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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > A different kind of medieval sword suspension Reply to topic
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Harry Marinakis

PostPosted: Sat 08 Feb, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: A different kind of medieval sword suspension         Reply with quote

I've been rather fascinated lately with medieval sword suspensions, and have been trying to catalog the various sword belts, scabbards and suspension methods associated with each Oakeshott sword type. Yes, tedious work, to be sure, but interesting.

I came across these two images that both fascinated and confused me:

In the first image, there appears to be two belts; (1) a narrow belt, worn high on the waist, to secure the surcoat; and (2) a wider belt worn lower on the hips that appears to be the sword belt. (The second image only shows the latter sword belt.)

Curiously, though, the sword belt seems to worn on the outside of the scabbard.You can try to rationalize these images by saying it's "artistic license" or that the artist erroneously depicted the sword suspension. But I kept seeing this identical sword belt suspension over and over in the illuminated manuscripts, all depicted the same way by a variety of artists. Convinced that this was an accurate depiction of a sword suspension method, I kept looking.

Then I found an article The Sword Belts of the Middle Ages by Albert Hartshorne in the Journal of Archeology, Volume XLVIII (47), from the year MDCCCXCI (1891). In this article, Hartshorne actually delves into the matter of this very same sword belt/suspension.

Hartshorne examined the effigy of Gilbert Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who died in AD 1241. Photos of this effigy are presented here.

The sword belt that is worn on the outside of the scabbard is actually attached to the scabbard by leather thongs, and is actually the primary sword belt.

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Mikko Kuusirati

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PostPosted: Sun 09 Feb, 2014 3:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of course, this, with the belt on the outside, is also how somewhat earlier swords with scabbard slides were worn; the difference is in how the scabbard is attached to the belt. Feels very snug and secure when worn right, IME, as the belt on the outside keeps it from flopping about.
"And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum
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