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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2016 1:02 am    Post subject: langseax suggestions         Reply with quote

Guys as a newb I am reading up on these. and wondered if anyone can shortcut a few questions or sources or info for me?
More concerned with the longer broken back shaped ones.

I am thinking of having an untapered one made cheap( basically by a knife guy who wants to try out the shape) and wanted a blade around 20" . Are there any historical examples, general weights or dimensions that might be useful to work off?

I should add some literature I have read suggests a certain amount were just giant untapered knives so to speak. While others had been worked by decent smiths so I am assuming the former untapered types do exist?
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G Ezell
Industry Professional



Location: North Alabama
Joined: 22 Dec 2003

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seaxes, as a general rule, have no distal taper. In fact, some appear to get thicker instead of thinner... They handle differently than a sword, and I believe this was deliberate. They also tended to be very thick compared to contemporary swords.




I think #6 from Battersea would be good inspiration for a 20 inch brokenback seax.

" I have found that it is very often the case that if you state some absolute rule of history, there will be an example, however extremely unusual, to break it."
Gabriel Lebec

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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
Joined: 21 Dec 2013

Posts: 107

PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2016 11:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thankyou sir, great diagram and that one is what I was envisaging.

I'd also like to throw out there to the forum some questions on the possible martial style and performance characteristics of these blades? As you say not swordlike in their handling. But they must have had some usefulness to be made in such a long combat form. I assume occasionally they would face a wealthier sword wielding opponent, would it just be same 'shield and sword' style for each combatant?

Was there an 'all round' or preferred combat length? is 20" the most useful or would something longer be superior for the battle scenarios these were involved with?

Would people envisage these capable of work/brush use, or is that long point too specialised?

Is there an advantage during manufacture or use for their particular blade shape? Any theories as to why they disappeared completely so long ago, or are there schools of thought they evolved into something else?

This has probably been discussed a trillion times, feel free to post links if it saves anyone a headache Happy
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G Ezell
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Location: North Alabama
Joined: 22 Dec 2003

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Mon 14 Mar, 2016 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
As you say not swordlike in their handling. But they must have had some usefulness to be made in such a long combat form. I assume occasionally they would face a wealthier sword wielding opponent, would it just be same 'shield and sword' style for each combatant?

With a lightweight (minimal or no metal fittings), long handle, and the thick blade with no distal taper, in some ways they handle more like an ax than a rapier. My thinking is they fit between the sword and the ax as far as handling characteristics go, and this likely filled a niche (I tend to think they were used in a way very similar to the Roman gladius but with the chopping ability of a khopesh). The single-edged blade gives a very good cutting geometry, and add the nasty long point and you have a fearsome weapon.

Quote:
Was there an 'all round' or preferred combat length? is 20" the most useful or would something longer be superior for the battle scenarios these were involved with?

On the continent the general length for a langsax blade was from 18 to 30 inches, with broadsaxes ranging from 13 to 18 inches... in Britain they didn't really follow the continental categories, with saxes of almost the same shape ranging from 3 to 36 inches, and all sizes in between.

Quote:
Would people envisage these capable of work/brush use, or is that long point too specialised?

Though they could be pressed into utilitarian use, I do not think this was common for the longer seaxes. The blades were often pattern-welded, inlayed, and quite fancy, not the type of blade you'd reach for to chop wood or briars with unless it was all that was available.

Quote:
Is there an advantage during manufacture or use for their particular blade shape? Any theories as to why they disappeared completely so long ago, or are there schools of thought they evolved into something else?

A single-edged blade is a bit easier to manufacture, but not vastly easier. At least one does not have to focus so much on symmetry.... There is some thought that they evolved into falchions but I am wary of this theory, as there are a few centuries between the last seaxes and the first falchions. I suspect fashion trends had as much to do with their disappearance as changes in fighting styles.

" I have found that it is very often the case that if you state some absolute rule of history, there will be an example, however extremely unusual, to break it."
Gabriel Lebec

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