Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Criminal Armoury Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Bill Fryman





Joined: 28 Mar 2006

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Thu 25 May, 2006 6:38 pm    Post subject: Criminal Armoury         Reply with quote

I've a sudden interest in the weapons and armor used by criminals in Europe from the migration to the start of the industrial age. Thats a huge area to cover, and I have no idea where to start. Help?

Edit:
It occured to me to read some of the outlaw tales at the robinhood project. I found references to "sweard and bucler" as well as "polax" and "bowe". I don't know the time on the story, but its a start.
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Hughes




Location: Grand Bend, Ontario
Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu 25 May, 2006 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It might be a little hard to pin down because the term "criminal" is a label applied rather loosely to anyone that was against the politics of the writer of the history one reads it in! Was Cromwell a criminal? Was Fawkes? All a question of one's point of view.

I'm guessing you mean the professional criminals - bandits, brigands, pirates, thieves, maybe assassins. I bet they basically used the same equipment that other blokes used. Daggers and the coustille have reputations as weapons favoured by people engaged in criminal activity. Obviously the cutlass for the pirates. I expect bandits were probably mostly out of work mercenaries anyway, or men-at-arms who got into trouble with someone and could not hire out in the "public world."

Flintlock pistols were probably favoured a lot too.

Famous "criminals," Like Robert Roy MacGregor, used weapons common for folk in their time and place.

Hunting swords and other cheaper weapons may have been common. I bet the sneak-thieves and toughboys of the bigger cities kept small concealable weapons, again daggers or "short" swords.

All just speculation on my part, but it is kind of fun to speculate.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Bill Fryman





Joined: 28 Mar 2006

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Thu 25 May, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I'd figured that legality would have an influence on the choice of criminals who were not yet outlawed. As in many times and places blades over length X could not be carried by commoners inside cities. And certain weapons restricted altogether (like bodkin arrows) except to military personel and nobles. But the scene with the sword and bucler and pole axe occurs within city walls. Seems a bit hard to conceal, but the character had already been outlawed for poaching deer, so I guess it might be like an escaped felon carrying a shotgun under his trenchcoat.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,221

PostPosted: Thu 25 May, 2006 9:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Who reckons that bodkins were restricted and what reason is given for this restriction? My research suggests that bodkins were intended for flight arrows, not armour-piercers. A primary source suggesting that bodkins were banned would put a spanner in that theory.

One myth that probably should get knocked on the head is that brigandines were so named because they were worn by robbers/bandits. At the time this armour was named the word "brigand" simply refered to a foot soldier. So a brigandine is simply a type of armour for infantry. It wasn't until much later that the word "brigand" began to be associated with outlaws.
View user's profile Send private message
Wolfgang Armbruster





Joined: 03 Apr 2005

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 12:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there's another thread here with a reference to a very small type of cross-bow which can be easily concealed. These bows were all steel constructions and very popular among assasins. Cities tried to ban them immidiately as soon as they surfaced in the 16th century.
I'll try to find that thread and then I'll post the link.

EDIT: Found it, but it was an item on Herman Historica. Here you go - http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm50...b=A-50.txt
View user's profile Send private message
Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 3:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Selfigniting guns was initialy banned in many countries, because they could be carried loaded and ready to fire.
Early flintlock mechanisms where known as "shnaphan" locks, because they where alegedly used by poachers.

"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."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Folkert van Wijk




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 13 Sep 2004
Likes: 2 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 206

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 3:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Considering criminals, would this crosbow also be interresting...

http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm50...B&co=3
View user's profile Send private message
Bill Fryman





Joined: 28 Mar 2006

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My only source on the bodkin being outlawed was wiki so it may be completely off.

To penetrate chain mail armour many war arrows had "chisel" (or "bodkin") heads and were quite massive. Bodkin arrows have tips like elongated pyramids, which result in a very sharp and very narrow point. With their bodkin points these massive war arrows probably weighed around 65 to 100 grams (1000 to 1500 grains, grain being a unit of measure often used for arrows and bullets). This is 2 or 3 times the weight of wooden or aluminum arrows used today and 4 to 5 times the weight of modern carbon fiber arrows or pre 20th century "flight arrows," used in distance shooting contests. In peacetime, in some regions, carrying chisel points was a hanging offence, because it was thought to threaten noblemen, or they were taken as evidence that one was a highwayman.

It does say elsewhere that it seems likely it came about as a cheaper alternative to the broadhead.
View user's profile Send private message
Wolfgang Armbruster





Joined: 03 Apr 2005

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My guess is that apart from a few specialized designs like the mini-crossbows mentioned above criminals just used what came in handy. Back then everybody wore swords, daggers or other bladed weapons.
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,315

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cap'n Atli tells an interesting story, that according to medieval English law court records, the most common murder implement of the time was a club, specifically a piece of firewood! Makes perfect sense--domestic argument gets out of hand, and someone reaches for the woodpile.

Otherwise, like other folks have said, I'd bet that most career criminals simply used the common weapons of the time. Pirates used pistols and cutlasses because that's what any armed sailor of that era used. (Cannons, muskets, boarding pikes, and axes, too!) Roman-era pirates used spears, swords, and bows.

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wolfgang Armbruster wrote:
I think there's another thread here with a reference to a very small type of cross-bow which can be easily concealed. These bows were all steel constructions and very popular among assasins. Cities tried to ban them immidiately as soon as they surfaced in the 16th century.
I'll try to find that thread and then I'll post the link.

EDIT: Found it, but it was an item on Herman Historica. Here you go - http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm50...b=A-50.txt


A couple of questions regarding the description of this weapon:
1) Is the weapon cocked by turning the handle?
2) If not, then what is meant by, " self-cocking"?
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Wolfgang Armbruster





Joined: 03 Apr 2005

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Wolfgang Armbruster wrote:
I think there's another thread here with a reference to a very small type of cross-bow which can be easily concealed. These bows were all steel constructions and very popular among assasins. Cities tried to ban them immidiately as soon as they surfaced in the 16th century.
I'll try to find that thread and then I'll post the link.

EDIT: Found it, but it was an item on Herman Historica. Here you go - http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm50...b=A-50.txt


A couple of questions regarding the description of this weapon:
1) Is the weapon cocked by turning the handle?
2) If not, then what is meant by, " self-cocking"?



Quote:
The quarrel channel and the lock are set on a threaded bar, and move back and forth as the grip piece is turned. In this way, the bowstring can be caught in the nut and the prod spanned.


I guess your're right. Self-cocking in this case probably means that the cocking device is integrated into the crossbow, so you don't need a goatsfoot or a windlass.
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,911

PostPosted: Fri 26 May, 2006 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recall seeing a 15th or 16th c. German woodcut/etching depicting a robbery on a wooded path. Maybe it's a Dürer(?).
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Criminal Armoury
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum