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R. Lillquist




Location: NY
Joined: 05 Aug 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Aug, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Fighting with maces, etc.         Reply with quote

Hello, all. Great site here. Found it a while ago and have been lurking around, reading reviews and features.
My favorite weapon has to be the mace. There seem to be lots of manuals on sword fencing, and even Jeu de la hache, but I can't seem to find an essay or manual on combat with the mace. Does anyone train with one, like in the SCA, or know of any source for the knowledge? Or maybe, there is a weapon that handles similar enough that could be used the same. I'm sure many sword techniques could be used, like feinting and the like. I know there are many different styles, from the lighter long-handled knobbed maces to the shorter heavier flanged ones; but info about any would be fine.
Thanks, Rob.

Btw, I own MRL's River Thames Mace, and would like to get a later all metal kind, and even try making one.

http://www.slinging.org
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 06 Aug, 2006 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Fighting with maces, etc.         Reply with quote

R. Lillquist wrote:
Hello, all. Great site here. Found it a while ago and have been lurking around, reading reviews and features.
My favorite weapon has to be the mace. There seem to be lots of manuals on sword fencing, and even Jeu de la hache, but I can't seem to find an essay or manual on combat with the mace. Does anyone train with one, like in the SCA, or know of any source for the knowledge? Or maybe, there is a weapon that handles similar enough that could be used the same. I'm sure many sword techniques could be used, like feinting and the like. I know there are many different styles, from the lighter long-handled knobbed maces to the shorter heavier flanged ones; but info about any would be fine.
Thanks, Rob.

Btw, I own MRL's River Thames Mace, and would like to get a later all metal kind, and even try making one.


There's not a whole lot of material on the mace or the club. Mark Rector's book on Talhoffer is a good place to start: Also, see the Knights of the Wild Rose translation of the Pisani-Dossi version of Fiore: http://www.varmouries.com/wildrose/fiore/section4.html
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 06 Aug, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, I think there are a couple probable reasons why the mace is not commonly found in historic manuals. For one thing, it's not particularly considered to be a "knightly" weapon per se, which may mean that it was excluded from some manuals for that reason. The bigger reason, in my opinion, is that the mace or club is not a particularly distinctive weapon. I doubt there are any specialized mace techniques or strikes specific to the weapon. It seems to me that if you had a good grasp of the long sword or single handed sword, you could wield a mace quite effectively.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig,

I have never seen anything that indicates it not a knightly weapon? I just figured that the reason there are no mace manuals is it is similar to axe use and there tends to be few of those as well.

RPM
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Phill Lappin




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 1:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually a mace was generally considered a symbol of authority by a lot of cultures, especially Byzantine and the various Muslim culures.
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Nick Trueman





Joined: 27 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 3:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi

We cast our fighting maces in alluminium, making it much safer for fighting. I know this isnt very authentic but its better than a sore head or permanant brain damage or death. They are a one of the most effective armour bashes ever to be invented. Parade maces are cast in bronze or steel.

N
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 6:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure if I agree about the mace being a non-knightly weapon (not to mention that many of the manuscripts aren't purely focused on knightly combat), but I do agree that the lack of evidence on it's martial use is largely because of it's lack of specialization.

Talhoffer and Fiore are places to start in terms of looking at a few specific moves, but in order to really understand mace usage I think one really has to study a whole artform and apply it's principles to any hand-to-hand weapon. I have no doubt that historical fighters trained hard with the mace, and that there are many mace-specific techniques, but I also imagine that even those techniques fit in with a larger martial art.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentleman,

You guys need to read my post more closely. Wink I stated that "for one thing, it's not particularly considered to be a 'knightly' weapon per se". That doesn't meant that it's not a knightly weapon. It does mean, however, that a mace was considered less of a knightly weapon than something like the spear, or sword, or dagger. This assumes that we're talking about the later Middle Ages and into the Renaissance (depending upon when one puts the boundaries of these two time periods). During the earlier Middle Ages, say the 11th and 12th centuries, I see even less indication that the mace or club was considered a knightly weapon.
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F. Carl Holz




Location: someplace out on the water (and probably not able to access my PM)
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In terms of technique, I have difficulty seeing a mace swung in any way that a sword wouldn't be, except that it doesn't have to be kept on edge.
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Gentleman,

You guys need to read my post more closely. Wink I stated that "for one thing, it's not particularly considered to be a 'knightly' weapon per se". That doesn't meant that it's not a knightly weapon. It does mean, however, that a mace was considered less of a knightly weapon than something like the spear, or sword, or dagger. This assumes that we're talking about the later Middle Ages and into the Renaissance (depending upon when one puts the boundaries of these two time periods). During the earlier Middle Ages, say the 11th and 12th centuries, I see even less indication that the mace or club was considered a knightly weapon.


Less of a knightly weapon than a dagger? If you'd said the same for cudgel it might be easier to agree. I may be wrong (usually am) but I associate the mace with being kept hung from the saddle as a secondary weapon of armoured horsemen. Most of the PBI probably had daggers.
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Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is some mace and shield material in some of the 15th century German Fechtbucher (as it was a weapons combination for judicial duels). The style with mace doesn't seem substantially different to the style for sword and shield from the same sources, which again doesn't seem subtsantially different from sword and shield material in 16th century Italian treatises. Earlier artwork suggests that, at least broadly, the same style was in use in earlier centuries.

The available historical evidence for fighting with large shields is covered in two papers that I wrote for the volumes Spada and Spada II, published by Chivalry Bookshelf. The fight is dominated by the shield, with the weapon almost secondary. Shield and mace will differ from shield and sword or shield and spear because of the length of the weapon and lack of a point, but the most important thing is to learn how to hold and use the shield. The way in which shields were used historically was quite contrary to what I have seen done by modern groups who have just made up a "what seems to work" style.

Cheers
Stephen

Stephen Hand
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Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a knightly enough weapon to be given specific mention in the Book of Knighthood and Chivalry.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 10:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep.... not sure what makes the mace less a knights weapon than a spear. The two main 'knightly' weapons to myself are the lance and then sword. Later the pole are becomes popular but mounted is not a good choice so then you have hte mace and war hammer which remained a heavy cavalry weapon into the second half of the 16th, (The museum I am at has some 16th century maces that for sure were nice effective and likely the weapon of someone of some social stature). It does by no means limit these weapons to knights as in Henry II laws on arms men of certain wealth 'had' to own swords and lances of non-knightly families. Maces seem to have been used by norman knights, William the Conqueror having one at Hastings. I went over the post again and still do not see what sets the mace out of the 'knightly' weapons or any reference of this beign the case historically. Then again it could just be a relative thing how one sees the weapon.

RPM


Last edited by Randall Moffett on Tue 08 Aug, 2006 2:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Phill Lappin




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Mon 07 Aug, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Gentleman,

You guys need to read my post more closely. Wink I stated that "for one thing, it's not particularly considered to be a 'knightly' weapon per se". That doesn't meant that it's not a knightly weapon. It does mean, however, that a mace was considered less of a knightly weapon than something like the spear, or sword, or dagger. This assumes that we're talking about the later Middle Ages and into the Renaissance (depending upon when one puts the boundaries of these two time periods). During the earlier Middle Ages, say the 11th and 12th centuries, I see even less indication that the mace or club was considered a knightly weapon.
Sorry sir but I will still have to respectfully disagree, I would agree that it probably wasn't seen in the same light as the sword or the spear/lance, however it was still a respected weapon (a lot more than a dagger) and as I said before often a symbol of authority.
So much so that the mace eventually became the scepter of the king IIRC.

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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug, 2006 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would go one step further. The mace is a weapon associated with royalty and command. This translates in the UK at lest to far more ceremonial maces still being in use than swords.

It is hard to imagine that the mace would not have had a reasonable showing on the battlefield in the hands of knights and nobility based on these later associations.

Try Wikipedia for more on ceremonial maces: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceremonial_mace

Neil.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phill Lappin wrote:
]Sorry sir but I will still have to respectfully disagree, I would agree that it probably wasn't seen in the same light as the sword or the spear/lance, however it was still a respected weapon (a lot more than a dagger) and as I said before often a symbol of authority.
So much so that the mace eventually became the scepter of the king IIRC.


The dagger is the ubiquitous back-up weapon of knights from at least the 13th century onwards, if not earlier. Generally speaking daggers are far more common in period artwork, at least post 12th century, than maces are. Further, I don't even think you can state that daggers are less respected than a mace because their purpose was a lot different. The mace is designed to used like a sword, or an axe, or a spear, or any other major weapon from that period. That is to say, a mace can be used as a principle/primary weapon for combat, even if it was frequently used as a secondary one historically. In contrast, the dagger was never used as a "major" or "principle" weapon of combat by knights. It was always a back up weapon in case fighting became too close quarters for another weapon to be used effectively, or if for whatever reason you had lost the principle weapons that you were carrying. Thus, while the dagger was often disliked because of the danger associated with it, and the fact that daggers were often used in murders, the dagger was nonetheless respected for its specialized role that no other weapon could fulfill in the same manner. Therefore, I disagree with your assertion that the dagger is less respected, I would further point out that it's far more common in historical manuals than the mace is indicating that its a more popular weapon, and we see it more frequently in historical artwork.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug, 2006 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Yep.... not sure what makes the mace less a knights weapon than a spear. The two main 'knightly' weapons to myself are the lance and then sword.


Randall,

My comment about the spear was made with the idea that the distinction between what constitutes a spear and a lance is often blurred and not all that clear. Certainly, a polearm similar to a spear is quite different when used on horse than on foot, but I was using "spear" loosely in stating that it was a more common knightly weapon. We also see the spear quite frequently in 14th to mid 15th century manuals, when the writings were arguable more focused upon knightly training than they may have been later on.
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Therefore, I disagree with your assertion that the dagger is less respected, I would further point out that it's far more common in historical manuals than the mace is indicating that its a more popular weapon, and we see it more frequently in historical artwork.


There seems to be a more or less subtle shift in your argument. The mace was not particularly 'knightly', the dagger is more 'popular'. The latter is difficult to gainsay, but what is it's relevance to the former?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug, 2006 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Craig Peters wrote:
Therefore, I disagree with your assertion that the dagger is less respected, I would further point out that it's far more common in historical manuals than the mace is indicating that its a more popular weapon, and we see it more frequently in historical artwork.


There seems to be a more or less subtle shift in your argument. The mace was not particularly 'knightly', the dagger is more 'popular'. The latter is difficult to gainsay, but what is it's relevance to the former?


The relevance of the former is in the fact that in historical manuals and in historical artwork, it is very commonly the side arm of a knight. Therefore, its popularity as a weapon is a pretty good indicator of how strongly it was associated with knights.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug, 2006 10:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig;

I don't have a strongly felt opinion about maces as " Knightly Weapons " or not, but even though it is worth discussing it I wonder if there was any rigid hierarchy were one could list weapons in some sort of fixed order of being more or less a
knightly weapon. ( Oh, this putting things in neat categories may be just a modern thing and in period there might be some informal hierarchy of weapons but not as a conscious thing. )

One could roughly group primary weapons used by all knights like the sword, lance / spears, and maybe the pollaxe.

Period would also make a difference as early on a Danish axe might take the place of the later pollaxe.

Secondary weapons could be axes of varying sizes, maces / hammers, flails.

The dagger is more a backup weapon or a specialized type like a rondel that might be used in some cases as a primary weapon if grappling / fighting close up. A dagger can also be the main weapon when in a civilian every day life situation and this even more before wearing a sword became customary.

The only weapons that would be clearly not knightly weapons would be most of the cruder pollarms carried by ordinary soldiers or improvised peasant weapons including crude wooden clubs used as maces.

Bows, crossbows, early handgonnes, javelins, slings might have seen occasional use in the hands of the occasional knight: Maybe an eccentric knight who had taken a liking to a non typical for knights weapon. Might be part of a rounded training regimen for a warrior to learn how to use all types of weapons even those beneath their social status ? Don't know if this is true or not.

And in the middle of battle a knight might grab any weapon available if he lost or broke his primary weapon.

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