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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Mar, 2016 9:14 am    Post subject: Info on Falchion         Reply with quote

Does anyone have more information on the giant falchion second from the top. I have never come across it before

https://sbg-sword-forum.forums.net/thread/39070/?page=3
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Mar, 2016 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you asked Mr Elmslie, he posts on here under his name so will be easy to find. he did the drawings.
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Mar, 2016 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Photos of it in this thread from a few years ago:
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=232600

It's thin, under 2mm I think.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sun 06 Mar, 2016 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks guys. so 2-2.5mm no distal taper, I wonder what the performance characteristics/purpose of this weapon would be. Its like a giant machete. Maybe some of the Asian swords equate this blade presence? I assume no modern makers have done one before.
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 495

PostPosted: Sun 06 Mar, 2016 8:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let me guess. It is relatively long for a falchion, 100 cm or 39 inches total length. It has thin, broad blade with no distal taper. It assume this would mean that you can sharpen to extremely fine edge and the point of balance would be very far down the blade. It also has a very curved edge. I would guess is that this was designed as light calvary ie jinete hobilar, etc sword for clipping mostly unarmored or soft armored infantrymen. I bet it could equal the cutting capablity of straight double edge blades which are much longer than it and match much more radically curved but thicker but slimmer blades of the same length, like a shamsir. But, with a blade that thin , I bet it would have a high chance of edge rolling, blade warping and intense vibrating upon bad cutting or striking highly rigid materials.
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Mar, 2016 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks to Nathan for fixing my clearances so I could reply to this!

The image linked is inaccurate in a number of ways, the most critical being it was before I'd collected data from that falchion. (Unfortunately, what ends up on the internet stays on the internet, so its still doing the rounds.... Much like pictures of me from the Rocky Horror show in 1998 that I'll never live down! Big Grin .)

It is in fact, upside down in that picture, - the reason people have been saying its 2mm thick and has no distal taper is they've been looking at a photo of the edge and thinking its the spine.

an image corrected can be seen here:
https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/305681893435841478/ (along with various other images of the falchion research work.

As such, I'm afraid Phillip Dyer's guess about it is pretty much completely wrong in every possible way, sorry.

the fundamental stats are:
Overall length 1089mm.
Weight 1685g.

blade thickness is an extreme, non-linear distal taper.
7mm at the cross,
rapidly tapers down towards 4mm in the first 200mm from the cross,
tapers very gradually from there to about 3mm thick 700mm from the cross
then tapers more aggressively for the last 200mm down to about 1.1mm.

Cutting edge is the straight(er) edge, not the curved edge. The cutting edge is very slightly concave in study. As such, it is not a Type 1a blade, but an exaggerated profile type F5b(-), per the typology published in the 2015 "das Schwert: Gestalt und Gedanke" catalogue. In this, it is mirrored by a slightly later example in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland which is also an F5b (-). The blade is fairly heavily decayed especially round the tip, there's a pretty good chance that it was originally 50mm longer.

Its a fairly heavy cutter, the blade does have a lot of presence, but its not flexible or machete-like at all.

strangely enough, no-one's made it, though I don't doubt that'll change soon as someone reads those measurements!

I'd like to be the one to get there first, if someone wishes to patronise me.... (Though knowing my luck, that'll mean pat me on the head and go "well done". Big Grin )
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 495

PostPosted: Tue 08 Mar, 2016 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:
Thanks to Nathan for fixing my clearances so I could reply to this!

The image linked is inaccurate in a number of ways, the most critical being it was before I'd collected data from that falchion. (Unfortunately, what ends up on the internet stays on the internet, so its still doing the rounds.... Much like pictures of me from the Rocky Horror show in 1998 that I'll never live down! Big Grin .)

It is in fact, upside down in that picture, - the reason people have been saying its 2mm thick and has no distal taper is they've been looking at a photo of the edge and thinking its the spine.

an image corrected can be seen here:
https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/305681893435841478/ (along with various other images of the falchion research work.

As such, I'm afraid Phillip Dyer's guess about it is pretty much completely wrong in every possible way, sorry.

the fundamental stats are:
Overall length 1089mm.
Weight 1685g.

blade thickness is an extreme, non-linear distal taper.
7mm at the cross,
rapidly tapers down towards 4mm in the first 200mm from the cross,
tapers very gradually from there to about 3mm thick 700mm from the cross
then tapers more aggressively for the last 200mm down to about 1.1mm.

Cutting edge is the straight(er) edge, not the curved edge. The cutting edge is very slightly concave in study. As such, it is not a Type 1a blade, but an exaggerated profile type F5b(-), per the typology published in the 2015 "das Schwert: Gestalt und Gedanke" catalogue. In this, it is mirrored by a slightly later example in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland which is also an F5b (-). The blade is fairly heavily decayed especially round the tip, there's a pretty good chance that it was originally 50mm longer.

Its a fairly heavy cutter, the blade does have a lot of presence, but its not flexible or machete-like at all.

strangely enough, no-one's made it, though I don't doubt that'll change soon as someone reads those measurements!

I'd like to be the one to get there first, if someone wishes to patronise me.... (Though knowing my luck, that'll mean pat me on the head and go "well done". Big Grin )
you've visited the Museum in which this sword in stored? Could you provide this thread any further pictures?
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Mar, 2016 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
you've visited the Museum in which this sword in stored? Could you provide this thread any further pictures?


I'm afraid I dont have anything which isnt under copyright yet.

I need to go back and get detailed photos at some point which I can licence for publication, but there's about 80 other falchions, messers, and single-edged swords that also require travel to their assorted places of rest, for study too...
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 495

PostPosted: Tue 08 Mar, 2016 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:
Philip Dyer wrote:
you've visited the Museum in which this sword in stored? Could you provide this thread any further pictures?


I'm afraid I dont have anything which isnt under copyright yet.

I need to go back and get detailed photos at some point which I can liscence for publication, but there's about 80 other falchions, messers, and single-edged swords that also require travel to their assorted places of rest, for study too...

Aww, that is sad. :C Do you work for Nathan or Scottish museum, since talked about clearance? Also, holy hell, the falchion under discussion sounds like would feel a bit clunky , that is very heavy for a one handed sword.
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 257

PostPosted: Tue 08 Mar, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Aww, that is sad. :C Do you work for Nathan or Scottish museum, since talked about clearance? Also, holy hell, the falchion under discussion sounds like would feel a bit clunky , that is very heavy for a one handed sword.


No, clearance from Nathan as just that I wasn't able to post stuff - been getting an error message for the last however many months, and he was kind enough to take some time to fix the error.

I'm a private researcher when I'm not making replicas, so I'm as likely to be found in the reserves of the Scottish National Museum, Royal Armouries, or any of 101 other institutions around Europe where these things are stored, studying them - I'm slowly working on a book on the subject of single-edged asymmetric edged weapons in medieval and renaissance Europe. So while I often have more photography of items, its without permission to distribute them publicly. And I'd rather not risk jeopardising my access to those museums who have been generous enough to grant research time with their often fragile collection objects.

The plan I'm aiming for is publication of something fairly similar to "Records of the Medieval Sword", only for single-edged stuff, with a typology I introduced last year, and will hopefully become more popular over time - its been rather humbling to see it starting to be used though "in the wild" - Angus Trim's started using the typology for his recent works, and I never imagined it would be in a museum exhibition just 8 months after it was first presented at the R.L.Scott Conference in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum in march 2015.

That book should contain detailed studies of the evolution of them from their appearance in the 13th C through to the 1530's or so, covering all the various types that were used - messers, falchions, single-edged swords, and a few that defy classification entirely. Unlike Oakeshott, I'm aiming for multiple photographs and high-quality line-work illustrations (particularly on the heavily degraded examples, where photography often fails to show the details.) for each item, and full dimensional data, as well as weights, balance, handling characteristics, and, if I'm really fortunate, maybe also demonstrating the underlying geometric principles which Peter Johsson's research has demonstrated is present in some of the examples. I hope you can also appreciate I'm not overly keen to give away all the details I've gathered before the book ever reaches print. I'd like to hope that I can hoard enough of the secrets I've gathered for a little while so that it'll sell a few copies... I might even recoup at least a tiny fraction of the expense of doing all this research work if I'm really lucky!


For the handling characteristics, I'm not entirely sure - its too fragile to fling around, after all. I'd like to produce a replica of it, to put through a few tests and see how it behaves. I suspect it was a bit longer, so overall length would've been about 1150mm, but I'm also inclined to suspect it was fairly well-balanced - the CoG is a little bit forward, 130mm from the cross or so and would likely have been closer to 140 when intact, but its hardly a machete - the pommel is particularly hefty, so while it might not be fast like the tiny little cluny falchion that can be moved very rapidly, or the castillon falchion's superb feel, its going to be a vicious cutter, which might well be best suited for attacks from horseback. In some ways, it reminds me of the XIIIa's in how it feels.
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2016 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks JG for all of the information. What a strange beastie indeed it is, like a giant seax shaped blade?

One thing is I am surprised no one has taken this on yet as you say. Did it only surface onto the radar recently?
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2016 12:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Brudon wrote:
Thanks JG for all of the information. What a strange beastie indeed it is, like a giant seax shaped blade?

One thing is I am surprised no one has taken this on yet as you say. Did it only surface onto the radar recently?


its been in the collection of Castello Sforzesco since at least 1920. Laking wrote about it in one of his books then.

I'm not entirely keen on describing it as seax-shaped - the cross-section and taper are very different, and the hilt even more so.... And I'd argue laking was wrong, the falchion didnt evolve from the seax at all - so I'm rather adverse to even using the term seax-shaped, to avoid giving further weight to that argument.

Equally, I'm not keen on Bashford Dean's ideas of weapon evolution, they show too much adherence to his thinking as a marine biologist, rather than an understanding of arms design, where new designs seem to me to be more a case of change through fashion and environmental influence, than linear change to the styles.

From what I've been researching, I'm pretty comfortable sticking my neck out and saying that the long fighting seax died out in the 11th century, and the falchions developed independently in Lombardy, somewhere around the 2nd quarter of the 13th C. One intriguing possibility is that its all subtly interwoven with the thought processes behind the use of Christian symbolism in geometry, that Peter Johnsson's research work has so strongly indicated to be commonplace. the best evidence for that lies in the Baltic states where the single-edged sword lingered on in use for a fair few centuries, until the christianisation of the region, which saw a rapid decline in the single-edged sword use there. That sort of indicates that there was the possibility of an European Christian way of thinking about the sword as a weapon which influenced design in the British isles after the Norman conquest, and again in the Baltic states after their defeat.

So for the shapes of these weapons To use marine biology, as a nod to Dean's monumental influence, they're perhaps best not described as related species, but as Elvis Taxons; or to put another way, they're not two species of similar sharks, but species of ichthyosaur and dolphin.... Fundamentally similar shapes developed for similar environmental conditions, but entirely different species in origin.
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2016 12:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="JG Elmslie"]
Michael Brudon wrote:


So for the shapes of these weapons To use marine biology, as a nod to Dean's monumental influence, they're perhaps best not described as related species, but as Elvis Taxons; or to put another way, they're not two species of similar sharks, but species of ichthyosaur and dolphin.... Fundamentally similar shapes developed for similar environmental conditions, but entirely different species in origin.


I like the analogy JG. Will your book go back as far as seaxes?
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2016 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi J.G. Elmslie, thank you for this great information. I love falchion types and it's fascinating to hear your research and opinions. Thanks for posting here. Consider me a reader of your forthcoming book. Do you have a link for the typology you reference above? I have looked at your website before and think your work is extraordinary. It's great to think about seeing more reproductions of these falchions.

Thanks,
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Mar, 2016 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:

Equally, I'm not keen on Bashford Dean's ideas of weapon evolution, they show too much adherence to his thinking as a marine biologist, rather than an understanding of arms design, where new designs seem to me to be more a case of change through fashion and environmental influence, than linear change to the styles.


As others noted on the Armour Archive years ago regarding Dean's helmet evolution chart: Laughing Out Loud

Andrew Young wrote:
only problem with armor diagrams is that they tend to suggest that armour met armour on a beautiful fall afternoon ....courted for a while, fell in love and had a baby helmet that looked like both of them.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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