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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2016 10:08 am    Post subject: Medieval Supermen         Reply with quote

Recently I was talking with some friends about how unrealistic an "Ironclad" scene was, where the Templar uses a longsword to break an axe's shaft and chop a man in half.

Then I remembered from my previous readings of Godfrey of Bouillon, Protector of Jerusalem and High Baron of the First Crusade. According to traditions, Godfrey could chop a man in two with his sword. That would have made an emir come visit Godfrey, expecting to know if the legends were true. There, Godfrey used his sword to decapitate a camel before the emir, who said that Godfrey had an enchanted sword. Then, Godfrey took the emir's sword and used it to repeat the feat, saying that he could only do this because he never sinned against purity. (you can find these accounts in "Heroes of the Crusades" and Michaud's History of the Crusades).

Turns out that we have a plenty of these accounts/legends/whatever in middle ages. So, how about if we share the legends we know here? Can be viking's sagas, knightly legends, muslim accounts and so. I know there are some histories about Charlemagne, El Cid and Roland, but I don't know the details.

By the way, can a longsword or kriegsmesser chop human bodies in two? In Cold Steel they usually do this with pig carcasses
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Houston P.




Location: United States
Joined: 20 Apr 2015

Posts: 67

PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's been forever since I've read it, but I seem to remember a fight in the sagas where a man cleaved his opponent in two lengthwise, and then commented that he must not have had a bone in his body. Also, remember that pigs are far harder to cut than humans.
...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬) To be without silver is better than to be without honor. -Norse proverb
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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: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 1:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The wounds exhibited from the wisby graves show that you can certainly cut the largest bones in the human body clean through if you know what you are doing. I'd love to see some of the reports done on the 16th cent Japanese battle finds of a similar nature. Anecdotally these feasts turn up and ms evidence, colourful and cartoonish they may well be in many instances, do point to this kind of thing being a good possibility.
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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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 1:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A long sword with a wide blade profile delivered with a fast strong cut can absolutely split a man in two. I've done enough cutting to know that even I am capable of doing this, or close to it. The type of sword matters and the type of cut delivered matters but if the deliverer of the cut is part of the factor automatically, then there are plenty of medieval and renaissance period swords that would be a sufficient weapon to pull it off.

There are archaeological finds that demonstrate the type of force needed to do this.
In Sweden, the remnants of a medieval battlefield, the battle of Visby, was discovered and some of the dead lost both of their legs from under them in one cut. They were wearing armor, but apparently the legs were exposed below the knee. If a cut can go through both legs cleanly, it can easily go through your midsection under your ribs, through the spine and out the other side. I think that would actually be less resistance than a double leg cut unless the person has a very large girth.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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Location: upstate NY
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2016 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why assume such blows were done with a sword? Pole arms are a far better candidate, being much more powerful, and make a lot more sense in the low lines, as opposed to a longsword, which would leave one's head open.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Aug, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How many swords do you think broke on the first try and the scenes got cut from the Cold Steel videos ? Ha!.....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 20 Aug, 2016 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Why assume such blows were done with a sword? Pole arms are a far better candidate, being much more powerful, and make a lot more sense in the low lines, as opposed to a longsword, which would leave one's head open.

Agreed. Most of the injuries on the Wisby skeletons were likely done with pole arms.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Why assume such blows were done with a sword? Pole arms are a far better candidate, being much more powerful, and make a lot more sense in the low lines, as opposed to a longsword, which would leave one's head open.

Agreed. Most of the injuries on the Wisby skeletons were likely done with pole arms.


What kind of polearms they had in Scandinavia by mid-fourteenth century? I've thought they only became popular in mainland France and England by late fourteenth century to early fifteenth century ...
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 494

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Why assume such blows were done with a sword? Pole arms are a far better candidate, being much more powerful, and make a lot more sense in the low lines, as opposed to a longsword, which would leave one's head open.

Agreed. Most of the injuries on the Wisby skeletons were likely done with pole arms.


What kind of polearms they had in Scandinavia by mid-fourteenth century? I've thought they only became popular in mainland France and England by late fourteenth century to early fifteenth century ...

Glaives and two handed axes were around this period and they are considered polearms. http://www.keesn.nl/mac/macpics/mac35vA.jpg
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