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Jack Englund




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2019 7:55 pm    Post subject: Claymor or scotish Basket Hilt         Reply with quote

Is a Scottish basket a Claymore ???
Some say yes & others say No !
What is the factual answer ???????



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R. Kolick





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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2019 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is technically both the terminology isn't exact and that type of sword is a Scottish style baskethilt and called a claymore by the victorian's
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Alexander Ehlers




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Oct, 2019 11:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I consider both to be claymores, seeing as they're both called that by Victorian era scholars.
Claymore is a very Scottish name, and it wouldn't surprise me if that is what they called all their swords, both the longsword and the basket hilted broadsword.

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Steven Lussenburg





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PostPosted: Sun 06 Oct, 2019 3:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's the Anglicised version of the word that literally means "big sword". So it would apply to both the two handed sword (which was a big sword compared to a one handed sword) and to the basket hilted sword (which was a big sword compared to the small sword).

Important is to keep in mind that in the past people weren't that obsessed with categorising everything as we are today.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Oct, 2019 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

AFAIK, in Scottish Gaelic claidheamh mòr (adopted to English as "claymore") referred to both the basket-hilted broadsword and the two-handed sword but was more often used to mean the baskethilt, whereas claidheamh dà làimh (which could be anglicized as "claydalave", I think) referred to the two-handed sword exclusively.

Both are also rather more descriptions than codified terms of trade, meaning "big sword" and "two-hand sword", respectively, so it makes sense that their usage would overlap and that the latter would not be applied to one-handed swords.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Oct, 2019 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well AFAIK there is pretty much universal agreement that a Scottish baskethilt can be called a "claymore". Where opinions differ is to whether the Highland style two hander can be called a claymore or not.
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Sun 13 Oct, 2019 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm far from fluent in Scottish Gaelic, but I did study it years ago and this question came up a lot. My teachers have pretty much unanimously said that the answer is both the two handed swords and the basket hilted swords were called claymore. Their reason for this was that relative to the Gaelic iron age swords, which were very short, both swords were thought of as large or great. Further, many blades from the two-handed version were cut down to become the basket hilted swords, and were more or less a continuation of the same sword from one perspective. I've heard a lot of people refer to the two-handed versions as "claidheamh da laimh" but IIRC the Gaelic speakers who I've heard talk about this said this was a clunky or incorrect sounding phrase. Again, I'm not a Gael, so I could be wrong about that.. but that is what I believe I remember the case being.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Oct, 2019 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Did you use the search function?

Here's a couple results:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=28351
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=18273

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Oct, 2019 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Did you use the search function?

Here's a couple results:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=28351
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=18273


As a participant in the earlier discussions on the Forum, I believe the subject was covered quite thoroughly then and nothing much has changed since. To me, at least, the most telling evidence of "Claymore" being applied to the two-hander is that there is apparently no historical record of those swords being called by that name during the era in which they were used!

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Oct, 2019 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neither "claidheamh mór" nor "claidheamh dà làimh" are terms known to have been used in the hayday of the Scottish two handed sword. So if not these terms then what were they called? Here are some Irish references, written in the first half of the 17th century but describing events from the late 16th, which might shed some light on the matter. The first one comes from The Annals of the Four Masters, and the other two come from The Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell.

"sixty stern and terrific Scots, with massive, broad, and heavy-striking swords in their hands"
"sesccat Albanach aindiud aindiarraidh cona c-cloidhmhibh troma taoibh-lethna tort-bhuilleacha ina lámhaibh"

"long broad swords with two-peaked hafts"
"lannchloidhme lethanfhoda cona nurdhornaibh debhendacha"

"Many of them had swords with hafts of horn, large and warlike, over their shoulders. It was necessary for the soldier to grip the very haft of his sword with both hands when he would strike a blow with it"
"drong dhiobh co ccloidhmhibh benndornchuir itiet móra mileta ósa fformnaibh. Ba héiccen don laech a dhi laimh do thabairt i naonfhabhall ind urdurn a chloidimh an tan no benadh a béim de"

So as you can see there dosen't seem to have been a specific Gaelic term for two handed swords at this time in Ireland. I would imagine that this was probably also the case amongst the Gaelic speakers of Scotland. From what I've read the term claymore was first used some time in the late 17th or early 18th century, after the two handed sword had ceased to be used by Highlanders.

Where I think the confusion comes from is a journal written in the late 18th century by a man named James Boswell. Boswell refers to both the baskethilt broadsword/backsword and the two handed sword as "glaymore". Now some people write this off as a mistake on Boswell's part but I don't think so. The two handed sword that Boswell saw was at Dunvegan Castle and is said to have belonged to Rory Mór MacLeod. So presumably whoever showed him the sword called it a claymore (which I suppose he thought sounded like glaymore). This suggests to me that at least some Highlanders referred to both baskethilts and the two handers as claymores.

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Andrew Gill





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PostPosted: Fri 18 Oct, 2019 1:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This recurrent argument seems a little strange.

"Claymore" is what some english-speaker misheard when he asked a gaelic-speaking Scotsman the name of a large sword (possibly two-handed, though that usually implies a large size anyway) and was told, in gaelic: "That's a big sword" (or "that's a two-handed sword" - again - it doesn't really matter). It's a corrupted, half-made-up loan-word from Gaelic which is used to informally and imprecisely denote a biggish sword of distinctively Scottish style.

There are much better methods of describing such a sword, if more precision is required. So to argue that it is a technical term that precisely refers to one specific type of sword doesn't make much sense to me.

I used to have a strong opinion on the matter, but found that the resulting arguments were neither informative nor solvable.
So now I use "claymore" for either, or use a non-ambiguous term if its necessary.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Oct, 2019 2:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree Andrew. That's exactly what I do. I use claymore for either weapon, and use more precise terminology if necessary.
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Spenser T.




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PostPosted: Mon 21 Oct, 2019 8:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Neither "claidheamh mór" nor "claidheamh dà làimh" are terms known to have been used in the hayday of the Scottish two handed sword. So if not these terms then what were they called? Here are some Irish references, written in the first half of the 17th century but describing events from the late 16th, which might shed some light on the matter. The first one comes from The Annals of the Four Masters, and the other two come from The Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell.

"sixty stern and terrific Scots, with massive, broad, and heavy-striking swords in their hands"
"sesccat Albanach aindiud aindiarraidh cona c-cloidhmhibh troma taoibh-lethna tort-bhuilleacha ina lámhaibh"

"long broad swords with two-peaked hafts"
"lannchloidhme lethanfhoda cona nurdhornaibh debhendacha"

"Many of them had swords with hafts of horn, large and warlike, over their shoulders. It was necessary for the soldier to grip the very haft of his sword with both hands when he would strike a blow with it"
"drong dhiobh co ccloidhmhibh benndornchuir itiet móra mileta ósa fformnaibh. Ba héiccen don laech a dhi laimh do thabairt i naonfhabhall ind urdurn a chloidimh an tan no benadh a béim de"

So as you can see there dosen't seem to have been a specific Gaelic term for two handed swords at this time in Ireland. I would imagine that this was probably also the case amongst the Gaelic speakers of Scotland. From what I've read the term claymore was first used some time in the late 17th or early 18th century, after the two handed sword had ceased to be used by Highlanders.

Where I think the confusion comes from is a journal written in the late 18th century by a man named James Boswell. Boswell refers to both the baskethilt broadsword/backsword and the two handed sword as "glaymore". Now some people write this off as a mistake on Boswell's part but I don't think so. The two handed sword that Boswell saw was at Dunvegan Castle and is said to have belonged to Rory Mór MacLeod. So presumably whoever showed him the sword called it a claymore (which I suppose he thought sounded like glaymore). This suggests to me that at least some Highlanders referred to both baskethilts and the two handers as claymores.


Thank you for sharing this, I think that your argument that "there dosen't seem to have been a specific Gaelic term for two handed swords at this time in Ireland" is convincing. Considering that prior to the Ulster plantations, Ireland and Gaelic Scotland formed a cultural continuum, I think that this evidence on the side of the Irish can likely be applied to the Gaelic Scottish as well.
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