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D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 1:22 am    Post subject: Albion Armorers Next Generation Gallowglass Sword Review         Reply with quote

Whilst I really enjoy Albion swords, I feel that on this occasion they have somewhat fallen short of their goal. Their version of a Gallowglass blade is just wrong. The style being copied is similar to that famously depicted in the Albrecht Durer Print and also those visible in The National Museum of Ireland. The style is a two handed blade similar in size to ones carried by a Landsnecht. Although I accept that there have been Gallowglass' for quite some time, the idea of paying Albion prices for a scaled down version of the actual sword seems somewhat farcical. In a final note, at the end of the pommel there should be no end screw or fastening it should be flush with the pommel.


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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't believe the Albion Gallowglass sword is meant to mimic or even be inspired by one of those two-handed swords. If it was, it would be completely wrong.

It is an Oakeshott Type XIX hand and a half sword. It is not at all similar to the sword depicted in the image you posted, other than its Irish origins and ring pommel. The blade geometry, length, hilt details, etc, are all different.

I'll hope that Peter Johnsson, the sword's researcher, will add specific attributions of the swords that inspired the modern-made version, as I do not know them off the top of my head.

For what it's worth, there is no "end screw" on the Gallowglass. It is peened over the ring and rivet block.

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D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 2:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Still to deem the name Gallowglass (Gallóglaigh) should it not bear some relationship in form and therefore function to a blade carried by said Gallowglass? Or are we to expect anything these days, I mean this as such: I produce a blade and call it a hussar sword, it is however a basket hilt Backsword. the style i.e. it is a cavalry sword and it has a hand guard. So owing to small similarities I can call it what I like. A copy of a Livgarden (Royal Danish Bodyguard) sabre can be called a Viking blade? a line should be drawn. The print selected for my original post is that of a Gallowglass, there are other similar prints and examples of Gallowglass blades in the National Museum of Ireland and in various Volksmuseum across Germany. If the blade is not a Gallowglass blade how can it be called so. Or was it that he just liked the name?
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 2:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some example of Irish ring-hilted swords with the rivet block, by the way. They do, at least, show the existence of this feature in swords of the region. Also note that at least the first two are Type XIX or XXa blades. They appear to be single-handed swords, however, or at least shorter-gripped.


Overall Length 98cm, Blade Width 3.2cm, found in Tullylough Ireland


Blade Width 3.1cm, found in River Bann Tonne Ireland


Blade Width 3.6cm, found in River Bann, Portglenone Ireland

Calling a sword the Gallowglass does not limit its inspiration to that one woodcut. That would be like saying that a sword named "Landsknecht" would need to be a two-handed Zwiehander, simply because that is what is shown in one particular woodcut. In fact it could be any number of weapons ranging from a very short single-handed katzbalger with an S-guard, to an average-sized single-handed sword with a figure-8 guard, to a complex hilted sword with a full basket, to a larger hand and a half sword with a writhen pommel and a multi-fullered blade. You get the idea. That's backwards logic.

Instead of trying to compare the sword to the antiques (or artwork) of which you are aware, why not ask the maker what sources (antique swords or whatnot) were used to inspire the modern-made creation? Assumptions won't earn answers.

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D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 2:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are those OPW "excavations" images? This not a Touché I'm merely curious.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 3:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
Are those OPW "excavations" images? This not a Touché I'm merely curious.


I don't know. It's not my area of interest. According to Kirk Lee Spencer (a forum member with some interest in this subject), they are found in Irish Medieval Swords c.1170-1600 by Andrew Halpin, 1986.

I just ordered the book for myself. Happy You've definitely piqued my interest in the subject and now I want to know what sources were used to design the "Gallowglass" model.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 3:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
Still to deem the name Gallowglass (Gallóglaigh) should it not bear some relationship in form and therefore function to a blade carried by said Gallowglass? Or are we to expect anything these days, I mean this as such: I produce a blade and call it a hussar sword, it is however a basket hilt Backsword. the style i.e. it is a cavalry sword and it has a hand guard. So owing to small similarities I can call it what I like. A copy of a Livgarden (Royal Danish Bodyguard) sabre can be called a Viking blade? a line should be drawn. The print selected for my original post is that of a Gallowglass, there are other similar prints and examples of Gallowglass blades in the National Museum of Ireland and in various Volksmuseum across Germany. If the blade is not a Gallowglass blade how can it be called so. Or was it that he just liked the name?


Maybe your are taking the names that Albion gives to their sword a bit too literally ?

So do you think that " The Prince " would only be used by a prince or that " The Doge " was the only sword used by the Doge or that " The Kingmaker " only belongs in the hands of a maker of kings ?

As for the Gallowglass I think the intent is for a sword of Irish styling that might have been used by a gallowglass and I don't think Albion meant it to be a copy of a specific type used in a specific historical drawing. Also, a period gallowglass warrior might use a variety of swords and not be restricted to only one type ? In some cases if working as a mercenary a gallowglass might even have chosen or been given a sword of a more European generic style.

You just seem to be suggesting that Albion is trying to " fool " the public or don't know what they are talking about naming this sword the Gallowglass, and you seem a little put off by it. ( Could be wrong but you sound angry ? ).

Quote:
In a final note, at the end of the pommel there should be no end screw or fastening it should be flush with the pommel.


I'm not an expert on Irish swords but I don't think that the thing you are seeing in the Albion gallowglass is a " screw " at the end of the pommel but rather the peened tang over a peen block. Some Irish swords may have had a flush peened tang, I assume, I don't personally know for sure, but the Albion swords, even when generic to a type rather than a copy of a specific swords, are well researched by Peter Johnsson and I think he probably documented some Irish swords with peen blocks. A legitimate question to ask but I wouldn't assume that Peter just added a peen block just for the fun of it. Wink

( Note: I was writing my post at the same time that Nathan was replying so I guess we had some similar ideas to express)

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D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No in truth, I must concede the point, a little flustered coming off nights. No anger was intended towards Albion. I see the point being made, it is just more disappointment towards the industry. As in I love this area of Irish history, and not what I would consider a valid reproduction has been made in the market. I understand that Albion make interpretations but I feel that an accurate portrayal of a 16th Century model would do this area albeit era somewhat more justice.

But perhaps that is merely my own enjoyment or large weapons creeping into the fray.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
I understand that Albion make interpretations but I feel that an accurate portrayal of a 16th Century model would do this area albeit era somewhat more justice.

But perhaps that is merely my own enjoyment or large weapons creeping into the fray.


How would you feel about a two-handed Irish sword made on the blade they intend to use for their Maximilian sword? I can imagine this large multi-fullered blade fitted with a ring-hilt to make quite a convincing version of the one portrayed in the artwork you supplied.

Perhaps a worthy suggestion for them for a future model? Hmm... it's got my attention.

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D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That would indeed by something special! If that were to come about it would certainly open up more people to the era and doors on my Island.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 3:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
No in truth, I must concede the point, a little flustered coming off nights. No anger was intended towards Albion. I see the point being made, it is just more disappointment towards the industry. As in I love this area of Irish history, and not what I would consider a valid reproduction has been made in the market. I understand that Albion make interpretations but I feel that an accurate portrayal of a 16th Century model would do this area albeit era somewhat more justice.

But perhaps that is merely my own enjoyment or large weapons creeping into the fray.


Well, this may be a case of hoping it was the specific sword you would want and being disappointed that it wasn't when you saw it.

There are other options like having A & A or OlliN or another custom maker make one for you that would be based on the drawing: Cost and waiting times for custom projects being possible negatives.

Also, welcome to the site and I hope we didn't overreact as your questions are interesting even if they came off as a little " grumpy " . Wink Cool I also appreciate the very courteous way you reacted to our not agreeing with you " completely " as I was a little concerned that what I wrote could have been a little too blunt. Big Grin Cool

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I normally put a great deal of faith in the historical accuracy of Dürer's artwork, this case is the exception. Dürer was a keen observer of arms and armour, but in this case his caption suggests that he made the drawing based on a secondhand account of Irish mercenaries. Among other things, that would explain a sword with the dimensions of the German two-hand swords accurately depicted in Dürer's work, but with distinctively Irish features such as the ring pommel. It might be a cultural/technological mashup because the artist didn't see it himself. Or, he may have been drawing from memory in 1521 what he saw in his 1520 visit to Antwerp.

See this page for more info about he circumstances of the drawing (never-mind the arms and armour discussion):

http://books.google.com/books?id=wMK-Ba0-RG4C...#PPA301,M1



Whatever the case, I'd say default to Albion's research because they're working with documented artifacts.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Mon 04 Aug, 2008 7:48 am; edited 2 times in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

See this thread to links for lots of Irish sword threads:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ight=irish

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whatever else Dürer may have gotten wrong here, he does show a peen block/nut on the ring pommel. Take a close look here or find one of the higher resolution images available online.
-Sean

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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
I understand that Albion make interpretations but I feel that an accurate portrayal of a 16th Century model would do this area albeit era somewhat more justice.

But perhaps that is merely my own enjoyment or large weapons creeping into the fray.


How would you feel about a two-handed Irish sword made on the blade they intend to use for their Maximilian sword? I can imagine this large multi-fullered blade fitted with a ring-hilt to make quite a convincing version of the one portrayed in the artwork you supplied.

Perhaps a worthy suggestion for them for a future model? Hmm... it's got my attention.


MRL had offered a two-handed sword based on the woodcut the original poster was referring to. It was close to a two-handed Claymore in its size, with a ring pommel and S-curved guard that ended in thistle-shaped quillons. I thought it was cool-looking, but at that time Windlass seemed to be having some quality issues, so I steered clear of it.

If Albion were to make one, I would think it may be a big hit, especially for the Celtic-inclined. Heck, if they want to distribute the development cost over a couple of models, it might even make sense to do a two-handed Claymore off of the same blade...

As for myself, I'm waiting to see how the Tyrolean turns out.

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And Rhaegar died."

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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The cross on the Gallowglass is inspired by the Ballylin sword which is in the National Museum in Ireland and was documented in McCoy's booklet. However, that sword has engraved brass brazed onto the cross, which would be very difficult for anyone to re-create for a reasonable price. Unfortunately only the uppermost 6 inches or so of the Ballylin sword still remains to us but it is of similar dimensions to the Albion sword and is multi fullered with a fullered early ricasso. So I afraid I can not agree with your original thesis. The Albion is close....... As for the pommel end many of the swords discovered in Ireland and Scotland which date to the 16th century have pommel blocks so I am not sure why you think that is not historically accurate. (see Nathans post, many other examples exist). Now - what we don't know since it is lost to us is what kind of pommel was originally on the Ballylin sword. It may not have been a ring pommel sword and may have had a claymore type pommel. It is definitely an unusual sword, which as McCoy states, seems to have had influences from both Ireland and Scotland and may have belonged to a native, or may have belonged to a Scots mercenary. We will never know. ......... tr



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Nathan Keysor




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
I understand that Albion make interpretations but I feel that an accurate portrayal of a 16th Century model would do this area albeit era somewhat more justice.

But perhaps that is merely my own enjoyment or large weapons creeping into the fray.


How would you feel about a two-handed Irish sword made on the blade they intend to use for their Maximilian sword? I can imagine this large multi-fullered blade fitted with a ring-hilt to make quite a convincing version of the one portrayed in the artwork you supplied.

Perhaps a worthy suggestion for them for a future model? Hmm... it's got my attention.



I would second that. I owned a Albion Gallowglass and loved it from the crossguard up but I could never get too excited about the blade. I would love it if they did another Irish sword with a heavier blade.

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Jonathan Eells





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PostPosted: Mon 04 Aug, 2008 11:11 am    Post subject: Beg to differ...         Reply with quote

Good discussion, and I just learned a ton more about my Gallowglass. I love that sword. Now I love her more.

But, dear Sir, you are mistaken. It is, in fact, MY Island.

:P



D. Ruaidhrí Maxwell wrote:
That would indeed by something special! If that were to come about it would certainly open up more people to the era and doors on my Island.
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Aug, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you guys for all comments and questions on the Gallowglass.

The design of the Gallowglass is based on first hand research on type XIX blades from the 16th C. I have measured and documented XIX blades of these dimensions and other blades of similar, but not quite XIX type.
The design of the hilt of the Gallowglass is based on the studies made by G. A. Hayes-McCoy published in his "Sixteenth Century Irish Swords in the National Museum of Ireland". The guard is indeed made after that example of the Ballylin sword. It is in no way meant to be a copy of that sword, as only fragments remain.
I have also incorporated notes and impressions of swords from museum visits. Even if I have not had opportunity to do a hands on documentation of a sword, perspective sketches and snapshots provide valuable additional information when shaping and adjusting hilt components for a specific blade.
Working on a sword I try my best to use both the critical eye of an engineer as well as working to capture the aesthetic qualities of a sword(type).
When I develop a design for Albion, it is always based on personal hands on research of originals. In the case of the NG line I have the benefit of being able to draw conclusions from several preserved originals that I have documented to base the design on prominant and well preserved freatures, that may be lacking from a single specimen. Having handeled several swords or blades of a type provides information of another level than information on one single sword. It is possible to see what is common features in the type, rather than the quirks and specifics of a single sword. I have a method of comparing dynamic charactersistics and measurements, that goes beyond intuitive impressions. At this time am not willing to go into detail of this method over the internet, as these methods of documentations form the core and foundation of my livelyhood. All the facts are avaliable to anyone who are willing to do the legwork and invest time to travel around to museums collecting a body of data, however.

I would never base a design exclusively on a sinlge depiction in art that rely on the eye and understanding of an artist, working in a different media and a different scale. At least I need to know the specifics of the blade type depicted, as documented by myself from exisitng swords of simlilar type and/or size.
Much of (period) art was made to make a point. In this case the point Duerer wanted to make is that the Irish are a strange and exotic people with frearsome weapons and a warrior like spirit.
Existing Irish swords span the spectrum of light and nimble single hand swords up to larger hand and halfs or two handers. There is no Irish sword in existence of the size suggested by Duerer, to my knowledge. There could well have been.
As to rivet blocks, this is a fairly common feature on the Irish ring hilt. I have observed this both in published material (as the one mentioned above) but also observed on swords displayed in museums I have visited.
Sometimes it seems this rivet block was in fact an integral feature of the pommel, at other times it was shaped separately.

The blade type used for the Gallowglass is of german type. Many blades found on Irish swords seems to have been imported from germany. This was also a case in Scotland (as well as in many other regions of Europe in this and other periods). The choice of e type XIX, was made because this is a type that seems to have been favoured at the time. Details differ between all preserved swords but many share this same character and blade type. The size of the Gallowglass is also to my mind and experience fairly typical of these swords. There were larger as well as smalle examples.
Today it is popular to Imagine the really XXXL examples of the Irish and scottish swords, because that is an idea that fits our romantic notion of what the time and these peoples represented.

It might be a case that the blade used for the NG Maximilian two hander (a doble fullered type XIIIa with a blade length of 105 cm and total length of some 140 cm) can be given Irish and/or Scottish hilt components. This project is not given a priority or time table and there are many other swords that are higer in the development list.[/u]
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