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Mark Morris





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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Albion Knight and Reeve question         Reply with quote

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I just read this post by Peter Johnsson about the Albion Reeve:

"When studying actual originals you will see the whole spectrum from can openers to near filet knives in edge geometry and cross section. These new type X blades are somewhat past the middle of this range leaning towards the finer geometries. You need to appreciate this to use these swords to best effect: they are not helmet cleavers but leg biters, face splitters and wrist choppers....
... These new type X swords are going to be at home in the hands of a lighter armed infantry man. Mobility, agility, speed and precision are the main characteristics. Cutting performance is more a matter of placing and speed."


Where does the Knight stand in respect to edge geometry and cross section of the type XII? Or does the type XII even have this wide variety of design standards (like the Reeve)?
The information about the Reeve really was enlightening. I am a novice at sword collecting and this forum has, I believe, the best discussions for educating oneself.

I just received my Knight and it is a superb sword. My coworkers were all oohing and ahhing over it! Big Grin

The finish of these Next Gens' is really amazing. I also have the 13th Century Knightly Squire Line sword. The comparison of the two is really interesting. Both are really well built swords.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's an interesting question and hopefully I'll be able to make a side-by-side comparison in a few days.
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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Albion Knight and Reeve question         Reply with quote

Mark Morris wrote:
Quote:
I just read this post by Peter Johnsson about the Albion Reeve:

"When studying actual originals you will see the whole spectrum from can openers to near filet knives in edge geometry and cross section. These new type X blades are somewhat past the middle of this range leaning towards the finer geometries. You need to appreciate this to use these swords to best effect: they are not helmet cleavers but leg biters, face splitters and wrist choppers....
... These new type X swords are going to be at home in the hands of a lighter armed infantry man. Mobility, agility, speed and precision are the main characteristics. Cutting performance is more a matter of placing and speed."


Where does the Knight stand in respect to edge geometry and cross section of the type XII? Or does the type XII even have this wide variety of design standards (like the Reeve)?

I agree with Patrick - this is indeed an interesting question. I'll toss this brief set of thoughts out for consideration...

When the original swords were made, there was no Typology - Oakeshott or otherwise. The Typology is a modern construct - the result of looking at a massive number of original pieces, and finding common elements and differences, and more or less making piles (not literally, of course), then discussing the elements common to each "pile". Since the Typology was based upon a group of swords that shared characteristics, it stands to reason that there are variations between the pieces described by this generalistic description. How much variation is there amongst pieces that fall into the description of a Type XII? I don't know...

Mark Morris wrote:
The information about the Reeve really was enlightening. I am a novice at sword collecting and this forum has, I believe, the best discussions for educating oneself.

I learn new things all the time on this forum. Perhaps I've even been able to pass on a thing or two... It's a great community, and I also appreciate it greatly. Glad you're here, Mark!

Mark Morris wrote:
I just received my Knight and it is a superb sword. My coworkers were all oohing and ahhing over it! Big Grin

I've said it before, and I'll say it again here - the Knight simply kicks ass. Of the single-handed recreations of medieval swords I've had the pleasure of handling, this is my favorite. It's a cutting monster, too... great performer. Also, for as long as I have had a mental concept of "sword", this is what it has always looked like. I had to have one...

-Aaron Schnatterly
_______________

Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron brings up an excellent point concerning Oakeshott's typology. Oakeshott never meant for his work to be used as a finite means to categorize the medieval sword. At best it is to be used as a broad reference to outline the sword's development. I'm in the minority when I recommend Oakeshott's The Archeology of Weapons. In AoW Oakeshott not only laid out his typology but he also clearly stated his reasoning for it. You can buy Records of the Medieval Sword and enjoy the nice photos, but you won't truly understand the typology if you haven't read AoW.

We also have to remember that these were hand-made objects, not in the modern sense of the term but truly hand-made. While there were obvious engineering concepts used in their construction there was an equal amount of variance. Trying to pigeon hole any type of sword into A/B/C classifications based on our modern perceptions is a mistake. In the case of the Reeve and Bayeux Peter Johnsson has stated that his intent was to design Type Xs that illustrate the lighter end of the spectrum for that type. We'll never know whether originals like this were intentionally designed with lighter and more massive versions, or whether this was simply a byproduct of need and circumstance. When we judge these things we really need to divorce ourselves from our modern mindset that insists on putting every object into a neat, tidy category.

I also agree with Aaron in his opinion of the Knight. Mine was a review sample but once I had it in hand I couldn't let it get away. Some things are just right from the outset and the Knight is one of these. That being said, the Reeve is right within my main period of interest and this type of blade/pommel combination has always been one of my favorites. Considering my high opinion of the Knight and my favoritism towards the Reeve's design it will be interesting to compare the two.
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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great post, Patrick! Excellent points! I'll hit on a couple...

Patrick Kelly wrote:
In the case of the Reeve and Bayeux Peter Johnsson has stated that his intent was to design Type Xs that illustrate the lighter end of the spectrum for that type. We'll never know whether originals like this were intentionally designed with lighter and more massive versions, or whether this was simply a byproduct of need and circumstance. When we judge these things we really need to divorce ourselves from our modern mindset that insists on putting every object into a neat, tidy category.

Exactly, and this is fundamental. We can see the general evolution of weapons as technology improves, armour evolves, styles and tastes cycle, but we don't have the benefit of all of the specific knowledge. We can't sit down with an 11th Century swordsmith over a few beers and pizza and discuss a piece like the Reeve. We have to make some best guesses - some things we will simply never know for certain. Your point about lighter/more massive versions is a perfect example.

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I also agree with Aaron in his opinion of the Knight. Mine was a review sample but once I had it in hand I couldn't let it get away. Some things are just right from the outset and the Knight is one of these. That being said, the Reeve is right within my main period of interest and this type of blade/pommel combination has always been one of my favorites. Considering my high opinion of the Knight and my favoritism towards the Reeve's design it will be interesting to compare the two.

Glad to have such company, my friend! I'd also been quite attracted to the Reeve since I first saw the concept sketch. I, too, love the type, and I cannot wait to be able to experience it in hand. Peter's detailed description of it, and his thoughts while designing it, make it even more attractive to me, and I take his query about how it performs with various armaments and period clothing as an interesting exercise. Should be fun to explore; likewise, should be fun to compare experiences. I'm not sure when I will get my Reeve (yes, it's ordered Big Grin ), but I'll probably get a chance to see one in a couple of weeks.

-Aaron Schnatterly
_______________

Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Mark Morris





Joined: 16 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron and Patrick,

Thanks for bringing up the typology information. That is always something to keep in mind when contemplating these swords.

Patrick wrote: "In the case of the Reeve and Bayeux Peter Johnsson has stated that his intent was to design Type Xs that illustrate the lighter end of the spectrum for that type."
It would again be very enlightening to have Peter Johnsson give us thoughts of a similar nature on the Knight's design. Big Grin
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2005 12:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Knight is more solid midrange in regards to geometry of cross section and edge.
There are those swords who are both sturdier and finer in the section that can be classified as type XII.

About typologies:
The typologies we refer to on this forum (most commonly Oakeshott, Petersen and Geibig) are systems constructed to classify *historical* swords.
They are no more and no less precisely that.
Different scholars have looked for different things in swords. They find different things fundamental as defining features. These systems are very handy when discussing the historical sword, as we have neat definitions of types that can be referred to.

We must realise that no typology will ever define every aspect of the swords it describe. This is very important.
There are crucial aspects of swords that are never even mentioned in the typologies we use.
Therefore a typology can never be used as the only design specification for a sword design: there are just too many factors that are left out. It can be used to outline the most general characteristics, but we need further information and data to get an idea of what made these "types" tick.
If we make swords today only based on the typologies of Oakeshott, Geibig, Petersen (or any other), there is *no* guarantee what so ever that the swords we make are really comparable to historical swords in any way than the most superficial aspects.
That is why it is important for a swordmaker today to make personal direct studies of swords rather than relying on secondary sources. -*If* the intention is to make swords that *are* comparable to historical swords, that is. But that is not by any means the "best" or only way to do things.

I am a strong proponent of the contemporary sword. I think there are fascinating things to explore in the ideas of what makes a sword become a sword, adhering more or less strictly to historical types or disregarding them alltogether.
Swordmakers today are completely free to relate to the craft in any way we find rewarding. There is nothing saying a sword must look like historical types to be a functional or beautiful weapon (perhaps the craftsman could even care less about functionality in the first place: that is also a possible road to follow. But it makes the difinition of what a sword is rather broad...).
I still think it is worthwhile and even necessary to study original historical swords to learn the principles for their functional aspects. We need not apply these principles to mimic historical types however. It can be interesting to explore the possibilities of the contemporary sword, making eclectic weapons that borrow from different cutlures and time periods.

We are well served by being aware of what we are doing, however. That will free both maker and user/collector from a burden of misunderstandings and hollow expectations.
It is not uncomon to get requests from customers that want a specific historical sword type made as authenticly as possible but with a character and function that no original of the type ever had (this often involves ideas of making the sword perfom "better" than their historical counterparts).

If we want to make swords that are true to historical types, then we have much more strict rules to follow, but the "rules" are to a large extent not written down: they mostly survive in the shape of swords in museums and collections around the world. There is some logic to shapes, types and function, but the variation within these boundaries is vast and mindboggling. This variation does not allow us to do just everything we fancy and still arrive at something that can relate to historical examples: We need to be mindful of character and intent of the original swords.

Through the study of originals we can form an idea of what the sword was through the ages and cultures of mankind.
We cannot only rely on written descriptions of swords sorted in typologies. A typology alone will be too blunt a tool to arrive at soemthing that even gets close to what a historical sword really was.
We could get lucky, but we will never know that if we lack experience and knowledge of authentic originals.

No typology will cover all aspects that are crucial for the design of a sword. This is especially true since most swords are variations of the theme. This does not in any way disqualify the typologies or diminish their value.
They were developed to define *historical* swords.
In what way they relate to contemporary swords is totally depending on how these contemporary swords relate to *actual historical swords*.
If we take just any contemporary sword that is a vague variation of some type and try to classify it according to a typology of historical swords we do ourselves a big disfavour and really only manage to muddy the waters: we are being counter productive to a true understanding.
We need the typologies to build an understanding of the sword through the ages. The typologies will also serve us well in being a reference to contemporary swords, as long as we realise the inherent limitations. Typologies can relate closely or very superficially to contemporary swords: it all depends on the intentions and/or insights of the individual maker.
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Fri 11 Nov, 2005 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Am I the only one who thinks Peter Johnsson should write a book? Big Grin
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C.L. Miller




PostPosted: Fri 11 Nov, 2005 1:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taylor Ellis wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks Peter Johnsson should write a book? Big Grin


I suppose that depends on how long of a break he'd have to take from designing these fine swords Big Grin

J/K of course, I know I'd be thrilled!
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Mark Morris





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PostPosted: Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to agree that Peter Johnsson should definitely write a book. Or perhaps compile his various writings into a volume so I can see what I have missed!

I also find that by looking at books on swords, it seems mindboggling how many variations of blades can be lumped into the same class in a typology. So I see now from the fine explanations offered above how a typology is really just a starting point.
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