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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat 11 Nov, 2006 11:55 pm    Post subject: Executioner's Swords or "Heading Swords"         Reply with quote

Is anyone aware of any of these being produced (by a quality maker such as Albion or Arms and Armor) today? Those of you who have read Gene Wolfe's excellent Book of the New Sun series may have a reference for them.

Link to an historical example in a private collection below.

http://www.vaprivatecollection.com/

Thanks in advance for your time everyone.

~ C.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only maker of which I am aware that makes these is the Czech Republic maker Arms + Armor Manufacture.
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Allen G.





Joined: 14 Oct 2006
Reading list: 9 books

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 12:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I love that book but unfortunately don't know of a reproduction company.. other than this which doesnt look to be of amazing accuracy or quality, Deepeeka so I'm guessing an Indian repro. but depends on what you want to do with it:

http://www.by-the-sword.com/acatalog/Deepeeka_Swords_Page_5.html

scroll to #AH-0271 Executioner's Sword

right before I read this post I looking at this

http://www.antiqueweaponstore.com/German%20Ex...0Sword.htm

that probably doesnt help, note however that bladesmiths at albion and armor.coms level can generally do custom work

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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 1:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks gentlemen.
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Thomas Laible




Location: Wuppertal, Germany
Joined: 30 Jan 2005

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PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is also an interesting looking piece by Red Gur:
http://www.sword-gur.com/WEB/STRA/JEDENAPUL/P001.htm

Thomas



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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. Is anyone aware of the significance of the three holes in the blunt end of the blade? That's the second example of the type I've seen with that feature.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 9:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some have suggested the holes are for adding weights. My thought is that they are representative of the Holy Trinity.

Cheers

GC
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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun 12 Nov, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a lapsed Catholic, the Trinity was my first thought too. The weights would be intriguing except for the reports I've heard that suggest such executions were carried out with the victim standing blindfolded and the executioner standing behind them. Weights, it would seem to me, would tend to screw up the beheading stroke.
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P Ballou




Location: N California
Joined: 05 Oct 2006

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue 14 Nov, 2006 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ciaran,

American Fencers Supply in San Francisco used to carry these. If you download their armoury catalog from

http://www.amfence.com/armcat.pdf

you will find a reference to it on Page 27, along with a drawing.

Description: 1128 Executioner 2-handed beheading sword without point, engraved "FIAT JUSTICA", fittings are brass, leather wrapped handle, blade length 37", blade width 2", quillon 8", overall 44". It has the 3 holes also.

To see if they still carried this model, I called them today (415-863-7911) and spoke with Cole. Apparently the maker went out of business some time ago (sadly a frequently recurring pattern), but Cole said he knows several of their customers who own these. It may be possible to borrow one for a play or exhibit, or one of the owners may be interested in selling. Anyway, he said you are welcome to call him directly if you have more questions.

Cheers,
Phil
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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Tue 14 Nov, 2006 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Phil. I'm pretty sure I'll be buying my first sword soon, and I'm sort of kicking around the idea of one of these, mostly because I very much enjoyed Gene Wolfe's New Sun series. Either that, or buying a Talhoffer from Albion. As I'm interested in historical swordsmanship and having a first piece that I can use though, I'm beginning to shy away from the idea of my very own Terminus Est, cool as it is. I can't even imagine how such a sword would feel in the hand, but I can imagine there'll be just a teensy bit of blade presence?
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Michal Grosenbach




Location: Elgin, IL USA
Joined: 28 Aug 2006

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 14 Nov, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

K&K Arms and Armour also sells a couple of these swords, but I know nothing of their quality.
http://www.armouronline.com/weapons_arms/swor...ist/2.html
Their headsman's axes are interesting, though.

For the holes at the end of the blade, I would guess they were for tying on colored ribbons (red?) for dramatic effect, and considering beheadings were entertainment! Eek!

Take care,
Mike
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S. Al-Anizi





Joined: 18 Jul 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed 15 Nov, 2006 3:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I know that in Saudi Arabia, they still use beheading as the form of capital punishment, and they make those swords, so do they qualify as 'heading swords'? Wink
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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's hard to see how they couldn't, but a gigantic scimitar is not what I'm looking for. Given the lack of review material about the companies that do make them, I'm leaning more towards the good folks at Albion, and the austere-but-beautiful Talhoffer.
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know heading swords often carried pious messages, so the Trinity symbolism would fit... but it occurred to me that the holes might make a whistling sound when the sword was swung properly.
How that would add to the gravitas of the situation eludes me.
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Ciaran Daly





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun 19 Nov, 2006 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Harris wrote:
I know heading swords often carried pious messages, so the Trinity symbolism would fit... but it occurred to me that the holes might make a whistling sound when the sword was swung properly.
How that would add to the gravitas of the situation eludes me.


Whistle while you work?
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Mon 20 Nov, 2006 8:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ciaran Daly wrote:
[Whistle while you work?


Could be!

Then again, thinking about this a bit more, beheading was a skilled job, and no-one was happy when it went badly.
Perhaps whistling (or indeed lack of it) indicated the right blade angulation.
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Olivier D.





Joined: 01 Oct 2006

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue 21 Nov, 2006 12:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi there,

The three (sometimes two) holes in the blunt end of the blade are called "blood drainpipes" (i'm not sure for the english translation) and was also useful to avoid that too much blood becomes dry on the blade.

Arms and Armor and Armouronline executioner's swords are indeed very interesting.

Olivier
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