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J. Hargis




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 3:43 am    Post subject: "Top Ten Most Famous Swords of the Middle Ages" /         Reply with quote

Have a look here at the "Top Ten Most Famous Swords of the Middle Ages". I'm not sure how anyone could come up with a definitive list, but here it is. Provocative to be sure.

Jon

http://www.medievalists.net/2014/10/26/top-10...ddle-ages/
Quote:
Top Ten Most Famous Swords of the Middle Ages
Our list of the top 10 swords - real and fictional - from the Middle Ages
Created by Peter on October 26, 2014


#1 Excalibur
In the Arthurian Legends there are two versions of how King Arthur received this sword. In the first version, he obtained his throne by pulling this sword from a huge stone. In the other version, it was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake and that, when the king lay mortally wounded after his last battle, he ordered one of his knights to throw back into the lake. Chretien de Troyes described this sword, which was also know as Caledfwlch or Caliburn, as "the finest sword that there was, which sliced through iron as through wood."



#2 Joyeuse
This is the traditional sword of Charlemagne and by the 13th century was used as the official sword for the coronation of the Kings of France. The Song of Roland describes how by Charlemagne's "side hung Joyeuse, and never was there a sword to match it; its colour changed thirty times a day." The sword now can be see in The Louvre, and scientific tests show that its part date from different times: the pommel to the 10th to 11th centuries, the crossguard to the 12th and the grip to the 13th century. However the blade itself dates from either the 9th or 10th century, so that part could be the same one used by the Carolingian emperor.



#3 Wallace Sword
Hanging at the National Wallace Monument near the Scottish town of Stirling, this sword was said to belong to William Wallace. Reaching 5 feet 4 inches in length, the weapon's blade might date to 13th century, but most historians believe that most of it was made in later centuries.



#4 The Sword of Mercy (Curtana)
One of the ceremonial swords used in the coronation of the British monarchs, this weapon dates back to the 11th century and was said to belong to Edward the Confessor. The end of it has been broken off, and the legends surrounding the sword say that the blunt edge was meant to represent mercy.



#5 Colada and Tizona
These two swords were wielded by Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, the semi-legendary Spanish military leader. They are noted in the Song of El Cid, in which the weapons have the power to strike fear into opponents. In one scene from the poem, Rodrigo has given the Colada to Martín Antolínez and he uses it in the duel against the infante Diego González: "When precious Colada has struck this blow,Diego González saw that he would not escape with his soul, he turned his horse to face his opponent. At that moment Martín Antolínez hit him with his sword, he struck him broadside, with the cutting edge he did not hit him. Diego González has sword in hand, but he does not use it, at that moment the infante began to shout, 'Help me, God, glorious Lord, and protect me from this sword!' " A museum in Burgos, Spain claims that it has the Tizona in its collection.



#6 Skofnung
One of the most famous swords in Icelandic literature, Skofnung first belonged to legendary Danish king Hrólf Kraki. The magical weapon got its power from the spirits of the king's 12 berserker bodyguards. After it was buried with Hrólf Kraki, the weapon was removed by a plunderer and had further adventures. According to the Laxdœla saga, the sword is not to be drawn in the presence of women, and that the sun must never shine on the sword's hilt.



#7 Legbiter
The name of the sword belonging to Magnus III 'Barelegs', King of Norway from 1093 to 1103. According to the Fagrskinna, the "hand-guards, cross-bar and pommel were of walrus ivory with gold around the haft, and it was the sharpest of all swords." However, it also helped his enemies recognize Magnus during a battle in Ireland, where the king was killed.



#8 Hrunting and Nægling
The two swords given to Beowulf. According to the Old English poem, both weapons had great powers, but both fail the hero - Hrunting proves to be ineffective against Grendel's mother and he discards it, while Nægling breaks in half in Beowulf's hands when he is fighting the dragon.



#9 Zulfiqar
The legendary sword belonging to Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and Caliph from 656 to 661. It is often depicted in art as a scissor-like double bladed sword.



#10 Durandal
According to the Song of Roland, this legendary sword was first given to Charlemagne by an angel. It contained one tooth of Saint Peter, blood of Saint Basil, hair of Saint Denis, and a piece of the raiment of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was supposedly the sharpest sword in all existence. In the story of the Song of Roland, the weapon is given to Roland, and he uses it to defend himself singlehandedly against thousands of Muslim attackers. According to one 12th century legend from the French town of Rocamadour, Roland threw the sword into a cliffside. You can still see the sword embedded into the cliff-face.

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 6:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well it's an interesting mix. If I were to make such lists, I'd have sub categorized it by swords or weapons (like Thor's Mjolnir, etc) found in literary sources and another for historical swords such as Joyeuse and Zulfiqar that may (or may not) have an actual representation. Durendel would still be in the first list, though it was interesting to see the sword in the cliff.

I mostly like the swords of El Cid. Such a famous and influential man, I wondered about his arms and armor. So there were a few things I gained from the list.

The swords attributed to St. Maurice of Turin would be excellent for the "historical" list. As well as a very good Ulfhbert or Ingelrii. Someone else can surely think of very good swords for that list.
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another list

http://www.bartleby.com/81/16143.html

Cheers

GC
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: "Top Ten Most Famous Swords of the Middle Ages"         Reply with quote

The Wallace sword is proved to be fake. Even when the guy put it up for display in 1800 something folks already said it was a sword from a later period welded together with another piece of iron.
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was kind of surprised the sword of St. Maurice wasn't listed.
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From the accounts that I've read, the Sword in the Stone came first, and was broken in battle. Merlin then led Arthur to the Lake, where the Lady provided him with Excalibur.
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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct, 2014 10:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
From the accounts that I've read, the Sword in the Stone came first, and was broken in battle. Merlin then led Arthur to the Lake, where the Lady provided him with Excalibur.


It's been a while since I read that particular legend but I'm 90% certain that the sword in the stone belongs to Merlin and Arthur doesn't keep it after pulling it out. I seem to remember Merlin using it at some point during his own adventures, so it's unlikely to be broken in battle.

But then again there are so many versions of that story and so many modern re-tellings it's hard to be sure.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2014 8:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The hypothesis that Oakeshott posed on Excalibur was that it was from a lake or bog deposit of Iron Age swords, which would not be too far-fetched for a post-Roman British warlord such as Arthur. Some bog deposits have turned out to be very well preserved two millennia or so after the fact, so only a few hundred years later they should have still been in pretty good condition especially if they were well-made in the first place.

It would make sense, additionally, if the character known as Merlin came from a Druidic tradition and thus knew the location of such deposits from past ceremonies and oral tradition. The 'Lady of the Lake' could well be a cultic priestess charged with guarding such deposits.

All this is speculation, of course... the severe paucity of written history from the era really doesn't help, not to mention that it's often hard to tell if what we have in the first place is fabricated or not.
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Malcolm A




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A good list of swords there and certainly one to provoke good discussion.

The Wallace Sword was researched [again] in the last year-ish I believe and was apparently shown to be have a blade made up of three bits; basically showing it was cobbled together. So definitely not a real usable / used sword as it were. Still, its a nice piece to look at.

Excalibur; hmmm. So many tales, which is true...
I recall that in a UK TV programme [apologies for not knowing which one], someone was demonstrating the casting of a bronze sword in a mould made of soft stone or such like. They promulgated the idea that perhaps Arthur's drawing Excalibur from a stone was in fact the removal of an unfinished sword from such a moulding. This would for sure put the time of Arthur further back but hey, I love this sort of stuff.

Just my 2 pennies worth…

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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Sancar O.





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2014 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not an Arthurian expert, but if I remember correctly, "the sword in the stone" is not "in" the stone actually. It was stuck in an anvil that was set on a stone.
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2014 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arthur pulls the sword from the anvil
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart004.htm
Arthur breaks his sword fighting King Pellinore (at bottom)
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart022.htm
Merlin casts a spell on Pellinore
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart023.htm
Arthur receives excalibur
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart024.htm
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Raman A




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2014 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
Arthur pulls the sword from the anvil
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart004.htm
Arthur breaks his sword fighting King Pellinore (at bottom)
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart022.htm
Merlin casts a spell on Pellinore
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart023.htm
Arthur receives excalibur
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/mart/mart024.htm


Yes, I believe Malory was the first one to reconcile the two contradicting myths in this way. Previous to this both the "sword in the stone" and "lady in the lake" were coexisting, alternate myths about the origin of Excalibur. Malory's version of The Matter of Britain was actually a fairly late contribution to the cycle; Arthur already had a rich mythos stretching back almost a thousand years and multiple cultures before Malory wrote. L'Morte d'Arthurs cleverness comes from how Malory was able to weave all the different stories into a narrative whole. It's pretty impressive actually. I think most authors would have just picked one or the other, "sword in the stone" or "lady of the lake."

Curiously, though, Malory refers to both swords as "Excalibur" which leads a lot of scholars to believe that he simply made a mistake...
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Re: "Top Ten Most Famous Swords of the Middle Ages"         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
The Wallace sword is proved to be fake. Even when the guy put it up for display in 1800 something folks already said it was a sword from a later period welded together with another piece of iron.


The word "fake" is not necessarily accurate. The sword is real, not a fake, but its provenance and construction point toward a later time period than when Wallace was alive. The style of hilt is definitely 16th c. but then the hilt has been tinkered with to the point that we do not know what the original actually looked like. The blade could be Scottish-made and while it was originally thought to have been broken and repaired, a growing number of people, including me, are now inclined to think that it was a shorter sword which was lengthened.

Whether or not Wallace actually owned and used it is highly questionable but there is no doubt that it is a famous sword and may be a product of the medieval period, so including it in the list is appropriate.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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