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Bev L




Location: Hull
Joined: 01 Dec 2009

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: Claymore         Reply with quote

Hi Folks, new to the forum so hope I've posted this thread in the right section Wink
The name's Bev and I'm hoping that someone can help with my query?

I have just returned from a wonderful break away up in Arrochar, Scotland where I was a little confused at the sign outside my hotel (please see picture)



I was under the impression that to be a Claymore that the sword to have down sloping arms sometimes ending in the traditional quatrefoil, sometimes not or was basket hilted or clamshell hilted, please do not misunderstand me, I am by no means any sort of expert on the sword, just a keen admirer wanting to know more.

I was sure that the sword featured in the sign above is NOT a Traditional Claymore, is this the case?

Bev

ONE LIFE - LIVE IT
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
Joined: 02 Sep 2008

Posts: 239

PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I remember exactly there are two types, the older big two handed and the more young basket-hilted.

This is neither, and it doesn't have even a pommel (or is it under the towel?). And the blade has the foregrip of the later twohanders.

Definitly I think a modern invention.
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Ed McV




Location: Ontario,Canada
Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its obvious this hotel is owned by a bloody Englisman with no knowledge of Scottish Weapons.
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Bev L




Location: Hull
Joined: 01 Dec 2009

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ed McV wrote:
Its obvious this hotel is owned by a bloody Englisman with no knowledge of Scottish Weapons.


Big Grin lol Probably
So am I to assume by this that I was perhaps correct in my assumption that this is indeed NOT a Claymore? Laughing Out Loud

I did actually make enqiuries to the duty manager, but he was none the wiser and just assumed that it was as he didn't know his swords so he said.

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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is definitely not a claymore. Which proves that even in the country where they were/are a symbol, modern depictions can be relied upon to get it wrong.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982


Last edited by Lin Robinson on Tue 01 Dec, 2009 6:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Bev,

You have definitely come to the right place. People who write here love to argue about what a claymore is. The sword in your picture both is, and is not, a claymore, depending how you use the word. Let me try to summarize:

Claymore, comes from the Gaelic "claidheamh mr", which means something like 'big sword'. So in that sense, sure, it could be a big sword!

However, a few centuries ago, the term claymore became identified with basket hilt broad swords, and still is. This sword in the picture definitely is not a basket hilt.

Even more recently (18th century I think) people started retroactively using the word to refer to the huge 15th century swords you are thinking of - with the downswept guard and quatrefoils. The pictured sword is not one of those swords either. However, this was an anachronism and many afficionados of today want to get rid of it and become very offended if you use this term for these swords.

So there you have it - take your pick. But either way, the rather made-up sword in that picture sure doesn't look particularly Scottish! Its probably something the artist just imagined.

Regards, JD

PS - I sure hope I got those distinctions right, or there might be some hate mail coming!
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 769

PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Claymore has come to mean, in the minds of a lot of otherwise un-sword-knowledgeable folks, simply a "big sword". I've heard/seen all kinds of long/large swords referred to as "Claymores" -- from European Zweihanders to the Scottish Lowlander's twa-handit swords, to absolutely fantastical designs that have no relation to anything historical....

I blame the Victorians. And RPG's, Video Games, LARP games, cartoons, comic books (or, graphic novels).... Nothing against them, mind you! Just don't get your weapons facts from them.

(Imagine if the Victorians had LARP.... wow, now that's scary...)

Historically, the Highland Gaelic phrase Claidheamh Mor, meaning "Great Sword" is known to have referred to the Basket-hilted Broadsword. At least that's the earliest use of the term that we know of, from written sources. The Highland two-hander is, oddly, not addressed until sometime later. The written references call the two-hander a Two-handed sword or Claidheamh da Laimh -- but we also see it referred to as a "Claymore"!!!

I have a pet theory, which no one has called me out on - that any sword with A. a double-edged blade and B. is of Highland design/preference (remember, the blades of most of these swords were made in Germany, less often Spain or other parts of the Continent, and most of the basket-hilts were made in Lowland cities -- i.e. Glasgow or Stirling) can be rightfully referred to as a "Claymore". Anyway, I'm no Gaelic scholar, so what do I know?

Or are we getting hung up on terminology? What would "Claymore" have meant to a Highlander of old? What would he have called a completely foreign sword (German Zweihander, Venetian Schiavona, Messer, whatever)? I really don't think the ancients were all that specific when it came to swords. They would have called one sword "this sword here" and another sword "that sword there" (other than giving them personal names, of course).

Anyway, the sword in that ad doesn't even look like a sword. Looks like a dagger to me. A real big dagger.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Lucas LaVoy




Location: New Orleans, LA
Joined: 08 Mar 2008

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Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue 01 Dec, 2009 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I knew I'd seen that one somewhere before . . .

http://www.kultofathena.com/product~item~SW16...+Sword.htm

"Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing."
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Wed 02 Dec, 2009 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have looked into this one before. "claymore" just means sword. The attached words after that to designate they type of claymore (Confirming what David Wilson said).

The term "big sword" is "claidheamh mr". claidheam=claymore. The "mor" is not part of the word Claymore. The "mor" is an addon to the end of the word claymore. It seems odd to use to say Claymore-mor, but we are not taking into account accent and different stresses in the syllables that would have been used in period.

When Scotts wanted to say "two handed sword" they said "claidheamh da laimh". In both cases the entire word "claidheamh" is used.

This become even more clear when Scotts use the word claymore to refer to "basket hilt", single handed swords. According to sword historian, Claude Blair, the term broadsword and claymore were used synonymously.

The Scotts would have called a katana a claymore too, and then just added something after the term to designate it further.

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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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 658

PostPosted: Wed 02 Dec, 2009 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually Bill, I disagree. Claidheamh is the Gaelic word for sword (at least one of them), mor is the word for great, also as in big. The distinction between types of swords existed in the Gaelic Highlands, even up unto the 18th century. A broadsword (double-edged) sword was usually refered to as a Claidheamh Mor, a backsword was a claidheamh cuil, and a curved, or saber bladed sword wold have been a claidheamh crom. There were of course other terms to describe swords, depending on their characteristics. It's futile to try to define sword types known to 18th century Gaelic Scots in 21st centiry American or English terms - we're just not the same culture, and don't relate everyday items in the same way.

I'd perfer to use the historical written evidence when trying to distinguish Scottish sword typology. Claude Blair, as you mention, seems to have most of the info in his book, as you note, along with the dates when the known useage of terms are made.

Using Blair's research, the Gaelic Scots would have probably called a katana a Claidheamh crom, due to the curved blade.

Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Wed 02 Dec, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Gregg wrote:
Actually Bill, I disagree.


I don't know what you disagree about. I think I said the same thing and so did David. All the examples you gave use the word Claidheamh, which indicates that the word claymore means sword. Then to that you add the ending we talked about.

I think people get confused with the modern English spelling and pronunciation of the word because of the presence of the "M" in the word. If "claymore" was spelled "clayhore", which is closer to the original, it would be more clear. In my example clayhore-mor would mean big-sword. As it stands now claymore-mor means big-sword. Claymore-crom would mean curved blade as you stated. Again, I'm not sure if we disagree at all, but for some reason you said we do.

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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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,801

PostPosted: Wed 02 Dec, 2009 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In returning to our regularly scheduled programming, one might recall (or be otherwise familiar with) that the late highlander regiment officer swords were allowed and sometimes used a cruciform guard to replace the basket on occasion. There is the old SFI online magazine article by multi forumite Peter Busch, as one instance of explanation for what the billboard image may represent.

http://www.swordforum.com/fall99/1865.html

Scroll down if the article is useless until seeing that part.

Cheers

GC
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 220

PostPosted: Wed 02 Dec, 2009 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Tsafa,

On Wednesday 2 December 2009, you wrote:
Christopher Gregg wrote:
Actually Bill, I disagree.


I don't know what you disagree about. I think I said the same thing and so did David. All the examples you gave use the word Claidheamh, which indicates that the word claymore means sword. Then to that you add the ending we talked about.

I think people get confused with the modern English spelling and pronunciation of the word because of the presence of the "M" in the word. If "claymore" was spelled "clayhore", which is closer to the original, it would be more clear. In my example clayhore-mor would mean big-sword. As it stands now claymore-mor means big-sword. Claymore-crom would mean curved blade as you stated. Again, I'm not sure if we disagree at all, but for some reason you said we do.

In fact, Mr. Gregg does disagree. He is saying, although his post is not as explicit as it might be, that claidheamh is not pronounced "klay-mohr", as you suggest; it's pronounced something like "klay". The dh and mh do not indicate distinct sounds, but are spelling conventions that indicate modifications of the vowels that precede them. (This is of course only an approximation, as the sounds of Scots Gaelic are not quite the same as those of English. Note also that the spelling conventions in use in Scots Gaelic and in its sister language, Irish, are completely counterintuitive to English-speaking readers.) The word claidheamh--"klay"--means sword; only this, and nothing more.

Thus claidheamh mr--the phrase meaning "great sword"--is not pronounced "klay-mohr-mohr". It's pronounced "klay-mohr", or, as it's usually rendered in English, "claymore". The phrase meaning "curved sword", claidheamh crom, is pronounced "klay-kruhm", and so forth.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Thu 03 Dec, 2009 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello All,

The sword in the sign is a picture of a crap sword shaped object (SSO) that's been sold as a sword in the past.

It is not a Highland Scottish claidheamh mr in any shape or form.

As for The "Scotts" calling a katana a claymore too...

First it's "Scots", "Scotts" would be a family name.

Second, if though some improbable chain of events a katana some how ended up in the 17th or 18th century Highlands(Before the act of 1747) they would have rehilted it into a form they'd use. ( Like a claidheamh crom.)

Bill, I think if you study a bit more, it's the English speaking parts of Great Britain that called the double edged basket hilted one handed sword a Broadsword or Claymore, not the Highland Scots.

TTFN.

DT

P.S claidheamh is pronounced very close to "klay". It was the phrase claidheamh mr that was corrupted into the English word "Claymore"


This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 658

PostPosted: Thu 03 Dec, 2009 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Millman wrote:
Dear Mr. Tsafa,

On Wednesday 2 December 2009, you wrote:
Christopher Gregg wrote:
Actually Bill, I disagree.


I don't know what you disagree about. I think I said the same thing and so did David. All the examples you gave use the word Claidheamh, which indicates that the word claymore means sword. Then to that you add the ending we talked about.

I think people get confused with the modern English spelling and pronunciation of the word because of the presence of the "M" in the word. If "claymore" was spelled "clayhore", which is closer to the original, it would be more clear. In my example clayhore-mor would mean big-sword. As it stands now claymore-mor means big-sword. Claymore-crom would mean curved blade as you stated. Again, I'm not sure if we disagree at all, but for some reason you said we do.

In fact, Mr. Gregg does disagree. He is saying, although his post is not as explicit as it might be, that claidheamh is not pronounced "klay-mohr", as you suggest; it's pronounced something like "klay". The dh and mh do not indicate distinct sounds, but are spelling conventions that indicate modifications of the vowels that precede them. (This is of course only an approximation, as the sounds of Scots Gaelic are not quite the same as those of English. Note also that the spelling conventions in use in Scots Gaelic and in its sister language, Irish, are completely counterintuitive to English-speaking readers.) The word claidheamh--"klay"--means sword; only this, and nothing more.

Thus claidheamh mr--the phrase meaning "great sword"--is not pronounced "klay-mohr-mohr". It's pronounced "klay-mohr", or, as it's usually rendered in English, "claymore". The phrase meaning "curved sword", claidheamh crom, is pronounced "klay-kruhm", and so forth.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman


Thank you, Mr. Millman. Indeed, I was not as precise as I needed to be, but your post has cleared up the linguistics of my point. Yes Bill, Claidheahm is pronounced "Klay" in English, Mor is pronounced "More", both being two words that make up the phrase Claidheahm Mor, or "Claymore" in modern English.

Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Dec, 2009 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And I seriously doubt that the Scots would have regarded the katana as any kind of claidheamh mor--the katana's a pretty small sword by European standards!
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