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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Apr, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject: Albion Crecy: Not a true type XVIA?         Reply with quote

On page 2 of the featured article Ewart Oakeshott: The Man and his Legacy, notes that the XVI blades have a flattened diamond cross section, while the XVIA's have a hexagonal cross section. The featured article by Chad Arnow on XVI's says the same. And I quote:

"As with many blade-forms, there is a hand and a half version, with a longer grip and longer blade. These swords, classified as Type XVIa, have blades with a shorter fuller and a flat hexagonal cross-section rather than a diamond cross-section."

The review on the Crecy says this:

"The blade's fuller is cleanly done and terminates nicely about halfway down the blade. The rest of the blade is of a well-defined diamond cross-section."

I notice that he says that the cross section is a flattened diamond only after the fuller. For those of you that own the sword (or that otherwise know) is it a hexagonal or flattened diamond cross section from the cross to the end of the fuller? Is the Crecy (marked by Albion as an XVIA) a true XVIA?

Thanks in advance for your comments and expert advice!

Eric Gregersen
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Apr, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I may be daft, but, as long as there is a fuller, how can you distinguish a hexagonal cross-section from a flattened diamond cross-section? I mean the central ridge which defines a diamond cross-section can't be there (unless the fuller is off-centred that is but let's not get into that).
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Apr, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G.,

Thanks for bringing that up. I considered that before I posted the comment. I asked the question regardless for three reasons:

1) the part of the blade that does not have a fuller still has a flattened diamond cross-section. Nowhere (that I know of at least) is there a description of a XVIa whose blade transitions from hexagonal to flattened diamond.
2) If you look at the featured article on XVI's you will see that the description for XVIa.1 says that it has a fuller with a hexagonal cross section over the full length of the blade.
3) I figured that the flat of the blade which bears the distinction of hexagonal would be wider than the not-very-wide fuller on the Crecy.

Does that all make sense? So I think that it is still a valid question, right? Unless I am daft myself ... ;-)

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Abe Zettek




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Apr, 2011 11:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe a picture can answer this question the best:



There is a hexagonal section from the hilt to just past the end of the fuller, where the blade then transitions to a flattened diamond cross section.

As Simon points out, it would normally be hard to tell what the section was where a fuller now sits, but in this case, it would not make sense if there was anything but a hexagonal section all the way to the guard. To add evidence to this, there is a narrow, flat area (1mm) either side of the entire length of the fuller, which should not/could not(?) be present if the section was diamond. Maybe this is variation in the milling of my particular Crecy, but it fits with what can be seen in the area just past the end of the fuller.

It would be good to know what others think - is the Crecy more of a XVIa/XVII, or are there examples of XVIa's with this short hexagonal section before the diamond section?
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Abe Zettek wrote:
There is a hexagonal section from the hilt to just past the end of the fuller, where the blade then transitions to a flattened diamond cross section.

As Simon points out, it would normally be hard to tell what the section was where a fuller now sits, but in this case, it would not make sense if there was anything but a hexagonal section all the way to the guard. To add evidence to this, there is a narrow, flat area (1mm) either side of the entire length of the fuller, which should not/could not(?) be present if the section was diamond. Maybe this is variation in the milling of my particular Crecy, but it fits with what can be seen in the area just past the end of the fuller.

It would be good to know what others think - is the Crecy more of a XVIa/XVII, or are there examples of XVIa's with this short hexagonal section before the diamond section?


Thank you!

I think you hit the nail on the head. The picture was very helpful. I don't think that there's a picture on Albion's website that details that section of the blade as well as the one you provided did.

Also, yes, I would be interested to see if there are many more examples of XVIa's with a transitional cross section like this. =)

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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know if this detail was common in historical examples of that period (I'm more familiar with earlier types) but my guess was that this was an aesthetic choice. An abrupt transition from a fuller to a diamond shape section results in a 'bump' when the blade is viewed edge-on. Personally I don't like the way such a bump looks.

Conversely this abrupt transition is present in a number of replicas types that definitely should not have such a bump (such as XI, XII), even from some respected companies. Albion is very good in that department.

I understand the fun of analyzing such details, but I wouldn't be too hard on Albion for this particular choice, even if it does not represent the common type for that period. 'True types' only exist in idealized typologies - most medieval swords vary from the Oakeshott's in one way or another.
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Zac Evans




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
'True types' only exist in idealized typologies - most medieval swords vary from the Oakeshott's in one way or another.


This. I see his types as a study, not an exhaustive encyclopedia of all known, or possible swords.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hope that Peter Johnsson, the designer of this Albion model, weighs in here. I'm sure that he would have interesting things to say
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Reading our Oakeshott article in its entirety discusses the intent of the system of typology and explains how it was intended to be used.

The typology was not created as a system in which a sword is boxed into tidy little groups. Instead, the system merely provides a vocabulary that can be used to describe a sword. Its purpose is not to provide segmentation but to provide context.

A quote from the article:

Quote:
"For some, this system may seem limiting, as many examples do not neatly fit into these categories. When viewed from Oakeshott's perspective, however, this is how the system is to be used. The typologies are not meant to pigeon-hole a sword into a particular group, but rather to provide a descriptive framework for generalized groups of swords."

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Abe Zettek




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 4:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I was thinking about this last night, what you have all said was in my mind - that this is probably just another example of how typologies are merely a guide to the great variation of that which exists in reality.
Also, not meaning to be hard on Albion at all (big fan)! I'm just genuinely interested in what other people think of this sword and how it 'fits' into the Oakeshott typology, based on his differing criteria for blade types.
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Apr, 2011 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
I hope that Peter Johnsson, the designer of this Albion model, weighs in here. I'm sure that he would have interesting things to say


Yes! That would be very interesting. Perhaps someone with connections should PM him and let him know ;-)

I actually ordered the Crecy (my first Albion sword) a few days before posting this question. I have been paying keen attention to reviews and miscellaneous comments about Albion's swords for the past few months. It was a tough decision, but I am very excited for this sword to come. I am most definitely not trying to be critical of Albion - I fully recognize their awesomeness.

And Nathan,

Thanks for sharing. I know that Oakeshott's typology isn't super rigid. If Albion/Peter says that it is a type XVIa, who am I to argue? I mostly started the post to get some feedback from my fellows.

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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 9:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:

Reading our Oakeshott article in its entirety discusses the intent of the system of typology and explains how it was intended to be used.

The typology was not created as a system in which a sword is boxed into tidy little groups. Instead, the system merely provides a vocabulary that can be used to describe a sword. Its purpose is not to provide segmentation but to provide context.


Indeed. Reading the introduction to Records of the Medieval Sword is also very enlightening in this regard.

We probably love typologies too much... And perhaps there should be other ones than Oakeshott's out there (for medieval european swords, I mean).

Anyhow, I don't think the choice of having a short flat section in the transition from fuller to diamond section can decide whether or not a sword belongs in a type. This is an aesthetic choice any medieval craftsman could have made, and he wouldn't have thought "oh no, now my sword won't be a type LXb" (or even "hmm, this will radically change the handling/use/looks of the blade", because it does not...). I'm sure Peter Johnsson found this "trick" on some originals, too...
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 9:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:
We probably love typologies too much... And perhaps there should be other ones than Oakeshott's out there (for medieval european swords, I mean).


There are, and we've even written a couple articles in our Featured Articles section about them. The Oakeshott article discusses some of this as well.

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Jrg W.




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's funny that i started to wonder about that same question yesterday too, although i have my Crecy on the wall for years. I also wondered why Albion still only has one sword marked as XVIa.

Oakeshotts writes in the Records:
"It is broad enough, and flat enough in section, to provide an efficient cutting edge, but the lower part below the end of the fuller is nearly always of a stiff flattened-diamond section with a strong median ridge, making it suitable for trusting. Not all have this ridged lower blade, which makes it very difficult if not sometimes impossible to distinguish whether such a blade is a XVI, or in fact a XIV; No. XVIa.1 in this group is a case in point, its lower blade tapers strongly, though it is flat, but it has a very stout diamond-section reinforced point."

As usual the longer swords of a type are marked with "a", but he actually doesn't say anything specific about differences in blade shape between XVI and XVIa, at least not in this book. Although i wonder why he uses sword XVIa.1 as first example of this group and maybe even for the sword type sketch.
About XVIa.1 Oakeshotts says: "The section of the blade is very stout, hexagonal, with a deep and well-marked fuller running just over half-way to the point, which is strongly reinforced."
The blade of XVIa.3 is hexagonal, XVIa.4 can be compared to XVI.1 (which is not hexagonal) and XVIa.5 has a short narrow fuller with a distinct rib in the lower half of the blade.

So in conclusion I think the function and general outline of the blade is more important for Oakeshotts typology while some details can differ a lot. I only have the Records as source, but id say the featured article here might be not correct when saying that in general the XVIa has a hexagonal cross-section. I'm happy to hear more opinions.
From what I know Id consider the Albion Crecy as XVIa, too. Mine has a lenticular cross-section at the first half of the blade and only a small hexagonal part where the fuller fades towards the tip (similar to the photo above).
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Apr, 2011 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:

There are, and we've even written a couple articles in our Featured Articles section about them. The Oakeshott article discusses some of this as well.


Thanks, Nathan, I didn't know about the Bruhn-Hoffmeyer typology, although it doesn't seem interesting for anything else than what Oakeshott called "families" (pommel-guard combinations + sometimes blade characteristics)... and more geared towards originals (taking into account places of origin, etc.) I also notice it is older than Oakeshott's, and it looks like he repeated/integrated most of the info. Regarding the description of blade characteristics, is there any "competitor" to Oakeshott's typology?

(PS : perhaps I wasn't clear on this, but I meant my observation outside the particular spot of Viking swords covered by Petersen and then Geibig).

Best,

Simon
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