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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan, 2006 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bob,
Some interesting fodder for your separate post. Bear in mind King Harold, 1066 AD England, has frequently been estimated to have been roughly 6' 8" tall and was described as making even the largest draft horses of that time look like ponies!

http://historymedren.about.com/b/a/112443.htm

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 4:31 am    Post subject: Sword Size, People Size, Then and Now         Reply with quote

I think everyone is aware that people in certain areas of the globe, in this case Europe are taller and larger in size in our time due to the industrial revolution which brought about many comforts and an abundance of food and far better nutrition. What the exact average height of european adults now vs 600 years ago, I do not know, but as I have learned it's a difference of a couple of inches or so. For the sake of discussion I will say that today it is 5' 9 1/2" and that in the early 15th century it was 5' 7" for an adult male on the average.

This being so, how accurate are we being in practicality rather than historical accuracy of cloning exacting sword sizes, in the proper function of replica swords by adhering to replicating the exact same size sword as opposed to figuring the mathmatical difference in relation to our present day average person's size?

I am no math wizbang, so let me try to illustrate this as best I can. Since now the average height is (estimate) 5' 9 1/2", which would be 2 and a half inches taller than was the average adult male in 1400. If the sword in question was a longsword of overall length 44 inches, would it not be more accurate to produce that same sword today at an overall length of say 47 or 48 inches?

I am also curious if this has ever been given any thorough consideration and thought in theorizing?

Very Curious!

Bob
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm curious if skeletal evidence proven this theory.

We know there are exceptions, like Edward I, said to be 7 feet tall from boot to crested great helm.

I've heard that armour is not always displayed in museums exactly how it would be worn, making it appear the wearer would be shorter than in real life.

I find the subject fascinating, even if I don't know anything about it. Happy

Happy

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Marcos Cantu





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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know that when I've seen homes preserved from the American Colonial Era, the beds are tiny compared to todays bed. A full size looks luxurious compared to those from only 250 years ago
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it is dangerous to assume that those using swords and armour represent an average of people.
Well armoured and well armed people tend to belong to the elite, especially in ancient times. The elite tend to eat better and live better than the average.

It is also good to remember that medium height has not incrased steadily over time, rather it has varied. It has also varied much between different areas.
An all time low however was during the industrial revolution...
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'm curious if skeletal evidence proven this theory.

We know there are exceptions, like Edward I, said to be 7 feet tall from boot to crested great helm.

I've heard that armour is not always displayed in museums exactly how it would be worn, making it appear the wearer would be shorter than in real life.

I find the subject fascinating, even if I don't know anything about it. Happy



Thanks Chad, I hope I've come up with a stimulating thread. Both replies have mentioned the exceptional size of individuals, but I am focusing on the "average" size of the population of adult men. I do not know much about this either, but everything I have read along these lines indicates that people were shorter a few hundred years ago, a lot of it having to do with nutrition and adequate food supplies.

Certainly the noble class and the well to do had an abundance of food and proper nutrition, society also had much cleaner air as well.

I am really curious about this in relation to the sword, because as I have learned and had always thought prior to learning, that the sword was the most elaborate of all personal weapons and would therefore need to be the most accurate in size, balance, weight in relation to that swords particular purpose and to the size of the wielder.

Also, thanks for the information on Longshank's height, I'd heard he was quite tall but never had an idea as to how tall.

Being a person who spent several years obsessed on genealogy it's nice to learn this trivia about my ancestor. Laughing Out Loud

Speaking of sword sizes, I have an A&A Durer ( 47.5 inches overall) currently in the UPS system coming to me. Had an itch for this sword since July!

Bob
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darn I screwed up the quote feature again!

Sorry,

Bob
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Jeff Pringle
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the 'shorter back then' thing is a myth- but I'm no anthropometricist.
Attached is a chart, put together by one - The source document is here:
http://home.uchicago.edu/~cboix/bones.pdf
Also, from the top of a Wiki article on 'human height':
The European Middle Ages was an era of tallness with men of above six feet (1.83 m) considered unremarkable. In Europe human height reached its nadir at the start of the nineteenth century. Until the general rise in human health, as urbanization increased, the accompanying trend was a height decline.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_height



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Histht.jpg

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am thinking that Peter has a reasonable line of thinking. Today's American style football players are not average height, average food consumption representatives of American population. I expect a warrior cast to be different than medieval average as well. This has been speculated by others in several previous posts.

Even during the time period when researchers seem to believe Western European height was at a low point (1600s to 1700s ), there is no shortage of tall tales....

http://www.stevequayle.com/Giants/UK/UK5.html

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Average heights in North Europe was about 173-75 cm in the high middle ages.
Reputedly the average height of french soldiers in the napoleonic was 155 cm. Through the following centuries average heights have increased steadily.
Mostly, it's a question of nutrition. For instance, the japanese average height has rocketed since WWII, due to changed diet.

Norwegian soldiers didn't reach the medevial 173 cm average again until 1960... (present average about 180...)

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
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Wolfgang Armbruster





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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the diet-changes since WWII have resulted in more than just increased height.
To me it looks like people have not only grown taller but also.....bigger *G*.

Kidding aside: I think Elling Polden has a point there. In earlier times the diet of our ancestors was mainly vegetarian. People in northern Europe ate more meat, that's true. Nevertheless their diet was still based largely on wheat, rye and vegetables.
It was only after WWII that more and more people could afford to eat meat more than once a week. As we all know the results are not always desired or healthy, but that's a different issue.
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Marton Pap




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don' know if my previous message disappeared or just late. I was trying to say, as I know 1768 pattern light cavalry sabres in Hungary were made log enough to reach their owners belly button when standing on their point, to be able to stab the enemy lying on the ground.
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marcos Cantu wrote:
I know that when I've seen homes preserved from the American Colonial Era, the beds are tiny compared to todays bed. A full size looks luxurious compared to those from only 250 years ago


Assumptions such as these (as well as doorway/ceiling height, etc.) are common and misleading. Without a proper comprehension of the context in which the object was used or an understanding as to why a particular design was employed one can easily come to the wrong conclusion. It was quite common, for example, for persons to sleep sitting up in bed, as it was thought to be more healthful, and this often accounts for beds which - to our eyes - look as though they were made for short people.

Just think of our beds taken out of context 250+ years from now - they will think we sleep four or six to a bed, or else are very wide ourselves! And never mind the absurd proportions to which we build our homes, cars, beverage containers... a race of GIANTS to be sure!
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some very interesting things said, I never knew that about people sleeping in a sitting position in bed, as for low ceilings and doorways I would think that may have been for the sake of maintaining heat in the home or structure as heat rises. Interesting and sounds like even if there is a height difference between now and then, it is of no real consequence. Every post has been very interesting to me, also it is very true about the difference in height from one country to another, as for instance the Danes and Swedes are a very large people in comparison to say the French.
Also quite interesting about people being smaller during the industrial revolution, as people basically worked in slave mills making huge profits for the industry magnates, and they worked for a pittance, which would affect diet, constantly over worked, complete lack of proper rest and sleep and probably poor medical care.
Another thing that makes a lot of sense is the topic of the warrior class as it would make absolute sense that the professional warriors, or those enlisted etc. would be kept very well fed.

A whole lot of variables come into play that many a person would not think to consider.

Quite interesting!

Bob
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Joel Whitmore




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Diets         Reply with quote

Wolfgang Armbruster wrote:

It was only after WWII that more and more people could afford to eat meat more than once a week. .


This statement may hold true for some cultures in the world, but in cenral/ south Louisiana it is completely false. In this part of America before WWII and for a while after, you are talking about mostly agriarian towns. Meat was a staple of the diet and was normaly eaten daily. I am only talking about what I know and this part of Louisiana has a mainly French influence( mainly Napoleanic era French). POrk and chicken were heavily relied upon in the diets. Vegetables were also grown and eaten. Citrus fruits were a virtual treat and outside of Satsuma oranges, very little citrus fruits were consumed. One may make the case that the heavy meat diet was unhealthy, yet the number of poeople from that era living past 80 seems to be surpassing those babyboomers hitting 65 with the "adavantage" of modern drugs and medical advances. I think that so much processed foods being consumed in the American diet is the most probable cause of may of today's health problems. I don't believe that vegetarianism offers any advantage over a well-balanced omnivourous diet of fresh foods. As far as the average height of humas goes, I tend to think this fluctuates. One of the things we arrogantly forget is that we are all animals and subject to genetic forces as in any population. Because of this, I think the average height will continue to fluctuate over time and by geographic area, though there seems to be an overall upward trend over the past century or so among the world's developed nations.

Joel
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bob;

I got into the habit of sleeping while sitting at work during lunch time or very late at night if I was doing an All-nighter: A short 20 minute nap would make working 24 hours strait possible without too much loss of function: Computer graphics and T.V. special effects work with short deadlines. By the way employers who frown on napping on the job should understand that a short nap INCREASES your efficiency and reduces the number of time wasting mistakes one makes if overtired.

Anyway back to sleeping sitting up: It's great when you have a cold or have eaten a bit too much and I like doing it enough that I do it about half the time. with a cold it makes breathing very easy and limit annoying post nasal drip.

So, I guess it's quite possible that sleeping this way was the custom at some periods of history.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Wolfgang Armbruster





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PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan, 2006 1:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@ Joel Whitmore:
I should have said that I was only speaking for Germany Big Grin Of course diets vary not only with time but it also depends on where you live.

A few days ago I read a very intersting article about diets and how it is influenced by peoples genes. They found out that the bodies of northern Europeans are more used to eating meat. Sometimes certain people absolutely need to eat meat or they will start feeling weak and sick. On the other hand southern Europeans or people from cultures that are used to a mainly vegetarian diet function the other way around. Of course that's quite an overgeneralization but I think one can understand diets better with this info in the back of one's brain.

Just look at the Inuits/Eskimos. They eat nothing but meat. Their cholesterol level is way too high compared to the rest of the world. Nevertheless they don't die from heart-attacks and such things. Their bodies are used to it. May they'd get sick if they changed their diet.

Having said that, I think the best diet is a well-balanced one that includes vegetables, meat and fruits alike. I hope I didn't sound too much like a know-it-all *G*
Take it with a grain of salt Wink
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Chris Lampe




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan, 2006 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I'm curious if skeletal evidence proven this theory.

We know there are exceptions, like Edward I, said to be 7 feet tall from boot to crested great helm.

I've heard that armour is not always displayed in museums exactly how it would be worn, making it appear the wearer would be shorter than in real life.

I find the subject fascinating, even if I don't know anything about it. Happy


I know that Allison Weiss sometimes includes data obtained from skeletal evidence in her books. For example, King Edward IV's skeleton was over 6' 3" while the skeleton of King Henry VI was 5'8" or 5'9".
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Stephen Hand




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan, 2006 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A lot of masters recommended sword lengths based on the proportions of the wielder. If these are followed, then our height in comparison with past generations is immaterial.
Stephen Hand
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FWIW, Irish archaeologists just found an ancient, well-preserved, 6'6" male corpse in an Irish bog.
-Sean

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