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Florian Fischer




Location: Germany
Joined: 07 Apr 2010

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr, 2010 8:35 am    Post subject: German Great War Knife ( Grosses Kriegsmesser )         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone!

I do some late 14th century reenactment and therefor, I am looking for sorces, which allow me, to complete my fighting kit. I am very interested in the German Great War Knife ( Grosses Kriegsmesser ), and I read about it really often. But does anyone know about real sources, which show, that this type pf weapon was already used durign the 14th century or at least at the end of 14th ct?
I know, this is a more or less typical German weapon, but probably anyone else also knows about it ;-)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In that period I would guess that a falchion would be more likely.
-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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Martin Fischer




Location: Cologne, Germany
Joined: 21 Jul 2007

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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr, 2010 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Florian,

this kind of weapon appears about 1500.

Regards

Martin
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Apr, 2010 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Fischer wrote:
Hi Florian,

this kind of weapon appears about 1500.

Regards

Martin


Well, they appear in the mid 15th century, but I'll agree with you that they don't start becoming very popular until around the beginning of the 16th.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Samuel Bena




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 10 Dec 2007

Posts: 94

PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Martin Fischer wrote:
Hi Florian,

this kind of weapon appears about 1500.

Regards

Martin


Well, they appear in the mid 15th century, but I'll agree with you that they don't start becoming very popular until around the beginning of the 16th.


Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well.

Florian Fischer wrote:

I know, this is a more or less typical German weapon, but probably anyone else also knows about it ;-)

Hello Florian,
Big knives (of practically identical construction) were also quite popular in central Europe , Czechs called the messer-like weapons "Tesák" , Poles "Tasak" , while Hungarians referred to it as "Parasztkés". Sadly no fighting books survived in our lands :/
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Florian Fischer




Location: Germany
Joined: 07 Apr 2010

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thats what I think, too. I already read about the weapon appearing during 14th century several times, the only thing, that I am missing, is a real source.
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Johann M




Location: London
Joined: 23 Aug 2007

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Samuel Bena wrote:
Bill Grandy wrote:
Martin Fischer wrote:
Hi Florian,

this kind of weapon appears about 1500.

Regards

Martin


Well, they appear in the mid 15th century, but I'll agree with you that they don't start becoming very popular until around the beginning of the 16th.


Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well...


Yes, the Lichtenauer tradition begins around the end of the 14th century, but there is no messer in this work. IIRC it deals specifically with the longsword.
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johann M wrote:
Samuel Bena wrote:
Bill Grandy wrote:
Martin Fischer wrote:
Hi Florian,

this kind of weapon appears about 1500.

Regards

Martin


Well, they appear in the mid 15th century, but I'll agree with you that they don't start becoming very popular until around the beginning of the 16th.


Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well...


Yes, the Lichtenauer tradition begins around the end of the 14th century, but there is no messer in this work. IIRC it deals specifically with the longsword.


Hello Johann,

They are referring to a reference made in Cod.HS.3227a (aka Döbringer's Fechtbuch) that the longsword system had it roots from the messer. If I remember my Cod.HS.3227a correctly.

Cheers,

DT

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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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Samuel Bena wrote:
Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well.


While 3227.a makes mention of knives, do we know that the author was talking about the same weapon as the iconographical langes messer of the later period?

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Johann M




Location: London
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
Johann M wrote:
Samuel Bena wrote:
Bill Grandy wrote:
Martin Fischer wrote:
Hi Florian,

this kind of weapon appears about 1500.

Regards

Martin


Well, they appear in the mid 15th century, but I'll agree with you that they don't start becoming very popular until around the beginning of the 16th.


Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well...


Yes, the Lichtenauer tradition begins around the end of the 14th century, but there is no messer in this work. IIRC it deals specifically with the longsword.


Hello Johann,

They are referring to a reference made in Cod.HS.3227a (aka Döbringer's Fechtbuch) that the longsword system had it roots from the messer. If I remember my Cod.HS.3227a correctly.

Cheers,

DT


Ah...I see. I was unfamiliar with that passage, In that case please disregard my post.
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Samuel Bena




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 10 Dec 2007

Posts: 94

PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Samuel Bena wrote:
Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well.


While 3227.a makes mention of knives, do we know that the author was talking about the same weapon as the iconographical langes messer of the later period?


Good point Bill,
but it seems the manuscript clearly mentions langes messer..

Quote:

82 r

Hie hebt sich an fechten mit dem langen messer

Wer do mit dem langen messer wil fechten lernen / wen aus dem langen messer ist das swert genomen und funden / Der sal von ersten merken und wissen das daz fundament und dy principia / dy do gehoren czum swerte / dy gehoren auch czum messer /


emphasis mine

Transcription by Grzegorz Żabiński, retrieved via http://arma.lh.pl/zrodla/traktaty/doebringer.html

On the other hand however, we really don't know if its the same weapon as those seen in later works like Tallhoffer etc.(construction-wise). I assume that just like arming swords messers must have gone throughout some development as well.

Regards,
Samuel
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 7:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Samuel Bena wrote:
Not to nitpick , but isn't the first work from Lichtenauerian lineage dated somewhere in the 1380s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3227a , as such the weapon must have existed in the 14th century as well.


While 3227.a makes mention of knives, do we know that the author was talking about the same weapon as the iconographical langes messer of the later period?


That's the rub... messer means knife in German and the the messer can be loosely applied to anything from an eating knife to the 2 handed 16th century weapon.

However, based on my langes messer studies vs my dagger work I see a far more common "fight" between the langes messer , arming sword and longsword than I do dagger to longsword. Yes it's a integrated system, but the fights differ.

Then there is that von Danzig illustration (yes I know, 1452) of the Grand Master himself with both a longsword and langes messer in the rack.

The Early Middle Age German speaking peasant had a knife known as a seax, just like the later messer it could be of just eating length or the size of an period sword. I don't think the idea of such weapons "just went away" for a couple of hunderd years to return in the mid 15th century.

Cheers,

David

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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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2010 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Samuel Bena wrote:
Good point Bill,
but it seems the manuscript clearly mentions langes messer..


Yes, I'm very familiar with the work. But people called seaxes "long knives" in period, too, and that doesn't make them the same weapon as what Florian is asking about.

I'm not saying that what we call a messer today didn't exist in the 14th century. I'm really just asking if we have enough proof, and the mention of it in 3227a isn't really proof in my mind.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Apr, 2010 12:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After a quick search in IMAREAL´s image server (http://www.imareal.oeaw.ac.at/realonline/)
I got this scene from a manuscript of 1349-1351
The pic is tiny, but I think you can make out the man in blue (soldier?) in the mid right hand image, who is leading a woman out of a building while his companion is stabbing another woman in the back with a sword (type XVI?). The man in blue holds a war-knife. No guard, just riveted on grip panels. Looks halfway between sax and late medieval messer (or something one step removed from the Maciejowsky chopper).



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