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Shay Roberts





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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2011 10:45 am    Post subject: intriguing sword         Reply with quote

Recently our group was fortunate enough to travel to Europe with Dr. Forgeng on a medieval-themed educational tour. It was a magnificent experience and our profound thanks go out to Dr. Forgeng as well as his esteemed European colleagues, Drs. Geibig and Pfaffenbichler. During this trip we had the rare opportunity to handle period weapons and view both the Kal and Falkner manuscripts!

We haven't processed all the pictures from the tour, but I did pull out some photos of an intriguing longsword I spotted in a case in Neue Berg. It's a schilted sharp with a hand grip at mid-blade. See what you make of it...







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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is that a ricasso halfway up the blade? That would make for a very different style of half-swording... very interesting.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2011 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

According to the sign it's a Federschwert, but it looks awfully acute for it to be used as a practice weapon. I'm guessing the peculiar section in the blade is designed to better facilitate a grip for half sword fighting. From what I can see, it does indeed seem to be a schilted sharp specialized for fighting in harness, with a particularly intriguing pommel shape. Thanks for sharing.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2011 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have a look at this topic: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3053
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 7:30 am    Post subject: Half swording arming swords.         Reply with quote

These are good pics Shay, the thread that Nathan referenced has other examples and good info. as Peter points out in that thread these are subtly shaped blades but of a sort that are probably closer akin to crowbars with sharp edges. Not because they are heavy (though Fiore does give weights and the ones in his description are impressive beyond belief, did a replica of the one with sliding disc a couple of years ago) but in the context of they are used to pry and thrust. All you need is a bit of grab on an edge or under a plate and with the proper leverage you can send your opponent to the ground.

The purpose built grip mid blade speaks to these being weapons designed for the list and one would know exactly what was coming as far as they style of combat anticipated. This is an excellent example and one as Peter stated that might well be an experiment to incorporate the use of the shiel in the design of a combat weapon. They must have found its in use in training an advantage they wanted in a more serious situation ?

Excellent piece and thank you for sharing the pictures I have enjoyed all the pics I have seen so far from teh trip and only wish I could have been along Cry

Be well
Craig
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Shay Roberts





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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 7:57 am    Post subject: Re: Half swording arming swords.         Reply with quote

Craig Johnson wrote:
...a sort that are probably closer akin to crowbars with sharp edges.

Hah, I like that description! Pithy.

Craig Johnson wrote:
The purpose built grip mid blade speaks to these being weapons designed for the list and one would know exactly what was coming as far as they style of combat anticipated.

I believe you're spot-on. Up close, the sword looks to be all business.

Hey, do you think the schilt would have made this blade less prone to breakage? I'm thinking a stiff blade like this would get a lot of force transferred to the base of the blade.

PS: we missed having your unique perspective on this trip. Another time, if the fates are willing!
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That sword certainly looks real and serviceable to me, not made for safe practice.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 4:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig, it says 'sportliches Fechtschwert', not Federschwert. So 'sporting Fight-sword', which seems to be an excellent description. I have always been really into these tournament swords, too bad nobody that I know of makes production replicas of these. I would LOVE to have one. Someday I'll get around to making one.
Shay, what are those markings on the blade? I can not quite make them out. It looks like 'A90' written in nail polish at the base, but below that are some other marks.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a poser: You have here a typical, close fitting and short chappe. I'd say that's meant to make a snug fit over the mouth of the scabbard. But how do you have a scabbard mouth that fits both that chappe AND the thickened grip area of the blade? Confused
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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think the thickened grip is actually thicker than the schilt, but I could be wrong.

Edited for spelling.

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Last edited by Craig Shackleton on Wed 01 Jun, 2011 1:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wondered that, too, but can't tell. It's possible.
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Shay Roberts





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
Shay, what are those markings on the blade? I can not quite make them out. It looks like 'A90' written in nail polish at the base, but below that are some other marks.

The case was dimly lit and the markings were unfamiliar so I couldn't make sense of them. Also, they didn't allow flash photography. I've attached a close-up of the markings...



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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 9:51 am    Post subject: Scabbard         Reply with quote

Hi Guys

I would suspect that this sword may well not have had a scabbard. The form would be a bit strange to meet the demands of the shape and form of the different elements. The sword, if a tournament arm, would not need to be worn at the belt but would be carried to and from the ground by ones servants. The specialized tool aspect of weapons and armor for the list can get overlooked by us today. The average combatant in a tournament would have several options for specialized forms of combat and may even have multiple items for the same form. The idea of a one sword for all situations is very much a modern idea in our heads, not theirs.

The leather guard is there for defensive purposes, is my guess, but then why the shiel? Thus an interesting example that makes one ask why, which is always good, well maybe not always Happy

The grip on this I would expect to be slightly thicker (front to back as we see it in the pictures) then the shiel and guard. Many grips are larger in this dimension than the guards and especially the rib at the bottom would over hang these.

The other interesting feature of this sword is the pommel. The inverted scent stopper shape is one that always intrigued me. Have heard a lot of folks say its a mistake over the years but there are several examples of this and shows an aesthetic that sometimes challenges our conceptions of what a sword should look like.

Best
Craig
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also wondered if it was a composite. That would help explain the chappe. I'm still not convinced of the defensive qualities of these and, as you say, it seems beyond redundant for that purpose.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
But how do you have a scabbard mouth that fits both that chappe AND the thickened grip area of the blade? Confused


I was with Shay on this trip, and I don't believe the thickened area was actually thicker than the base of the blade, though I can't say for certain from memory.

Quote:
I'm still not convinced of the defensive qualities of these and, as you say, it seems beyond redundant for that purpose.


This is actually my #1 reason for not assuming that these chapes are there for defense, or at least not purely for defense. There are a number of fencing treatises from the 15th century that show practice swords with a schilt at the base, but also have a leather chape.

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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Scabbard         Reply with quote

Craig Johnson wrote:

I would suspect that this sword may well not have had a scabbard. The form would be a bit strange to meet the demands of the shape and form of the different elements. The sword, if a tournament arm, would not need to be worn at the belt but would be carried to and from the ground by ones servants. The specialized tool aspect of weapons and armor for the list can get overlooked by us today.


While this might be true for some tournaments, we have multiple surviving tournament books (like the Gladiatoria group) that show the swords being worn at the belt in a scabbard. They don't show this sword, but I've never seen a sword like this in a manuscript. They are tournaments in harness focusing on half-swording, which is what this sword seems to be for.

The reason the scabbard is needed is because the combatants often started with spears, and then switched to sword once their spear was thrown or lost.

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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Scabbard         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:
but I've never seen a sword like this in a manuscript.


Vadi shows a somewhat similar style of weapon, though not exactly the same, for his spada in arme. Also, the '59 edition of Talhoffer has some specialized swords that have a "ball" on the blade to grasp for half-swording. Again, not exactly the same as this, but similar in theory.


Talhoffer, 1459

Quote:
The reason the scabbard is needed is because the combatants often started with spears, and then switched to sword once their spear was thrown or lost.


But you are discussing a judicial duel, though, which is not the same thing as a tournament. Though it is possible that there is overlap.

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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jun, 2011 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always wondered what that ball on the blade of Talhoffer's swords was about, and now i feel dumb. I did know about Vadi's sword as well.He doesn't show it in a scabbard, does he? His is a little different from this, but similar enough that I'm no longer sure why I decided not to mention it. Vadi does show scabbards in his manuscript, but iirc it's only in unarmoured contexts. Clearly Talhoffer's ball would not fit in a scabbard.

I agree that tournament and judicial duels occupy somewhat different area on the Venn diagram of medieval combat. My main point is that we do have evidence for specialized armoured combat focusing on halfsword techniques in similar circumstances where a scabbard is useful, which could explain the scabbard chape on a specialized sword. But you were right to point out the distinction, and I should have as well.

I'm also curious about the pommel on this sword. When I first looked at the pictures, it almost looked like a broken off spike, which would fit with both Vadi and Talhoffer's specialized swords. I'm also curious if this pommel is peened (my second look makes me think it is) or if it might be a threaded pommel, as shown in both Talhoffer and Gladiatoria. I would love to see a physical example of that particular feature.

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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jun, 2011 5:26 am    Post subject: Re: Scabbard         Reply with quote

Ok I was rereading this thread and realized I was commenting on the normal grip and not the mid blade grip in my comment. Sorry if I confused anyone in my own confusion.

Craig Johnson wrote:


The grip on this I would expect to be slightly thicker (front to back as we see it in the pictures) then the shiel and guard. Many grips are larger in this dimension than the guards and especially the rib at the bottom would over hang these.


Not sure if it is the case for the mid blade grip but it could be done.

Best
Craig
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jun, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Spikes and examples         Reply with quote

Fiore does show a sword similar to this blade in his work as well. The fight books have a tendency to show these specialized weapons maxed out on spike usage. i.e. Pommel, guard and often times multiples on the pommel. This seems to be an example that is less lethal on the hilt end than the ones depicted with such additions.

Good point on the pommel possibly being a form that was spiked in some cases and here is not. Though other examples of this pommel type are on swords that would seem to be more general use. It would concentrate the contact point if one was giving a thrust with the pommel.

I have seen tucks that where quite robust that had scabbards and would say that in the context of a judicial duel it would be agreed prior to the action (as it would probably be in a tournament as well) what weapon types where to be used and how. Thus after the throwing of things and thrusting of the spear it may well have been agreed to pick up or be handed swords for the half sword action. I do not have a specific example of this in mind but it would seem to be consistent to the way they detailed the parameters under which such an action would be conducted.

Best
Craig
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