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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Sioux City, IA
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 380

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2022 2:00 pm    Post subject: The Swordstaff, Viking Sagas ... and Tyr?         Reply with quote

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"We were 1800 Germans and we were attacked by 15,000 Swedish farmers. God gaev us victory and we struck most of them dead. We were all wearing breast and back plates, skullcaps and arm defences, and they had crossbows and good spears [spiess] made from swords. Afterwards, the King of Denmark knighted us all and id us great honour and paid us well and let us return over the sea in 1503. I, Paul Dolnstein was there and Sir Sigmund List was our Obrist."


Paul Dolstein's reference is the sole written reference for these undernoticed weapons. I recently discovered they appeared in a Spanish-Gallician painter Fernando Gallego, the Betrayal of Christ c. 1480-6:



One of the things a swedish member of this forum said is that Dolstein "thought" the weapons held by the swedish farmers were made out of swords, but considering how Gallego's swordstaff has finger-guards, which is useless in a spear, I couldn't really think those were other than recycled swords, instead of a spear with a simply long blade. The Dolstein's swordstaff show the rare S-shaped profile that some Norse sword guards have that I just discovered due to a Skallagrim's review.

So, why we have so few about those? Why they appear in a Iberian peninsula artwork?

I lost some photos a guy took when he visited a museum either in Denmark or in Sweden, with extant swordstaves with yet different guards. If someone has photos of them, sharing would be great
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Second question would be when they appear. Wikipedia says we have weird terms for spears already in the Sagas, trying to associate them with the 1500's Dolstein visual sources, like "hewing spear" which was taken from the Sagas to mean "bill" or "halberd", but I think these would like to refer to the extant spears we found that have huge blades.



These were universally used in this period, right? Because Skallagrim showed a very big spear from the Carolingian period, but it was the one I know so far.
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Lastly, I have some reserves on God of War's Ragnarok historical research of Norse Myths, but do we have primary sources of Tyr having a spear? A secondary source I was reading quotes another secondary source arguing that Tyr's figure of a god of war was progressively incorporated in Wutan/Odin himself, his mightly spear (which was symbol of justice and decision-making) eventually referring to Odin's Gungnir, etc. But I found scant references for that, and no primary sources on this subject at all.

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Ryan S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 04 May 2012

Posts: 242

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2022 10:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don’t know much about sword spears, but I believe it was noticed in other threads that the guards arresting Christ, almost always have a variety of pole arms. I don’t know why.

Anyway, here is also a picture of a crusader with a sword-spear in a French book. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b55006914c/f543.item.zoom
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 261

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2022 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Wikipedia says we have weird terms for spears already in the Sagas, trying to associate them with the 1500's Dolstein visual sources, like "hewing spear" which was taken from the Sagas to mean "bill" or "halberd", but I think these would like to refer to the extant spears we found that have huge blades.


Wiki actually says :

"While clearly identifiable artistic or archaeological evidence of the form of these weapons is lacking, it is possible that the swordstaff may be a late derivative of this family of weapons."

It merely states we have a lot of cut and thrust weapons in the Scandinavian tradition we can't pin down and the swordstaff may belong to this tradition. It's possible, though speculative. But then, a lot of attempts to identify Scandinavian weapons from sagas and their relationship one with another are speculative in the absence of clear evidence, unfortunately.

That said, thank you for that image, which I'd never seen before.

Polerams carried by guards in Betrayal scenes are a very common tradition in medieval art. By the later period, there tends to be a particular exoticism in the portrayal. The main swordstaff seems to be deliberately oversized here (intended as some sort of bearing staff, perhaps?) but the one in the left background seems more practically sized.

Anthony Clipsom
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 779

PostPosted: Mon 21 Nov, 2022 10:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can anyone read the writing on the scabbard of the falchion or the kneeling man's belt? Here is the Wikimedia Commons page with information and closeup photos https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:The_Betrayal_of_Christ_by_Fernando_Gallego

The soldier in greaves has an arming point for sabatons on the toe of his shoe. We rarely see those without the sabaton in the way.

I think that someone, perhaps Pietro Monte, says that the partisan has a blade like an "ancient sword" (ie. Oakeshott Group 1, as distinct from the more aggressively tapered Oakeshott group II)

www.bookandsword.com
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 261

PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2022 12:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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Can anyone read the writing on the scabbard of the falchion or the kneeling man's belt?


The belt seems to start MA, so perhaps Malchus, which is the servant's name according to John's gospel?

Anthony Clipsom
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Sioux City, IA
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 380

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony Clipsom wrote:
Quote:
Can anyone read the writing on the scabbard of the falchion or the kneeling man's belt?


The belt seems to start MA, so perhaps Malchus, which is the servant's name according to John's gospel?


Malchus would be the soldier that lost his ear, I don't if you're talking about the same soldier with the ear about to be glued back in the center.

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 261

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Anthony Clipsom wrote:
Quote:
Can anyone read the writing on the scabbard of the falchion or the kneeling man's belt?


The belt seems to start MA, so perhaps Malchus, which is the servant's name according to John's gospel?


Malchus would be the soldier that lost his ear, I don't if you're talking about the same soldier with the ear about to be glued back in the center.


There is only one kneeling man in the picture, so I assume the question is about him, and he is the one who has lost his ear, which would make him Malchus.

Anthony Clipsom
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