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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2005 6:25 pm    Post subject: Development of the falchion         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I am asking this question to those who have sound knowledge of this matter, and especially to Peter J. regarding the Vassal and any ideas he might have as to other early forms of this weapon.

I am interested as to the genesis of the falchion and the forms it took prior to 1250. I am aware that there may be a link between the viking seax and the falchion. What could be some forms of the falchion during the period 1050-1250?

Where does the Vassal fit chronologically? I am interested in obtaining a single edged sword of the high middle ages but I am most interested in the 12th C.. Does albion have any plan for such a piece?

Thanks everyone.

Jeremy
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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2005 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To my knowledge, no. The Vassal is it. 14 th century on into the 15th. Interestingly, the Maciejowski Bible shows various forms of single edge weapons, wether or not these can be termed "falchions" is probably open for debate. IIRC, the Conyers falchion was of an earlier type but that's a guess at best on my part.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Aug, 2005 11:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Earlier forms of the falchion....Hmmm

...Well, for the 13th C we have the Maciejowski manuscript as reference. These wild choppers are well known, but I would think more "normal" blade shapes existed at the same time, although I cannot point to any surviving examples or depictions in art.

To be on solid ground the falchion in its "typical" shape should be placed in the late 13th, all through the14th C and 15th C (with some interesting hilt variations occuring during the 15thC: knuckle guards, lugs and so on).

I understand you want earlier examples, but I do not know of any certain cases. Your guess is as good as mine as how 11th and 12th C single edged swords would have looked like. The 12th C is not extremely rich in varying sword types. There are mostly just the basic types of single handers with a few larger sword of war. To what extent any of these could have existed in single edged design is up to speculation.

The Thorpes and Conyers falchion are good examples of the fully developed falchion type. Any earlier examples would not have been much different, only hilted according to contemporary style.
-Although it is difficult to imagine a falchion with a brazil nut pommel...

The Vassal is most typically at home in a 13th C and 14th C setting. With a different hilt the blade could be 15th C as well.

There are of course other interesting single edged types (13th, 14th and 15th C types) but at this time there is no gap in the plan to develop such swords. It might happen, it is just too early to speculate when, if and if so what that could be.
A 12th C single edged sword would be based purely on speculation (at least untill I see a surviving example or a period illustration). I could design a sword that possibly looks like a single edged sword of the 12th C might have looked liked, but that would be beyond the focus of the NG line: swords based on actual historical types.

Surviving falchions are dated mostly to 14th C and onwards, with a few dated to the 13th C.
Even if rare you can also find single edged swords with more or less the same outline as double edged ones. My impression is that these also occur during the 13th C an onwards, but I cannot say they did *not* exist earlier.

I know of no "missing link" swords between the single edged viking and the falchion. I have seen no tweeners that would be somewhere between the "Berserkr" andf the "Vassal" in design. I think such a sword highly unlikely. If the single edged viking sword developed it would have become a single edged sword-shaped weapon (double edged in outline, but single edged in section)

Below is a scan of a single edged sword (on the right) dated to the 14th C (according to the Author Leslie Southwick. I could imagine a sword like this being used in the 13th C. At least the later part of the 13th C). Note the fuller along the back going two thrids of the length, the false edge and the convex curvature induced during heat treat.



 Attachment: 9.97 KB
Single edged.jpg

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Eric Nower




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Aug, 2005 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Earlier forms of the falchion....Hmmm

I understand you want earlier examples, but I do not know of any certain cases. Your guess is as good as mine as how 11th and 12th C single edged swords would have looked like. The 12th C is not extremely rich in varying sword types. There are mostly just the basic types of single handers with a few larger sword of war. To what extent any of these could have existed in single edged design is up to speculation.

There are of course other interesting single edged types (13th, 14th and 15th C types) but at this time there is no gap in the plan to develop such swords. It might happen, it is just too early to speculate when, if and if so what that could be.
A 12th C single edged sword would be based purely on speculation (at least untill I see a surviving example or a period illustration). I could design a sword that possibly looks like a single edged sword of the 12th C might have looked liked, but that would be beyond the focus of the NG line: swords based on actual historical types.


Is it possible during the 11th and 12th that they were basically just "meat cleavers" and hadn't really been intended or made for the battlefield yet? Just throwing that out there-

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