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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Thu 17 Feb, 2011 3:47 am    Post subject: Swords in Codex Manesse         Reply with quote

I must confess that I feel a certain affinity for some of the swords appearing in the Codex Manesse manuscript, from the close of the 13th/start of the 14th C. At the moment, I'm not planning on having one reproduced, but they still hold a certain attraction for me just the same.

My question is, how would you have them realized if you were going to recreate one? The pommels appear to be Oakeshotte Type Rs, with a guard shape that doesn't seem to nicely fit into Oakeshott's typology. But what about the blade? In many of the images from the manuscripts, the blades appear to be quite short. Would you make them as a Type XII? Or perhaps a Type XIV? In some of the pictures in the manuscript, it seems like even XIIIb would be appropriate.

What do you think?

Also, are there any surviving examples that are fairly similar to these? Obviously, the original sword the Tritonia is based off of comes to mind, but the blade and the guard seem to be significantly different from the swords pictured here.

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Artis Aboltins

PostPosted: Thu 17 Feb, 2011 4:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of the images look that way that it would appear that the blades are diamond-shaped instead of fullered, which does seems a bit odd for the time period, although it might be just the way artist drew fullers...
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Julien M

Location: Austin TX
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Thu 17 Feb, 2011 5:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig ,

I would definitely vote for a type XIV:

the profile is definitely not featuring parallel edges, but a broad blade below the hilt tapering towards the point
fuellered two third down the blade
overall lenght seem to fit the type XIV profile.
cross with quillons bent towards the blade

Many of the sword considered as type XIV featured in the Maciejowski Bible were illustrated in a very similar way (often showing a rounded point too).

Just my 2 cents!


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J. E. Hyväri

Location: Finland
Joined: 17 Feb 2011

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu 17 Feb, 2011 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would have to agree with Julien M, though the Oakeshot XII 15 has a strong resemblance also. The fuller was mostly wery narrow at this point so, I´d expect that to fall into artistic license, like Artis allready pointed out. Also notice that the central line does not go all the way to the tip of the blade, wich also suggests this is a fuller.

What is curious is the uniformity of swords in the Codex Manesse. This must have been a wery fashionable piece at the time and place where the artist lived while working on the illustrations. It is a pity that the later illustrations in the same book only depict one sword (that I could find anyway), and that one is rather schematic.

What is also curious, is how these rather short looking swords are repeatedly shown to bash a great helm open and that they are used whith both hands. Do you think these actions could be achieved, with given swords? Of course you can fit a nother hand on top of your hand holding even a narrow one hand hilt, but in my experience that does not increase neither strength or the accuracy of the blade and does not seem wery fruitful. The artist is surely depicting the ideal of the day, but does not necessarily understand anything about swords or fighting. It may be he has not even given a second thought to the swords, not more than that his intended audience, wich includes the knightly professionals, agree them to look like swords enough.

"Let's face it. This isn't the worst thing you've caught me doing..." Tony Stark
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