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Eric Nower




Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 22 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 7:42 am    Post subject: Historical maces         Reply with quote

Hello all,

Does anyone have any info on any historical maces from 1250-1500? I know in the later periods metal maces became more common, but what about earlier periods? Were they just branches cut down or was there some genral layout to them?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There have been some discussions of pre 1200 A.D. maces already. Some good pictures of metal heads for wooden shafted maces can be seen at http://otlichnik.tripod.com/medmace2.html

Pictures of some mace heads from the center of the period you requested can be found by following links at the site or by just jumping straight to here; http://otlichnik.tripod.com/medmace3.html

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not necessarily a great source for historical info, but MRL has two maces that date from that era, the Maciejowski and River Thames mace. A&A's Iberian mace is also from that period. Two books show the River Thames mace, but neither describe it at all, which is too bad.

Based on those and on what Jared linked to, it appears that mounting them on wood hafts was more common than metal ones. The heads appear to have either small pyramid-shaped spikes and simple flanges.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm under the impression that early maces had longer, wooden hafts, and the later short metal maces are an adaptation to plate armour.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've personally found that the distinction that the author raises between knobbed and flanged maces is a very good general guideline: if the mace is knobbed, chances are it's an earlier type of mace whereas if it's flanged, it's much more likely to be from the late Middle Ages onward. As Elling noted, earlier medieval maces seemed to be mounted on wood shafts, rather than being made entirely from metal. You'll notice that the heads of these maces are generally not a whole lot wider in diameter than the wood they'd be mounted on. And typically, though not always, there would be but a two rows of staggered knobs on the mace head, rather than three or four rows.

My guess is that Medieval maces are eminently easier to wield as weapons compared to their Renaissance counterparts in terms of distrubtion of mass. However, it would also appear that later maces could probably inflict significantly more grievous wounds and were much better equipped to deal with heavier armour.
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
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PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 2:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
I've personally found that the distinction that the author raises between knobbed and flanged maces is a very good general guideline: if the mace is knobbed, chances are it's an earlier type of mace whereas if it's flanged, it's much more likely to be from the late Middle Ages onward.


I have not done a lot of study on the subject, but I get the impression that this idea is less accurate than it seems at first glance. As a general guideline (which is what you specified, I'm not trying to claim you didn't use valid caveats) it is okay, but still pretty rough. I know that flanged maces were pretty common by the 14th century, but I was under the impression that cast, "knob" mace heads were still in use in the 15th century. Maybe that is more of a regional distinction, though, as I think most of the later knob maces were Central/Eastern European.

It's been my impression that the wood versus metal hafting distinction is more likely to be accurate, but I'll wager there are still flies in that ointment, too.

As for the MRL River Thames Mace, I own one of those. I've shared some of my thoughts on that one with Chad, and I think he'll agree that there are some strange differences (the most noticable being that the original has 6 flanges, and the MRL piece has 8). It's not a bad item, but I shy away from calling it a replica or encouraging people to make too many assumptions based on it.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Sat 08 Apr, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Judging by the photos on those excellent links provided by Jared Smith, Flanged heads are not solely a characteristic of late medieval maces, as many maces from the 12th-14th centuries also seem to have flanged heads.

I think wooden as opposed to metal hafts are more common on the earlier maces. This is a trend that also seems to have occured further east as well. Many Turkish and Persian maces from the 15th century onwards have metal hafts.
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Nicola Tal





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PostPosted: Sun 09 Apr, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Happy


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Eric Nower




Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Apr, 2006 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jared,

ThaT link was what I was looking for. Now does anyone have an idea on haft length or material?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 10 Apr, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Nower wrote:
Thanks Jared,

ThaT link was what I was looking for. Now does anyone have an idea on haft length or material?


I could be wrong about this, but I think the hafts were probably in the range of 18 to 24 inches, but that estimate is not based upon historical specimens, but rather upon the length that seems "about right" to me. In this case, I think the haft length on later maces is probably a decent indicator, particularly if the mace doesn't have giant flanges, which might call for a longer haft.
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