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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 10:28 am    Post subject: Availability of Swords         Reply with quote

While this is a spinoff of my CPI thread, that thread is obviously dead. So my question is thus,

Did swords become more common during the high and late middle ages?

What proof do we have of this?

How common did they become?

What caused this?

I have heard it here that swords became more common later on, but I haven't heard of any explanation or proof for this.




Regards.

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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sixteenth-century military manuals assume every soldier will have a sword.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But that is a little later than the period I am talking about.

However that still proves that at least by that time swords were more plentiful, the question remains, why, and when.

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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Jul, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since pagan europeans had a tradition for burrying people with weapons, we have quite a lot of weapons from the pre-christian eras, as graves are relativelty easy to find. Medevial finds are limited to loose finds, and those stored/displayed somewhere until later ages.

There appears to have been a breathrough in sword manefacturing sometime during the 1100's. Most notably, swords where now made from a single piece of steel (so called monsteel swords), in contrast to the earlier, laminated blades. This would mean that making sword blades was now much easier.
This development when on as the middle ages progressed. Storey, in his PhD thesisTechnology and Military Policy , states that some items, like mail and helmets had a value drop of over 90% from 1200 to 1300.

"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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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Omg, thank you so much for an original source.


p.s. your from Norway!!!!, what part?

I"m american but my family is from stavanger.

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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 415

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Storey's thesis also suggests that expanding mining and smelting, increased trade, increased use of wind and waterpower, and the growth of towns and craft specialization were probably all involved in the huge drop in arms costs by 1300. By the late middle ages you could buy something swordlike for a day or two's pay for a country carpenter.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My only complaint is that he doesn't define some of the things he is talking about. He talks about how much a helmet can range in price, but he never discusses how some of that is what kind, a conical helm costs much less than a great helm.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
My only complaint is that he doesn't define some of the things he is talking about. He talks about how much a helmet can range in price, but he never discusses how some of that is what kind, a conical helm costs much less than a great helm.

Well, often he's limited by our sources. When all you know is "new lorica" its hard to tell how long the arms and body were, what size the rings were, or how good the iron and workmanship were, even though all these factors could affect price. But when you combine a lot of sources, you can see general trends in price.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand that, but he should of discussed that in his paper as another reason that his numbers can't be taken at face value since they may be referring to different things (like his page on weights and such).
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