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Julian Behle




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun, 2013 8:40 am    Post subject: 14th century change of sword suspension methods         Reply with quote

I was wondering today how and especially when the fastening of scabbards changed in the 14th century. This concerns both the style of belts on their own and the suspension method proper.
I have a vague impression of the early "lacing" method which was superseded by a metal eylets and rings suspension. I guess it changed when (more) fashion was introduced to armour before the mid century. This method must have been displaced in turn by some sort of sword hanger suspension in the late century. And then there were the placard belts.

As these expressions come from my lack of the right terms I would be glad if someone knows the apropriate ones and has some information ( and probably pictures) on the subject.
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the 1320's effigies commonly show scabbards attached to the belt with rings. Notice the enlarged colored section on the second one.
-http://effigiesandbrasses.com/650/861/
-http://effigiesandbrasses.com/771/1060/
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun, 2013 12:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the late 14th century, swords seem to be suspended vertically from the plaque belt. How the sword is attached, no one knows! I think most people guess a hook and ring type suspension that would allow you to quickly dismount the scabbard. I think for practical purposes, you would never want to fight on foot with a scabbard hanging from your waist unless you like the taste of dirt.
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Alan Schiff
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently looked through a huge number of effigies for this very purpose for a scabbard project, and found that between 1320 and 1330 the use of integrated belts and plaque belts are both equally common. After about 1330 plaque belts become more and more common, although integrated belts are still seen.

Hope that helps,
Alan
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James Barker




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun, 2013 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian S LaSpina wrote:
By the late 14th century, swords seem to be suspended vertically from the plaque belt. How the sword is attached, no one knows! I think most people guess a hook and ring type suspension that would allow you to quickly dismount the scabbard.


There are two known methods based on historical finds La Belle uses that are likely. 1) A buckle with a strap end riveted to the metal mouth of the scabbard. 2) A staple attached to a metal mouth which a buckle and strap passed through it and around the belt, this is seen in some art.

In the late 14th century it can also buckle straight to the body armor at the lowest faud on statues and in art. The St George statue in Prague has this depicted for the sword and an empty buckle and strap on the right side for a dagger

Also seen is a plane old thong holding up the scabbard.

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Julian Behle




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Jun, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for your explanations. This leads me to some further questions.

I always considered vertically down hanging scabbards to be a very inconvenient obstacle . And you probably don't have a free hand to unbuckle your scabbard when it comes to an unexpected fight.

So I wonder if a squat 1.7m man at arms would have been able to suspend a sword or lets say a great sword in that fashion. So what about great swords, were they differently fastened or worn?

Is there a temporal gap between a two ring suspension or a three ring suspension with an additional strap?

Are these nowadays often seen two point or three point suspension system of later or even modern origin?
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Julian Behle




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Jun, 2013 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anyone know something additional about it?
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Jun, 2013 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think a great sword would require suspension at all. We see a lot of artwork of weapons being carried in the wagons, or strapped to horses. On foot, with a large two-handed sword you'd probably just be carrying the thing on your shoulder, and if you didn't think you were going to need immediate access to it, it was with all the other cargo.
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Julian Behle




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Jun, 2013 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok. I actually was a bit imprecise. I thought about an epee du guerre, a hand and a half (ca.<120cm) and not a two handed one. A large claymore needs no sheath and you are right about that Ian. So was there the same suspension for a hand and a half as for the one handed?
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P. Schontzler




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jun, 2013 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jojo Zerach wrote:
By the 1320's effigies commonly show scabbards attached to the belt with rings. Notice the enlarged colored section on the second one.
-http://effigiesandbrasses.com/650/861/
-http://effigiesandbrasses.com/771/1060/


How do those sword belts stay on? It looks pretty awkward to me to have them just hanging off the hips like that at, especially at that angle. Did the sword belt attach to the waist belt?
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Julian Behle




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was asking myself the same thing. It looks pretty awkward to walk arround with such a loose belt, having the sheath's point all the time around your ankles. For what I know from the effigies and some reading is that the waist belt disappeared on the majority of effigies when the round waist line grew more popular in the 1340s and 1350s. The surcote had not to be tied together anymore. But you always have examples of guys who kept the waist belt until arround the mid 1360s. I do think the belts were seperate simply out of practical purposes. If I had been in a battle, I would not have liked a loose belt and a scabbard arround my waist. When the placard belts appeared in the 60/70s some returened to an extra sword belt but most fastened the scabbard directly to the one belt.
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 5:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, if it something I learned from history, it is that fashion and style will override practicality almost every single time Happy
Even in our enlightened time, people will limit their comfort in attempts to look good.

And that is another point. Effigies are supposed to show off the portrayed person in his/hers idealized best.
But this is exactly the thing that reenactors/Living history people are capable of providing feedback on. Unfortunately not me (not my time period) but maybe someone else can?

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian Behle wrote:
I was asking myself the same thing. It looks pretty awkward to walk arround with such a loose belt, having the sheath's point all the time around your ankles.


The sheath's point wouldn't be at your ankles. WTF?! Gravity usually pulls the hilt forward. Some people misinterpret effigies/brasses sometimes because they forget that the deceased person is usually depicted lying down, not standing up. Plus, having the sword hanging at a proper angle on an effigy would often meaning having the hilt sticking up from the body since he's lying down (looking phallic, probably) while the point would disappear into the casket through the lid.

Happy

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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Jul, 2013 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like to echo Chad. I have two 14th century sword suspensions, both from Tod of Tod's Stuff. In both cases, when the belt is on properly, the sword hangs at about a 45 degree angle with the hilt just where I want it for a draw. As for comfort, last year I wore my Albion Fiore over 14th c. clothes through two days and about 16 miles of Adirondack terrain--trails and bushwhacking. I t took small adjustments to get it right, but when it was right, I really never noticed it again, except to come ot the conclusion that the design was really superb. The blade--the tip--will drag over almost any obstacle and never catch. I have a feeling period scabbards took a beating, but soldiers seldom care about such stuff, IMHO.

In fact, my 14th c. long sword is easier to wear in the woods than an 18th c. hunting sword with my Rev War officer's kit.

This summer i was in Verona, Italy, reenacting and I got to wear my sword all day in Medieval urban terrain. I'd make the same claim there. You very quickly develop the habit of catching your sword in your left hand when certain obstacles are met (long steps down) but otherwise... easy.

My experience as a reenactor is that sword scabbard suspensions are always practical once the reenactor understands them....

Christian G. Cameron

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Stephen Burger




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PostPosted: Fri 16 Aug, 2013 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I have two 14th century sword suspensions, both from Tod of Tod's Stuff


Do you have a picture of this suspension? I'm aiming for mid 14th century German. Sword suspension in most of the effigies for this period/region aren't very clear and one that I've seen that's intriguing but not complete is a vertical belt, wider than the belt it's suspended from that appears to hold the sword. I've also seen suspensions, especially from Austria from the same period where the scabbard is wrapped by leather for the whole length but it really isn't clear how it terminates or "merges" with the waist belt or a dedicated sword belt. I'm hungry for examples I could make (I do some leatherwork) but I don't have anything to copy in its entirety.

The whole plaque belt hook suspension (or so it's thought) option is there for me too. However, I'm not opting for a wealthy look nor am I wealthy enough for a plaque belt at this time Happy

There's another design from another thread that is period and Albion makes a copy of it where the belt splits to two, the sword portion being wider and attaching in two places and then again it narrows to a single belt. This I can copy but I don't see any German examples of this. Bummer.
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