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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan, 2012 12:33 am    Post subject: history of the warhammer         Reply with quote

the mace and the flail are pretty ancient weapons particularly the mace, where dedicated war maces date back at least to the caananites and ancient egyptians made first of stone, then of copper and bronze

but the warhammer seems to be a weapon that popped onto the scene seemingly out of the blue.

does anyone have much of an idea how the humble hammer, became the famous bec de corbain, warhammer, or lucrene hammer. whatever you want to call it.

my knowledge isnt all that supurb but aside from large mallets for either hammering stakes, or nails etc, or on the blacksmiths anvil there seems to be not much info showing gradual evolution like we see with other weapons like maces
there seems to be very little indication where it came from.

i know there are sparse references like in the sagas of people clobbering each other with blacksmiths hammers, but , as i read on hurstwic, this may have been a way of humiliating an opponent by beating him without even using a proper weapon that would have likely been more effective in the fight...

any ideas?
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: history of the warhammer         Reply with quote

William P wrote:

my knowledge isnt all that supurb but aside from large mallets for either hammering stakes, or nails etc, or on the blacksmiths anvil there seems to be not much info showing gradual evolution like we see with other weapons like maces
there seems to be very little indication where it came from.


Do you have "European Weapons and Armour" by Ewart Oakeshott? He has a chapter where he discusses warhammers. Page 69 says that the earliest depiction of a warhammer comes from 1250 A.D.

As far as the evolution of them go, he delves into that too. He classifies warhammers into 4 categories. (on a side note, he only gives maces 4 categories) Without quoting the whole page, I will just say briefly that a type H1 has a hammer head, a stout back spike, and a slightly longer spike on top. Here is an example of this type.
http://wallacelive.wallacecollection.org/eMus...detailView

H2 has a pretty long spike on the back and doesn't usually have a top spike. Here is an example of such:
http://wallacelive.wallacecollection.org/eMus...detailView


The type H3 is really neat, in my opinion. The hammer head on these look a lot like the head on a flanged mace, with a long back spike like that of the H2... I can't find a museum reference right now, but I'll keep looking and add one later.

The H4 is somewhat rare, he says. You probably have seen replicas of this type. It looks like a hand holding a nail. The head of the nail being for smashing and the spike being ... well... the spike of the warhammer. Lutel makes these. You can see two examples on this page here. http://www.lutel-handicraft.com/?p=productsLi...amp;page=2

I hope this helps some? I really like warhammers and maces. If you have a specific something that you want me to look into then I'll try to find out the answer. Big Grin

Eric Gregersen
www.EricGregersen.com
Knowledge applied is power.
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Fabrice Cognot
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Location: Dijon
Joined: 29 Sep 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jan, 2012 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oakeshott is a bit quick (hard to be otherwise, I agree, given the information he provides on everything and anything) when it comes to hammers. There is so much more to say about them when it comes to their construction, features and evolution. But he's overall right - although quite fuzzily so - about the two main types (H1 and H2) and the blurry origins of this weapon. I do think that it reached its full expression as a one-handed, spike-and-table-headed weapon some time during the late XIVth-early XVth, judging from period artwork. The iron langets grew longer and longer over the course of the XVth century, and in the early XVIth hammers were almost fully covered in metal (still retaining a wooden core though). The all-metal, long-spiky type appearing mid-course (given or taken 15 years) during the XVIth cent.


And if I had a suggestion to propose for the possible origin of the tool-turned-a-weapon, I'd have a look at the stonemasons, carvers and minors of the time. Their tools show the same construction processes as the weapons, and quite logically so.

The bec-de-corbin is a different topic. I'd rather put it into the 'poleaxe' type, though both share a lot of similarities.

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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan, 2012 10:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

no, i dont have the book unfortunately, i know his book swords in the age of chivalry can be found in the university of sydneys fisher library, which also, luckily has the books on the armour from the battle of wisby. but i dont know about that one, i might be able to borrow it, from someone in the NVG (my reenactment group)

its not european, but this arabic hammer made by manning imerial is supposedly 12th century (based on the fact he places it in the 1100-1200AD items catagory, so it predates that 1250AD depiction of a european warhammer by at least 50 years or so. http://manningimperial.com/item.php?item_id=2...mp;c_id=37
since i dont have the book, does oakshott say what the source of this 1250AD warhammer is?
it wouldnt be the macejowski bible by any chance would it.
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Fabrice Cognot
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Location: Dijon
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2012 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quoted from the book :

Quote:
The earliest representation in art of a short-hafted war-hammer is in the hand of an unnamed knightly effigy, c. 1250, in Malvern Priory Church, Worcestershire.

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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2012 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

isnt there a website that has a catalogue of effigies and brasses?
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D. Austin
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://effigiesandbrasses.com/monuments/malve.../original/
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thank you for both the link to the website and the image of the effigy as well.

the flat face of the 'hammer' is very interesting though
but i can see how it would be effective and i recognise that its 13th century.

the shield hes holding is interesting though... that kind of round shield , unless im mistaken is pretty uncommon.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2012 11:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

heres a quote fron christopher gravetts book on the 13th century knight that refers to that effigy as well

'stothards drawing of an unusual effigy from the great malvern priory, worcestershire. the pickaxe and circular shield may denote a champion in trial by battle but equally may suggest a mkan kitted for lighter work on the welsh borders

what evidence is there for the use of roundshield and pickaxe use for judicial combat??
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Henrik Granlid




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Apr 2012

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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Extrapolating from the claim that the Arabic warhammer is from the 12th century, and the first depiction of one in European art is from 1250.

Assuming the Arabic warhammer DID appear during the 12th century, it was likely a response to the heavy helmets worn by crusaders during the innitial clash of weapons. If the early weapon was effective, it is not out of question that crusaders who encountered the warhammer brought the theories and techniques with them back to europe for use in war against heavy helmets (i.e. other european countries).

The weapon would not have been an instant transfer however, and would have taken a handful of years before becoming a commonplace enough weapon to show up on an effigy would it not?


Just a theory.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henrik Granlid wrote:
Extrapolating from the claim that the Arabic warhammer is from the 12th century, and the first depiction of one in European art is from 1250.

Assuming the Arabic warhammer DID appear during the 12th century, it was likely a response to the heavy helmets worn by crusaders during the innitial clash of weapons. If the early weapon was effective, it is not out of question that crusaders who encountered the warhammer brought the theories and techniques with them back to europe for use in war against heavy helmets (i.e. other european countries).

The weapon would not have been an instant transfer however, and would have taken a handful of years before becoming a commonplace enough weapon to show up on an effigy would it not?

Just a theory.


a tentative theory though.
the initial crusaders helmets wouldnt have been that heavy. the full blown great helms hadnt truely come about yet in he initial clashes during the 2nd half of the 12th century.im gonna assume the transitional helm may hve been more in use
besides, the mace was already in more widespead use. well before then, particularly by the arabs and byzantines who both made extensive use of it..
these late 12th C maces were knobbed and flanged and great at battering armour..

but it is one possible option of sparking the idea of a hammer as a dedicated war implement. as opposed to the mace.
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Ron Reimer




Location: Australia
Joined: 16 Aug 2010

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2012 3:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi
If I recall correctly an all metal warhammer like object was found in the dig at Sutton Hoo.I'm not saying its necessarily a warhammer but I haven't heard of many other possibilities.

Ron
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 2:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ron Reimer wrote:
Hi
If I recall correctly an all metal warhammer like object was found in the dig at Sutton Hoo.I'm not saying its necessarily a warhammer but I haven't heard of many other possibilities.

Ron

do you have a pic or a description of sorts?
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Ron Reimer




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 3:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi mate,
Best pic I have at the moment, a hammer/axe head on an iron shaft.
Ron



 Attachment: 5.79 KB
sutton hoo 1.jpg

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Danny Grigg





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Austin thanks for the link to that Effigy, I've been looking for a high quality pic since I discoverd it in an Osprey book a few years ago.

I came across the following awhile ago:

http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/...t=250&

"Medieval martel from Wolvesey Castle, Winchester.
Object number: Arms and Armour 38.2
Iconographic description: Two views are given of a Medieval martel de fer (a weapon used by mounted knights) found during excavations by Winchester College at Wolvesey Castle, Winchester, in 1880.
Comments: The weapon is now in the collection of the Winchester City Museum.
Creator: Baigent, Francis Joseph
Creator role: Artist
Creation date: 19th century
Bibliography: Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London 2nd series 8 (1879-1881): 369-72. Illustration (Engraving), p. 369. F. J. Baigent presented sketches of the weapon, including this sheet, to the Society of Antiquaries. Comment by C Knight Watson points out differences between this weapon and the representations of similar ones on brasses, tombs etc."

Does anyone have any further information on this or other martels / pickhammers?

Anyone got an actual photo of the martel in the link above?

Thanks

Danny
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