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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 12:08 am    Post subject: a question abou using rondel daggers         Reply with quote

Hi, so recently, i had an idea presented to me about rondel daggers, the idea was that the rondels, in addition to being there to keep your hand in place, might have also had the purpose of providing a solid platform to,m say if you had stabbed, or placed the tip of the dagger against, say a armpit gusset or maille aventail or SOMETHING you could hammer the blade in with the base of your fist, in other words using it like a chisel....

do you guys think this could even WORK? and how would it work with daggers featuring smaller base rondels..

what do you guys think of this idea?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The problem I observe with a lot of modern hypotheses on historical issues is that, while many might seem plausible, they often turn out to be false. I am speaking especially of hypotheses for which there is no documentary or archaeological evidence to provide support. So I would be wary of assuming this to be true, just because it sounds plausible.

As far as the argument goes, it seems somewhat plausible. One of the texts on armoured fencing in the Rome version of the von Danzig manuscript mentions that it frequently happens that your sword will become partially lodged into a harness without killing your opponent. The text recommends driving the opponent backward with your sword in the hopes that the point can find it's way deeper and strike home. Conceivably, the same could happen with a dagger.

What makes the hypothesis seem less likely is that, much of the time, the dagger would be used once your opponent was either pinned or else partially restrained on the ground, ideally by stabbing the face or neck. Given that this is so, it seems unnecessary to depend upon hammering the rondel to drive it through articulations in the harness.

As I mentioned above, while it seems it could be possible, I wouldn't put too much stock in this claim.


Last edited by Craig Peters on Mon 15 Sep, 2014 9:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I imagine a more pragmatic approach is to place your other palm on the pommel to lean your body weight on it. Just hammering on it with your fist wouldn't apply any more force than the initial stab.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
I imagine a more pragmatic approach is to place your other palm on the pommel to lean your body weight on it. Just hammering on it with your fist wouldn't apply any more force than the initial stab.

It might apply more force.. but then again if it's really stuck and you don't hit it right you might just injure your hand, depending on how you hit it and how the rondel is shaped.

It's obviously impossible to say that this was something no one ever thought of but I can't see it working in actual combat. Setting up such a chisel-strike against a moving opponent is unlikely to ever happen and if he isn't moving - or not moving fast or very limited in his movement - you are unlikely in need of a technique like this because you can pick your target much better.

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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The teachers answer is "That's a very interesting hypothesis, why don't you look through some historic art and see if you can find this technique being applied."

Cool

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Eric W. Norenberg





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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One likely- I think, highly likely- scenario is that after you wrestle the poor sod into a knot, you're going to put the dagger into a convenient opening then quickly get your free hand onto the pommel and shove it through any resisting layer (quilting, mail, ribs) to hit the vital stuff beneath. Not dealing so much with a fast moving target as a joint -locked, wriggling target.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Sep, 2014 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This has been discussed before and I find the idea to be a little laughable. If you hammering the rondel, you are using both hands. In that case, either 1) the guy is flailing at you or 2) he's subdued enough that he's not fighting back.

In case 1), it's just martially unsound to leave an un-subdued opponent free to hurt you while you try to use a 1-handed weapon with two hands. In case 2), it's just plain unnecessary. If he's subdued enough that both of your hands are free, he's either dead already or can be quickly dispatched with a dagger through a helmet's eye slit. Neither requires 2-handed rondel use.

Some rondel daggers had hollow rondels, but might not have always been strong enough for hammering. Some had decorations that you wouldn't want to pound on. Some rondel dagger only had one rondel. The single rondel could be at either end of the grip.

So, it's definite that not all rondel daggers were made for hammering in. I doubt any of them were designed with that thought seriously in mind, though this is just my opinion.

Any pommel or grip end can be used as a surface against which to push if you need extra force. You don't need a flat disc to be able to do that. So I simply don't buy the idea.

Happy

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Raman A




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Sep, 2014 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First of all, I think the idea that all aspects of historical objects were designed with some functional purpose in mind is a modernism. However, if I were to speculate on a purpose for the rondels outside their aesthetics, I would say they were simply to protect the hand. The reverse grip was the standard during the height of the rondel dagger, so the large pommel would have provided protection for the top of the hand, which is vulnerable to blows even in gauntlets. They may have also helped to provide some measure against being disarmed.


Chad Arnow wrote:

In case 1), it's just martially unsound to leave an un-subdued opponent free to hurt you while you try to use a 1-handed weapon with two hands. In case 2), it's just plain unnecessary. If he's subdued enough that both of your hands are free, he's either dead already or can be quickly dispatched with a dagger through a helmet's eye slit. Neither requires 2-handed rondel use.


I agree with you in that I think the "hammering" hypothesis is incorrect, but I just wanted to point out that using a dagger with both hands is far from ridiculous. Specifically, Fiore's guard of the middle iron gate holds the dagger with two hands, and many of his dagger techniques also hold the dagger in two hands. He specifically mentions that the two handed grip is good in armor because it provides more power and leverage.

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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Sep, 2014 10:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

one, supposed thing that happened but it could just as well be an old myth, is that during battles such as agincourt, soldiers held down knights while another placed, and drove iron spikes into gaps or whatnot with mallets,

which while sometimes you do ned extra force to get through certain parts,m if youve held hm down, nothing stops you from opening the vior or removing the helmet and stamming or smashing his face...so im not sure what to think of that adioa
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Sep, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt Easton did mention in a recent video that you can brace the back of the rondel against your cuirasse and use your weight to help drive it in sometimes. Personally I like the disarm/protect hand argument.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Sep, 2014 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
one, supposed thing that happened but it could just as well be an old myth, is that during battles such as agincourt, soldiers held down knights while another placed, and drove iron spikes into gaps or whatnot with mallets,

Pure misconception.

The archers did have large mallets for driving wooden stakes into the ground, to make a sort of temporary fortifications or blockades. And they might well have swung them at armoured knights and men-at-arms, too, given the opportunity. And they would definitely gang up on armoured opponents to wrestle them down and slip daggers through the openings in the armour.

But no, they did not use the mallets to drive iron spikes through armour.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Sep, 2014 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
William P wrote:
one, supposed thing that happened but it could just as well be an old myth, is that during battles such as agincourt, soldiers held down knights while another placed, and drove iron spikes into gaps or whatnot with mallets,

Pure misconception.

The archers did have large mallets for driving wooden stakes into the ground, to make a sort of temporary fortifications or blockades. And they might well have swung them at armoured knights and men-at-arms, too, given the opportunity. And they would definitely gang up on armoured opponents to wrestle them down and slip daggers through the openings in the armour.

But no, they did not use the mallets to drive iron spikes through armour.

I would be surprised is how the myth came about is that archers did just their stake driving mallets to knock French men at arms down then finish them off with their relatively crude, spike like daggers. Surviors of the battles stories spread over distance and time you get archers killing knights with a hammer and chisel.
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