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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject: Paulus hector mair scythes vs actual farm scythe design         Reply with quote

the querie i have is summed up pretty well in the title, but essentially, i saw a video explaining how rubbish scythes were as weapons

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rzQwzg5_mo here is the video in question,

but i noted that the scythes depicted in the paulus hector mair are much more sitable for use as weapons' http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Paulus_Hector_Mair (treatise pages on here)
when asked about the paulus hector mair scythe design, he noted that if scthes were like that, the persons technique to cut grass would be kind of awkward


which makes me wonder, are the scythes in the treatise actual scythes used for agriculture in terms of design, the way the blase is mounted etc. or are these scythes stull usable as scythes? or is thus a version that Hector just made up to be more usable as a weapon? sort of like how kunai went from being wrecking bars to being depcted as diamond profile daggers with the express intent of stabbing.
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One difference is that the video depicts a much more modern design of scythe. The shape of the handle changed a lot throughout history, and you can see that the ones depicted in Mair had a straight, rather than double-curved, handle design. That alone would have made it easier to fence with. I've also read that adapting a scythe for fighting incolved mounting the blade in line with a handle, rather than hooked back for mowing.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the question i have is, if the scythes in the paulus hector mair are actually what the agricultural scythes of the period looked like.. especially considering Lloyd (the person presenting the video) suggested the handle arrangement would make those depicted scythes a more awkward tool for scything.

that's why i'm wondering if maybe actual scythes from the period used by peasants, looked different maybe.
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2014 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might try this page:

http://scytheconnected.blogspot.com/2010/05/s...s-and.html
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Gregg Sobocinski




Location: Michigan
Joined: 21 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may want to watch his follow up video called "More points about scythes".
In this one he mentions the Mauer plates as being a nobleman's hobby depiction, not a battlefield weapon. I don't agree with all of his video opinions, but this video contains some sound logic.

Has anyone seen historical battlefield scenes with any scythes? I'd defer to them as the better evidence.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2014 8:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i fully agree with the idea that the scythe is NOT meant to be a battlefield weapon

if anything the scythe is just a bit of an 'advanced course' as a way of giving the studunt something unconventional to test the students ability to apply the fundamentals hes learned from more conventional weapons to something unfamiliar, it would take some serious analytical skills and a very thorough understanding of the principles of fencing to make this weapon work...

plus the idea of being able to use anything you get your hands on to defend yourself in a pinch is another idea.


the question wasnt whether it was, i KNOW it wasnt used on the battlefield, nor was it a normal weapon for duels either..
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 31 Mar, 2014 9:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
i fully agree with the idea that the scythe is NOT meant to be a battlefield weapon

if anything the scythe is just a bit of an 'advanced course' as a way of giving the studunt something unconventional to test the students ability to apply the fundamentals hes learned from more conventional weapons to something unfamiliar, it would take some serious analytical skills and a very thorough understanding of the principles of fencing to make this weapon work...

plus the idea of being able to use anything you get your hands on to defend yourself in a pinch is another idea.


the question wasnt whether it was, i KNOW it wasnt used on the battlefield, nor was it a normal weapon for duels either..


Could be in the same spirit of learning to apply the basic principles to any improvised weapon like an un-modified agricultural scythe: A military weapon based on the scythe blade and improved can be functional, and some Bills use hooks and negative curved edges also based on an agricultural tools, but they also are heavily modified with top and other spikes etc .....

One could just as well fight with a large candle holder, a chair or a fire place poker etc ......

In some semi-comedic Jackie Chan movies he makes and art of using anything at hand from a chair to a ladder as an improvised weapon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ78ytKRFxI

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Lukasz Papaj




Location: Malbork, Poland
Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Tue 01 Apr, 2014 4:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FYI combat scythes were used in the general region of Polish Kingdom/ Poland, as an insurgent weapon.

Here is a picture from 1863 (january) uprising


And from 1794 (Kosciuszko uprising era) manual by Piotr Aigner "Krótka nauka o pikach i kosach" (a short lesson on pikes and scythes)


As such, those are essentially a stop-gap weapons used because proper ones were not available in sufficient numbers. Not to mention those uprisings were failures.

Anyway, note that they are mounted upright on straight poles.
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Raman A




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Aug 2011

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu 03 Apr, 2014 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William, I don't think anyone's given you a straight answer yet. As far as I can discern there is no difference between the scythes depicted in Mair and the typical scythes depicted in farm work scenes in the same period. Furthermore, the simple scythe design in Mair is a proven agricultural design that can still be bought and used today.




Here's a modern one of similar design to the ones in Mair. The scythe that Lindy Beige is showing is a more complex design that has been curved dramatically in three dimensions to make it easier on the mower by allowing him to keep his arms more comfortably close to the body. The simpler design with straight or mildly curved snath (haft) seems to have been the predominant style used in the period we're discussing. I actually have not seen a design like in Lindy's video in period artwork.

Lindy seems to be wrong here. Well, his overall point still stands. Scythes are not good weapons; The blade is at a bad angle for fighting and is designed for grass cutting and not hewing flesh. I think the point of the sections on scythe, sickle, and walking stick were just to show that a fighting system can be developed for any tool. I'm sure it also provided entertainment to nobles who were perhaps bored with fencing with swords and wrestling and wanted something "exotic," and fencing with peasant tools probably fit the bill.

Quote:
when asked about the paulus hector mair scythe design, he noted that if scthes were like that, the persons technique to cut grass would be kind of awkward


I've never used a scythe to mow grass before, but apparently it's not a problem.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

AH hank you raman, youve answered me perfectly

the question i was wondering, was, that in a few plates of the paulus hector mair , in one scene where a man is hooked around the neck, it looks like the edge is pointing along the haft rather than slightly to the side..

that is why i was wondering if those scythes were maybe modified, but youve proven that the scythes of the period still had the edge at a slight angle from the haft.

which was as much the question as anything.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 231

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear William,

Having worked through P.H. Mair's scythe section with weapons a member of my HEMA group built, I can tell you that the techniques work better with the correctly angled blade (of which he made one example) than with the blade in line with the snath (of which he also made one example).

In the Latin versions (Munich and the Latin text of Vienna), the term used for the scythe clearly indicates it's the farm tool, and not something based on it, according to our Latinists.

Our working hypothesis, by the way, is that the "peasant weapons" sections of Mair's manuscripts represent an expression of German solidarity and national pride as much as any novel or exotic forms of combat.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Millman wrote:
Dear William,

Having worked through P.H. Mair's scythe section with weapons a member of my HEMA group built, I can tell you that the techniques work better with the correctly angled blade (of which he made one example) than with the blade in line with the snath (of which he also made one example).

In the Latin versions (Munich and the Latin text of Vienna), the term used for the scythe clearly indicates it's the farm tool, and not something based on it, according to our Latinists.

Our working hypothesis, by the way, is that the "peasant weapons" sections of Mair's manuscripts represent an expression of German solidarity and national pride as much as any novel or exotic forms of combat.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman

yeah, actually, that is really interesting,
i'm curious why the offset blade is more helpful, doesnt it impede slicing?


*EDIT* also, wow 1100 posts.
just goes to show how much i really like this place, it's been an endless source of fascination and inspiration, sothank you to all of you.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 231

PostPosted: Sat 05 Apr, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear William,

On Friday 4 April 2014, you wrote:
yeah, actually, that is really interesting,
i'm curious why the offset blade is more helpful, doesnt it impede slicing?

Actually, the techniques are designed for use with the blade offset, and sometimes don't bring the edge against the adversary if you use a bad scythe simulator in which the blade is lined up with the snath.

Incidentally, the Latin text in Mair to which I referred yesterday appears in the title of the first page of the scythe section, and refers to the objects as "falcis foenariae", which translates to "hay scythes".

Best,

Mark
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 06 Apr, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/bsb00...;seite=415 the thing which made me think that the blased were in line with the haft was this one, since you can see that it seems to follow the snath...

incidentally thats one thing thats great about paulus hector mairs athletica, the detail is very good, thes no ambiguity in terms of positioning etc like we do wit the I.33 . you can tell whether someone has their left foot forward or right foot etc.
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Ben Bouchard




Location: Bar Harbor, ME
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Thu 29 May, 2014 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A slightly stale thread, but as a scythe user I thought I might provide some degree of insight.

First off, a GOOD scythe would make a horrible weapon for a number of reasons, particularly on the durability front. A scythe is designed for a long slice rather than a chopping action--it is not an impact tool in the slightest. The edge angle on my scythes is no more than 9° per side, making it very similar in angle to that of a straight razor (typically 7° per side.) The tool as a whole should be as light as you can get away with for your mowing conditions as well. The blade is angled out of line with the snath ("handle") to bring the blade close to parallel with the ground.

All of that being said, in spite of being a fragile implement compared to purpose-built weapons of war, a single cut to an unarmored opponent could be fatal. The edge of a scythe being so fine, I once did no more than accidentally tap my knuckle against the blade of my scythe while wiping grass from the blade while distracted, and my ring finger was cut to the bone and the tendon was nicked. One can find vintage documents describing people dying from falling on their scythes coming back from the hay field and taking a tumble. One can imagine a fight with scythes breaking out between men during team mowing of a field, say in a situation where tension has been building over time between two men who are given occasion to quarrel while mowing. I would fear for my life greatly if someone were to assault me with a scythe!

"We are all imprisoned by the dictionary. We choose out of that vast, paper-walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect."
— Mervyn Peake
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Ben Bouchard




Location: Bar Harbor, ME
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Thu 29 May, 2014 8:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, you'll find that the scythe in the video is an English pattern blade (with grass nail) on an American snath made by Seymour Manufacturing. Looks to be their common No.1 model. You can see scythes of this type in artwork from the late 1800's and onward as that is when the style was developed.
"We are all imprisoned by the dictionary. We choose out of that vast, paper-walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect."
— Mervyn Peake
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2014 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

id like to actually revive this topic to ask about the OTHER bladed implement in the exotica, namely the sickle, i got my hands on a sickle and one thing i noticed is that the tip makes a pretty mean piercing beak, although i dont think it'd stand up to attacking armour, itd be nasty against an unarmoured man

https://www.flickr.com/photos/64955660@N08/14675567174/ i did some test cutting with this on a bottle and 2 thngs, the point is terrifying and despite the fact the edge is prety dull, it STILL is a pretty good slice so i would really wonder as to how much damage someone could inflict with a sickle...

also it has that shotel likw quality of being able to, i would think, curl around defences, plus being able to hook and pull people around ..
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William Alexander Elder




Location: Dallas, Texas
Joined: 08 Sep 2012

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jul, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sickles have a very long history of use as weapons. To the point that the Asian kama is based on them. They, like machetes, were popular as weapons for uprisings, since they were what was at hand.

I'd imagine that hooking and slicing limbs and necks would be more the focus than using that point. I can see the sickle being fantastic at hamstringing an opponent, but stabbing it between someone's ribs seems like a really good way to get it stuck. Of course, if you're fighting with a sickle in a melee, you've got other issues.
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




Location: Hungary
Joined: 18 Feb 2007

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jul, 2014 11:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a large siege-scythe in the Museum of Eger (NE-Hung) with a 1 cm thick, arround 12 cm wide and 70 cm long blade. Sadly it's vorbidden to take photos.
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sun 27 Jul, 2014 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henrik Zoltan Toth wrote:
There is a large siege-scythe in the Museum of Eger (NE-Hung) with a 1 cm thick, arround 12 cm wide and 70 cm long blade. Sadly it's vorbidden to take photos.

Do you know what is attached to and iot's dimensions? Because I'm having a hard time imaging what it these beast was use for? Gate defense, wall climbing devicess, Prince of persia booby traps, etc.... it's bewildering me.
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