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Richard Schneider




Location: Des Plaines, IL
Joined: 07 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 5:38 pm    Post subject: Scabbard worn in battle?         Reply with quote

Would a knight wear a scabbard in battle?

Given that he would have a range of weapons starting with a lance and perhaps continuing with a mace or axe and eventually drawing the sword, the sword would be carried on a belt. But would it be in a scabbard or would it be bare so that the scabbard wouldn't be flopping around once the sword was drawn?

If he went without the scabbard in battle, did he have a different "battle belt" or was the standard belt modifable?

I guess this would apply to a dagger worn on the right as well.

Thanks in advance for sharing your wealth of knowledge.
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well wearing a sword, dagger or any other sharp piece of metal without a scabbard of some sort would likely be a bad idea as if you just tuck it under the belt it will likely cut the belt and anything else not made of metal that will be in near vicinity. So I would say they where definitely worn with scabbards. Another question though is whether the "parade" scabbard would be used or something with same protective qualities but with less decoration in case it would take battle damage?
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If for no other reason, I would think that protecting one's horse would require a scabbard... as for unmounted infantry, the backs of the legs of the next man on would be thankfull that a scabbard was there every time some shift in the line caused the neighbour's sword to brush up against him.
Bon coeur et bon bras
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 6:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Running with a propperly fitted scabard isn't a problem. Us reenactment figthers do so routinely.

From illustrations it seems that sword belts where left hanging fairly loose in day to day wear, so that you can move the scabbard around, sit down, and such. In combat it is a good idea to tighten the belt to avoid the sword bouncing around or spilling.

In combat, I stuff my dagger scabbard under the waistbelt to keep it from tipping over; sword hilted daggers tend to be top heavy when in the scabard.

"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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Julien M




Location: London
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've read that in some cases the scabbard was replaced by a plain metal ring attached to the belt, in order to hang the sword during battle and be relieved of the scabbard while in the heat of the fight. I can't seem to emember were though...

J
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,263

PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Maciejowski Bible and the Bayeux Tapestry both show knights wielding their swords with empty scabbards at their sides, and I'm sure there are many other similar images from various sources. (Part of the trick is finding a knight riding from right to left so you can see his left side!) Seems to me that an empty scabbard would be less annoying than one with the sword still in it. And I don't see any problem with wearing a nicely decorated scabbard into battle. After all, the idea is to stay on your horse and make the *other* guy roll in the dirt, eh? People have been dolling up their military gear for thousands of years. Unless there is specific evidence for "parade" scabbards, my guess is that any sword had just one scabbard, and that's the one you'd carry in battle.

Matthew
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Tristán Zukowski




Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined: 29 Oct 2009

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: My 2 cents:         Reply with quote

In the 1459 Talhoffer manuscript "Thott 290 2º" there are at least two depictions of scabbards:

Folio 35v - Two men in full harness are fighting. Their scabbards have been unbelted, and are laying on the ground at their feet.

Folio 79v - Two unarmored men, one with a sword hewing his opponents hand off at the wrist (his opponent is armed with only a dagger). The swordsman is still wearing his scabbard, and has his left hand on it (possibly to keep it from interfering with his legs.)

Tristan P. Zukowski
Longsword (KdF) Instructor, New York Historical Fencing Association
Longsword (KdF) Instructor, Sword Class NYC
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Tristán Zukowski




Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined: 29 Oct 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: My 2 cents:         Reply with quote

Tristán Zukowski wrote:
The swordsman is still wearing his scabbard, and has his left hand on it (possibly to keep it from interfering with his legs.)


..or in fact to assist in the draw, as my teacher just pointed out to me.

Tristan P. Zukowski
Longsword (KdF) Instructor, New York Historical Fencing Association
Longsword (KdF) Instructor, Sword Class NYC
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