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Ryan S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 04 May 2012

Posts: 243

PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2022 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
In late medeval and early modern Europe, there was a strong culture of having a variety of weapons if you could and using the best one for the task. Cavalry often carried several swords, a lance, a striking weapon, and a bow or firearm, and sixteenth-century infantry were expected to be able to make themselves useful if someone gave them a rotella and told them to break into the hole in that house. Their usual weapon might be a bill or a pike, but that was the wrong tool for the job.

If someone in 13th century England decided he liked a Turkish bow (whatever that meant exactly) better than a longbow or a crossbow, he had plenty of time to learn how to use it, because it was not very exotic and because he did not go hunting or warring every day.


That reminds me of Hägar the Horrible, carrying his weapons in a golf bag. Big Grin If a warrior carried multiple swords, then the odds are higher that at least one of them was foreign.

A 13th Century Englishman could have used a Turkish bow, but most seemed not to. There are many possible reasons why, ranging from the desire not to stand out, to the relative difficulty in getting one. As far as flexibility in weapons use, of course an infantryman would be expected to use different weapons. I am not sure to what extent it would be his choice. Would a pikeman who found a crossbow automatically be transferred to the crossbowmen? I don't know. Some soldiers had to supply their own equipment, and I think that was the case for some crossbowmen, especially mercenaries. Although, if the loot was shared, then whoever found it just got money.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,238

PostPosted: Fri 15 Jul, 2022 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Burgundian Bertrandon de la Broquière learned to shoot in the local style, with a thumb ring, from his Mamluk guide during his voyage in Ottoman lands. He likewise bought a sword (illegally) & praised the swords of Damascus as better than any others he knew of. However, I don't recall that he wrote anything about using these weapons in Europe once he returned.
Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Ryan S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 04 May 2012

Posts: 243

PostPosted: Sat 16 Jul, 2022 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
The Burgundian Bertrandon de la Broquière learned to shoot in the local style, with a thumb ring, from his Mamluk guide during his voyage in Ottoman lands. He likewise bought a sword (illegally) & praised the swords of Damascus as better than any others he knew of. However, I don't recall that he wrote anything about using these weapons in Europe once he returned.


So was it illegal to export swords from the Ottoman Empire to Europe? That would explain why the Europeans didn’t import Damascus steel swords despite its reputation.
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 537

PostPosted: Sun 17 Jul, 2022 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Ryan S.,

The pertinent text, which appears on pp. 137-138 of the link that Benjamin H. Abbott provides, suggests that this isn't a case of export laws. More likely, the law was against foreigners or non-Muslims buying or possessing arms. It's also possible, given that Broquière had to pass as a slave to make his journey, that the law prevented slaves from buying arms. Note that it's not just the sword--the quiver Broquière bought is included in his statement about the purchase's being illegal.

Best,

Mark Millman
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