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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Big swords in the 14th century Reply to topic
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Levente M.




Location: Hungary
Joined: 19 Aug 2009

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 2:57 am    Post subject: Big swords in the 14th century         Reply with quote

So I saw Ablion's Archduke sword the other day, and how big it is. I didn't know there were swords this huge in the 14th century, I always thought it was a late15th, 16th century thing. So can someone please show me some originals? Photos, measurements, whatever.

Also, what were these used for? 14th century is the time period when more and more plate armor pieces appear, against which swords are nearly useless. So swords were mainly a side weapon, becuase it's easy to carry. (Feel free to correct me at any point, if I'm wrong please! Big Grin ) And to defeat armor, one would use a mace, a spear or something more suited for the job. The Archduke is too big to be a sideweapon, or to be worn on a belt. So what good is it as a main weapn, against armor? Why would someone carry something like this, instead of a pollaxe or a mace?
I imagine it would work great against unarmored opponents, especially if you have to fight more than one?
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Henrik Granlid




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Apr 2012

Posts: 103

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 3:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Probably good for use against unruly crowds, but also on the battlefield since a lot of people's primary defense would still be aketons. And 140 cqn fit comfortably, just like a 120 or 130 sword, especially if you're mounted to begin with.
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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
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Posts: 358

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 4:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are a few examples of massive XIIa and XIIIa swords in Oakeshott's Records with upwards of 39" or more (don't have the book in front of me, so this is from memory). I know I was sort of surprised at the size of some of them when I first got my copy of the book. How they were used is I believe never been truly fleshed out and there have been several discussions here about how the early Great Swords were used if you want to do a search for them.

Here is one -
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight=

The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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Levente M.




Location: Hungary
Joined: 19 Aug 2009

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

39" BLADE length, right?
I looked at german effigies from the era, and I see a lot of the knights holding the sword in their hand, in a scabbard. Just like you can see on 15-16th century images, people carrying the big swords on their shoulders, in a scabbard. And they have a katzbalger or long baselard on their belt.
Although the scabbards in the effigies seem to have a belt or some sort of strap on them.

I wonder if it's just a german artistic style, to have the sword in hand in effigies, or they have a smaller sword on their belt like in later times? Often you can't see, because a shield hides most of the waist area.

More reason for me to think these are main weapons. With a blade that long, you can make some nice swings from horseback.
Or keep multiple people away from an area, on foot.

I read that thread, I suppose the opinions haven't changed and there's no new info then?
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,234

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This one is an obvious example:
http://www.myArmoury.com/view.html?features/pic_spotxii13.jpg

In History museum of Zagreb, Croatia, there are at least two big XIIIa swords from 14th century with blades over 100cm long (102 and 103 I think) and one also 14th century XVIa with broad and powerful blade also over 100cm long. I have seen plenty of such swords in various books and webpages, they were quite popular in 14th century... Since most people wouldn't have full plate armour and big bascinets or greathelms, such swords would be very effective. Only in 15th and 16th century full plate armour was complete enough to provide security even against strikes with such big swords, but even than plenty of foot soldiers wouldn't have such protection...
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Sun 25 Jan, 2015 7:22 am    Post subject: Big swords in the 14th century         Reply with quote


This sword, with its blade reaching more than 100cm, is quite immense! Even I cannot lift it.
A sword this size is able to break an opponent's sword with a single swing, I believe.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,234

PostPosted: Sun 25 Jan, 2015 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: Big swords in the 14th century         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:

This sword, with its blade reaching more than 100cm, is quite immense! Even I cannot lift it.
A sword this size is able to break an opponent's sword with a single swing, I believe.


Sorry, but you are obviously deluded about such swords. What is the biggest sword you handled? I am 162cm tall, not very strong, and I can handle my 170cm twohander with 120cm long blade. These swords if done well can be handled and are not too heavy. And they certainly can't break other swords with one strike.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 4:25 am    Post subject: Re: Big swords in the 14th century         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:
This sword, with its blade reaching more than 100cm, is quite immense! Even I cannot lift it.
A sword this size is able to break an opponent's sword with a single swing, I believe.


Sorry, but you are obviously deluded about such swords. What is the biggest sword you handled? I am 162cm tall, not very strong, and I can handle my 170cm twohander with 120cm long blade. These swords if done well can be handled and are not too heavy. And they certainly can't break other swords with one strike.


Well, such swords are well within the capability of a reasonably fit modern person to use, but maybe we shouldn't assume that all modern people are reasonably fit? Big Grin
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,234

PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 4:27 am    Post subject: Re: Big swords in the 14th century         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Luka Borscak wrote:
Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:
This sword, with its blade reaching more than 100cm, is quite immense! Even I cannot lift it.
A sword this size is able to break an opponent's sword with a single swing, I believe.


Sorry, but you are obviously deluded about such swords. What is the biggest sword you handled? I am 162cm tall, not very strong, and I can handle my 170cm twohander with 120cm long blade. These swords if done well can be handled and are not too heavy. And they certainly can't break other swords with one strike.


Well, such swords are well within the capability of a reasonably fit modern person to use, but maybe we shouldn't assume that all modern people are reasonably fit? Big Grin


That is true, but he said he couldn't even lift it. Happy
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Levente M.




Location: Hungary
Joined: 19 Aug 2009

Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 5:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It can't be more than 3kg. Anyone can lift that. Big Grin Swing it too, you don't even have to be fit at all. I'm a good example. I've used big 16th century two handed swords, sure it's slower than a longsword, but still managable. And I'm a computer science student sitting at a desk 24/7. Happy

So any more examples? Maybe some photos? Happy

Also, how's the dynamics? The pivot point for long swords is usually at or around the tip of the blade. What about these swords? Or just two handed type XIIIs in general.
Is it closer to the hilt, or the same as a longsword?
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