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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 6:16 am    Post subject: Introducing... The Alexandria         Reply with quote

Soeren beat me to posting photos of this on Facebook, but here she is...

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151459553056776.1073741835.336997521775&type=1

Statistics:
Overall length: 43.75 (111 cm)
Blade length: 34 3/8" (87.3 cm)
Blade width: 3" (7.62cm)
CoB: 4 1/4 (10.8 cm)
CoP: 20 1/2 (52 cm)
Weight: 3 lbs. 11 oz. (1.68 kg)

Best,

Howy

Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 7:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What's the pricing on this? Is it still at the introductory price till it hits the site or did it get bumped yet?
Winter is coming
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Michael Sigman
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Current price is $1,350. I am not sure what the final price is going to be. We still have to do some calculations.
Mike Sigman
Albion Swords
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 8:32 am    Post subject: Winter...         Reply with quote

Mike, that's great, if Winter is coming, Xmas ain't far off !
Bon coeur et bon bras
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Barrett Hiebert





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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will there ever be a maestro line equivalent for the alexandria and principe?

Best regards,

Barrett Hiebert
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like the Alexandria even better than the Principe. 3 inches wide! Some of the XVIIIc's in the Alexandrian Arsenal are even wider, as much as 3.5 inches.
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its handling backs up its looks--like a dream
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Tue 01 Oct, 2013 9:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hate to ask this (and it's surely listed SOMEWHERE, but I must be blind as I've had no luck finding anything concrete) but what is the projected time period for this sword? 14th century? Early 15th century? More specific dates would be helpful, i.e. 1375--1450 or whatever.
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Chad Hanson




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PostPosted: Tue 01 Oct, 2013 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
I hate to ask this (and it's surely listed SOMEWHERE, but I must be blind as I've had no luck finding anything concrete) but what is the projected time period for this sword? 14th century? Early 15th century? More specific dates would be helpful, i.e. 1375--1450 or whatever.
Early 15th century to mid 16th century, I believe, but I'm pulling that off the top of my head. It's fairly close at least, and exact dates can be difficult to define. (I also checked in my copy of Oakeshott's 'The Archaeology of Weapons' and couldn't find a definite answer.)
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Oct, 2013 2:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi!

I am actually right now working on presentations of the Alexandria and the Principe.

The group of European medieval swords in the Alexandria Arsenal are dated by the day of their acquisition as trophies of war or diplomatic gifts. This covers a period of some seventy years between 1367/68 - 1439.
Clive Thomas has written several excellent articles about the Alexandria Arsenal swords in a number of Park Lane Arms Fair catalogues. His work on these swords has been important to me in my own studies of these weapons.

The specific swords of the Alexandria Arsenal that is the origin or inspiration to the Next Generation Alexandria Sword seems to have been given as gifts to the Mamluk Sultan by the King of Cyprus in connection to and result of a peace treaty that was signed in 1414. All these broad bladed type XVIIIc swords are dated to a time period between 1412 - 1421.

Over the years I have had the privilege to document several swords from the Alexandria Arsenal. A couple have been of the XVIIIc type. The NG Alexandria is not intended to be a replica of a single individual sword in this group (you cannot always make exact replicas of swords if you want to honor the wish of the current caretakers of the originals).
For the NG Alexandria, its size, weight, heft and dynamic properties are designed so that it is a good representative of the group. Not two swords in this group are exactly alike, but there are several features that make them unique and mark them out as a group. This makes them very interesting to study for a sword smith, as it gives you some insight into the possible design parameters that were observed by the original makers.
The blades bears different marks, but a gothic "M" and a twig mark is found on several. A latin letter combined with a cross is another type of mark that is found on a couple different blades. These marks makes it probably that at least the blades were forged in Milan, probably involving a number of different smiths and/or different work shops. They may have been hilted somewhere else and they may have been produced in a period spanning several years. Three types of pommels are found on these swords. The strong similarities within the group makes me think they were all made according to the same general description, but that the makers fulfilled the order slightly differently (for various reasons).

The NG Alexandria follows the mission of the Next Generation Line in being an accurate representation of a type/group of historical swords in a way that is faithful to function and aesthetics of the original weapons.

Clive Thomas says about these swords: "By virtue of their inscriptions, they represent some of the earliest examples of this particular blade form that can be given a firm terminating date. Exactly *when* they were forged is another matter, of course, but as princely gift we might assume that they were made especially for the treaty. If not, then c.1400 would be a good dating point if we are to compare them to other swords of the period."

And further: "The particular hilt type (...) seems to have been popular across Europe from c. 1350-1430, as there are a number of surviving examples in museums and collections around the world."

Hope this helps in regards of period of use of thee swords.
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Bryan Heff




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Oct, 2013 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These Alexandria swords are extremely intriguing to me for a number of reasons, especially these wide XVIIIc blade examples. It seems to me in my limited "studies" that these wide bodied XVIIIc examples usually are tagged as having been part of the Alexandria arsenal. Perhaps there are many other examples, but they are unknown to me. As Peter points out, many of these swords were gifted as part of the treaty.

A have a couple of questions -

1 - Is the XVIIIc a blade type that would have been considered uncommon?

2 - Are there many examples in art or extant examples that are NOT part of the Alexandria arsenal?

3 - Were these specific examples that we see from the Alexandria arsenal built to be somewhat "extreme" (at least to the casual observer, me), the width of the blade for instance, to have impressive qualities, from a gift perspective. In other words, built the way the were for the wow factor that could be experienced by the new owners?

I have no idea, any help with the above would be great.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Oct, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan Heff wrote:
These Alexandria swords are extremely intriguing to me for a number of reasons, especially these wide XVIIIc blade examples. It seems to me in my limited "studies" that these wide bodied XVIIIc examples usually are tagged as having been part of the Alexandria arsenal. Perhaps there are many other examples, but they are unknown to me. As Peter points out, many of these swords were gifted as part of the treaty.

A have a couple of questions -

1 - Is the XVIIIc a blade type that would have been considered uncommon?

2 - Are there many examples in art or extant examples that are NOT part of the Alexandria arsenal?

3 - Were these specific examples that we see from the Alexandria arsenal built to be somewhat "extreme" (at least to the casual observer, me), the width of the blade for instance, to have impressive qualities, from a gift perspective. In other words, built the way the were for the wow factor that could be experienced by the new owners?

I have no idea, any help with the above would be great.


Hi Bryan,

1: There are many examples of type XVIIIc blades, but they tend not to have the same proportions and outline and are different in other ways as well. Type XVIIIc is not *that* uncommon, but most do not have such extreme proportions.

2: I do not know about any swords of this specific type (extremely wide and thin blades with the typical signature hilt) that does *not* come from the Alexandria group of swords. I may be mistaken. But I cannot remember ever seeing such an XVIIIc that is not associated with the Alexandria arsenal.

I donīt know how commonly swords like this are being depicted in period art.
You do see wide bladed type XVaīs and XVIIIc swords in the hands of angels and military saints in the late 14th and early 15th century. I cannot remember seeing an exact representation of a sword of the Alexandria group however. This does not have to mean anything. I can have seen it, but missed to realize the significance. There might well be several depictions of such swords. -Sorry, I donīt know.

3: It is possible that these swords were made to be impressive in several ways, but I think that is a side effect, not the prime reason of their making.
I doubt that they were made to be presentation swords first and foremost and I base this opinion on two factors:
-Once you get to hold one of them, you are struck by how extremely well made they are from a functional perspective. Those that I have held have given that special "tingling" feeling in the hand and arm you get when you hold an exceptionally well made sword. They somehow "sing" to you. I know this might sound completely insane, but I cannot describe it otherwise. There is something very sublime and powerful in their balance and presence, you cannot help but be awe struck by them. That could of curse be an argument for them being built to be impressive, but the effect is not ostentatious or prideful. It is something that comes as a side effect in an object that is expertly made since it is made for a purpose by someone that has an unusually deep understanding of the craft and the objects he makes.
I have a very strong impression these swords were made for use, not parade or representation.
And that leads me to the second reason why I do not think these were made to be status gifts in the first place:

-They are not very carefully made!

Strange for me to say that, after having praised the quality of the craftsmanship?
This is the interesting thing: everything that matters in making a really good sword is checked in the list, but nothing that is not needed is given too much attention. You can tell that the makers were not all that careful in finishing and that they probably worked pretty quickly. There are some file marks left in some examples and usually some wobbly lines in the blades. Guards and pommels have a nice shape, but are never very symmetrical. So, they have "defects" that would detract from presentation grade work, but not in swords made for use.

-Their "flaws" do not detract from the strong sense of perfection and skill in their making!

There is a world of difference between the shortcomings of a beginner and the "mistakes" of a master. The beginner is struggling with his materials, his tools and does not have a good grasp of the process or the function of the object he is making, commonly mistaking superficial things with essential elements in the design and vice versa.
The opposite is true for the master: he knows his materials, his tools and he has the process of making ingrained in his very soul. His understanding of the objects he makes is such that it has become an inseparable part of his personality. He *is* the craft and the objects he makes carries something of his personality in them.
When such a master makes something he may work at a certain speed. This will introduce irregularities in the lines but not in a way that detracts from function or beauty in any way. Rather, his work comes across as being effortless and fluent. There is a sense of "just right" in the shaping of the object.

These type XVIIIc swords from the Alexandria arsenal are perfect examples of workmanlike swords made by highly skilled masters of the craft. They are not made to look good, but made to be perfect for the swordsman who understands how to use them. Any quality they may have relate to their function as swords. They impress me since they so clearly tell about the high skill and deep understanding that their makers had of the craft.

-So, yes, I can understand these swords were chosen as gifts, but not primarily because they have a high "bling" factor. They are impressive examples of a high level of craftsmanship and quality. They would impress a swordsman or military man, but not necessarily gratify someones aesthetic sensibilities (unless you are very much into swords!). They are not parade swords or ceremonial swords. There are many swords that are prettier or more visually interesting. We know that there were adorned and prettified swords made at this time, especially in Italy. There were swords made to fulfill a ceremonial function, first and foremost. These swords are not of that kind. The style of their making is far too humble for that. All of the ones I have seen seems to have been made with some haste. This tells me that all of them were made as part of a bulk delivery to an armoury somewhere.
Perhaps a few of these swords were taken away and sent as gifts? Not because they are the most beautiful swords of their time, but simply because they are so very good swords. Perhaps the Sultan had been impressed with these swords in the hands of his enemy on the battlefield? Perhaps there were stories about their awesome cleaving power? Perhaps the Sultan had taken a liking to these weapons as a warrior might admire the weapons of his adversaries? Perhaps they were seen as an essential expression of the spirit of those knights that fought against the Sultan, therefore being perfect gifts in a time of peace?
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Chad Hanson




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Oct, 2013 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the wonderful info, Peter! It looks like I was right about early 15th century, but apparently it's much more precise than that.

I always love reading your posts, there's usually more info in them than I can get off of other entire websites! Big Grin

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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Oct, 2013 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter--

Your wealth of information and comments about the make, handling and aesthetics of the originals is invaluable. The more precise date is also a boon--I was planning on trying to assemble a kit to go with it, and the time frame is very nice to have. I am immensely pleased with your decision and design on this one--and with Albion's execution of the actual piece.

I do have an interesting question: based on what you know (I have not been able to get ahold of Mr. Thomas' article), would this sword perhaps have been used by a sergeant or a man-at-arms, or would this be more of a full-harness noble's sword? (It will effect whether or not I need to construct a harness...)

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Oct, 2013 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
Peter--

Your wealth of information and comments about the make, handling and aesthetics of the originals is invaluable. The more precise date is also a boon--I was planning on trying to assemble a kit to go with it, and the time frame is very nice to have. I am immensely pleased with your decision and design on this one--and with Albion's execution of the actual piece.

I do have an interesting question: based on what you know (I have not been able to get ahold of Mr. Thomas' article), would this sword perhaps have been used by a sergeant or a man-at-arms, or would this be more of a full-harness noble's sword? (It will effect whether or not I need to construct a harness...)


Kai, thank you.
I am glad you found my ramblings helpful :-)

It is always difficult with these texts I write on threads like this: getting all facts and details right.
There is some more info on similar swords that I will have to return to as well as some other things I should clarify.
-At some later time.

I donīt think there is any way we can know for whom these swords were made originally. Clive Thomas think that they were perhaps made especially for Mamluk warriors, or at least that the design was specially developed for warfare in those theaters of war where the opponents would not have worn much in the way of armour.
-Perhaps he is right? I think that they may have been made for European men at arms primarily, but that these swords for some reason were seen as good representatives to be sent as gifts to the Sultan. Perhaps the giver knew the Sultan would appreciate them? This is something that invites some speculation.

Depending on the quality of the steel and the heat treat, this design, having a very wide and thin blade could make for swords that were actually pretty good also against opponents wearing metal armour. Not that swords will ever be effective in the cut against armour, but if you do want to make an impression on plate, a thin, but robust edge like it is on these swords would be pretty much ideal to give a bite into the plate, transferring more energy into the target: at least stunning him, even if not cleaving him to the jaw bone.
Even if thin, it is my impression that these blades *were* effective in the thrust. Clive Thomas doubts that thrusting was a primary intention with these swords and that they would be too flimsy to be very effective. I donīt think thrusting was the most important aspect for these swords, but possible a very close second. Some other contemporary swords that were optimized for cutting/slashing are the wide bladed type XIIIb swords in the Alexandria group. They have very broad spatulate points that do seem to make a point of thrusting being less important. Compared to these the XVIIIc swords look like specialized thrusting swords: monstrously big Mainz type Gladii.

-So about thrusting, I am not sure. It depends on how you thrust and at what targets. A swordsman will always aim at vulnerable spots primarily, regardless of what type and how much armour the opponent wears.
I would like to see the Alexandria being tested in cutting and thrusting against padded targets. And also tested by some skilled swordsmen to hear what they might have to say about its handling characteristics and tactical use they would think swords like this would have been used for. These swords are optimized for the cut: that much I think is sure. It would be great to see some practical tests being performed. Made by swordsmen in various kind of armour of early 15th century style.
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Oct, 2013 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've done a few cuts with mine so far, and despite being thin, I'd have to agree with the thrusting potential idea: these swords would be quite effective at going through cloth or padded armor, and certainly through flesh. The amount of proper edge alignment (even at the COP) needed to make this sword cut well surprised me, but when it is present, it sings in a high pitch, loud ringing that feels unreal Happy
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Oct, 2013 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
I've done a few cuts with mine so far, and despite being thin, I'd have to agree with the thrusting potential idea: these swords would be quite effective at going through cloth or padded armor, and certainly through flesh. The amount of proper edge alignment (even at the COP) needed to make this sword cut well surprised me, but when it is present, it sings in a high pitch, loud ringing that feels unreal Happy


Thanks :-)
Good feedback.

You may have noticed the edge angle. It is not as tight as you may find on other wide bladed swords. This is according to the originals I have documented: a slim cross section but a final angle of the sharpness that is on the robust side.
This is one of the things that makes me think these swords were made to meet not only lightly armoured opponents. A thin cross section with an edge like that of a cold chisel would stand a pretty good chance against plate provided steel and heat treat are good.
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Oct, 2013 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai, have you ever handled a Regent and if so are there any similarities in how they feel.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Oct, 2013 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul--
I have handled the Regent, and they definitely feel different. The Regent is light and fast and responsive, and feels like a good dueling sword or warsword, designed for an experienced swordsman. The Alexandria feels interesting: the pivot nodes are close to the hilt and very close to the tip, and on a lighter sword (or on the Svante) it makes for a very exacting longsword. The tip and close-to-hilt POB give the impression of something quick and thrustable, or at least good for tip cuts. The body of the blade seems to run in the other direction. Wide and thin and beautiful, it feels like a cutter/slicer to the core. The whole ensemble is quite impressive; as though the best aspects of a thrusting sword and a cutting, dedicated warsword were bred together. It's a little heavier than other longswords like the Regent or Earl, but it feels both stabby and cutty and powerful and precise all at once. As far as Albion goes, it feels sort of like the Maximilian or the Viceroy--sort of.

Both are very nice. One is more all around even, being able to do everything you want it to quite well. The other sword is simply more extreme in all it's aspects, but adheres similar emphases as the first.

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Gordon Alexander




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Oct, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Re: Kai's comment         Reply with quote

I apologize if I am inappropriately deviating from the subject of this thread.
I am not trying to nit pick on Kai's post, but I have been trying to grasp basic sword mechanics and just need to ask for fear of being confused. "Pivot node"? I thought there were pivot points and vibrational nodes, by "pivot node" does he mean pivot point? Aren't pivot points at the grip end just reference points with which to calculate the ones towards the tip - thus somewhat arbitrary? I suspect that I have read nearly every if not all threads on this forum and most of the net and watched the relevant videos, however I am a bit vulnerable to terminology variation and still get tripped up easily.
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