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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 6:44 am    Post subject: Type XVII Swords         Reply with quote

Regarding the Type XVII sword, In The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, Oakeshott states that "They are much heavier than the earlier types; an ordinary XVII may weight as much as 5.5 lbs."

Does anyone know of any particular antiques that weigh that much?
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Type XVII Swords         Reply with quote

Michael S. Rivet wrote:
Regarding the Type XVII sword, In The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, Oakeshott states that "They are much heavier than the earlier types; an ordinary XVII may weight as much as 5.5 lbs."

Does anyone know of any particular antiques that weigh that much?


Here's what I wrote in our Type XVII spotlight:

Quote:
Oakeshott mentions that the weight of some of these swords can be as much as five and a half pounds. One example from his own collection weighed nearly four pounds and had a balance point nearly halfway down the blade. Other examples, of course, weighed what would be expected for swords of the day. An example from the Fitzwilliam Museum even weighs in at around two pounds.


So, there's a range as with any type and I suspect Oakeshott may have revised that statement if he'd done a new version of SAC.

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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quite probably he would.

However, I don't think he would have put that in the original edition if he wasn't at least aware of some examples close to that weight. Peter Johnsson indicated that he'd seen some, but couldn't give specifics. I was wondering if we could pinpoint one or two, even if they are extreme for the type.

Is anyone familiar with museum examples that might qualify?
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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael S. Rivet wrote:
Quite probably he would.

However, I don't think he would have put that in the original edition if he wasn't at least aware of some examples close to that weight. Peter Johnsson indicated that he'd seen some, but couldn't give specifics. I was wondering if we could pinpoint one or two, even if they are extreme for the type.

Is anyone familiar with museum examples that might qualify?


There's a post I'm looking for by Nathan Robinson, where he posted a picture of what turned out to be a type XVII sword, and then asked us to guess at the specifics. I remember that particular example weighed a little over 4 lbs.

Maybe someone can remember what I'm talking about? This was a couple of years back...

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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a good example of the lighter swords of type XVII in Wallace collection that weighs 932 grams. A nice single hand sword, but still fulfilling the chriteria for a type XVII.
Type XVII is a fairly common type to survive. Many are about single hand size with long grip. There are several surviving ones even lighter, like the one from Wallace collection but also in the Historical museum of Stockholm one in Castello Vecchio in Verona, one in Visby plus numerous others I cannot place just from memory. I would have to go back and check notes and dig through the books.
Really big XVII are not unusual, but to me it seems the medium and small examples dominate.
To me it seems that type XVII is special in that you will see swords spanning the whole scale from light single hand swords to heavier war swords sharing the same style and features.
There is one big XVII in Göteborg. I have not taken the weight of that one, but I would not be surpriced if it weighs around 2.2-2.5 kilos.
In Stockholm at the Historical museum, there is in storage one two hander of type XVII that would be in the same weight class even if it may be slightly longer in the blade than the Göteborg one. Both these swords have blades around one meter in length.
Type XVII swords need not be very long to be quite heavy. Some have really stout cross sections, so that a sword with a blade length of 80-90 cm still may weigh more than 2 kilo.

Perhaps this is why Oakeshott says that the type XVII stands out being heavier than previous types: their tendency to have stout cross sections and massive heft Not all are like these: some are very nimble and the type spreads widely across this spectrum from heavy and massive to nimble and quick. Ot6her types also come with a great variation in weight and size. You find pretty large and heavy XIIa and XIIIa. You do find type XVa in two handed size that come close to 2.5 kilo in weight.
Perhaps Oakeshott felt that those swords that most closely met his ideal of the typical XVII were the larger of the specimen?
It seems odd to me.

Using the definitions Oakeshott himself set down to determine the type of swords, you will find that Oakeshott is very much spot on when it comes to providing general background and feel, but often unreliable in specific details. This is especially true when he writes out measurements. Sometimes you see that earlier texts are not fully worked through and include ideas that he later abandoned. Later works can sometimes lack some details and it is hard to say wether this is intentional or a negligence.
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My goal here is, somewhere down the line, to have a XVII reproduced. I'd prefer to reproduce one with significant weight, mainly to make it more distinct from the rest of the war swords in my collection. To do that, though, I need at least basic data on some specific examples: dimensions, weight, point of balance, pictures.

Peter, do you happen to remember anything more about those two examples you mentioned (Goteborg, Stockholm) such that I might be able to query the museums about them?
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremiah Swanger wrote:
There's a post I'm looking for by Nathan Robinson, where he posted a picture of what turned out to be a type XVII sword, and then asked us to guess at the specifics. I remember that particular example weighed a little over 4 lbs.

I don't remember posting a sword and then asking anyone to guess its specifics. If you find the topic, let me know. Sounds interesting. I did post about a Type XVII in this Spotilght Topic and it got people talking. Despite the chatter, I've no idea what that sword weighs in that topic. Is that what you're thinking?

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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael S. Rivet wrote:
My goal here is, somewhere down the line, to have a XVII reproduced. I'd prefer to reproduce one with significant weight, mainly to make it more distinct from the rest of the war swords in my collection. To do that, though, I need at least basic data on some specific examples: dimensions, weight, point of balance, pictures.

Peter, do you happen to remember anything more about those two examples you mentioned (Goteborg, Stockholm) such that I might be able to query the museums about them?


Ah, but this changes things. I thought you asked for general information on the type. I was not aware you are planning to have a custom sword made.
Your best bet is to trust your smith of choice relying on his experience and know how.
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Your best bet is to trust your smith of choice relying on his experience and know how.


Maybe yes, maybe no. If I simply commission a smith to make a "Type XVII of 5.5 lbs" the result may or may not bear any resemblance to a historical example.

Regardless, I prefer to have an idea what I'm looking for before I start to discuss things with a smith and historical examples are the best teachers. As such, I'm looking for information about specific antiques that display particular characteristics: namely, the Type XVII blade form and a weight around or in excess of 5 lbs.
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