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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2019 9:48 pm    Post subject: Longsword as socially superior to Arming Sword?         Reply with quote

Speaking plainly: what you can do with an arming sword that you couldn't do better with a longsword? Or more tecnically saying: is there any advantage in arming sword's fencing that the longsword one doesn't have? Having a buckler has so many advantages? Even for an armoured soldier?

I was conducting research on what arms exactly was expected from a men-at-arms when attending a military call. One thing that intrigues me is the fact that both effigies and artistic evidence manuscripts in the general points for the longsword being the prefered for the knight; this preference I also found at non-academic and non-specialist texts, but also at academic ones: although not a rule, most knights, nobles and men-at-arms would prefer the longsword against the combination of arming sword and buckler (at least for 14th and 15th centuries), as it follows:

Quote:
"However, it doesn't seen to be a piece of armament excluisve to the footmen as João Anes César, knight and neighbour of Santarém, had one ot these bucklers that, in his testimony, was left for João Afonso

Original: "Contudo, não parece ter sido uma peça de armamento exclusiva da peo nagem, pois, João Anes César, cavaleiro e vizinho de Santarém, possuía um destes broquetes que, em testamento, foi deixado a João Afonso"
Source: MARTINS, Miguel Gomes. A arte da guerra em Portugal: 1245 a 1367. pp. 239


I usually notice a pattern that all soldiery had to bring a main weapon (whether a pike, spear or bow; pollaxes and lances for MAA) and a sideweapon (swords in all the ordinances); often, besides this they also required a have dagger and - in brittish and french sources - a buckler.

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2019 11:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, single-handed swords have an immense advantage: they can be paired with a shield. And when you're in mail armour or wearing an early form of a coat of plates, the difference can be a difference between life and death.

Let's remember that as popular as bucklers are in modern HEMA, they seem to have been significantly less common than shields on the battlefield, even in the 14th and 15th centuries. Period artwork attests to this. In terms of usefulness, shields make a tremendous difference in being protected against spears and lances. They also help against arrows and bolts. Likewise, the ability to bind a weapon with a shield and then safely aim for an opening is not to be dismissed; it makes fighting much more safe.

It only really makes sense to start giving up shields when you reach the point where armour is effective enough such that a shield becomes less necessary. The rise of the long sword as a principal weapon fairly closely coincides with the development of plate armour, and this is not coincidental. Discarding the shield means less weight to carry around, and of course the option to use weapons with greater versatility, like a long sword.

So no, in terms of versatility of techniques and actions, a single-handed sword cannot compare with a long sword. Having two hands means you can do many actions leveraging on the grip and making attacks that are bio-mechanically weak with a single-handed sword. However, that's not the reason for using a single-handed sword: it's because you can use a shield, which makes all the difference in the world when you're trying to survive, especially if you do not have the advantage of plate armour.

There are some modern videos concluding that spears are far better than swords, because unsurprisingly, an unarmoured modern long swordsman is far more likely to lose in a mock fight against someone with a spear. However, the reason modern videos like this are a bit absurd is because no one in their right mind would choose to fight against a spear man in a duel with no armour. Tellingly, the videos where people sparred with sword and shield against spear were much more evenly matched because of the shield's protective capacity.
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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2019 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to note that the single-handed sword does have another advantage above the longsword, and that advantage is that you do not encounter "self-binding" with a one-handed weapon as you might with a two-handed weapon. By self-binding, I mean to say, for example, that if you are right-handed and using a longsword, but strike from the left side, your own arms may get in the way of each other. This may limit the effectiveness of your strike; Liechtenauer in fact makes note of this and advises against it.

Conversely, a one-handed weapon does not experience this "self-binding," as your hands do not get in the way of each other. In this sense, a one-handed weapon is afforded more maneuverability than a two-handed one. So long as you can strike with power from the shoulder, you're fine.

The disadvantage with the one-handed sword is of course that it does not have the fine control and nearly instantaneous acceleration of a longsword. To generate power, you are left in the high wards that tend to telegraph your moves. This affects the longsword to an extent, but not nearly as much as it does an arming sword.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2019 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is it really either or? I thought the well-equipped late medieval knight took both a longsword and an arming sword to battle, often one strapped to the waist and one to the horse (Oakeshott, Sword in Hand).

Longswords have the advantage in power and versatility, described above. They also have disadvantages. They are awkward to use in enclosed or crowded spaces...like ship decks, indoors, and crowded battlefields. And it’s much harder to maintain balance with both hands linked to the same object. Maybe that’s not a big deal on the flat surface of the salle where one can focus on fancy footwork, but on a ship or rough terrain, jostled by people fighting all around you…in my limited experience, real world fights end pretty quickly with one person’s butt hitting the ground and the other person on top. Conversely, arming swords are easier to wield in enclosed spaces, allow more natural balance, and more readily free the hand to old a shield, horse reins, the rigging of a slippery ship, the top of a ladder while scaling a besieged castle wall…or punch and grapple with an opponent.

Finally, when it comes to being 'socially superior', arming swords are easier to wear on a daily basis and less obtrusive. I don't know this for a fact, but I strongly suspect that a knight who showed up to a court social function with a big warsword strapped to his side would raise some eyebrows. Isn't why they were called warswords? They were reserved for war.

Just saying…while longswords have their advantages and certainly reached their peak for several hundred years in the later middle ages, there’s must be reasons why single-hand swords have never gone out of use since the bronze age.
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T. Kew




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr, 2019 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The 'longsword' is an extremely flexible term and can mean all sorts of things. Big warswords are one possible candidate, but so are short blades (the size of an 'arming sword') with a hilt just long enough for a second hand. Those are genuinely equally versatile in one hand or in two, with a shield or without, and easy to wear around. We see them shown with bucklers in Kal, while there are mounted combat plays in which the same sword is used one-handed, then 'short' (halfsworded) then 'long' (gripping the hilt/pommel) all in sequence. Later authors like Paurñfeyndt indicate that the 'longsword' encompasses weapons from the 'schlactschwert' (aka zweihander) to the 'reitschwert' (riding sword).

Carrying a buckler is annoying, carrying a shield is downright infuriating. If not carrying one around, having a couple extra inches of grip to allow use of a sword in both hands if desired is basically purely positive. And precisely this is where the 'longsword' - in this short, handy incarnation - really shines. It's also a far more representative of originals than the majority of feders used by historical fencers nowadays.

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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr, 2019 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
The 'longsword' is an extremely flexible term and can mean all sorts of things. Big warswords are one possible candidate, but so are short blades (the size of an 'arming sword') with a hilt just long enough for a second hand. Those are genuinely equally versatile in one hand or in two, with a shield or without, and easy to wear around. We see them shown with bucklers in Kal, while there are mounted combat plays in which the same sword is used one-handed, then 'short' (halfsworded) then 'long' (gripping the hilt/pommel) all in sequence. Later authors like Paurñfeyndt indicate that the 'longsword' encompasses weapons from the 'schlactschwert' (aka zweihander) to the 'reitschwert' (riding sword).

Carrying a buckler is annoying, carrying a shield is downright infuriating. If not carrying one around, having a couple extra inches of grip to allow use of a sword in both hands if desired is basically purely positive. And precisely this is where the 'longsword' - in this short, handy incarnation - really shines. It's also a far more representative of originals than the majority of feders used by historical fencers nowadays.

You do know there are allot of pommel types on single handed swords that make gripping them in two hands trivial, right?
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Richard Miller




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr, 2019 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When we see what Oakeshott calls "Knightly" swords, we see single handed cutting oriented examples of type X through XIII primarily with a few XVI's such as the knightly riding sword XVI.4 seen on page 151 in "Records of the Medieval Sword" with it's 21 inch blade.
As for myself, when I think of the word "status" and see the word "knightly", I pretty much think of that blade being in the service of a high echelon user.
It's so hard to define (in my mind) the parameters of what would be a "true" longsword, when so many arming swords have blades upwards of 34 inches, and many hand and a half swords with shorter blades.
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T. Kew




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr, 2019 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:

You do know there are allot of pommel types on single handed swords that make gripping them in two hands trivial, right?


Sure. What's a single handed sword anyway? If the pommel and end of grip can be usefully held in the second hand, is it really 'single handed'?

Instructor and scholar, Cambridge HEMA
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr, 2019 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
Philip Dyer wrote:

You do know there are allot of pommel types on single handed swords that make gripping them in two hands trivial, right?


Sure. What's a single handed sword anyway? If the pommel and end of grip can be usefully held in the second hand, is it really 'single handed'?
you could say the same think about longswords, there are ton of those which can be used in one hand without much lost in maneuverability. Really, I think that only migration era and Viking era swords and Colossal Reinassance two handlers can be said for certain to be pure one handed swords and pure two handed swords. Also, you don't need s shield or buckler to have a defensive tool. A large knife, a stick, your sword scabbard if you aren't wearing it, or a cloak could do.
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Richard Miller




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Apr, 2019 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have owned a number of swords that are clearly "arming" swords that can easily be used with two hands. My favorite arming sword is a Valiant Arms "Brighton" model. It sports a 27.5 inch blade with a four inch grip, but the fishtail pommel adds another two and a half inches of perfectly useful "grip".
With fishtail and scent stopper pommels, the available space for a two hand grip is available, but so what?
I don't think that the availability of room for a two handed grip means a great deal regarding the way a sword was designed for use.
There are many examples of type XV, XVI and especially XVIII's that are clearly purpose built single had swords, with room for a comfortable two handed grip that are clearly not designed for longsword techniques.
I guess I'm trying to say that I really can't define what precisely makes a sword fall into the "longsword" category, but I believe that I know a longsword when I see one.
As far as the social status that owning or training with a long, powerful sword provides, I would guess that the skill level of the swordsman makes more of a social statement than the sword does itself.
















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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Tue 16 Apr, 2019 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
T. Kew wrote:
Philip Dyer wrote:

You do know there are allot of pommel types on single handed swords that make gripping them in two hands trivial, right?


Sure. What's a single handed sword anyway? If the pommel and end of grip can be usefully held in the second hand, is it really 'single handed'?
you could say the same think about longswords, there are ton of those which can be used in one hand without much lost in maneuverability. Really, I think that only migration era and Viking era swords and Colossal Reinassance two handlers can be said for certain to be pure one handed swords and pure two handed swords. Also, you don't need s shield or buckler to have a defensive tool. A large knife, a stick, your sword scabbard if you aren't wearing it, or a cloak could do.


It's quite clear what a single-handed sword is from the onset, but I would argue that you can use any single-handed sword with two hands quite well. It's all a question of the grip employed.

In my case, I have an Arms & Armor Grunwald, which has a grip long enough that one's grip can shift on the hilt, but not so long that two hands can hold the grip comfortably. Gripping one hand below the other (such that the other rests on the pommel) is a very tight and confining hold, even to the point that you may give yourself blisters, etc. It also impedes your maneuverability to an extent because the grip is too tight. However, there are other things you can do - Hurstwic demonstrated a few alternate holds that can improve the power of a single-handed sword when using two hands several years ago.

For one, a "pistol grip," with one hand gripping the sword and the other cupping the other hand (NEVER attempt the Hollywood hold, where you lock your fingers together) can add stability and a marginal amount of power. Next, cupping the pommel with the other hand can improve leverage. Finally, placing the supporting hand over the gripping hand can make for a more forceful blow. All of these grips are temporary with the exception of the primary hand, which must remain holding the weapon. These grips can be regained just about as quickly as they are lost, really. As such, there is no real loss to maneuverability as a whole.

HOWEVER, despite the degree of maneuverability a single-handed sword has over a two-handed weapon (no "self-binding," etc.), the single-handed sword generally can't perform the same maneuvers as a longsword effectively. If you have looked into Ringeck, you will see that he has a section on sword and buckler - he often does similar things with an arming sword as he would a longsword. Some arming swords may be able to handle zwerchaus or sheilhaus easily, but mine does not really have the balance or ergonomics for it. Shorter swords with tighter grips, perhaps (I think viking and migration-era swords actually have very real potential to be quite nimble in this regard), but not any heavier sidearm like A&A's Grunwald. You really do need the extra leverage and proper grip of a longsword to do Liechtenaur's teachings justice, and an arming sword just isn't the same.
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Robert Morgan




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Apr, 2019 11:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
although not a rule, most knights, nobles and men-at-arms would prefer the longsword against the combination of arming sword and buckler (at least for 14th and 15th centuries), as it follows:


I"m not sure it was as much "prefer" a longsword as much as necessity compelled it. By the time period that you're referencing, the sword had certainly become more of a sidearm, even a secondary weapon, certainly for those on foot. Fighting against bills and pollaxes, the added length and leverage of a longsword may have added some benefits against similarly longer weapons, and a buckler wouldn't have possibly added much protection against them. On the other hand, using a generally shorter arming sword meant having to get a little bit closer to one's adversary, closer to the pollaxes kill area. So, just my unscientific view, but I'm wondering if facing the opposing weapons meant that the nobility transitioned more towards longswords out of necessity? On the other hand, the rank and file private soldiers were going to get up close and personal in any event so an arming sword and buckler of some form remained the preferred combination.

Just musing aloud. Thoughts?

Have a great evening, everyone.

Bob
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Gregg Sobocinski




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Apr, 2019 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Remember that swords fill two roles: tool and adornment. If one weapon was “better” than all others, then people would have stopped making all other weapon types. As Matt Easton repeats “It is all context.”

Setting status aside, I pose the following advantages for the arming sword:
1) I have never seen formation fighting with longswords. How successful is it?
2) A shield, buckler, or open hand is NOT passive, and all function as accessory weapons in combat.
3) Arming swords have greater reach in a thrust than a longsword in two hands. Switching to one handed longsword takes more strength and might affect endurance in a long fight.
4) 95% (or more) of warfare does not involve fighting. Which sword would you wish to carry if you are not riding a horse or attended by servants?
5) As always, where and what are you fighting? I would choose an arming sword indoors, but might choose a longsword for judicial combat between armored opponents.
6) Longswords were used over a (relatively) short period of history, so it seems to have applied to a certain time and place.

Disclosure: I am speaking from an academic point of view, as I have not handled either sword type.
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Dennis Courneyea





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PostPosted: Sat 20 Apr, 2019 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An arming sword is smaller is smaller than a longsword and will probably be more convenient to carry. Additionally, the less armour one is wearing the greater the benefit of a carrying a buckler or small shield.

Thus the arming sword is probably more practical in a civilian context, when one is travelling unarmoured between towns and carrying sword for self defence. On campaign while marching or in camp the smaller arming sword is probably more convenient too. In contrast the longsword might be optimal on the battlefield wearing full plate armour.

A common soldier with a limited budget who has to carry all his gear on campaign probably has a single sword, and might prefer an arming sword over a longsword. Even if it's less effective on the battlefield, it's a sidearm that he probably isn't expecting to use there anyway.

A noble or well to do man at arms would have horses, servants and wagons and could easily afford and carry a variety of different swords (and other weapons) specialized for different uses. Or perhaps, having practiced extensively fighting with a longsword in armour, may prefer the longsword in other contexts as well due to familiarity.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2019 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A few points on this if y'all don't mind.

Longswords were not particularly more expensive than any other type of sword. Any sword was well within the budget of most people in late medieval Europe, down to a typical peasant or artisan. In fact, if you read Anne Tlusty's Martial Ethic in Early Modern Germany, by the 15th Century owning a sword was actually a requirement for many people in Central Europe. In the towns, all burgher citizens or partial citizens (down to journeyman level) and in the rural areas, most peasants as well especially those living in market villages or within the territory of a town (feldmark) were specifically required to own a sword. Tlusty showed records of people being fined for not owning one.

A typical sword (of any kind) in Silesia or Prussia in the 15th Century cost about 20 kreuzer, or very roughly half a mark. That would be expensive but by no means beyond the budget of most commoners, let alone wealthier artisans or peasants. For comparison, a pair of shoes was about 16 kreuzer. What made a sword expensive were mainly things like embellishment such as gilding, fancy scabbards or artistic scrollwork etc. Cutlers in late medieval Europe were extremely efficient in production of high quality swords of all types.

For context, weekly wages for a tailor in Strasbourg in 1460 was 144 pfennig or 36 kreuzer. Weekly wages for a carpenter in Silesia in 1454 were 24 Prague groschen which is about 18 kreuzer*. A master mason in Prague in 1450 could earn between 18-35 groschen per week. Peasants in Poland could earn up to 30 zloty (equivalent to a florin) annually above and beyond their rents in a good year. A hand-gunner or halberdier in the 1470's could make as much as 3 florins per month.

It's true that longswords were only used for a fixed period, but that period was longer than most would probably guess. Fencing masters continued to train students in the use of the longsword or greatsword into the 18th Century. You see people carrying them (in some form or another) from the late 13th Century through the early 17th. Eventually the rapier and saber eclipsed the longsword in popularity, followed later by the smallsword. But the longsword was popular for roughly three centuries.

We do know that training for a longsword took a bit longer than for other weapons. Piermarco Terminiello published a paper a year or two ago in which an Italian fencing master sent a letter charging the city to train citizens, which included rates for training people to use different weapons. The rates for rapier and longsword were roughly twice that for the other weapons (including sword and buckler) and took almost twice as long.

It is also certainly a nuisance to carry a longer sword but that didn't stop people from carrying them either in a civilian or military context (and both in the city, and traveling in the countryside) well into the late 16th Century. The sword of any kind was almost always a sidearm - for cavalry the main weapon was a lance or missile weapon, for the footsoldier, it was a polearm like a glaive, bill or a halberd, or a pike, or a missile weapon like a crossbow or a gun. The nature of all of these weapons however makes a reliable sidearm very important.

Some image links- I won't embed them as some are large.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/af/6c/4c/af6c4cae281955bd24f05973eb4c4be2.jpg

https://www.thefashioncommentator.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Aged-28-30th-July-1525-in-Innsbruck-at-Laux-Schaller%E2%80%99s-wedding-in-Schwaz-in-August.-The-bonnet-embroidered-with-velvet.-This-is-when-I-began-to-be-fat-and-round.jpeg

https://www.thefashioncommentator.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2-months-On-2nd-May-1522-I-wore-a-thread-caul-for-the-first-time.jpeg

https://i.pinimg.com/474x/66/34/cc/6634ccacce99ac9b19288c26efc9ae93--traditional-books-augsburg.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Urs_Graf_Werbung.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d0/Bad-war.jpg/800px-Bad-war.jpg

From these facts I would conclude that the choice to carry a longsword, an arming sword, a messer, a cut-thrust sword or proto rapier, an arming sword and buckler, a saber, a katzbalger or any other type of sword, had to do with what weapon you were most familiar with and knew how to use.

In my opinion there is no particular specific association with longswords and cavalry, and I fail to see what advantage a longsword confers over an arming sword when fighting an armored opponent. Fighting in harness is mostly a matter of grappling and using the sword as a lever or crowbar. Both weapons can be used with half-swording techniques. The best sword against a (fully) armored opponent would probably be an estoc or kanzer or some other specific armor piercing weapon.



We can see clearly there are some disadvantages to carrying a longsword. They are buklier to carry, harder to learn to use. I would say also a bit less effective in defense than a sword and buckler. And yet, burghers in towns, knights, Swiss reislauffer, Bohemian heretics and many others carried these weapons on their hips. Defining what precisely what the advantage actually was really is hard to pin down.

As a fencer, I do think the buckler is a bit more defensively balanced. The reach issue is hard to define precisely, others have pointed out an arming sword or cut thrust sword isn't necessarily shorter in reach. The longsword has a bit more authority and versatility in a bind. I would also say that a longsword allows you to parry or bind from further out, it lets you fight at a greater distance while still retaining some control, and that can matter (it can help) when faced with longer weapons. It also gives you a little bit of an edge against shorter ones. I would still say you are at a disadvantage against a spear but with a longsword you can compensate for that better than with some other weapons.

Having fenced for about 20 years, mostly with longsword but also with rapier and dagger, sword and buckler, messer and saber, including fighting in 10 or 11 full contact tournaments, I have some idea what the different weapons feel like. But I have never killed a man with a sword, fought a duel, or fought in a war (I'm very glad to say) so I can't claim to have real insight into what carrying and using a sword meant for people in the 1450's or 1550's. I can guess though, and my guess would be the advantage of the longsword comes down to one thing - versatility.

It can give you perhaps some more hope of success or survival when faced with someone carrying a staff or a polearm. Against an opponent with a rapier you might be about even but you'd need to have some experience against it. Against a saber, arming sword or shorter weapons like messers or daggers you should have an edge at least initially. And if you are very experienced, you can use a longsword close-in as well as far away.

But you have to be good to protect yourself with it. If I had a time machine taking me to 500 years in the past and had to decide what weapon to bring with me, I'd have to think long and hard about it. A sword and buckler does have some advantages, as does a rapier, as does a saber. Whether to use a longsword, in my mind, would depend on my confidence with that weapon. I think if faced with an opponent using most longer weapons, I would at least have a chance with a longsword, and against many shorter weapons maybe a bit more of a chance to maintain the vor or initiative in the fight - if I fought well, maintained my distance and kept my cool. Big ifs. I can protect my hands with the cross pretty well now with a longsword, and I know how to parry with it, how to bind on an opponents weapon and perform absetzen and versezten. I'm confident I can do that in casual sparring. But in a real fight it always comes down to your state of mind.

Ultimately, the tool only makes so much of a difference. To paraphrase Full Metal Jacket, it's the hard heart that kills.

J


* All these wages are from Uzbrojenie w Polsce sredniowiecznej ("Armaments in Medieval Poland") 1450-1500" A.Nowakowski Polska Akademia Nauk, Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej, (1990), page 471. Prices are from the same source and from The Hansa, History and Culture Johannes Schildhauer, Dorset Press, (1988), ISBN 0-88029-182-6, page 165


EDITED for clarity. Bullet points didn't work in the first part, and some of the last part didn't completely make sense originally.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2019 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One other consideration -

If you are using a two-handed weapon (a pike, a crossbow, a firearm, a polearm), and don't rate a small buckler as sufficient, a longsword makes sense as a sidearm.

On the other hand, being able to use a shield gives you greatly enhanced protection against missiles of all types, from thrown weapons to high energy crossbows and firearms. A steel rotella, or one of those fantastic composite pavises or hand-pavises, can confer some protection even against high velocity missiles.

A really good longsword fencer can probably bat away some thrown weapons but he or she would have no defense against high velocity missiles with their weapon. So on the battlefield, you'd be relying on body armor, a fleet horse, or perhaps gun / crossbow armed comrades to keep the enemy marksmen far enough away.

In a civilian context attacks with a gun or crossbow would be rare inside of a city or a courtly hall, but not necessarily on the open road. Bandits and robber knights used missiles.

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Apr, 2019 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
In my opinion there is no particular specific association with longswords and cavalry,


The longsword does appear to have been the knightly sword in at least much of Western/Central Europe in the 14th-16th centuries. You find tons of depictions of knights/men-at-arms equipped with longswords.

Quote:
and I fail to see what advantage a longsword confers over an arming sword when fighting an armored opponent. Fighting in harness is mostly a matter of grappling and using the sword as a lever or crowbar. Both weapons can be used with half-swording techniques.


Do any sources show harnischfechten with single-handed swords? I can't think of any. I guess you could design a single-handed sword suitable for halfswording, but most were not. Of course, many longswords weren't either.

If nothing else, using a longsword allows for a longer lever/crowbar, which has mechanical advantages. & longswords tended to be heavier than single-handed swords, which potentially allows for greater stiffness.

As far as reach goes, longswords can reach farther than single-handed swords, even assuming equal blade length, if one employs single-handed thrusts as appear prominently in certain systems (Giacomo di Grassi, George Silver, etc.).

I agree there's not a huge difference in sidearms in terms of fight odds. Many 15th/16th/17th-century masters (Pietro Monte, Antonio Manciolino, Salvator Fabris, George Silver, Joseph Swetnam, etc.) thought greater reach a considerable advantage. (There was argument about exactly how long was ideal, but even Silver advocated 37-40in blades.) I suspect longer one-handed swords, longswords, & rapiers did have an edge over shorter sidearms in an unarmored or light-armored fighting in the open, especially at higher levels of skill. Monte claimed a single finger (3 inches?) of reach advantage was a big deal for folks who knew what they were doing.

On the other hand, light & nimble shorter swords have their own advantages in a duel, brawl, or skirmish.

Versatility does stand out a reason to carry a longsword. Something like, say, the Albion Munich, would provide excellent thrusting & halfswording ability while also cutting decently & functioning in one hand if necessary.

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Gregg Sobocinski




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Apr, 2019 6:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shortly after posting my comment a few days ago, it occurred to me that my points support Pedro’s original premise from the subject line that longswords were socially superior.

Higher status soldiers would more likely hold command, ride a horse, and could make better use of the extra reach from a horse. That said, Jean makes a compelling argument refuting my assumptions. I trust his experience and academics over my own. I don’t know why I didn’t know how long longswords remained in use. I guess we sometimes focus on the development of the complex hilt and forget that the longsword was still around.

Time to study the 18th century.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Apr, 2019 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

Let's remember that as popular as bucklers are in modern HEMA, they seem to have been significantly less common than shields on the battlefield, even in the 14th and 15th centuries. Period artwork attests to this.


Weren't all english soldiers below Men-at-arms obligged to have a buckler? England was to be considered an exception compared to the rest of Europe? [/quote]

Quote:
It only really makes sense to start giving up shields when you reach the point where armour is effective enough such that a shield becomes less necessary. The rise of the long sword as a principal weapon fairly closely coincides with the development of plate armour, and this is not coincidental.


Tecnically, according to Oakeshott the early longsword, who were called "War Swords" became a trend in 1250's, where new sorts of plate armor weren't exactly popular. By that date we have few artistical evidence for early plate armor, though german sources and even scandinavian ones seens to suggest the CoP was common for knights and upper classes (I guess the Speculum Regale obblies every soldier from the rank of knight and up to have it). That said, I don't know if the emmergence of war sword was necessarily related to Coat-of-Plates and other plate pieces.

Quote:
Discarding the shield means less weight to carry around, and of course the option to use weapons with greater versatility, like a long sword.


Since we're discussing this: wasn't the role of the squire to carry a knight's shield and helmet while he was not in battle? The source I quoted earlier talk about this. In portuguese language, as with other latin-base dialects, squire means "escudeiro" whose roots come from "escudo", or shield; meaning he was responsible for putting the knight in armor and carrying his equipment when needed, hence his name.

Though full plate armor dropped the popularity of the shield with the class of MAA we have evidence it wasn't enterily abandoned; Dr. Gouveia says 15th c. men-at-arms often used shields when using open-faced helmets, though I believe it was also a question of personal preference (we know that many french and english nobles got shot in the face when wearing an open-faced bascinet, for example).
Quote:


There are some modern videos concluding that spears are far better than swords, because unsurprisingly, an unarmoured modern long swordsman is far more likely to lose in a mock fight against someone with a spear.


Both of them having the same type of shields? I saw a video like this before and the swordsmen usually had the advantage. [/quote]

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Ali Zufer





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PostPosted: Tue 30 Apr, 2019 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Tecnically, according to Oakeshott the early longsword, who were called "War Swords" became a trend in 1250's, where new sorts of plate armor weren't exactly popular. By that date we have few artistical evidence for early plate armor, though german sources and even scandinavian ones seens to suggest the CoP was common for knights and upper classes (I guess the Speculum Regale obblies every soldier from the rank of knight and up to have it). That said, I don't know if the emmergence of war sword was necessarily related to Coat-of-Plates and other plate pieces.


Well, I may chime in here. That mostly coincides with the period that we see more and more two-handed weaponty, not just swords but polearms as well. The Maciejowski bible for example often has knights in mail (and even footmen in gambesons) use long polearms without shields

While shields certainly stayed in use throughout the 13th and 14th century, they were starting to be used less. Then again there's the accounts from the crusaders having the look like porcupines, so that implies the tendency of ditching shields even earlier perhaps

Correcting misconceptions with misconceptions is not the greatest idea and should seek to be avoided at all costs.
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