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M. Szewczyk





Joined: 10 Apr 2014

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon 08 Sep, 2014 11:53 am    Post subject: Swords of mid-sixteenth century heavy cavalrymen         Reply with quote

Hello all,
I would like to begin with saying that this is my first thread on this site, and this will be about an issue I can't sort out myself via just lurking around (also, as a beginner, my questions can turn out outright silly, so sorry for that in advance). Now, going back to the real matter - I am wondering what type or types of swords could be considered most appropriate for heavy cavalry in the transition (let's say, in the period 1540-1560) from lance wielding gendarmes of early 16th century into later cuirassiers. One option I already noticed myself were 1500's styles of longswords such as those http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=19720 with hilts ranging from simple cross-hilts through the ones with a pair of or a single side-ring added to crossguard and up to half-baskets and full basket-hilts, although the thing about more complicated styles of hilts being adopted into warfare by lighter armoured (generally gauntlet-less) soldiers kind of contradicts their use by the ones in full armour. But what really boggles my mind about the complex-hilt/gauntlet problem is the issue of single-handed swords from the chosen period - looking through museums' and antiques dealers' galleries I found either simple arming swords from the first half (and mostly, just the beginning of)16th century, rapiers and side swords from throughout the 16th century, and broader basket-hilts from the second half of the century.
So , to recap what I probably just said in a very confusing way - considering the years 1540-1560 and the heaviest cavalry of that time, would it be more likely for them to carry:
a)single-handed sword or a longsword?
b)sword of simplest or more complex guard configuration, considering they wore gauntlets?
Thanks for all the answers you are willing to give.
Marcin
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2014 10:50 pm    Post subject: Swords of mid-sixteenth century heavy cavalrymen         Reply with quote

1) Both swords were used, but longswords were the most often used
2) I guess they wore gauntlets.



16th century swords

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M. Szewczyk





Joined: 10 Apr 2014

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I thought that longswords of simpler hilt forms would be prevalent, but still wonder if there are any examples of cross-hilted arming swords from this period. I would be grateful if anyone who has photos of such could share them in here.
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Gottfried P. Doerler




Location: Tyrol, Austria
Joined: 11 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2014 4:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i dont fully agree to that.
imho longswords are more the thing for footmen (although i admid, during the wars of the roses, there are knights to be seen riding with quite long swords, maybe "bastard swords" in the meaning of swords longer than the typical arming sword, but shorter still than the real one-and-a-half-hand sword) the ones depicted look too heavy for single hand use.

i believe, cavalry used swords with a blade similar to knights in earlier periods, type XIX maybe with a more complex hilt,
like this one
http://www.myArmoury.com/view.html?features/pic_spotxix06.jpg
or 1-2 decades later:
http://www.myArmoury.com/view.html?features/pic_spotxix08.jpg
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M. Szewczyk





Joined: 10 Apr 2014

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Gottfried,
about the first sword - the form is similar to the one of two examples I found described as arming swords and dated to 16th century - http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm65...&co=48 (the other being this one https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/14917/lot/150/). I'm particularly interested in whether there was some difference in the use of side sword and this kind of weapon in warfare - or if the side-sword was a viable choice for gendarmes and such.
About the second sword - isn't it listed as a one-and-a-half sword in the Spotlight Series article?
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

16th-century German men-at-arms and other cavalry used longswords according to various artistic depictions, such as by Albrecht Dürer and in Mair's manual. I'm not sure about French and other men-at-arms, though.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 3:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1540-1560 was a time of transition, so you're likely to find both one-handed swords and longswords (as well as distinctively "coke bottle"-gripped bastard swords) in the hands of the heavy cavalrymen of this age. Some of them even carried two swords -- both a one-handed sword and a two-handed sword, perhaps for different functions (mounted vs. dismounted fighting?), perhaps to provide additional backup, or perhaps just to show off that they could afford more swords. The issue of simple vs. complex hilts is also a tricky one, but by this point it would have been more common to have some sort of complex hilt (even simple ones with just finger rings or side-rings) than plain cruciform hilts even if the wielder had a gauntlet on. After all, the extra bulk of a gauntlet could still be accommodated by making the rings larger, and having a complex hilt could prevent hits that can bend the gauntlet's finger lames and jam them up (severely reducing the mobility of the wearer's hand) in the middle of a fight.
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