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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 772

PostPosted: Sat 13 Aug, 2011 4:15 pm    Post subject: A Slash from the Past, Greek-style         Reply with quote

Not the distant past, but distant enough....

I don't know why it is, but Ancient Greek swords are not very well represented in the reproduction market. The only really decent ones are pretty strictly a custom proposition. There just is not a lot of choice out there for wannabe Hoplites. Those Romans have a much better selection of arms currently available on the production front, but hey, if you're Greek, you know those Romans are johnny-come-latelies and you're the guys with a real culture (no offense meant to any Romans out there, please do not crucify me). So, if you're on a budget, you have to make do with what you can find. Which isn't much.
Yes, I know Windlass makes some vaguely Greek-ish swords. They are said to be decent, in terms of handling and performance. But let's be honest, Windlass doesn't really have much of a reputation for historical accuracy in it's line of ancient-world swords. Their current Greek Hoplite sword might be a nice short sword, but it doesn't resemble anything that might be considered a true "xiphos" (or double-edged Hoplite-type sword). The sad thing is that, once, Windlass made a sword that, while still not quite accurate, was a better representation of a 5th century BC Hoplite sword than the Greek sword they currently sell. In fact, it was probably the most accurate xiphos made in the sub-$300 range (well, there's the Deepeeka iron-hilted "Trojan" sword, but let's not go there). As accurate as it was, Windlass quickly stopped making it. Therefore, it is a rather rare beast these days, and seems to be sought after by several folks. I know it was sought after by me; I actually have been on the lookout for one of these swords for some years, with no luck.

Well, a fellow myArmoury member, Jean Pierre Francoeur, is selling of several swords from his collection. He has some nice production swords for sale. Anyway, I chanced upon his post in the Marketplace forum here. I took a glance through his post to see what he had, just for the heck of it, when I noticed it. I took a chance and went for it. And now, after years of searching, a Windlass hoplite xiphos is here!

And what do I think of it, now that I have it? Well, it is certainly blade heavy! But then other reviewers noted that before, so it was no surprise. Windlass listed the weight as 2 lb, 4 oz, while mine is 2lbz 8 oz (2.5 lbs), heavier than it should be, but not too grossly overweight (certainly better than the above mentioned Deepeeka...). It's definitely a hacker/slasher type sword. The blade itself is attractive, and looks to be accurate in shape.

As mentioned, it's not entirely accurate. The hilt is highly simplified over an original, which would have been based on a full-profile tang and a "sandwiched" construction, rather than assembled on a standard tang as this sword is. Plus, I don't know if the full-length midrib is all that accurate either, as most recovered xiphoi don't seem to feature one (I believe the Campolovano sword has a mid-rib, but it's not full length). Still, in profile, it comes closer to the originals than anything else currently out there.....

And the scabbard? Well.... it's a scabbard. 'Nuf said.

Anyway, I'm glad I finally found one. I didn't think I would. Didn't really need one either, as I do already have a much more accurate hoplite sword in my collection. But I like this sword, so I'll keep it for now. Wink

And that's the story of my new souvlaki chopper. A shout out to Jean Pierre, who kept such good care of this sword. Dealing with him was great and no hassle, and shipping from Toronto to my place on the US west coast was quick. And a shout out to the Marketplace forum, lots of good deals to be had there! Jean Pierre still has some interesting swords available, if you're looking (no more Windlass Xiphoi, sadly for you)....



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David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,429

PostPosted: Sat 13 Aug, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

that full length midrib seems to give the tip A LOT of punch id imagine, ive seen saxon spears witha similar midrib. and it was commented that they were more than capable of piercing armour.

very nice once again
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Jonah Marlow




Location: united states
Joined: 09 Aug 2010
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Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sat 13 Aug, 2011 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let's hope one day Albion will make a xiphos. That is probably number one on my wish list for Albion to make Big Grin
Jonah Marlow
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W. Knight




Location: United States
Joined: 30 Jul 2011
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Posts: 86

PostPosted: Sat 13 Aug, 2011 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are you aware of Scorpion Swords? http://traditionalarcherybows.com/ This company, though most are a slight bit above the $300 mark, makes some excellent quality swords. The only greek sword I have is the "Eye of the Gorgon" sword from Scorpion swords. I'm not really that into Greek stuff, but I just wanted to have one. Judging by this one, they are some stout little swords. Kult of Athena keeps many in stock, but there is a much better selection direct from the maker (at the website above) plus I think they do some custom work as well.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,429

PostPosted: Sat 13 Aug, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and there is also manning imperial. however they are fairly expensive. sword and scabbard coming out at about....1500 dollars australian http://manningimperial.com/list.php?category_id=14&group_id=1 he has the xiphos in 14 18 and 24 inch blade lengths. whats the proper historical length for the xiphos anyway?
heres the cost rundown for the 14 inch blade. the cost is round about the same for all 3 lengths
Description
Short Xiphos 14 inch blade with hollow pommel.
Hilt composed of bone and iron slabs.
$835
Leather covered wooden scabbard with bronze or brass throat and chape $675
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Jean-Pierre Francoeur




Location: Toronto
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun 14 Aug, 2011 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WOW nice balde ;-). Glade you are happy with it.
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 772

PostPosted: Sun 14 Aug, 2011 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

W. Knight wrote:
Are you aware of Scorpion Swords? http://traditionalarcherybows.com/ This company, though most are a slight bit above the $300 mark, makes some excellent quality swords. The only greek sword I have is the "Eye of the Gorgon" sword from Scorpion swords. I'm not really that into Greek stuff, but I just wanted to have one. Judging by this one, they are some stout little swords. Kult of Athena keeps many in stock, but there is a much better selection direct from the maker (at the website above) plus I think they do some custom work as well.


Yes, these are a budget-level option, though not totally accurate either (I will say that the "full tang" construction is historically accurate, and somehow Scorpion is the only place that makes them this way on the cheap (other than the Deepeeka "trojan". But lets not go there)). As noted, they are stout swords, and heavy. But they are tough and durable!

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 772

PostPosted: Sun 14 Aug, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
and there is also manning imperial. however they are fairly expensive. sword and scabbard coming out at about....1500 dollars australian http://manningimperial.com/list.php?category_id=14&group_id=1 he has the xiphos in 14 18 and 24 inch blade lengths. whats the proper historical length for the xiphos anyway?
heres the cost rundown for the 14 inch blade. the cost is round about the same for all 3 lengths
Description
Short Xiphos 14 inch blade with hollow pommel.
Hilt composed of bone and iron slabs.
$835
Leather covered wooden scabbard with bronze or brass throat and chape $675


Certainly aware of the Manning Imperial swords, in fact I have a 24-inch xiphos on order... Cool
But Manning Imperial is a custom shop, and although their prices are very good, they're still a bit more than "budget" level, so I didn't count them.
An Albion xiphos would fill the need for a qualitative production-made Greek hoplite sword, but would also not be cheap! But it would be worth the price, anyway!

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,429

PostPosted: Mon 15 Aug, 2011 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
William P wrote:
and there is also manning imperial. however they are fairly expensive. sword and scabbard coming out at about....1500 dollars australian http://manningimperial.com/list.php?category_id=14&group_id=1 he has the xiphos in 14 18 and 24 inch blade lengths. whats the proper historical length for the xiphos anyway?
heres the cost rundown for the 14 inch blade. the cost is round about the same for all 3 lengths
Description
Short Xiphos 14 inch blade with hollow pommel.
Hilt composed of bone and iron slabs.
$835
Leather covered wooden scabbard with bronze or brass throat and chape $675


Certainly aware of the Manning Imperial swords, in fact I have a 24-inch xiphos on order... Cool
But Manning Imperial is a custom shop, and although their prices are very good, they're still a bit more than "budget" level, so I didn't count them.
An Albion xiphos would fill the need for a qualitative production-made Greek hoplite sword, but would also not be cheap! But it would be worth the price, anyway!

trust me i know.. i was going to bu a spangenhelm from craig at manning imperial. but it was abit much for my budget. i baulked when i saw how much the SCABBARD for the xiphos was. it almost costs more than their basic level viking sword the 3 lobed pommel sword

is 24 inches the historical lngth for these swords? or was it shorter
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,278

PostPosted: Mon 15 Aug, 2011 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
is 24 inches the historical lngth for these swords? or was it shorter


Strictly speaking, "xiphos" just means "sword", so it's not necessarily specific to one style. It tends to be applied to the short Spartan sword that came into use in the Peloponnesian War era (and was widely copied by other cities as well), but could also mean the typical longer hoplite sword.

Surviving examples of the hoplite swords can be as long as 27 inches in the blade, though we tend to think of 2 feet as being common. There aren't any published examples of the Spartan short sword that I'm aware of, but judging by artwork we can guess at a blade length of anywhere from 12 to 18 inches.

Matthew
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 15 Aug, 2011 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All we really know is that Greek writers reckon that the Spartan blade was shorter than the blades that these writers were used to. When this is combined with what we know about those other blades, and contemporary artwork depicting Spartans, a reasonable length for a Spartan sword might be, as Matt said, 12-18 inches.
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 772

PostPosted: Mon 15 Aug, 2011 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And later Hoplite-style swords, based on the Vergina finds (From the time of Phillip and Alexander) are usually much shorter than the earlier ones, being about 16 to 18 inches in blade length (these aren't the Spartan swords, although they're close in size).
David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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