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Cornelis Tromp




Location: Holland
Joined: 03 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 12:24 pm    Post subject: the lost oakeshott sword         Reply with quote

almost every student of the medieval sword knows this sword, but I think nobody ever saw a picture of it.
So here is the "primeur".
It is the sword that made a big impression on the former art student Ewart Oakeshott, long before he made his classification of the medieval sword, who made a truthful sketch of it and saved it for at least 65 years. This was in 1935 when the sword was auctioned at Sothebys.

Oakeshott has later published his sketch in several books and articles for its enormous size and rarity.
first in records of the medieval sword as a type XIII.4 and later in an article, fire or triumph in Gun Report Magazine / sword in hand, and article about an unusually large size sword, as the correct type XIIIb.
(swords of this size should really deserve their own classification)
In his life studying the medieval sword Ewart Oakeshott encountered only 3 other swords of this heroic dimension, only two which are of the Same date as the above discussed.(the third is a later 1325 Type XIV in the Metropolitan Museum in NY.

The first is a well known Enormous sword in the Musee de l'Armee, the second one is a less known huge type XIA, in a private collection, the Pontirolo sword. The third is a 200 year later type XIV in the metropolitan dated (1325).

The sword has 2 very old nails hammered through the blade just under the cross, so after its working life it has hung somewhere as a symbol, maybe in a church.



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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! What a beast! The pommel is so thin, although I suppose it would have to be due to its size. Thank you for sharing these photos! I assume that this is now in your (rather impressive) collection? If so, would additional pics be available? I would love to see the hilt a little closer and from some angles. Thank you again! Way to go Cornelis! Woot! Woot!
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wonderful!

Thank you so much for showing this.

My mind mind is bursting with questions.
Such a great sword.
Great to see an unusual type well represented like this.


I know a sword in Uppsala that is similar in some ways, although it is broken:



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The top one, together with two others to show size and proportions.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject: Thank you guys         Reply with quote

Thank you Cornelis,

So interesting to see the pictures. It is very impressive. I have looked at Ewart's sketch so many times and wondered where that sword was. It is exciting to see it has survived and is well loved and cared for. It would make him quite happy.

I remember him describing this sword and how impressed he was by its dimensions and form.

Like Peter, oh so many thoughts and questions Happy Thank you for sharing.

Craig
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What a treat to see this. Like the others, I'd love to see more photos of the piece. I'm particularly intrigued to see some insight into the the the pommel and blade's cross-sections.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fascinating sword! Could we get some basic stuff like length, blade length, weight?
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John Coris




Location: European Union
Joined: 11 Feb 2011

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Impressive.

According to the book, the blade length is 83.8 cm, the rest of the measurements I 'd like to know as well.

Always excel and stay superior of others. (Homer - Iliad)
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm with John on this; we need more stats! Laughing Out Loud
Looks like I've got another commission to get made Wink

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Impressive and this could start an " arms race " among collectors and makers to make the first interpretation of it based on some verified dimensions and weight, although one could trust some of the better makers to guess at reasonable dimensions producing a good handling sword, but it would be more interesting accurately reproducing the handling of the real sword and then deal with any surprises contradicting our assumptions about sword presence.

These giant swords may have been rare for a variety of reasons:

A) Only the very strong could use one effectively for any extended fight. ( Endurance might be more critical than strength since recovery from a blow when tired would be the problem because someone strong could make it work for him for a few minutes).

B) As like today some people in period might have commissioned a giant sword for the " mine is bigger " reason to impress and intimidate but might find it too much when actually having to fight with it.

C) Making a good sword of this size and making it good handling needed a master sword maker because mediocre makers would make a visually impressive sword but might miss the subtleties needed to make it a good idea to use one in battle and expect to survive. Wink Laughing Out Loud

D) War swords evolved to become longer in handle and blade but this kind of sword may have been a dead end alternate idea of just making a more powerful sword that lost to the advantages of a longsword in reach and twohanded use for the same increase in weight. Question

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Matthew Stagmer
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2011 10:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks so much for sharing this.

From the information that we have so far here is my first shot at getting some dimensions. (Scale seen here in Inches)


http://baltimoreknife.com/images/Oakeshott/missingoak1b.JPG


http://baltimoreknife.com/images/Oakeshott/missingoak1c.JPG


http://baltimoreknife.com/images/Oakeshott/missingoak1d.JPG

(dimensions are in Inches)

They are at least pretty close. The fuller may travel a tad longer then I have sketched.

I would love to know the blade thickness and overall weight. Maybe even a POB.

Matthew Stagmer
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Matt, if it's not too much to ask, could one get a Metric version of those schematics?
...
So this sword is of late 13th, early 14th (I don't know the Roman Numeral for 'em) Century origins?
Is there any iconography with this sort of in it? As i'd be interested in seeing it "in context".

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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a grea big honkin man sword for sure. Thank you for posting the pictures of it Cornelis. I would also be interested in seeing what the measurements on this sword are as well. I also agree that iti is great to see that the sword that first sparcked Ewart's interest is still around.

Scott

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John Coris




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For a metric conversion multiply inches by 2,54 and there are your centimeters!
Always excel and stay superior of others. (Homer - Iliad)
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Matthew Stagmer
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a big day ahead of me getting ready for a show that I am doing this weekend or I would convert them for you. I can do that maybe this evening or when I get a break. Trust me, if I didnt have a show I would work on this project but I dont have the time.

Dont forget that google does conversions. Just type like this: "33 inches is how many cm" and it converts it right there for you.

Matthew Stagmer
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bookmark this online conversion tool:

http://www.onlineconversion.com/length_common.htm

Also, you can get a simple digital caliper that switches between English and Metric systems at the push of a button, so you can convert instantly.

-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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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's pretty neat Mathew,

Thanks for putting that together!
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2011 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, sweet, cheers guys Big Grin
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Nostro Titus
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing this with us, Cornelis. I have also hoped to one day hear about this sword as I felt the sketch in the book did not quite convey the true proportions (or let's say I was a bit skeptical until your post pleasantly proved me wrong).
I also have a list of questions and am eagerly awaiting the statistics.
I have devoted a lot of work on researching various methods of pommel construction, especially the rather flat disc pommels and will be sending questions along those lines your way soon.

Keep well
Nostro

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D. Bell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2011 1:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the photos Cornelis, It is certainly an interesting sword, and it's nice to see more of it than a sketch.

On the topic of the Musée de l'Armée that was mentioned, it looks like Oakeshott may have got his numbers wrong. In Records of the Medieval Sword he gives it a blade length of 39 inches (98 cm) putting it squarely in the heroic range, and the illustrations with it and other swords to scale suggest he thought that was correct. However Swords of the Viking Age lists the blade length at a somewhat more typical 72 cm (29 inches), and judging from the photo Cornelis posted that looks somewhat more believable so I'd have to hazard a guess that a simple typo has elevated it from unusually broad to heroically large in the minds of many people.

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Cornelis Tromp




Location: Holland
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Mar, 2011 12:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yes you are probably right!

about the scale proportions of oakeshott between the big swords.

an example is the leftmost sword nr A in the museum in Paris on the sketch of which Oakeshott says the swords are drawn to the same scale.
in records of the medieval sword the blade length of this sword given by Oakeshott is 39" 99cm (p230)
in Oakeshott publication Fire of Triumph, Oakeshott gives a blade length for this sword of 42" 106cm (sword in hand p82)
in swords of the viking age by Ian Pierce the blade length given for this sword is 72cm en all over length 85cm. this is probably right.
so in the drawn to the same scale page (see attachement)this sword should be 20cm shorter as the sword under discussion but in the drawing it is larger.

about the scale proportion of one single sword in a sketch.

of course every sketch is made ​​by hand and should or can never be used to check dimensions. This is scientifically inaccurate because it is not a technical drawing which are in exact proportion.
the Paris sword has a cross of 19.9cm and a blade of 72cm, meaning 1:3.6 (3.6x19,9=72cm)
in the sketch of Oakeshott the relation of the cross to the blade is 1:5.6, meaning with a cross of 19.9cm the blade of the sword should be 111cm, this is 39cm above the real measurement of 72cm.



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