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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

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PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject: Byzantine Swords         Reply with quote

I am looking for examples of Byzantine swords. I am interested in any swords of the Byzantine period start with 400 AD going all the way up to 1453 AD.

Any sources will be helpful. I know of a few Icons that depict swords from the early period that are not very clear. Pictures of museum pieces would be ideal.

I expect that the swords would look similar Roman ones in the early periods, European after the sac of 1205 and Arabic towards the mid 15th century. I would also expect a mixing of styles along the way.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Levantia has pictures of some reproductions:

http://www.levantia.com.au/military/weapons.html

You probably can (and should) pester them about their sources--and don't forget to share with us, since at least there's one more Romanophile (in the Byzantine sense of the term) out here....
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jun, 2009 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice link. Thanks.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
www.poconoshooting.com
www.poconogym.com
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jun, 2009 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. Are there surviving Romaioi fightbooks?

I was thinking that perhaps the techniques would similar to the I:33 manual as they fought with a sheild similar to a buckler in conjunction with the Spathion
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jun, 2009 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben P. wrote:
Interesting. Are there surviving Romaioi fightbooks?

I was thinking that perhaps the techniques would similar to the I:33 manual as they fought with a sheild similar to a buckler in conjunction with the Spathion


There are two Byzantine manuals, but they cover warefare on a more broad level. They do not cover individual fighting techniques. If a Byzantine was using a Buckler or very small 12" shield the methods might look like I.33. It would make sense that with similar weapons and armor they would have the same concerns as is in later period and would have to attack and defend in a similar manor. Byzantines normally are depicted in art as using kite shields. The concerns of attack and defense are somewhat different in this configuration.

Looking over the site again I am must intrigued by the "Paramerion" saber. It is the first I have heard of this sword. The name means "divider" or "splitter" in Greek. The website says it is not associated with cavalry. I am thinking the design was of Arabic influence. I do not believe that Arabs used armor prior to the 11th century. For this reason it would make sense for them to use a weapon dedicated to slicing. I'm just theorizing here.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
www.poconoshooting.com
www.poconogym.com
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jun, 2009 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmm well as to the kite shields I was thinking about the Thureos (which would usually be the right size) however as it is worn on the arm I think it would be a little different, there was a guy on RAT who used the Spatha and I:33 together here is the discussion http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=6648
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jun, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Byzantine Swords         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
I am looking for examples of Byzantine swords. I am interested in any swords of the Byzantine period start with 400 AD going all the way up to 1453 AD.
Here are some that might be of interest:
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=92380

Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Jun, 2009 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I've gathered the curved Paramerion was introduced to byzantium by mercenaries from the northeast, not the south.

The lack of pictoral sources of original byzantine swords is quite depressing. They do however seem to have had short bar crosguards and egg shaped pommels.

As for figthing style, byzantine Skutaoi or shieldmen carried Spathion and a ridiculously long one handed spear (about 4m/13ft). Initially they would carry round or oval shields, but from about 800 these where replaced by kite shields. These where 60x90 cm (2x3 ft), and thus a bit smaller than the later norman kites (which appear to be in the 60x120/2x4ft range)

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Jun, 2009 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
Looking over the site again I am must intrigued by the "Paramerion" saber. It is the first I have heard of this sword. The name means "divider" or "splitter" in Greek. The website says it is not associated with cavalry. I am thinking the design was of Arabic influence. I do not believe that Arabs used armor prior to the 11th century. For this reason it would make sense for them to use a weapon dedicated to slicing. I'm just theorizing here.


I think it's much more likely to be Eastern European or even native Byzantine in origin. As many people (including me) have mentioned many times in this forum, Arab swords were predominantly straight until the Ottoman Turks took over the whole place in the 14th or 15th century or so; before then curved swords were a signature of the Turks and other steppe-dwelling peoples.

The Arabs also clearly used armor; the dowry for 'Ali's (Muhammad's son-in-law's) marriage was a shirt of mail, and he was noted for wearing it in practically all his battles afterwards. This was at a time when Arab armies were still predominantly infantry. After the Arab COnquest swept over the BYzantine possessions in the Levant and the remnants of the Persian empire, the victors had the choice of the spoil and they did all they could to equip themselves in the latest Byzantine or Persian style (or often a mixture of both). They also rapidly assimilated Byzantine and Persian military doctrine; note how Leo the Wise remarked in the 9th (or 10th?) century that the Arabs were the most dangerous adversary for "Romans" because they had spared no efforts in learning and copying Byzantine military equipment and techniques. (Of course the Byzantines wouldn't mention that the Arabs borrowed freely from the Persians and Turks as well, would they?)
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jun, 2009 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting response to my post. Thanks Elling and Lafayette.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
www.poconoshooting.com
www.poconogym.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address


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