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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 5:41 am    Post subject: Rudis from Purpleheart Armory         Reply with quote

Greetings all,

A very good friend named John of mine turned 64 recently. Although he hasn’t worked on a full-time basis for the last two years, he hasn’t officially retired, either. As a physician with 30 years of Emergency Room experience, he doesn’t need to work, but there has still been this residual guilt associated with not working. Having recently been laid off myself, I can fully empathize with this – so much of the male identity is tied up in being a provider.

I wanted to buy John something that would be akin to a retirement gift – something that he could use to help him transition to the idea that he doesn’t need to work anymore and can actually relax and enjoy his retirement years. I had planned on giving him something on his 65th birthday.

John recently discovered, however, that he has two arterial blockages and two aneurysms that are going to need surgical intervention. Given the inherent risks of the surgery, I thought it best to move up my timeline a bit and give him his retirement gift now.

After much deliberation, I decided upon a Rudis. A Rudis, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, was a wooden sword that was given to gladiators in reward for a brilliant career. The wooden Rudis signified that the gladiator would never again have to risk his life with a real weapon – it was a symbol of his freedom from slavery. If accepted, it marked the retirement of the gladiator and his transition to a more peaceful life.

My original plan was to pursue a custom commission, utilizing good quality walnut for the blade, guard, and pommel, and a light walnut burl for the grip. For this commission, I had intended to utilize the talents of Christian Darce’ of Purpleheart Armory (www.woodenswords.com).

Alas, with the loss of my job (actually two jobs, I lost a 13-year part-time teaching position last Spring, and a job I held for 10 years was terminated in February), I couldn’t afford a custom Rudis. Not wanting to wait until my financial situation recovered, I decided to pursue a stock Rudis through Purpleheart Armory (http://www.woodenswords.com/WMA/index.htm).

I wanted to add a Latin inscription to the blade, so I turned to a friend of mine who went to school with a Latin scholar. David Smith has a Masters in Latin and in addition to being a very nice guy, was exceptionally helpful. His translation rates are modest and well worth the money. He also has a fantastic photograph of himself as Quintus Fabricuius Varus Optio Legionis XXIV, in which he looks like someone I wouldn’t want to face on a battlefield before the advent of modern firearms.

Hedging by bets, I also enlisted the aid of the good people of myArmoury and SFI (original posts can be found here: [url]http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=53812 [/url]and here: [url]http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?s=48851d6e54205609dcdfe93e5c118023&threadid=57360[/url]). Many thanks to Daniel Parry, C.D. Jensen, Jean Le-Palud, Peter Morwood, Martin Walgren and Sam Barris of myArmoury and Nathan G., Chris Holzman, and Adam Velez of SFI for their assistance.

The inscription is BONUS VIR OPTIMUSQUE MEDICUS ET AMICUS CARUS, which translates to “A good (and honorable) man, a great physician, and a very dear friend”, which captures John perfectly. A translation of each word may be obtained here: [url]http://lysy2.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/words.exe[/url]. The font is “Caesar Open”, which is a freeware font that can be obtained here: [url]http://www.fontfile.com/[/url]. I provided the font, text, and formatting in MS Word, which was copy-pasted directly for the engraving.

The Rudis is made of Teak and as is apparent in the photo below, is quite pretty. Perceptive viewers will note that Rudis looks different than the one posted on the Purpleheart site. The pommel shape is different and the grip appears to be made for a six-fingered man (Inigo Montoya: Take note). The Rudis I obtained was 29.5” long, which is longer than the posted statistic of 28.25”. The cross section is nicely diamond shaped, whereas the Rudis on the website appears to be flat. It should be noted that the Darce’s do not make the Rudis, but are resellers. My guess is that they changed manufacturers, or the manufacturer changed the design somewhat. Admittedly, there are a few blemishes here and there, but for the price, they’re really not worth discussing.

The Darce’s sell their Rudis for $35, which includes laser engraving. I think this is a very reasonable price for such a fine product. As an added bonus, Christian and Natasha Darce’ were both wonderful to interact with. I will definitely be doing business with them in the future (just as soon as I’m gainfully employed again).

I presented the Rudis to John after a discussion about his retirement (side note: The Rudis fits very nicely into florist boxes for long-stemmed flowers). He was clearly touched by the sentiment.

Overall, I think that with a little thought into the inscription, the Rudis from Purpleheart Armory makes a fine gift at a very reasonable price.


David Martin



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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,435

PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 5:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is kinda neat at that.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 7:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David,
That's a fantastic gift! Thanks for sharing that!

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Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
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PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nicely done!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2006 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What a fantastic sentiment. I applaud the thought that went into your gift. Well done.
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sun 07 May, 2006 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the very kind comments. Although I don't post very often, I have been very impressed with the caliber of the membership and moderation here at myArmoury.

<edit> My apologies for the delay in responding. I haven't been visiting forums lately, though I should have been more diligent in monitoring this thread for replies.

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Helen Miller




Location: Springfield VA, USA
Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sun 07 May, 2006 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember reading your original post David. I must say that the thought and time you put into this gift is just amazing! Thanks for sharing!
-"A woman's tongue is her sword, and she does not let it rust."
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 07 May, 2006 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, I also remember the original post and as others have already said a very thoughtful and attractive gift.
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Korey J. Lavoie




Location: New Hampshire, USA
Joined: 06 Apr 2006

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2006 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very appropriate and a true treasure. Well done.
From the hundred year war
To the Crimea
With a Lance and a Musket and a Roman Spear
To all of the Men who have stood with no fear
In the Service of the King
-The Clash: The Card Cheat
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