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Michael P. Smith




Location: Muncie, Indiana
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan, 2020 6:00 am    Post subject: Reaction to this video?         Reply with quote

OKay, I am reluctant to post this here, but I'm not enough of an expert to feel confident in my initial reaction that this video includes a lot of unsupported assumptions and some, as the kids say, bad takes. Some of my suspicion stems from what I sense is a desire to elevate Japanese sword production above others (which I am generally suspicious of). He does discuss context to some degree, but while he's all over the intricacies of Japanese methods and classifications, etc... OTOH, it strikes me that his assumptions about the qualities of European swords are are rather reductive.... basically asserting that European swords are generally soft and likely to take a set after any prolonged use. The climax of the video is that he says modern HEMA interpretations of the manuals are incorrect because historical swords would not survive those techniques. I wanna be cautious here because the presenter is from BKS, and I know those folks are around here. I don't want to sir the proverbial pot, but the video was, IMO, rather provocative. Here it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5djVkOgu8vs

So,... folks who are way more expert than I..... learn me something. Am I wrong? Is a 14th-15th century longsword really as he suggests? If so, when did European steel get better? Surely, soft, unspringy swords liable to take a set don't do great once thrusting becomes a primary mode of attack. How would a rapier develop under such conditions?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan, 2020 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

European swordsmiths have been capable of producing spring steel since the La Tene period. Connolly cites a two-thousand year-old sword dredged from Lake Neuchatel that, even today, could still be "flexed almost double and spring back to its original shape". The best book on the subject is Pleiner's "The Celtic Sword". Not all swords were made like this but some certainly were and they continued to be made using those techniques until the development of blast furnace.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2020 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since Arabic accounts from Spain down to central Asia mention the ability of Frankish/Rus swords to flex and them being compared favourably to the 'swords of Hindustan' it seems unlikely that European swords were especially prone to plastic deformation.
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Johannes Zenker





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2020 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
European swordsmiths have been capable of producing spring steel since the La Tene period. Connolly cites a two-thousand year-old sword dredged from Lake Neuchatel that, even today, could still be "flexed almost double and spring back to its original shape". The best book on the subject is Pleiner's "The Celtic Sword". Not all swords were made like this but some certainly were and they continued to be made using those techniques until the development of blast furnace.


Evidence from antiquity is not evidence for medieval swordmaking, though. Technology and science took quite a dive after the end of the Roman Empire from what I recall, so it's plausible that many if not most swords from the medieval period were not on par with the best examples from antiquity or representative examples from the Roman Empire. Yet again, the best examples from the medieval period surely were.

I am not very well versed when it comes to the frequency of high quality steel in the middle ages, but from what I recall issues with heat treatment, metallurgy and delamination were not uncommon. Asserting that *all* medieval steel was subpar is obviously not true, but much of it probably was if compared to previous excellence and more modern homogenous monosteel.

Now, deriving from that that HEMA interpretations are wrong is stretching it a bit. A sword might not survive the fight in servicable condition (i.e. too many deep notches for repair, probably moderately bent), but if the owner did, the sword did its job successfully. I believe that arms worn for personal protection (and not abusive practice) have to last for the duration of one engagement, until its owner is safe or can acquire a new weapon.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2020 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have European spring steel swords from the La Tene period onwards. They never stopped being made when the Roman Empire collapsed.
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Tyler Jordan





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2020 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keep in mind that surviving examples of swords, and this is more true the further back you go, are not necessarily representative of typical craftsmanship, and are often exceptional examples. Certainly a good, consistent spring temper was a thing that was achievable, and for a very long time, but how common was it at each historical point?

I believe Ilya's point, that typical historical swords may not hold up to practice that we are used to performing without consequence with modern treated mono-steels, could be a valid one. This may also line up with Roland Warzecha's explorations into historical techniques.

I didn't detect much japanocentric bias in my viewing here, except in that the more traditional japanese techniques are what Ilya is more personally familiar with, so of course he spoke about them in more depth.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2020 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tyler Jordan wrote:
Keep in mind that surviving examples of swords, and this is more true the further back you go, are not necessarily representative of typical craftsmanship, and are often exceptional examples. Certainly a good, consistent spring temper was a thing that was achievable, and for a very long time, but how common was it at each historical point?


But in the middle ages, swords WERE exceptional weapons! Smiths who were not up to making *good* swords were stuck with making knives or spears or axes or horseshoes. Swords were the very symbol of aristocracy, and most aristocrats were not going to settle for sub-par.

Also, it's VERY bad historical practice to assume that all our surviving examples are "only the best ones". That's certainly not true with any other type of artifact. So we have a reasonable cross-section, as it were. Sure, you'll find a bell curve of quality, but "low" for a sword is still going to be pretty darn good, I'd say.

Mind you, I'm assuming this all changes around the 15th century, when it was becoming more common to find mass-produced cheap swords that were still perfectly adequate weapons, not apt to break or turn into pretzels with normal use.

Matthew
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2020 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The other issue at play is whether he means the swords could not survive the techniques found in Fiore, Ringeck, "von Danzig" et al or whether he means HEMA as seen on TV, which is what most people mean. Modern HEMA has become a sport that substantially deviates from life and death fencing. One of the deviations is that a substantial number of fencers make wide attacks (snapping say zwerchhau from side to side) using a tremendous amount of back and arm strength while the opponent makes some sort of "parry"/displacement. This results in immense force and strain on long swords that they would be unlikely to face in a real encounter. Ringeck mentions fencing with the strength of the whole body, which is very different from trying to hammer the opponent with a pile of strength from the arms and back.

Looking at the techniques shown in the manuals, we find a significantly different situation. The emphasis is upon gaining
comparatively close measure binds, whether a sword to sword bind, or, as Fiore often favours, a body restraining sword bind. From there, the attack is made, whether by remaining on the sword (winden) or freely attacking the opponent having constrained their weapon with your body. There is no need for, and no emphasis upon, trying to throw powerful attacks using lots of upper body strength. Attacks made like this are unlikely to strain swords as mainstream HEMA will.

Do not misunderstand me: I am aware that striking things like the zwerchhau from side to side is shown in Liechtenauer's teaching. The problem lies in the overuse of this sort of technique in modern HEMA, coupled with the tendency to use brute force from upper body strength. These two factors, combined together, lead to modern swords facing greater force and strain than medieval and renaissance swords would face in many instances.

I am also aware that not everyone tries to use as much upper body strength as I described. However, since most fencers are not fencing from appropriately close measures and instead stay on the wide side of measure, they tend to make longer, reaching strikes, even if they are not deliberately over relying on upper body strength. As the writer of MS. 3227.a observes, reaching strikes lead to the use of too much strength and has nothing to do with Liechtenauer's fencing.
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Michael P. Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jan, 2020 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies all. My sense was that he is not completely wrong, but overstated the case.

Craig, he references modern HEMA interpretations of the manuals,. so it's a bit of a mixed bag. I have no doubt that HEMA, as a modern sport, extends beyond the manuals themselves. But he seemed to be referencing pretty much all modern interpretations, which seemed a bit broad to me.

I'd love to see more data on what actual medieval swords were capable of. It strikes me that lat-14th and 15th century long swords just don't make a lot of sense if the blades were liable to take a set under any significant flex. And rapiers in the 16th and 17th century even less so.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jan, 2020 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Reaction to this video?         Reply with quote

Michael P. Smith wrote:
So,... folks who are way more expert than I..... learn me something. Am I wrong? Is a 14th-15th century longsword really as he suggests? If so, when did European steel get better? Surely, soft, unspringy swords liable to take a set don't do great once thrusting becomes a primary mode of attack. How would a rapier develop under such conditions?

Maybe Dr. Föll's chart of Alan Williams' data would be helpful?


So yes, most historical swords and knives would not impress someone used to carefully heat-treated blades of modern knife and sword steels. (But how many cheap stamped-and-ground stainless knives do you own for each carbon-steel one? which do you use most often?)

Anywhere in Eurasia between 200 BCE and 1900 CE, you can find blades which are soft and blades which are hard and blades which are brittle and blades which are flexible and blades which use different irons according to a logical plan and blades which are just thrown together from whatever was on hand. And warriors or craftsmen often tell you what you should use for a specific purpose: "you want a stiff sword with a point that is not too long" or "use a common knife" (or today "chose a flexible blade for your practice rapier, that is safer for your partner").

So you can try to study the average properties of swords in Austria or swords in Japan, but that won't tell you much when you have an individual weapon with its individual quirks in front of you.

Ilya would have to show us which group of Japanese swords and which group of European swords he is basing his words on (and whose measurements he trusts).

www.bookandsword.com
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jan, 2020 1:38 am    Post subject: Re: Reaction to this video?         Reply with quote

Michael P. Smith wrote:
So,... folks who are way more expert than I..... learn me something. Am I wrong? Is a 14th-15th century longsword really as he suggests? If so, when did European steel get better? Surely, soft, unspringy swords liable to take a set don't do great once thrusting becomes a primary mode of attack. How would a rapier develop under such conditions?

Also, you usually want a thrusting sword to be stiff for the same reason you do not want want a blunt practice sword to be stiff: so when it hits something uncooperative it goes straight through into the squishy bleedy bits rather than stopping and bending. After 1300, when European warriors become more interested in killing other armoured warriors, bladesmiths make less flexible blades with a lenticular cross-section and more stiff four-sided and six-sided blades. Its not just about 'better' but also about different goals: a good sword for a Danish Karl in 900 is not a good sword for a Milanese man-at-arms or a Tartar bandit in 1400.

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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan, 2020 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johannes Zenker wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
European swordsmiths have been capable of producing spring steel since the La Tene period. Connolly cites a two-thousand year-old sword dredged from Lake Neuchatel that, even today, could still be "flexed almost double and spring back to its original shape". The best book on the subject is Pleiner's "The Celtic Sword". Not all swords were made like this but some certainly were and they continued to be made using those techniques until the development of blast furnace.


Evidence from antiquity is not evidence for medieval swordmaking, though. Technology and science took quite a dive after the end of the Roman Empire from what I recall, so it's plausible that many if not most swords from the medieval period were not on par with the best examples from antiquity or representative examples from the Roman Empire. Yet again, the best examples from the medieval period surely were.

I am not very well versed when it comes to the frequency of high quality steel in the middle ages, but from what I recall issues with heat treatment, metallurgy and delamination were not uncommon. Asserting that *all* medieval steel was subpar is obviously not true, but much of it probably was if compared to previous excellence and more modern homogenous monosteel.

Now, deriving from that that HEMA interpretations are wrong is stretching it a bit. A sword might not survive the fight in servicable condition (i.e. too many deep notches for repair, probably moderately bent), but if the owner did, the sword did its job successfully. I believe that arms worn for personal protection (and not abusive practice) have to last for the duration of one engagement, until its owner is safe or can acquire a new weapon.

Honestly, allot of currently scholarship that science and technology didn't take a dive after a fall of the Roman Empire, it is just that scale of scientific accomplishments shrunk with the scale of social and political organization. Also, Remember, Only the Western half of the Roman Empire fell and places such as Italy, Spain, Russian had frequent contact with Byzantine Empire, the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. Finally, the science of crafting long single handed swords was something that was being worked before Rome developed into what we would recognize as a Empire.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jan, 2020 3:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most of the resources I have handy are on knives, because there are more of them so its easier to get permission to cut some in two, but Craig Johnson has a feature on the hardness of medieval blades versus a typical professionally-heat-treated modern sword of carbon steel.

I think we would all love to hear more about people who have handled 14th/15th century longswords about how hard and flexible they are, but if a culture makes most of its swords big it probably has quality under control. The really soft, bend-prone swords I have heard of tend to be before the year 1000 or from the last few hundred years and aimed at people who did not have a choice like Napoleonic conscripts.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jan, 2020 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Metallurgy and sword construction by the time of Fiore or Liechtenauer had far surpassed anything done during the Roman Empire (either Western or Byzantine). The Romans didn't have the metallurgical skill to make something like a longsword, let alone say, a zweihander or a rapier. Sword making as a craft was sufficiently advanced in Europe by the 15th Century that in larger towns what would now be considered an excellent sword (homogeneous spring steel or iron core with hardened steel edges) was available for (on average, very generally speaking) about 1/2 a mark in German speaking areas, or less than a weeks wages for a typical artisan. About 2% of the annual income of a typical peasant in Northern Poland in 1400. Good swords were ubiquitous enough that ownership of a 'good' sword was routinely a requirement for partial citizenship in even small towns and market villages by the 16th Century.

This is in contrast to Frankish / Viking age, or earlier back to La Tene etc. where swords of any kind were quite valuable, as much as multiple horses in some cases. A whole tribe might not have a single sword in poorer areas (at least until they had raided England a few times...)

Be very suspicious of any claims as to 'how they fought in the time of the Masters', especially the notion that all combat was lethal. For one thing, they too had their combat sports, that is how they learned to fight. For the other, we know from surviving records that the routine street fights and informal duels, between a mix of experienced and amateur, drunk and sober, old and young, equal and unequal sides, often resulted in nobody hurt. They also, it is true, often resulted in one or many people getting wounded, maimed and killed. But fighting with swords took a wide range of forms, and we know a lot about it because hundreds of these encounters were exhaustively documented by the City Councils, abbots, seigniorial magistrates and so forth. We have a lot of those records, so you don't have to guess. And it's clear a lot of the time the most important use of the sword was literally for defense - for protecting you from a drunk for example who you may not actually want to kill. For that you need a sword that can hold up to a beating as it may be literally the only thing between you and an angry mans blade.



I think people tend to underestimate the industrial capacity of Latinized European polities in the time of the fight books. Spring steel was certainly widely available in Medieval Europe, at least from the 11th Century. By the time of Fiore there were already hundreds of large bloomery forge complexes which were functionally equivalent to blast furnaces, and true blast furnaces were spreading throughout Northern Europe and Italy. Spring steel was being used for crossbow prods, for parts in clocks and other machines, to make saws and for many other purposes other than fighting blades, By the time of Talhoffer they had water wheel powered wire pulling mills (like this one depicted in a sketch from the workshop of Albrecht Durer) and iron rolling mills that produced metal on near industrial scales (for example around Nuremberg). The Venetian arsenal could build an entire warship in a single day.


Bloomery forge complex from the Von Wolfegg Housebook


Wire pulling mill complex by Durer or his workshop.

I would also not necessarily agree with the notion that there were lot of crap swords (or crap most things) all over the economy in the time of Talhoffer. They did have formidable production capacity, enough to make the astounding architectural marvels which still generate tens of billions in tourist revenue every single year in medieval towns which rarely exceeded 20 or 30,000 people in population when the cathedrals and walls and town halls were built, all marvels of elegant design, built of expensive stone and artistic masterpieces which most modern American cities would be hard-pressed to replicate today. But it was still an artisans economy. There was no Walmart in 15th Century Nuremberg or Venice. Part of why so much is still around from that era is that there was no built in obsolescence. Of course there were cheaper goods made for the lower end of the market to use modern terminology, but even that was usually of some baseline of quality - typically not just by accident but because of formal processes of strict work standards involving routine inspections and spot checks, in the hyper-regulated artisans industries of the day.



They weren't hammering out swords over camp fires out in the open like you see in movies either. Cutlers were sophisticated subcontractors who subdivided their work into many specialties - iron mongers, blade makers, blade temperers, hilt makers, scabbard makers, sword sharpeners, sword polishers, etc., all experts who honed and refined their skills, passed down from master to apprentice generation after generation. To help the process along they had the water-wheel powering the trip hammer, the saws and drills, the grinding wheel, the bellows etc. at a steady and impressive rate of production. Over time, just as they had with so many other things from paintings to armor to firearms to ships and houses and fortifications and cathedrals, they really perfected the process of making commodities like iron and artifacts like swords. There were strict quality control tests done by the guilds and by town governments and other authorities (for which we also still have records). With the help of widespread mechanization they could produce things in the 1400's or 1500s in the more advanced parts of Europe on a scale that I'm not sure anywhere else on earth could match. Watch a water powered trip hammer in action you'll get an idea what I mean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFpLuJMYJdE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M24nZbhKkdU

As for the (yet again) debate about Japanese vs. European swords, it seems to be one of those things that always goes round and round online, and there is enough truth on either side of the argument that like with so many other things, a war of half truths can go on forever. Japanese swords were often very well made and with good materials (even if the source steel wasn't always so good). European swordmaking centers, which were quite widespread by Fiore's day, were far more numerous than Japanese ones, and they made a much wider variety of different types of swords on a considerably larger scale.



When Peter Johnsson talked about the late medieval sword design being more like an airplane wing than a crowbar, with different types of steel, this was because it was a more advanced design, not because they couldn't make it out of homogeneous steel. To the contrary, they certainly could. The methods used in the 15th and 16th Centuries were actually more expensive than what came later, and were only really possible on a large scale due to the complex network of subcontractors and industrial facilities that came out of the craft guild system. The situation with armor is quite similar. Armor in the 15th Century was being produced of heat treated medium carbon steel routinely. By the 17th Century most armor was being made out of wrought iron. This was basically for economic not technological reasons.

The guy in the video, with all due respect to him since he seems sincere, is mixing up data points in metallurgy across 2,000+ years of European history. Yes one can find many soft iron swords in the 4th to 8th Century, as well as quite sophisticated ones. They did also have access to Indian crucible (including wootz) steel in Europe, as a huge quantity of almost everything you can think of was coming down the Silk Road. During Carolignian times in fact Frankish smiths in places such as the area near Solingen where the Ulberht swords came from, were making swords from imported South Asian crucible steel, just as the Japanese sometimes did. But by the late medieval period metallurgy and production techniques had advanced sufficiently in places like Augsburg and Nuremberg, Brescia, Florence, Barcelona and Dijon, Venice, Ghent and Bruges and Prague and so on, that they were making their own designs according to their own methods. Just as they were for say, fortifications or ships. They were still struggling to imitate the Romans during the time of Charlemagne. By the time of Albrecht Durer they were highly conversant in the mysteries of the Classical auctores, and had gone way, way beyond the Romans in almost every measurable way. They had managed to do so what's more largely using machines for leverage instead of slave labor.

It's also worth pointing out - I think I'm correct here though admittedly it's not my period, but I believe iron swords, including pattern welded 'steel' ones, were being made in Europe as far back as the 8th Century BCE, centuries before they even had iron in Japan, which I gather started some time in the 3rd Century.


Of course there was a range of quality in pre-industrial blades. From what (limited) number of them that I have seen though, the quality certainly of Latin swords from the 15th or 16th Century seems to be at least visually comperable to the Japanese swords I've seen of roughly similar vintage. I have handled a few antique 15th Century European swords but no, I wasn't bold or crazy enough to try bending one. To me they were far superior to any modern sword I have ever held just in terms of the feel and overall sense of quality. If only i had been hanging around Ewart Okaeshott back when he was finding them in umbrella stands in antique shops, today you need the big bucks to acquire one of those. No doubt there were many extraordinary Japanese swords, the older ones I have seen certainly look extremely well made. But there were also quite clearly some extraordinary German, Czech and Italian (etc.) swords too, and they weren't made over a camp fire in some village. Post medieval, I don't think you see widespread production of lower quality blades in Europe until the 17th or 18th Century, but even then good ones were still being made. I'm not sure when Japanese swordsmanship declined but I know a lot of the ones made during WW 2 were not up to Edo period standards.

For more detail on European swords I'd say Peter Johnsson is the guy to look to. A lot of his stuff is available online.

Just my $.02

J

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jan, 2020 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Most of the resources I have handy are on knives, because there are more of them so its easier to get permission to cut some in two, but Craig Johnson has a feature on the hardness of medieval blades versus a typical professionally-heat-treated modern sword of carbon steel.

I think we would all love to hear more about people who have handled 14th/15th century longswords about how hard and flexible they are, but if a culture makes most of its swords big it probably has quality under control. The really soft, bend-prone swords I have heard of tend to be before the year 1000 or from the last few hundred years and aimed at people who did not have a choice like Napoleonic conscripts.


Exactly. They couldn't use long swords en-masse until metallurgy had advanced enough to make four foot long swords that could withstand use by people who were not always experts. The Swiss for example sometimes fielded thousands of men with longswords as sidearms. Conversely, there is a reason why most of those Roman swords were so short.. Also keep in mind, by the 15th Century, shields certainly hadn't gone away, but they were no longer a requirement. Yes you relied on your armor for protection more and more, but you also relied on the sword itself as an active defense.

In the 1400's, you didn't have to carry a shield everywhere (or hang a buckler on your belt) to parry with, you could use your sword for that. Which is why the quillons and all those other fancy hilt features became so universal. The sword itself was your best and most reliable defense in many cases. That wouldn't be possible if you were constantly worrying about the sword bending and breaking - and it would certainly bend or break if it wasn't springy. Not to mention at least half of the techniques in the fight books would similarly result in broken blades.


That said, I will admit that accounts of civilian combat I've read do describe swords breaking a lot, especially rapiers

J.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Feb, 2020 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another use for large pieces of spring steel - saws. Here is a nice video showing very well the every day mechanization of the Medieval world, in the form of a wind-powered sawmill in the Netherlands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6FxG3ll-lw

This is the water powered paper mill from Basel, in the wasser funf district, on the same block (and the same mill channel) that Joachim Meyer worked as a cutler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9HjMaR1D7w

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Feb, 2020 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've already presented evidence for spring steel longswords* dating to the Roman period. They may not have been as common as during the medieval period but we have hard evidence for their existence. Read Pleiner's book.

* by "longsword" I refer to a sword with a blade significantly longer than a Roman gladius.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Feb, 2020 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure what you are getting at but if you mean single handed spatha type swords in the 90 - 100 cm range overall, then that goes back before the Romans, and the Romans were certainly making weapons of that size and even a bit longer. Those are however also sometimes the swords which are of limited steel content. I know there were also some pattern welded spatha type swords though coming from places like Noricum fairly far back.

When I say longsword I'm referring to hand and a half weapons in the 110 - 140 cm+ range in overall length, such as became commonplace in the era of the fencing masters I was referring to in my posts, 14th - 16th Centuries. Swords which furthermore we know were used in fencing systems that did not require the use of shields for parrying. I think the latter is the common usage of the word 'longsword' for anything later than the Classical era.

The only really lengthy swords I know of in or near Europe prior to the High Medieval are a few quite interesting very long sabers which have been excavated in Central Asia, which appear to be specialized weapons. I don't know about their metallurgy. By the later medieval period the Chinese and Japanese had their Miao Dao / No Dachi type swords as well but that is contemporaneous to the longsword, montante, zweihander etc.

If you are talking about swords like this in the Roman era, or anywhere prior to say the 12th Century, that would certainly be an eye opener for me and I'd love to hear more about it.



J

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Feb, 2020 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
I'm not sure what you are getting at but if you mean single handed spatha type swords in the 90 - 100 cm range overall, then that goes back before the Romans, and the Romans were certainly making weapons of that size and even a bit longer. Those are however also sometimes the swords which are of limited steel content. I know there were also some pattern welded spatha type swords though coming from places like Noricum fairly far back.J

Pattern welded means nothing. The majority of swords up until the blast furnace were made like this due to the process of forging the steel in the first place. What matters is the type of steel involved. We have two thousand year-old swords that are made of what some refer to as "spring steel".

Here is the direct quote from Connolly (p.115): "I have seen a 2,000 year old sword which was dredged from Lake Neuchatel and which is, incidentally, from the period Polybius is describing, bent almost double and then flex back."

The metallurgy of the steel required for this action is consistent with the metallurgy of some of the swords analysed in Pleiner's book. It is no different to the metallurgy of the best medieval longswords and rapiers.

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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sun 02 Feb, 2020 7:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
I'm not sure what you are getting at but if you mean single handed spatha type swords in the 90 - 100 cm range overall, then that goes back before the Romans, and the Romans were certainly making weapons of that size and even a bit longer. Those are however also sometimes the swords which are of limited steel content. I know there were also some pattern welded spatha type swords though coming from places like Noricum fairly far back.J

Pattern welded means nothing. The majority of swords up until the blast furnace were made like this due to the process of forging the steel in the first place. What matters is the type of steel involved. We have two thousand year-old swords that are made of what some refer to as "spring steel".

Here is the direct quote from Connolly (p.115): "I have seen a 2,000 year old sword which was dredged from Lake Neuchatel and which is, incidentally, from the period Polybius is describing, bent almost double and then flex back."

The metallurgy of the steel required for this action is consistent with the metallurgy of some of the swords analysed in Pleiner's book. It is no different to the metallurgy of the best medieval longswords and rapiers.

Well, historians aren't immune from hyperbolic language, just take Herodotous and Thucylides accounts off the Greco Persian wars. The Popular compemtporaty account of the battle of Thermoplolaye has the Persians having over a million men and most estimates today have the number of s fourth at the highest estimate. The sticker is what does being spring actually mean. If the standard of a sword being resident and spring is being able to shrug off striking a oil drum without any damage or being clamed in a vise and bent repeatily without snapping is what springy means, I think most pre industrial swords would fail that test. If spring just means taking any bending stress and flexing back to straight, I bet that was actually common for a while especially if all you are talking about is hand flexing
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