIP> I am under no illusion that the Victorian idealization of knighthood was an entirely accurate portrayal of a typical Christian knight. However, there were certainly very devout kings and knights who took their religion very seriously.

What do people here think? <SNIP>

Nathan Cole


Whatever the reality might have been, just remember: "There are no atheists in foxholes!" I think any man going into battle is going to hope, and therefore pray (whether he's religious or not), that he gets out alive, or, at the very least, dies in a manner that his peers approve of.

...just my 0.02 worth....

Pat
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David McElrea




Location: Canada
Joined: 26 Nov 2003

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan,

I'd be interested to hear more on this as well.

Most of the medieval illustrations I have seen portray knights as praying on one knee, on two knees, or even from horseback. The image of the knight praying before the cruciform sword is a strong one, but now that you mention it, I don't know for sure if I have seen it outside of the Pre-Raphaelite era. I'll look around.

David
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David R. Glier





Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 146

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen it three times that I can recall clearly. All were in the thrid quarter of the 15th century (my period) and were on funeral brasses -IIRC.

[edit] I take that back, I think two might have been painted stained glass windows. [/edit]
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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed 31 Mar, 2004 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Didn't the Edward III sword contain some cloth and opaque glassy substance in the pommel?
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David Sadd




Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 03 Mar 2004

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun 04 Apr, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Edward III sword         Reply with quote

The original sword of Eddy the third had a piece of someone's shroud under a piece of glass on the back side of the pomel. Don't know if that was for religeous reasons or sentamental, but it was there. No the A&A version, though georgeous, doesn't include pieces of the original shroud. You have to embed your own significant cloth under your own glass. Anyone for a shrine to your old baby blanket? lol.
-david
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