Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Distinguishing Between Hangers and Early Cutlasses Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2016 11:43 pm    Post subject: Distinguishing Between Hangers and Early Cutlasses         Reply with quote

Is it possible to meaningfully distinguish between hangers and cutlasses from the 17th century? The differences between the two types of sword seem to be slight, if any. The only possible difference that I observe is that early cutlasses usually have a scallop shell guard, whereas hangers do not necessarily have this style of guard. However, it is unclear that this is even a meaningful distinction, as I am sure there are numerous examples of swords that do not conform to it.

So, can a distinction be made, if any?
View user's profile Send private message
Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2016 12:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The short answer is no and even the word "cutlass" originated on dry land. The longer answer would involve specific patterns adopted by or marketed to particular users which might have some relevancy from an academic or even living history perspective but would have little or no bearing on the development of weaponry or martial arts.The differentiation between two randomly selected cutlass patterns at any given time could be as great or greater than the differentiation between a randomly selected cutlass pattern and randomly selected hanger pattern.
View user's profile Send private message
Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2016 4:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First you'll have to define your terms. What exactly do you mean by "cutlass" and "hanger" and how do the two differ in your view? Because as far as I can tell they're synonymous for all practical intents and purposes.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2016 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cannot provide a definition for these swords. If the definition is meant to make distinctions between them, I'd be even harder pressed. It sounds like my intuition was right: there is no distinction that can be made.
View user's profile Send private message
Jasper B.




Location: Europe
Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2016 5:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always thought that the English word 'cutlass' was/is the anglicized version of the Dutch 'korte las'; with 'korte' meaning 'short' and where a 'las' was the Dutch 17th century word for 'sabre''. So, 'korte las' would be literally translated as 'short sabre'.

I always assumed it to be true simply because it made sense to me (with a lot of nautical terminology in the English language being anglicized versions of Dutch words). I've, however, never verified of tried to check this piece of 'knowledge'.

Would be interesting to hear if my assumption has been wrong all those years.

JB
View user's profile Send private message
Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2016 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jasper B. wrote:
I always thought that the English word 'cutlass' was/is the anglicized version of the Dutch 'korte las'; with 'korte' meaning 'short' and where a 'las' was the Dutch 17th century word for 'sabre''. So, 'korte las' would be literally translated as 'short sabre'.

I always assumed it to be true simply because it made sense to me (with a lot of nautical terminology in the English language being anglicized versions of Dutch words). I've, however, never verified of tried to check this piece of 'knowledge'.

Would be interesting to hear if my assumption has been wrong all those years.

JB

No, it's a 16th Century anglicisation of Middle French coutelas, "big knife". (Very much like the more or less synonymous cuttoe, from couteau.)

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
View user's profile Send private message
John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
Joined: 31 May 2014
Likes: 18 pages

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2016 4:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Jasper B. wrote:
I always thought that the English word 'cutlass' was/is the anglicized version of the Dutch 'korte las'; with 'korte' meaning 'short' and where a 'las' was the Dutch 17th century word for 'sabre''. So, 'korte las' would be literally translated as 'short sabre'.

I always assumed it to be true simply because it made sense to me (with a lot of nautical terminology in the English language being anglicized versions of Dutch words). I've, however, never verified of tried to check this piece of 'knowledge'.

Would be interesting to hear if my assumption has been wrong all those years.

JB

No, it's a 16th Century anglicisation of Middle French coutelas, "big knife". (Very much like the more or less synonymous cuttoe, from couteau.)


So what is the origin of "hanger"? As a term for a sword that one has never actually made much sense to me. And understanding its derivation might help answer the original question.
View user's profile Send private message
John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
Joined: 31 May 2014
Likes: 18 pages

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2016 4:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

... Double post ........

Last edited by John Hardy on Tue 17 May, 2016 4:20 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Mon 16 May, 2016 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I've always assumed a "hanger" is simply a sword that hangs at your side, rather than a foreign loan word.

PS. It's sometimes been suggested the term may have derived from khanjar, due to the slight similarity of the words, but to my knowledge there's no actual evidence of any sort to back up that notion, and since the English term rather predates the popularity of Asian cultural influences in Britain I would think it quite farfetched, at best.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Distinguishing Between Hangers and Early Cutlasses
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum