Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > van der Weyden Falchion - a soldiers or executioners tool? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
W. Schütz
Industry Professional



Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Dec 2005

Posts: 363

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 5:36 am    Post subject: van der Weyden Falchion - a soldiers or executioners tool?         Reply with quote

Looking at the falchion held in van der Weydens St John Altarpiece, and pondering if this is a practical soldiers weapon or actually a tool special for the job of execution. Anyone have a view on this? Trying do decide if this weapon is something to recreate for a soldiers kit for reenactment or not..

http://www.wga.hu/art/w/weyden/rogier/12stjohn/3john1.jpg

Gentes scitote,
vicine sive remote,
quod claret Suecia
plebeque militia.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,307

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks military to me, why having an acute point on an executioner's tool.
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with what is above that this is not specifically an executioner's tool, but rather it is a weapon that was used to execute.
.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
W. Schütz
Industry Professional



Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Dec 2005

Posts: 363

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, its ofocurse not a standard executioner's sword, im just pondering if there perhapse where a type of weapon optimized for such tasks without being a calssical no-point executioner's sword. It just looks like a very front heavy, very blade-thick and oddly shaped weapon. I just got a hint from a friend that it might be the case but perhapse my mind is playing tricks on me and its just a falchion..;)
Gentes scitote,
vicine sive remote,
quod claret Suecia
plebeque militia.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,307

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 12:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Btw, I really like it. There were times when I didn't see much sense in single edged weapons, but time changes all. Well, primarily because of the knowledge gained. Wink I like this one. Its blade looks like shorter and maybe more massive version of the Thorpe Falchion. And hilt is similar to Windlass two handed Falchion. Nice weapon all in all.
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,944

PostPosted: Mon 06 Jul, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given the overall quality and attention to detail, I'd guess that this depicts a variant of the northern European messer. And although it might not be true in this case, keep in mind that some elements of costume in medieval European Biblical images are meant to suggest a different culture (at least as far as the artists understood it). You'll see non-European sword forms, turbans and other elements of exotic dress mixed with everyday European items. See the elaborate scimitars in depictions of the martyrdom of St. Barbara--those are not meant to be western European weapons. Rather, they're a western European artist's impression of Turkish weapons (Barbara was killed in Turkey). What we see here could be a European weapon, but it might just as easily be an artist's combination of western and eastern weapon types--a messer in fancy dress.

FWIW, as far as I can tell there weren't specialized execution swords in Europe before the early 16th c. So, the weapon shown above might be appropriate for any soldier who would carry a messer (probably a halberd, too).



 Attachment: 191.6 KB
cranach_barbara.jpg


-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jan J.P. Koerni




Location: den haag
Joined: 10 Jun 2009

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not a very good source to begin with but it gives the info i know about falcions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falchion

So to make it clear: A falcion was more of a commoner weapon used in line especially handy against pikes
Due to the shape and weight you could get a more forced downward strike than you could get with a double edge sword because of the fact you're standing in a battleline and can't make a great swing to gain momentum and force without decapitating the man to the left or to the right of you (which is not something you want to do when you're live depends on the one to the left or right of you)

Hope this is helpfull info
View user's profile Send private message
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jan J.P. Koerni wrote:
Not a very good source to begin with but it gives the info i know about falcions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falchion

So to make it clear: A falcion was more of a commoner weapon used in line especially handy against pikes


Jan,
Welcome to the forum. Happy I'm not sure your statement about them being more of a commoner weapon really hold true. There are examples of richly decorated falchions (like the Medici falchion) that were clearly high-status weapons.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 5:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Sean, it seems European until you look at the crossguard, which is in the style of a scimitaur. Also it has no pommel, which suggests its more of an artists interperetation of a scimitaur, probably based on his own knowledge of messer like single edged swords.
View user's profile Send private message
Ed T.




Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't recall seeing other falchions with a two handed grip. To me it suggests the sword is represented as an executioner's tool.
View user's profile Send private message
Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a nice looking falchion or messer but if I was contemplating a recreation of it I'd consider making the blade longer or the hilt shorter. It may be perspective or it may be perspective handled incorrectly by the artist but the weapon looks out of proportion to me, other than that, I like it. Doesn't this bear similarities to the one Leo from Tod's stuff completed not long ago?
View user's profile Send private message
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,307

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom King wrote:
I agree with Sean, it seems European until you look at the crossguard, which is in the style of a scimitaur. Also it has no pommel, which suggests its more of an artists interperetation of a scimitaur, probably based on his own knowledge of messer like single edged swords.


I do see a pommel, one of the scent stopper types...
View user's profile Send private message
Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the photos, (by Mr. Schütz)
that Falcione, has clear oriental origin.
Beyond the guard, pommel also has Eastern origins.
The pommel almost round, come to Europe from the east through the Venetian and Genoese merchants.
Usually we find them in the Mediterranean area, Italy or Spain, to my great surprise, even in Scandinavia, had highly developed trade, with the Orient. In the East there were no swords for the beheadings.
For this purpose, common weapons were used.

Ciao
Maurizio
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jan J.P. Koerni




Location: den haag
Joined: 10 Jun 2009

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok I agree with it not only a commener weapon
Still there are enough pictures of it beign used in combat and not only execution
View user's profile Send private message
Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excuse my ignorance but wouldn't the part of the cross guard that extends up the side of the blade be an indication of the piece being a weapon for combat? I am not sure what they are called, but are they not for trapping the opponents blade? Also sorry if that was mentioned somewhere in the thread.
View user's profile Send private message
Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 10:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hey Luke,
I think you want to refer to the "langet.
They not for trapping the opponents blade.

Ciao
Maurizio
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jan, 2010 11:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok well then... now I am curious. What are those "langets" for? Thank you for the correction.
View user's profile Send private message
Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luke Zechman wrote:
Ok well then... now I am curious. What are those "langets" for? Thank you for the correction.


I think, not a specific goal. Perhaps just design.
If I'm wrong someone will correct me.

Ciao
Maurizio
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Johnsson
Industry Professional



Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 3
Posts: 1,757

PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 1:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The falchion in the painting by van der Weyden´s has long been a favorite (one of many!)

I do not think there are any elements in this weapon that are especially oriental in origin.
It is unusual in its proportions, that is for certain, but I would not write that of to artistic license.
It may well be the case that the artist depicted an actual weapon, or at least something that was very close to it.

Just compare the langets and the central section of the guard to that of the city sword of Köln. A striking similarity if I ever saw one! The strange looking pommel also has parallels in long swords pommels of the same period. I have no access to good pics at the moment, but I will post if/when I find them. They are octagonal (or hexagonal?) in section and has a stem and top of smaller diameter. Sometimes the stem is very long, like 5 cm or more. You see these pommels most commonly on very long gripped long swords. Several depictions n art exist and at least one surviving example is kept in the Museum of German History in Berlin.

As to possible function of the langets, I´m not sure. They can be purely decorative, but they may help t keep the sword more securely in the scabbard. At least that is what langets do on curved swords...



 Attachment: 61.68 KB
2579147541_9cdbafddcc_o.jpg

View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jan J.P. Koerni




Location: den haag
Joined: 10 Jun 2009

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having one and used it ( battleready that is ) it's definitely handy for trapping other weapons with it with the guard going up and protruding forward
Mind you the one i have mounted stands out 5 cm out from the blade so i probably won't have any problems blocking spears or pike's

But with al the comments and all the question still was : Is a falcion an executioners weapon or a weapon of combat
Suffice to say that both uses are possible


Last edited by Jan J.P. Koerni on Wed 20 Jan, 2010 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > van der Weyden Falchion - a soldiers or executioners tool?
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum