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Alec Cawdor




Location: NY
Joined: 15 May 2015

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2015 3:26 pm    Post subject: English Archer Bollock Dagger         Reply with quote

What type of Bollock dagger would an English Archer have carried? (Circa 1400-1450)

Would it have been double-edged or single-edged?

Any brass/bronze fittings, or plain wood?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2015 1:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the myArmoury article on the subject probably does the best job of answering your questions:

"...By 1400 an evenly tapered double-edge blade became popular and by 1450 the double-edge blade became slender with a thick diamond cross section that sometimes included a ricasso...

...In its earliest and simplest form, the ballock dagger hilt was made of a single piece of hardwood such as ebony, rootwood, briar, heather root, or holly wood without any metal parts. The lobes which formed the guard were large and well rounded while the pommel terminated in a bulbous knob. The grip might taper toward the pommel or the guard. Eventually other materials were used for the hilt including horn, ivory, bone, and in much later designs brass and even agate. By the beginning of the 15th century these simple hilts started to include metal plates as reinforcements on the top of the pommel and in between the ballock lobes and the blade. This form continued throughout the lifespan of the ballock dagger.

In the early years of the 15th century another style of ballock dagger appeared and continued to be used alongside the original form. While the lobes at the guard remained the same, the grip swept upward into the form of an inverted cone, ending with a flat butt which was usually capped by a metal plate. Sometimes this plate was engraved with geometric designs."

Just as an fyi, I'm not sure that there's much indication an archer would have carried a dagger that was different from those of a man-at-arms or knight.

You can read more here:
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_spot_bd.php
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Alec Cawdor




Location: NY
Joined: 15 May 2015

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2015 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Would an archer have more likely carried a Rondel dagger?
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Tim Jones




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 05 Nov 2013

Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2015 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd be inclined to go for a single edged, relatively stout blade as it doubles up as a utility knife. I can use my bollock dagger for splitting wood if I don't have hatchet. Double edged blades can only really be used in war.

As a general rule, the longer and more slender the blade, the more likely it is to be in the hands of someone higher up in the social hierarchy.
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alec Cawdor wrote:
Would an archer have more likely carried a Rondel dagger?


I'd guess probably not more likely, for a couple of reasons. Archers (military archers I mean) were I think typically not rich guys or high-cost soldiers; a lower- income person or less expensively equipped soldier would maybe be more likely to carry a less expensive knife/dagger, which the all- wood version of a ballock hilt is more cheaply had than the compound materials of a ballock dagger. Many (but not all) rondel daggers are more or less specialized in shape for hand to hand fighting in more or less full harness, ie knights wrestling each other, going for the gaps in each other's plate. Not a wise thing for a lightly protected acher to attempt.
I think the form of the roundel would make it less useful as a utilitarian tool generally speaking; maybe the average archer would choose to carry one big knife that could do utility work and function for close in fighting. Single edge ballock would be my bet.
If you like the idea of double edged, more fighter than camp knife forms, check out baselards as well. Very common during the period you're looking at.
Best,
Eric
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This whole area of man A has this and Man B has that is very tricky and probably can't really be resolved as a formulaic answer.

Archers could be signed on for a season, or be professional full time. As a signed on archer you probably take what you have, as a professional you have time, money and inclination to buy more specialised kit and indeed get exposed to more variety through geographic location and spoils.

As a signed on guy from Burford or wherever, you may have your civilian dagger that is likely to be a single edged bollock dagger, or as Eric says a baselard, or even possibly a quillon, conceivably even a rondel you liked the look of at last autumns fair. As a professional you may have the bollock that has served you well for years, a quillon, baselard, rondel or some other military form; to be fair you see effigies wearing bollock daggers. In a nutshell I think you cannot say who has what, just that in certain circumstances some things were more common than others.

I am having this very discussion with a customer at the moment and I keep saying 'pick a profile for the guy you are interested in and choose a dagger that suits him' I don't believe there is a solid answer to this question.

If I was portraying an archer of say 1400 I would choose a single edged bollock dagger with no guard and a sheet metal pommel cap (mainly because I like them) a simple sheet metal chape. What I would really like though is a baselard, partly because I like them, partly because they were common, but mainly because people always overlook them. I think they are not chosen by reenactors because they are expensive compared to bollock daggers and bollock daggers generally capture the imagination more. However Eric is completely right in that some daggers are more use in certain circumstances and a single edged dagger always has the edge in camp work (pun intended).

Tod

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Robert Leach




Location: Manistee, Michigan
Joined: 03 Jan 2014

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2015 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The hypothetical archer could also loot anything he liked from enemy dead, I'd assume.......
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