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Maciej K.
Industry Professional



Location: Poland
Joined: 06 Jul 2006

Posts: 191

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2018 7:50 am    Post subject: Medieval Swords Clasification: a new approach         Reply with quote

Medieval Swords Clasification: Pommels Group I (ca. 950-1250)

Here you can have a preview of the first group of pommels in my clasification. It is only a first group according to my division to 3 main groups based on the base shape and its variations. As you can see on preview, there are also numbers of examples of original pieces in museums and collections. First group includes only "brazil-nut" and similar pommels of this special kind - but you will also find other "nicknames" for subtypes, which can be very helpfull to identify every subtype by most important features. More informations soon...

What is the reason for creating this clasification?

There are at least two important reasons: an extention (new finds, new reasearch and publications, new conclusions) and supplementing (including important finds from Eastern / Southern Europe and others) of Oakeshott`s typology. Oakeshott`s concept of typology was the best - but in time became "too narrow" in my honest opinion and casues sometimes mistakes, doubts or misunderstanding. According to his own words, this typology should be expanded and supplemented (completed) - and that`s my idea. But unfortunately it will not working only by adding new types to already existing form. It needs to be rebuilded to include everything what we know today. Notice that it will be actually not "new typology" but expanded and rebuilded concept of Ewart Oakeshott`s great idea.

What are my intentions?
My intention was to create a clasification which leaves no doubt when we want to find, specify dating and clasify any sword or its part and have no place for speculations.

What new features will be in this clasification?
You will be able to find any part or sword by a simple key "step by step" to find correct period. You will see how many original examples of each element is currently in museums or collections (what hopefully will be updated many times). You will see each element with scale and most probably (in time) I will make all of them as 3D objects to move them and see every angle (we are already working on this). All this will be available for free, online what I hope will be appreciated and bring more attention to this work (and hopefully maybe some help too). I want also to create on-line interactive software based on whole clasification - to help understand medieval swords more... So, any help would be appreciated Wink

What about scabbards and belts?
I am working on them too. Scabbards was very important and inseparable element of each sword - and they deserve to have a clasification with swords. We have less original finds but database of medieval sources is rich and wide enough to allows us to create a fairly precise classification.

I`ve been working on this clasification since a few years and I realize it is a work for more years, so it is not just a question of temporary enthusiasm but years of intentional and planned research and hard work with medieval sources.

Feel free to share your suggestions / advices / supplements, etc


Medieval Swords - www.artofswordmaking.com
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2018 1:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great stuff Maciej! Looking forward to the other posts and your insights. I definitely agree that hilt furnishings can be a much more precise indicator of a sword's date than Oakeshott suggests in his writings, and I think many of the more-aware sword enthusiasts and makers know this.

Can you post a larger version of the image? I found it was much easier to read when I opened it in a new tab. Adjusting the size could help fix that.
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,584

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2018 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like it. Simple but quite complete for the Brazil nut family. Not sure about the horns though - seems like an outlier.
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Guillaume Vauthier




Location: France
Joined: 16 Jun 2016

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Thu 01 Feb, 2018 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I already told you I think it is a great idea to dust off the original Oakeshott's typology, which has its pros, but also its cons. Eager to see the final result!
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Maciej K.
Industry Professional



Location: Poland
Joined: 06 Jul 2006

Posts: 191

PostPosted: Thu 01 Feb, 2018 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

here is a direct link to bigger picture: https://scontent-waw1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/27625426_2003241389944754_7435663015455403996_o.jpg?oh=adea83ecd64b0fe67a389f4a6633a67d&oe=5ADBB2E1

thank you.
I can tell you about that "Horns" subtype that it is closer to the second group (by its dating) but by its shape it is more related to group first.
I have separated 3 main groups of pommels according to the base shape. The second one is a circle - and that "horns" will not fit to this group for sure. Fisrt group is based on semicircle base shape and its variations. Of course we have here also more rounded / oval shapes - but in general it is based on not regular semicircles.
The third group is based on other shape - "pear-like" shape. But I`m still working on it.
The point is to make them easy recognizable at once - to redirect you to the correct period and swords form.

I must admit that Oakeshott idea was great and we should follow it - but also, all the time we have many doubts trying to identify blades, pommels, etc... First - a few years ago - I thought it would be better to have "swords groups" (or families, something like Ada Bruhn Hoffmeyer idea, but more expanded and detailed...) - but after more research, I have decided to rebuild Oakeshott`s idea. Unfortunately it turned out that there simply not enough numbers / letters, etc to gather all subtypes and a lot of them is new and very important. Adding and adding new items to already existing typology causes more chaos in my honest opinion. We simply know more - and are able to include all important finds now.

Well, I do not think it will be replaced in terminology - but I need to work on this. Someone should. We still have just a "draft" and many people are trying to recognize type of the sword... I have plenty of questions like that: "What type it is? Can you tell me? I`m not sure!" - that is the main reason - because I have the same doubts either Happy

Please share your thoughts and suggestions. Thank you for that!

Medieval Swords - www.artofswordmaking.com
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