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William Carew




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allen W wrote:
The longsword is actually appropriate throughout the 16th and into the early 17th century for central Europe despite the opinion of Joachim Meyer.


Hi Allen,

Meyer neither disparages the longsword nor suggests it isn't used in his day. In fact, at the start of his longsword book Meyer says:

Quote:
"Since I have undertaken to descrbe most diligently and truly the art of fighting with those knightly and manly weapons that nowadays are most used by us Germans, according to my understanding and ability, and since experience shows and it is obvious that combat with the (long)sword is not only an origin and source for all other combat, but it is also the most artful and manliest above all other weapons; therefore I have thought it necessary and good to begin with this weapon..."

(Forgeng, pg 49)


Bolded emphasis is mine. Sounds like Meyer for one considered the longsword alive and well in 1570. EMMV.

Cheers,

Bill

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Allen W





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Bill, I don't have a copy at hand to quote from but I recall Meyer saying that the longsword was no longer used in war yet maintaining that its techniques were the basis of all other weapons. His longsword section is also distinct among his other chapters in being focused on competition bouting rather than fighting (lack of thrusts, lower body attacks; the inclusion of strikes with the flat).
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allen W wrote:
Hey Bill, I don't have a copy at hand to quote from but I recall Meyer saying that the longsword was no longer used in war yet maintaining that its techniques were the basis of all other weapons.


Allen, when you can access a copy, can you provide a quote from Meyer saying the longsword was no longer used in war? I have my Forgeng copy in front of me (that is where the earlier quote came from) and I can't find where Meyer says that. He does, however, say the sword is the most artful and manliest and the basis of all other weapons, as seen in the quote I provided from Book 1 on the longsword above. Wink

Quote:
His longsword section is also distinct among his other chapters in being focused on competition bouting rather than fighting (lack of thrusts, lower body attacks; the inclusion of strikes with the flat).


Interestingly, this is a persistant meme often put forward by folks who have not studied Meyer in any depth. All the researchers I know of who have worked heavily with Meyer (e.g. Mike Cartier, Jake Norwood, James Roberts etc) all seem to disagree with this idea. Firstly:

a) the lack of lower body attacks is consistent with the earlier sources as a result of the uberlauffen principle: attacking a low line exposes one's head to a high line attack. This was as true in 1370 as in 1570 and is the reason the Scheitelhauw counters Alber.

b) Meyer says we should practice so as to be able to strike with any part of the sword, including the long edge, short edge and the flat, in order to develop mastery over our weapon. Being able to strike with any part of the sword as needed is useful both in 'earnest and in play'.

c) regarding the lack of thrusts in the longsword book, Meyer says thrusting is uncommon among the Germans in general, except in the new fangled rapier combat they are learning from foreigners (Italians) and/or against the 'common enemy'.

From the Rapier book:

Quote:
"As regards rapier combat, which at the present time is a very necessary and useful practice, there is no doubt that it is a newly discovered practice with the Germans and brought to us from other people. For although the thrust was permitted by our forefathers in earnest cases against the common enemy, yet not only did they not permit it in sporting practice, but they would also in no way allow it for their sworn-in soldiers or others who had come into conflict with each other, except against the common enemy, a custom that should still be observed today by honourable soliders and by civilian Germans..."

Forgeng pg 173


Bolded emphasis is mine.

Meyer explains earlier on that the cuts are the basis of all true combat and defence, and thus it makes sense that he focuses more on it. Meyer describes an integrated system, and the longsword lays down the basis of the art, the dussack expands upon the cutting theory, the rapier details the thrusting theory, the dagger details the wrestling and infighting theory, and so on. The text can be treated as a whole, and Meyer certainly cross references back and forward between weapons, from longsword to rapier to dussack and back again.

Now, Meyer does say that the Germans refrain from thrusting at one another in sporting combat, but even sworn-in soldiers refrain from thrusting at one another in war! It is only against 'the common enemy' that the thrust is even permitted, or as he says, in the case of the newly learned and 'foreign' rapier combat. Is Meyer's longsword book aimed heavily at fechtschulen combat? IMHO, sure, very likely. Does that make it sporting in the sense of being unmartial or ineffective in earnest? Not at all. If we read the rapier book, and incorporate the basic thrusts from there (i.e. the thrusts from above or 'Ochs' and the thrusts from below, or 'Pflug'), then his longsword is as martial as anything from previous centuries. YMMV of course. Wink

Apologies for the thread drift Carlo! Blush

Cheers,

Bill

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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 7:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William Carew wrote:
He does, however, say the sword is the most artful and manliest and the basis of all other weapons, as seen in the quote I provided from Book 1 on the longsword above. Wink


On the other hand there are still people today that believe exactly that, and it does not mean that the longsword sees widespread use either in self-defence or at war Happy I mean the argument that it is the basis of all weapons and most artful and so on only proves a pedagogical value (and only in Meyer's view, because the same point is made for the rapier later) but not the practical use of the weapon.

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
William Carew wrote:
He does, however, say the sword is the most artful and manliest and the basis of all other weapons, as seen in the quote I provided from Book 1 on the longsword above. Wink


On the other hand there are still people today that believe exactly that,


Well, it's true. Razz Hi Vincent. Happy

Quote:
and it does not mean that the longsword sees widespread use either in self-defence or at war Happy


I never said anything about 'widespread' use in self-defence or war did I? Within the Holy Roman Empire it's possible the longsword was never as widespread as, say, daggers and one handed swords for self defence and war, even in the supposedly 'martial' heyday of the longsword in the 14th-15th centuries.

Indeed, within the Empire during the 15th century, it's quite plausible the longsword saw widespread use mainly in judicial combats as this is a prominent feature of the 15th century fight books. It's also plausible that during the 16th century, the longsword saw widespread use mainly within the fencing schools and guilds of the Empire. I recall reading somewhere that Landesknechte with the qualification of 'Master of the Longsword' qualified to carry the zweihander and receive extra pay, but I can't find a source for this at the moment, so take that with a pinch of salt. Wink

Anyway, IMHO we just cannot say anything for certain, and we certainly cannot declare that the longsword was 'anachronistic' for carry or use in the 16th century as if it was a fact. Interestingly, the arguments against carrying a longsword in 16th century gear seem to assume the only reason for carrying a sword is for war or self defence... yet there was likely far more fechtschulen fencing going on than real mortal fencing... and people in the period needed to transport their fechtfeder from point A to point B somehow. Wink

Then there is still the issue of all the sharp, surviving longswords from the 16th century... where did they come from and to what purpose? Here's one possibility: people travelled through dangerous territory from time to time, for which the carry of even 'anachronstic' weapons might be handy, right? Still, if anyone has evidence of the irrelevance of the longsword during the 16th century, please do provide it!

So to bring this back on topic, Carlo, IMHO if you want to carry a longsword with a 16th century kit, I think it is perfectly valid (facts we know: they had longswords in the period, they trained with and used them), so long as the sword is based on one of the forms (e.g. fechtfeder, complex hilted) known to have survived from the 16th century. Best of luck with the kit!

Cheers,

Bill

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Bill!

Oh I agree without question that the longsword still saw use in that period in fencing schools, but does that mean that it was carried by civilian with any frequency? Or am I misunderstanding the context of the proposed costume? Maybe the items rarely ever left the school, as we sometimes do with our training weapons now...

See, I can't say I have exhaustively researched this, but I think examination of the pictorial representations can answer some of this. I remember seeing quite a few portraits of people with swords, not so many with longswords but I probably have selective sight Happy

I also admit that all these complex-hilted sharp longswords are rather mysterious... We don't see many of these in manuals either as far as I know, despite the fact that the more protective hilt should have affected techniques I suppose.

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Carlo Arellano





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The kit is to reflect a fechtschule practitioner, something emulating the Meyer woodcuts, and i don't mind the derail, it's educational.

I do remember Hans Holbein the younger having longswords in his paintings which leads me to other sources to examine for my kit.






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PostPosted: Wed 11 Mar, 2009 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I'm at it, I will also throw my support behind Patterns of Fashion and The Tudor Tailor. Both are phenomenal books with a wealth of information. Don't forget the most recent Arnold work (completed by her assistant after her passing), which covers linen items (shirts, ruffs, collars, etc.) from 1540-1660. http://www.plimoth.com/books-media/patterns-o...-1660.html

To clarify, my original response regarding the use of longswords during the 16th century was based on Carlo's request for a late kit. I am unfamiliar with any artwork depicting or documentation regarding individuals actually carrying a longsword in their hand or at their hip, or using one in combat past slightly after the mid-century; or at least during the period Carlo has indicated he wishes to represent (which I perceived as being roughly 1560-1600).

There is ample pictorial evidence for soldiers and civilians alike carrying a sword at their hip, either for function or fashion. During the period in question however, those sidearms are overwhelmingly single-handed.

We do know that "zweihanders" continued to be used in battle by Europe's more developed nations for some time (as evidenced by the records of the Sir Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester's forays into the Low Countries in the 1580's, and a few pieces of Dutch artwork), and that the use of the longsword was still being taught in martial arts schools (as evidenced of course by Meyer- as discussed above, and on into the 17th century with the work of Joseph Swetnam ca. 1617, and Jakob Sutor's adaptation of Meyer's work, ca. 1612). In a military context, you will find that the longsword (in the 14th, 15th century sense) is just about absent from the arsenals of Europe's developed nations, which were essentially reliant on pike & shot (with artillery, cavalry, and a sprinkling of men armed with targets, polearms, and so on) tactics. You don't even see any records of their use amongst England's poorer, or less well-equipped counties in muster records of their Trayned Bandes (instead, the classic bill and bow pop up, with a smattering of the preferred pike and shot). The only place(s) I am familiar with longswords being used in battle during the latter half of the 16th century was amongst Irish and Scottish soldiers and mercenaries (The so-called "Redshanks,"Gallowglasses," etc.), who were vastly considered to be crude, crass, and primitive by much of the rest of Europe.

In short, I would have to say, based on the evidence we have available to us, that with perhaps a few exceptions, we can rule out the carriage of longswords by civilians and soldiers alike during the latter portion of the 16th century.

Carlo, the most recent images you posted all date from before the time period you requested, and are from the first half or so of the 16th century.

All that said, I think that the clearest indication that your character is a practitioner of martial arts would actually be a wooden waster. A steel sword, rebated or not, will read to most observers as simply being a regular sword. There is no particular identifying dress for a martial arts student from this time period, but to a viewer in the know, a padded doublet based off one that is thought to be intended for fencing will read immediately. While I am a staunch supporter of well-researched, accurate historical clothing, just have fun with it- a visitor to a Renaissance Faire isn't bound by any particular historical standards.
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Carlo Arellano





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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the lack of artwork depicting the longsword has much to do with the fact that most of the artwork that we have from that time is mediterranean in origin thus giving the predominance of their favored weapons.


Breughel's the triumph of death 1562

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William Carew




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent pictures Carlo. Seems there are some longswords being worn with civilian attire throughout the 16th century afterall. This one by AlbrechtDuerer, the right wing of the Paumgartner Altar, is very early 16th century of course, but I like it all the same.

Please do keep the images coming!



 Attachment: 110.69 KB
AlbrechtDuererPaumgartnerAltarGIF.gif


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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As Daniel Rosen has pointed out, I think the confusion here is that the sketch in the original post shows a later-period Elizabethan period manner of dress as opposed to that shown in the early- to mid-century artwork. Fashion changed quickly in the 16th century (much like it does today) from decade to decade.
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
As Daniel Rosen has pointed out, I think the confusion here is that the sketch in the original post shows a later-period Elizabethan period manner of dress as opposed to that shown in the early- to mid-century artwork. Fashion changed quickly in the 16th century (much like it does today) from decade to decade.


Indeed, that is why I was asking for input. The Elizabethan fencing doublet was the only fencing doublet example I could find at the time and that is why I initially was using it as my model.

There was also this which is from about the same time period 1590-1610:



If anyone knows of an earlier example, please post it. As i said early on, I'm looking to emulate a mid-16th century kit. I do enjoy the lively discussion however and questioning our preconceived notions about the 16th century. I'm learning a lot.
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, those fencing doublets are far too late for your needs. They're vastly different than the fashion of even 30-40 years earlier. You can see, for example, in your included image above ("Breughel's the triumph of death 1562") how different the lines and fit are, alone.

I suggest looking at historical artwork, particularly portraiture, of the period of interest to you. A lot can be learned from portraiture -- including specifics not necessarily related to fashion such as accessories, hair styles, arms and armour, architectural details, daily life, etc.

For fashion of the Renaissance, pay very close attention to the dates -- these are much more important than previous dates where fashion changes happened at a slower pace.

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Please have a look at this fantastic costume, made by costumer named Lynn McMasters, modeled after one in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion book. It's from circa 1567.

http://www.lynnmcmasters.com/sture.html




Much later than the needs of the original author, here is an Elizabethan-era costume, circa 1590, that was made for me over 10 years ago by the same costumer.

http://www.lynnmcmasters.com/elizman.html




 Attachment: 52.04 KB
sture.jpg
Original extant clothing of Svante Stures, circa 1567

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Carlo Arellano





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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Please have a look at this fantastic costume, made by costumer named Lynn McMasters, modeled after one in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion book. It's from circa 1567.

http://www.lynnmcmasters.com/sture.html

Much later than the needs of the original author, here is an Elizabethan-era costume, circa 1590, that was made for me over 10 years ago by the same costumer.

http://www.lynnmcmasters.com/elizman.html




HA! fortunately, she's the one making it for me.

So you think a padded version of this doublet would be a logical leap?
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carlo Arellano wrote:
So you think a padded version of this doublet would be a logical leap?


A padded version of which doublet? Of one of the ones I showed? No, that would not be a logical leap, as neither would have been padded.

Again, I'd think that studying portraiture for your period of interest would be the most logical method. Simply adding features here and there isn't the way to go (ie, adding padding to something that was not padded and not particular to your area of interest). Instead, finding something that fits the era, region, and style choices that are of interest to you in which to base your own version is most logical, in my humble opinion.

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Holy Cow! That's your costume, Nathan? I have looked at it on Lynn's site for YEARS. WOW!

Carlo, if you're working with Lynn, you are in great hands. Her work is *amazing*.

I made a version based off of a different Patterns of Fashion pattern, and it was loosely based as it spent alot of time in the dirt, rain and muck, but I think it turned out ok.


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Carlo Arellano





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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Carlo Arellano wrote:
So you think a padded version of this doublet would be a logical leap?


A padded version of which doublet? Of one of the ones I showed? No, that would not be a logical leap, as neither would have been padded.

Again, I'd think that studying portraiture for your period of interest would be the most logical method. Simply adding features here and there isn't the way to go (ie, adding padding to something that was not padded and not particular to your area of interest). Instead, finding something that fits the era, region, and style choices that are of interest to you in which to base your own version is most logical, in my humble opinion.


would this sans the chainmail sleeves be more appropriate? Its really important for me to have a padded fencing doublet that I can use for longsword.


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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carlo Arellano wrote:
would this sans the chainmail sleeves be more appropriate? Its really important for me to have a padded fencing doublet that I can use for longsword.


We're sort of going in circles here.

I don't know. What is the source of that image? Where and when is it from?

Simply adding and removing items, as I said, is not really the best approach. Adding padding, removing mail sleeves, mixing and matching different garments, etc, is going to produce a whole comprised of disparate parts and create something anachronistic.

My suggestion, again, is to study historical artwork -- and in particular, portraiture -- to get both an overview picture of what was worn as well as specific examples. From there, you can choose your historical inspiration for your modern-made clothing either by attempting to copy a specific piece or by using what you've learned from the overview knowledge to create a well-researched new item.

If being historical is not important to you, then have anything made for you that is simply appealing to you. There is nothing wrong with this route.

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Mar, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand your frustration with my lack of information.

You are providing me with sound advice for critical research but i am looking for information. I do appreciate all the help I'm getting and it has put me down avenues i might not have gone down alone.

I have yet to find a mid sixteenth century example for a fencing garment and so I'm trying to extrapolate one from later sources. As for the arming coat, the only thing I know about it is that it is from the sixteenth century and from Germany but I don't have an exact date. I have been researching this but so far information has been scarce so that is why I have come to this forum. I do want it as accurate as possible and still provide me with a useable garment for my fencing activities.

thank you.
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