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Andy C. Nystrom





Joined: 14 Dec 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject: Shell Guards         Reply with quote

I'm new to the world of authentic blades and historical reproductions. My question though is what is the purpose of a shell guard, what is it's intended function. I first came across this aspect of sword design with the Medici Falchion and was curious about it but could have not been able to retain much information on it.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2009 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These simply protect the outside of the weapon hand. You can see antecedents in some medieval hangers and long knives. In northern Europe, especially, you'll find that the large knives favored by the underclass often have small bar or shell-like projections extending either straight out from the cross/bolster or elongated and curved slightly over the back of the hand. These are especially helpful in German forms of knife fighting, which use deflection, blocking and trapping extensively. Don't try that without something to prevent the opposing blade to slide down into your hand!

Probably sometime in the 16th century folks started to think of these projections literally as shells and began to shape and decorate them accordingly. By the mid 17th c. they were common as dirt.

-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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Andy C. Nystrom





Joined: 14 Dec 2008

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2009 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the explanation Mr. Flynt, much appreciated.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This video will give you a good idea why these guards are valuable, even in their smallest form.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38sVdx7nzhQ

Although the reproduction messers used here don't appear to have the little proto-shell guards, you can see those on several of the messers in the medieval illustrations that accompany the video.

-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
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an example:


 Attachment: 21.98 KB
15098_b.jpg


-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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