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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 12:21 pm    Post subject: early examples of "hand and a half" grips?         Reply with quote

I stumbled into this while looking for actual artifact examples of franciscas. I am wondering if any others here know of similar hilts in pre "Viking Era" period considered to be actual combat swords in the context of their finds.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frankish_arms.JPG

The sword is supposed to date to 5th to 6th century A.D. according to the description. The grip would be longer than logical for exclusively single handed use by any visual approximation that I can do. (Just compare it with the Seax tang shown beside it. Based on known "typical" head dimensions and the helmet scale, I would guess the grip to be 5.5" to 6.5" long. With period guard styles, this would leave a surprisingly large grip area length.) Also, somewhat interesting is the spear head that does not have any "lugs." I am not sure when lugs are considered to have become common among Frankish artifacts.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!


Last edited by Jared Smith on Sun 09 May, 2010 12:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since the source articles have a way of “morphing” and getting lost, I will save the photo and article description.

“Arms and Armours of a typical noble frankish warrior. 5th-6th century (1) Francisca, (2) Spatha, (3) Sax, (4) Segmented helmet (original in Eremitage St. Petersburg), (5) Iron lance head, (6) iron shield boss. Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany.”

The image resolution of the text is not sufficiently good for me to enlarge.



 Attachment: 180.32 KB
frankarms.gif


Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm, I would say it heavilly depends on the sort of hilt furniture used - for example, if that would be a composite hilt like the ones used often enough through the migration period, it would fill up enough of the grip place so it would be of normal length for the time.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artis Aboltins wrote:
.... if that would be a composite hilt like the ones used often enough through the migration period, it would fill up enough of the grip place so it would be of normal length for the time.


I had thought of this. The period pommels tended to extend further away from the "stack up" of remaining metal shown and the further piece part components. The beginning of this is already at length 25% to 30% longer than grips such as the one of my Albion "Knight" model which is easily wielded "hand and a half" fashion by the pommel. Although in that specific case, "pommel grip" with the second hand is probably minimally cramped to try to fit in this category.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!


Last edited by Jared Smith on Sun 09 May, 2010 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another thing - if you look closely at the photo - tang of the seax seems to be coroded, and not represents it's original length, in which case, relativel length of the sword "tang" seems even shorter.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a pretty standard size tang to my eyes.
The hilt would have been all or mostly organic. An upper and lower guard and a grip (overall H shaped), grip possibly with ridges. I guess grip length around 9 cm (or a little more?) and guards at a height of some 12-18 mm or possibly a little more. A tang length of about 12-13 cm seems reasonable and looks like it would fit the size of the artifacts.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 1:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
This is a pretty standard size tang to my eyes


I apologized if I have raised a "false alert." I scaled the helmet guessing at something like a 9" (228 mm) long length helmet outside diameter assuming something in the way of padding would have been worn under it. The tang area looks really long by that standard as I am not accustomed to seeing much thickness in the way of "Viking Era" guards or similar early era guards. Depending on what the pommel form was, you can imagine the potential for having lots of space to place two hands on a grip that is just a couple of inches longer than "hammer fist grip" short ones.

The blade also appears quite long even if I assume that the helmet outside diameter is minimally short (say 7".)

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!


Last edited by Jared Smith on Sun 09 May, 2010 1:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After Peter post, my voice won't be "sounding" very relevant, but it doesn't look "bastard" to me even on first glance.

Unless owner had some really small hands.
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Sun 09 May, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is also an oblique view and not straight down on it.

I agree that the text is difficult to read clearly when enhanced. Scaling it to the haft of the axe might be a bit difficult for the same reason but is inline with the sword's blade for perspective.

Cheers

GC
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 07 Dec, 2010 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try looking at the Geibeg (sp?) typology. Types 8, 10, 11 and 12 seem to show fairly long-gripped examlpes. Also, Oakeshott in "Archaeology of Weapons" illustrates a 13th c example with a long grip, a pattern welded blade and Geibig type 13v2 pommel (pg138.) In addition, there is a truly awsome book in Lithuanian by V. Kazakevicius that is full of 10th-12th c vikingesque swords which often have enlongated grips. It seems that the roots of the bastard/great/war-swords with long grips have deep roots in germanic-scandinavian regions. Perhaps a bit off-topic? possibly more appropriate as a seperate thread? I would just like to see if anyone else is intrigued by very early long-gripped swords.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Dec, 2010 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Early swords with long grips are one of my favorite subjects. I found quite a lot about them in this topic:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8309
I would love to hear more about that cocked hat 13th century sword with pattern welded blade, info in the "Archeology of Weapons" is very brief, no grip lenght or anything else...
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Wed 08 Dec, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the link, Luka. As soon as I finish my 15th c Swedish-style type XXa longsword, I want to start a cocked-hat-pommeled great-sword. Guessing from the illustration in "AoW" and similar examples in V. Kazakavicius' awesome book (written in Lithuanian) I am thinking a 80-95 cm blade, 6-7 in grip and cross around 10-12 in. I am still looking through said book trying to find some measurements, but my very minimal ability to read Lithuanian is slowing me down somewhat. Can anyone out there read Lithuanian? I recently met a young man from Lithuania whom I hope to find again and possibly convince him to help me with a little translation. I will let you know what I come up with soon.

From my experience wielding similar weapons, my preference would be to have a grip just long enough to wrap my second hand's thumb and 1 or 2 fingers around grip with the cocked part of the hat nestled in the center of my palm. Grips longer than 7 in would be in the way too much for 1-hand use on horseback and would be inconsistent with the hands-together style of wielding appropriate for these swords. Note, my hands are long-fingered and not too beefy, some of the massive bear-pawed SCA fighters I know would probably need a slightly longer grip.

Ultimately, I would like to make a collection demonstrating the history of Scandinavian long-gripped swords, with a cocked hat and maybe another type of great-sword, a few varieties of 15th-16th c Swedish longswords and maybe a 17th c Swedish two-handed rapier.
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