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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 4:34 am    Post subject: 15th Century Type XIIIA Questions?         Reply with quote

Anyone know why XIIIA type swords became popular again in the later part of the 15th Century? I haven't been able to find any reasons in my Oakeshotte books to explain this trend. Maybe I just missed it. Also does anyone have any pictures of 15th Century XIIIAs other than the one A&A labeled as the "Bohemian Broadsword"? It would seem to me that pommels and guards would follow the stylistic trends of the 15th Century but I haven't been able to find any other good examples of 15th Century XIIIAs. Can anyone help me out here?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would assume that the types resurgance in popularity had to do with the lack of body armor on the battlefield. Remember, it's been estimated that less than 10% of the combatants on a medieval battlefield wore fully developed suits of armor. Everyone else was either lightly armored or not armored at all. Consequently a sword of this type would have still been effective in the late middle ages. We also have to remember that, since old blades were routinely re-hilted, many old blades from earlier periods were still in active use long after they were considered state of the art. So in the end we may not be looking at a resurgance but rather a maintained presence.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I would assume that the types resurgance in popularity had to do with the lack of body armor on the battlefield. Remember, it's been estimated that less than 10% of the combatants on a medieval battlefield wore fully developed suits of armor. Everyone else was either lightly armored or not armored at all. Consequently a sword of this type would have still been effective in the late middle ages. We also have to remember that, since old blades were routinely re-hilted, many old blades from earlier periods were still in active use long after they were considered state of the art. So in the end we may not be looking at a resurgance but rather a maintained presence.


Many older blades where re-hilted so you are probably right. However given that less than 10% of combatants on a medieval battlefield wore fully developed suits of armor you could actually make an argument that almost all swords maintainted a presence through out the middle ages.

Oakeshott seems to go out of his way to mention the resurgance of the XIIIa in popularity during the 15th Century but I don't seem to be able to find many examples of the swords nor any reason as to why he would say that. However, the resurgance of the XIIIa seems to correspond to the popularity of type XX swords. Both swords seem to have similar characteristics.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Many older blades where re-hilted so you are probably right. However given that less than 10% of combatants on a medieval battlefield wore fully developed suits of armor you could actually make an argument that almost all swords maintainted a presence through out the middle ages. "

Very true, and a good point to boot. This is why it's difficult to form a concrete catagorization of sword types in terms of date an chronology. This is also why any typology is of limited value, be it Oakeshott or any other. They should only be used as a broad reference not as an iconic source of information.

I don't really feel that the XIIIa and the XX share that many similarities other than being H&H type swords. I don't really think that Oakeshott went out of his way to poin out a resurgance of the XIIIa either, at least not in the respect that he was trying to make a specific point on the subject.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
"Many older blades where re-hilted so you are probably right. However given that less than 10% of combatants on a medieval battlefield wore fully developed suits of armor you could actually make an argument that almost all swords maintainted a presence through out the middle ages. "

Very true, and a good point to boot. This is why it's difficult to form a concrete catagorization of sword types in terms of date an chronology. This is also why any typology is of limited value, be it Oakeshott or any other. They should only be used as a broad reference not as an iconic source of information.

I don't really feel that the XIIIa and the XX share that many similarities other than being H&H type swords. I don't really think that Oakeshott went out of his way to poin out a resurgance of the XIIIa either, at least not in the respect that he was trying to make a specific point on the subject.


Not disagree with either one of you, but this is likely what Jason was referring too........

"No.6 is in the same kind of condition, and is a very good example of the revival in popular useage of XIIIa's at the very end of the 15th century"....... "Records of the Medieval Sword, pg 101, on XIIIa.6, Ewart Oakeshott............

swords are fun
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
"Many older blades where re-hilted so you are probably right. However given that less than 10% of combatants on a medieval battlefield wore fully developed suits of armor you could actually make an argument that almost all swords maintainted a presence through out the middle ages. "

Very true, and a good point to boot. This is why it's difficult to form a concrete catagorization of sword types in terms of date an chronology. This is also why any typology is of limited value, be it Oakeshott or any other. They should only be used as a broad reference not as an iconic source of information.

I don't really feel that the XIIIa and the XX share that many similarities other than being H&H type swords. I don't really think that Oakeshott went out of his way to poin out a resurgance of the XIIIa either, at least not in the respect that he was trying to make a specific point on the subject.


Not disagree with either one of you, but this is likely what Jason was referring too........

"No.6 is in the same kind of condition, and is a very good example of the revival in popular useage of XIIIa's at the very end of the 15th century"....... "Records of the Medieval Sword, pg 101, on XIIIa.6, Ewart Oakeshott............


Yes, I know. This is why I was pointing out that one single comment made by Mr. O doesn't neccesarily indicate that he was "going out of his way" to indicate a trend or significant development. He may have seen other swords of this type in private collections, or at auction, that showed a similar style so he felt it was worth mentioning. Hard to say.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:


"No.6 is in the same kind of condition, and is a very good example of the revival in popular useage of XIIIa's at the very end of the 15th century"....... "Records of the Medieval Sword, pg 101, on XIIIa.6, Ewart Oakeshott............


Actually that was the exact quote that I was thinking of. Oakeshott says the same thing in "Sword in Hand" P.134 . . . "During the second half of the 15th century, the old-fashioned Type XIIIA of the 13th Century came back into use."

I'm sure Patrick is right about the the qualities of XIIIAs and XXs. I was thinking superficially/visually. . . hand & half, fullered, "big" swords, seemingly cut oriented over thrust. Oakeshott does mention that, "some of these swords are war-swords, a sort of late development of Type XIIIa."
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:

Yes, I know. This is why I was pointing out that one single comment made by Mr. O doesn't neccesarily indicate that he was "going out of his way" to indicate a trend or significant development. He may have seen other swords of this type in private collections, or at auction, that showed a similar style so he felt it was worth mentioning. Hard to say.


I guess "going out of his way" was too strong of a statement. I didn't mean to imply that it was a significant development. More of an interesting side note or trend. . . one that was significant enough to at least mention.
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