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Martinho Ramos




Location: Portugal
Joined: 05 Jan 2011

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed 05 Jan, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Ring guard and pommel dilemma.         Reply with quote

Greetings everyone.

I'm new to this site, but i've been wanting to register here because many times i research to find information about certain details of arms and armour, i always end up getting the right answer in this site.

I've been wondering about the exact origin and period in which rings were added to the cross guard of a sword. I've been in need of such information to clarify a doubt that came up when i was making plans for a 15th century reenactment sword.
By "rings" i mean something like this:



or this



I've come to think that these kind of "ring guards" emerged somewhere in the mid 15th century. Also, i've been told that the "pear" shaped pommel present in the last picture (the Dopplehander), appeared at the end of the 13th century. I'm a little confused, as i always thought that this particular kind of pommel was a late medieval / rennaissance style.

Anyway, to further illustrate the kind of pommel i seek the period of origin, i'll post a better image of one.




Thank you very much!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Jan, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't combine side-rings and pear-shaped pommels on a sword pre-1500. The general shape of that pommel (the ones shown above aren't especially accurate) would appear by the early 15th c. but proliferated, especially on German weapons, in the last half of that century. They're very common in their various styles from 1500. Combining these features would, I think, denote a strong German, Austrian or Italian influence of ca. 1500-1525.
-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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Martinho Ramos




Location: Portugal
Joined: 05 Jan 2011

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed 05 Jan, 2011 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I wouldn't combine side-rings and pear-shaped pommels on a sword pre-1500. The general shape of that pommel (the ones shown above aren't especially accurate) would appear by the early 15th c. but proliferated, especially on German weapons, in the last half of that century. They're very common in their various styles from 1500. Combining these features would, I think, denote a strong German, Austrian or Italian influence of ca. 1500-1525.


I see what you mean.

So i guess the side ring guard doubt can be reasoned down to one simple rule, if we have in mind that the Middle Ages only lasted until the end of the 15th century (which is disputable, yet is the "time limit" that i was taught, and the one that makes the most sence to me): side rings in sword guards are not "Medieval", in the sence that they have been first documented post 1500.

Is this too rash of a statement?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Jan, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that's an accurate statement, although other hilt complexities are much older--the knucklebow and "finger rings", at least.
-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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Martinho Ramos




Location: Portugal
Joined: 05 Jan 2011

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu 06 Jan, 2011 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I think that's an accurate statement, although other hilt complexities are much older--the knucklebow and "finger rings", at least.


I believe one of the earliest examples of the finger rings feature in a sword guard would be the Espada Portuguesa, which is a rather unique type of sword that was used by the Portuguese sailors during the discoveries of the African Coast and the mapping of the route to India and Japan. This kind of sword design is first dated to the third quarter of the 15th century, and it's main purpose is to fight in close quarters, most of the time teamed up with a left hand parrying dagger.

Some examples of this type of sword:



In an attachment, i've added a picture of a sketch that represents an earlier sword, with a simpler flat disk pommel.



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