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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jun, 2019 10:37 am    Post subject: A&A Goedendag         Reply with quote

Introduction

My collection consists of a number of swords and a few other assorted weapons from the period 900-1300ce. Though I certainly love swords I also like to collect other weapons which would have been seen on the battlefield- in some cases even at great proportion than swords.

All of my pieces- whether swords or otherwise- are finished to a relatively high degree and show the extra attention pain to bring the item out of the mere ream of "functionality" into a certain degree of greater or lesser aesthetic appeal

I wanted something completely different. I saw the goedendag listed in Arms & Armor's custom page and decided to give it a go. This weapon is dated to circa 1300 which was within my period of interest and, additionally, the goedendag exists as one of the very few non-sword, non-spear, or non-mace weapons prior to 1400ce so this especially appealed to me

Here's what A&A has to say about this piece on their site"

This efficient and striking weapon was developed to counter armoured knights. Its simple effectiveness and ease of manufacture resulted in a very efficient weapon for the foot soldier against the mounted knight. This replica was done to specs supplied by the client to replicate an average weapon of the period. Shown here in a polished state and rough and black from the hammer. The spike is nearly an inch square at the base and over 10" long. The shaft is turned ash about 2 inches across at the top tapering to approximately an inch.

This weapon handles incredibly well and is striking for its smooth flow in the hands while delivering a considerably formidable attack.

Context supplied by the client:

"De goedendag" is a stiff short staff approximately a 150cm long. This club-like weapon is slightly thicker at the top and mounted with a stout iron spike anchored with an iron ring. The Goedendag was a simple and therefore inexpensive weapon, easy to fabricate. It was very popular in Flanders in the late 13th and early 14th century and proved to be very effective. The goedendag was used to give a blow, like a mace or a thrust with the spike, so the weapon had a double function. The weapon became famous due to its successful use against the knights of the French army in the Battle of the Golden Spurs at Courtrai (Flanders - Belgium) on July 11, 1302 (still the Flemish national holiday today), where it was used in a formation with pike men. In this battle, some 600 French knights were killed. After the battle, word was spread that a Flemish foot-soldier with his goedendag would match two mounted knights, while before that battle a knight was deemed to be equal to 10 foot-soldiers. The name "goedendag" is alleged to come from "goed dagge" which means "good dagger", although the Flemish themselves in those days referred to it as "pinned staff".

http://arms-n-armor.com/custom935.html

Here are some phots and sorry for the poor quality.



Here is the goedendag next to an Albion Duke and A&A early rondel dagger which would be roughly contemporary. Hopefully this gives a sense of size.



The lighting makes the spike look a bit green which is a distortion.





A bit green again.

And here you can see the simple closure on the socket.

Fit and Finish

As can be seen in the photos this is not a weapon finished to a high degree. Craig Johnson of A&A states that it is left "black from the hammer," and this is certainly the case. This presentation of the goedendag is meant to showcase a class where sheer numbers were needed and functionality was paramount over aesthetic appeal. The socket and spike are covered with signs of the impact of the hammer and the forging process. The fit, form, and proportions address the functional needs of the weapon and no extra care is given for decorative elements.

As said above- all of my other pieces are finished to some degree to enhance visual appeal. I like having a weapon in my collection with a very narrow and austere presentation. The socket and spike show the art of the blacksmith at his craft.

The shaft is cleanly sanded and has an even taper along its length.

Examining this weapon is a real eye-opener for me and feels like a learning experience. It's appearance may not appeal to everyone but perfectly represents a historical class of weapon.

Everything is solidly joined and I can't imagine that changing.

Handling

I always like to preface my thoughts on handling weapons with the qualifier that I am not a student of western martial arts. I am really primarily a collector and not a reenactor or martial arts practitioner.

When handling historically accurate reproductions of medieval arms and armor I am usually struck by a surprising feeling of "lightness". Early on in collecting we learn that medieval weapons don't feel like the tools we may use in everyday life. They have a different purpose, proportion, and dynamic properties reflect that- at least on well done examples.

The experience of picking up the goedendag is different. It is weighty and somewhat massive. It feels very different than taking up a spear, smaller mace, or war hammer. When swung like a club it "goes where it wants to go." the tapering shaft and metal fittings contribute to a feeling of forward balance. Someone with more strength than I would invariably be able to handle this weapon in a faster and more dynamic way. Spacing the hands apart on the shaft certainly gives more leverage and increases the speed of movement at the cost of reach.

The weighted end seems to aid in the penetrative power of the weapon. In thrusting the goedendag into a rotting tree trunk I was impressed by the depth of penetration.

whether used as a club or short spear this weapon would seem to possess brutal efficiency.

In short, and to risk simplicity- it handles like a club with a great big spike on the end.

Conclusion

A&A has created a unique and striking example of a historical weapon. The form and presentation serves its' purpose as an efficient and quickly reproducible weapon of war. The construction demonstrates the art of the blacksmith in a simple yet- to me- beautiful way.

Anyone desiring something different in their collection should give the goedendag consideration.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Jun, 2019 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy,
Thanks for posting this. What a cool weapon! I like that it's not a high-status item, but represents a mass produced weapon for the levies. Happy

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Wed 05 Jun, 2019 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy,
I have to echo what Chad said. I have been interested in getting this from A&A since I first saw it here years ago. After reading your review I am going to move this up on my list of things to get.

Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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E Stafford




PostPosted: Fri 07 Jun, 2019 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm guessing you'd club them with the heavy end, and not flip it around.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Jun, 2019 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

E Stafford wrote:
I'm guessing you'd club them with the heavy end, and not flip it around.


Yes, all of the weight is on the thicker-spike end. I can't think of any reason to "flip" the weapon around.
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Victor R.




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Jun, 2019 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I like that it's not a high-status item, but represents a mass produced weapon for the levies. Happy


Ditto. One of the things that gets me is that the repro market caters mostly to the "high status" rather than the "grunt". I get it: everyone sees themselves as a knight, a lord, a prince, a king, so you supply the demand. I'm not that guy though - my family wasn't that family. Basic is good; subdued colors are good; less than cosmetically perfect is good.

This piece is perfect. I have my nice swords and a few "status" daggers; in the future I'd like to collect more basic things: a simple glaive; a Mac "chopper"; a basic spear; other things of that nature. I already have a simple style early halberd in need of mounting, so that's a start.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jun, 2019 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Victor R. wrote:
Chad Arnow wrote:
I like that it's not a high-status item, but represents a mass produced weapon for the levies. Happy


Ditto. One of the things that gets me is that the repro market caters mostly to the "high status" rather than the "grunt". I get it: everyone sees themselves as a knight, a lord, a prince, a king, so you supply the demand. I'm not that guy though - my family wasn't that family. Basic is good; subdued colors are good; less than cosmetically perfect is good.

This piece is perfect. I have my nice swords and a few "status" daggers; in the future I'd like to collect more basic things: a simple glaive; a Mac "chopper"; a basic spear; other things of that nature. I already have a simple style early halberd in need of mounting, so that's a start.


I think that part of the problem in producing lower-status weapons is that corrosion makes it difficult to know how the weapon would have been finished in period.

Craig's choice to produce the goedendag in this rough-and-ready way is based on the form itself (the simplicity of it) and the history we know around why and how it was produced. Apparently these weapons do seem to have been produced en masse by the Flemish, to meet the mounted French knights. A&A will also make a finished version of this weapon but based on all the variables, Craig and I felt the weapon would likely have had a rougher finish.

It's hard to know what weapons were more "rough" because of corrosion on period pieces. We can look at the form and history and surmise this but it's still a guess.

As I write in the review there are relatively few non-sword, non-axe, non-mace extant weapons attributable before 1400. After this we see the veritable explosion of pole arms, war hammers, and the like. The provenance and unique nature of the goedendag is what drew me to it. I don't think we know if it was used outside of Flanders.

It is my guess FWIW that we would see more roughly finished weapons as the middle ages moves into the renaissance- as the dynamics of society and warfare developed.
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Dennis Courneyea





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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jun, 2019 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Victor R. wrote:
Chad Arnow wrote:
I like that it's not a high-status item, but represents a mass produced weapon for the levies. Happy


Ditto. One of the things that gets me is that the repro market caters mostly to the "high status" rather than the "grunt". I get it: everyone sees themselves as a knight, a lord, a prince, a king, so you supply the demand. I'm not that guy though - my family wasn't that family. Basic is good; subdued colors are good; less than cosmetically perfect is good
This piece is perfect. I have my nice swords and a few "status" daggers; in the future I'd like to collect more basic things: a simple glaive; a Mac "chopper"; a basic spear; other things of that nature. I already have a simple style early halberd in need of mounting, so that's a start.


I suspect the high status bias in reproductions is largely due to a similar bias in surviving originals, since most reproductions are (whether directly or indirectly) based on originals.
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Dennis Courneyea





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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jun, 2019 12:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Jeremy V. Krause"]
Victor R. wrote:
[...] As I write in the review there are relatively few non-sword, non-axe, non-mace extant weapons attributable before 1400. After this we see the veritable explosion of pole arms, war hammers, and the like. [...]


Do you think this reflects an increase in the number and variety of weapons at the time, or rather due to a higher survival rate of lower status weapons? I'm thinking that the establishment of armouries storing weapons for standing armies and/or local militias led to an increased survival rate for low status weapons.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Jun, 2019 5:17 am    Post subject: What they used as weapons         Reply with quote

[quote="Dennis Courneyea"]
Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Victor R. wrote:
[...] As I write in the review there are relatively few non-sword, non-axe, non-mace extant weapons attributable before 1400. After this we see the veritable explosion of pole arms, war hammers, and the like. [...]


Do you think this reflects an increase in the number and variety of weapons at the time, or rather due to a higher survival rate of lower status weapons? I'm thinking that the establishment of armouries storing weapons for standing armies and/or local militias led to an increased survival rate for low status weapons.


I think that has something to do with it Dennis. There is also the element of what did they use for lower status weapons? Most likely its agricultural implements and other tools of a size. The lower status folk would have turned to what was at hand made locally when a need for weapons arose. This is probably most clearly seen in the pole weapons of the day but also the impact weapons as well a hammer is a hammer. :-) Not to mention flails, pruning hooks and on and on. :-)
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Victor R.




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Jun, 2019 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dennis Courneyea wrote:

I suspect the high status bias in reproductions is largely due to a similar bias in surviving originals, since most reproductions are (whether directly or indirectly) based on originals.


No doubt; that, as well as Jeremy's corrosion comment. Higher status would seem to have a greater likelihood of being preserved and likely be better quality as well.

As for speculation about appearance, I doubt it's the "Uruk Hai army" finish from LoTR, but I doubt it was mirror, either. For me, smooth off the burrs, get it to matte and appropriately sharp, and I'm good to go.
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