Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search


Please help our efforts with a donation. This site requires ongoing funding and your donations are crucial to our future.
Last 10 Donors: Neil Eddiford, Chad Arnow, Jean Thibodeau, Robert Morgan, Adam Rose, Jerry Otahal, Michael P. Smith, Mikko Kuusirati, Eric Bergeron, Daniel Staberg (View All Donors)

Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Status of Two Handed swords in early 17th century Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
David Bromkovsky




Location: Wheaton, IL
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu 14 Oct, 2004 10:38 pm    Post subject: Status of Two Handed swords in early 17th century         Reply with quote

There's a quote in Milton's "Lycidas" in which a "two-handed engine at the door / Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." It was written in 1638 and I'm wondering if he was intending a two-handed sword, but am unsure if two-handed swords would have been popular or would have been considered as outdated. What exactly was the opinion on two-handed swords and were there any remnants of them still being used that late?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Björn Hellqvist
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Aug 2003

Posts: 723

PostPosted: Thu 14 Oct, 2004 10:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps he meant a musket?

The twohanded sword was outdated by this time, and was carried as a ceremonial weapon. Swords like the claymores could be in use in Scotland, though.

My sword site
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David Bromkovsky




Location: Wheaton, IL
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu 14 Oct, 2004 11:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry about the double post, didn't know how to get rid of the first one.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
David Bromkovsky




Location: Wheaton, IL
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu 14 Oct, 2004 11:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Björn Hellqvist wrote:
Perhaps he meant a musket?

The twohanded sword was outdated by this time, and was carried as a ceremonial weapon. Swords like the claymores could be in use in Scotland, though.


I don't believe that he would have been impling a musket, atleast there is much to suggest it, but you mentioned that ceremonial swords would have been twohanded. Which ceremonies would they have used it in or what were the occasions that a twohanded sword would have been used in a ceremony, i.e. what was the ceremonial function of the swords?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
David McElrea




Location: Canada
Joined: 26 Nov 2003

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2004 3:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Bromkovsky wrote:
Quote:
There's a quote in Milton's "Lycidas" in which a "two-handed engine at the door / Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." It was written in 1638 and I'm wondering if he was intending a two-handed sword, but am unsure if two-handed swords would have been popular or would have been considered as outdated. What exactly was the opinion on two-handed swords and were there any remnants of them still being used that late?


Hi David,

The question you raise is a complex one and has been debated amongst scholars for a long-time.

Some have seen the "two-handed engine" as a sword, others as a winnowing fan, others as a shepherd's staff or sheep hook, and so on.

It should be noted that the language is metaphorical-- as such it could indeed be a two-handed sword (even if they were out of fashion by Milton's time, Milton was certainly aware of them and knightly swords would not have been out of place in his writing), but it might not be...

Some of the debate has even focused on the words "two-handed". In Milton's time, apparently, two-handed could mean either "something which can be grasped with two hands" or "something which accomplishes two different things". As such, for instance, Milton's "two-handed engine" coukd be seen as an agent of both destruction and construction. It is possible, of course; that Milton was using both senses of the term "two-handed". More than once biblical references describe the word of God as a "sword"-- and God's words are ascribed the dual powers of creation and judgment...

I think that you may not be able to get a clear answer to your question-- but I don't think that the date of Milton's writing has much bearing on whether his engine could be a two-handed sword or not

Yours,

David
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Kelty





Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Reading list: 61 books

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Thu 21 Oct, 2004 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

>what was the ceremonial function of the (two-handed) swords?

Parade pieces or set dressing, nothing looks quite as impressive as a long shiny piece of steel... Happy

Most parade pieces (Swords of state, etc.) tend to be exaggerated, more filigree, bigger blades, more ostentatious, in general, they were used to symbolize the power and glory, and need to be as impressive as the figurative wielder.

To wit, there is a WWII collector in Belmont, CA that has a Third Reich Ceremonial/Display Zwiehander. This Monster stands only about 48" tall, but has a blade at least 3.5 inches wide (if not 4), and probably weighs in at about 20 pounds.
It serves no purpose other than to look impressive, and remind you of the strength and power of the SS (Yup, it's got the SS (and Skull?) lightning-bolt motif enameled onto the Guard). It was probably just set dressing for a meeting or stage.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
David Bromkovsky




Location: Wheaton, IL
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu 21 Oct, 2004 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David McElrea wrote:
David Bromkovsky wrote:
Quote:
There's a quote in Milton's "Lycidas" in which a "two-handed engine at the door / Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." It was written in 1638 and I'm wondering if he was intending a two-handed sword, but am unsure if two-handed swords would have been popular or would have been considered as outdated. What exactly was the opinion on two-handed swords and were there any remnants of them still being used that late?


Hi David,

The question you raise is a complex one and has been debated amongst scholars for a long-time.

Some have seen the "two-handed engine" as a sword, others as a winnowing fan, others as a shepherd's staff or sheep hook, and so on.

It should be noted that the language is metaphorical-- as such it could indeed be a two-handed sword (even if they were out of fashion by Milton's time, Milton was certainly aware of them and knightly swords would not have been out of place in his writing), but it might not be...

Some of the debate has even focused on the words "two-handed". In Milton's time, apparently, two-handed could mean either "something which can be grasped with two hands" or "something which accomplishes two different things". As such, for instance, Milton's "two-handed engine" coukd be seen as an agent of both destruction and construction. It is possible, of course; that Milton was using both senses of the term "two-handed". More than once biblical references describe the word of God as a "sword"-- and God's words are ascribed the dual powers of creation and judgment...

I think that you may not be able to get a clear answer to your question-- but I don't think that the date of Milton's writing has much bearing on whether his engine could be a two-handed sword or not

Yours,

David


Your quite right, I came across about 25 differing interpretations, all with some validity, and wondered whether a double handed sword really had any validity. I don't think there is enough to justify a clear answer, but it would make sense that Milton might be impling the sword due to the significance of the sword representing the word of Christ or the gosple. It is quite interesting though the extent people have taken these two words and where they end up! Thanks for the help.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Status of Two Handed swords in early 17th century
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum