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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2015 4:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Yes, as said above, I think that against a spear, grip the hilt. My feeling is that having more space in which I can threaten to push/grab/control the spear is good. The hilt should give enough leverage to push the spear around, without needing to hold the ricasso. And the cross-guard will help.

As for spear-like fighting, note that the main spear guards are point-high (pointing at face, or about head-high), or point-low, or extended-point. Parries will be transitions between these, often semi-circular, or transitions between left and right side of body versions of these guards. Same as, e.g., longsword, yes? Mostly, at least. A key thing for parries is how quickly you can do these transitions, and here leverage will help. Hand on ricasso will make these moves faster. But I think that against a spear, the longer distance of engagement I would get from both hand on hilt matters more. Against a shorter and heavier polearm, I think the extra leverage from hand on ricasso might be good.

Also, against a really long spear (like a pike), maybe hand-on-ricasso is better. You can still use the guard for trapping and preventing disenging.

Hard to say anything definite. Haven't done enough two-hander vs spear sparring.

You already said the same earlier, and I don't disagree. It's a compromise weapon. Most weapons are compromises - why we don't have perfect weapons ideal for all circumstances - and this is too. What's interesting is what kind of environment made this particular weapon a good compromise. I don't recall seeing a scabbard for one of these two-handers. If they had scababrds that could be worn, then being able to wear them, instead of carrying them in your hand, like a spear, might make people think it better.


So it would definitely by interesting to have more sparring two-hander vs. spear to see if the two handed sword can hold up defensively and counter the quick attacks from the spear, maybe copying the spear-guards for parries? Also how well does the cross-guard prevent the spear from disengaging when you catch it?

Other swords in the same time were very specialized - like panzerstechers for thrusting against plate armoured opponents. Other weapons like maces are also specialized against plate mail. So it first glance the Danish-two-hander also looks very specialized, but it's a trend "back" to a compromise weapon for improved defense.
Maybe the danish-two-hander is created to counter the rising emphasize on pikes on the battlefield we see especially with landsknechts and swiss mercenaries?

Some of the Danish-two-handed were originally found with scabbards, but I don't think anyone of them is preserved.
I have a suspicion though, that these swords are mostly battlefield weapons and not side-arms, simply because of their length. Scabbards were probably for storage purposes and not for carrying around.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2015 5:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark:
About the swords Denmark shows both international types and Scandinavian types. Actually the church paintings shows a wide array of sword types that might overlap each other in time periods.

It seems like the Danish two-hander can probably be places in the period roughly 1450-1500.
The dating is based on the sword of Christian I (King 1448-1481) found on his coffin in Roskilde Cathedral and the depiction of a Danish-two-hander (without ricasso) in the same church dated 1490-1510.
Then we have many depictions from Dråby Kirke dated 1460-1480.
But there clearly seems to be different types of Danish-Two-handers - with or without ricasso. One with upturned quillons and one with short straight quillons. So how do they fit time-wise to each other.

Then we have the C-guard swords and the pretzel swords (with only pretzel and no quillons).
C-guard swords on church paintings are around 1490-1525. [Faxe Kirke 1490-1510, Dronninglund 1510-1525]

So haven't been able to find a really "typical pretzel sword" on any church painting yet. It does look like a typical battlefield weapon and not like a side arms. So Dating is around ~1500 so far.

The weapons with quillons and cross-guard-ring are more "international" (German) and are clearly seen in Denmark as well.
Sennels Kirke and Nørre Galten Kirke shows this sword-type. Dating is these churches are contested (1525-1550) but 1530-40's seems most likely.

About curved Quillons. The Danish S-guard swords still have quillons on the plane of the edges as far up as 1520-1530 (dating of picture of Paulus with great two-hander from Hinge Kirke). S-guards of Scandinavian type is also found on one-handed swords from Tingsted Kirke dated 1500-1520.

The Boringholm style sword (Boringholm sword from the latest 1412) is also prominent in Denmark (and Norway), but can also be found in Germany (and the Balkans).
Here is one from Elmelunde Kirke (Dated 1499-1507) - see attachment.
Different style pommel than the Boringholm sword though. It is very close to the type you should as your first picture (and also the Cranach picture), though the Elmelunde seems to be with longer blade and retain an older quillon style!
The Boringholm type is also seen from a painting in Dronninglund Kirke dated 1510-1525 (here with "correct" Boringholm type pommel).

So I think a huge overlap between international and domestic sword types between at least 1480-1540. Perhaps from the Reformation (1536) you see "German" fashion taking over in the "spirit of Lutheran brotherhood"? So the sword with straight quillons and cross-guard ring (or two rings) could be gaining massive influence with the Reformation - perhaps had a signal value??
Then perhaps this dominant German influence is in effect until Christian IV introduces Italian Rapier for noblemen by law with the appointment of Salvator Fabris to Royal and Court Fencing Master in 1601-1606?



 Attachment: 126.56 KB
Elmelunde Kirke_paulus with two-hander.jpg
Paulus with sword.
Elmelunde Kirke.
Source: http://natmus.dk/salg-og-ydelser/museumsfaglige-ydelser/kirker-og-kirkegaarde/kalkmalerier-i-danske-kirker/



Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Tue 29 Dec, 2015 5:28 am; edited 4 times in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2015 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since I have a working hypothesis that swords depicted in the churches are not random, but rather that the Master painted the sword of the local nobleman I can thus give a very probably ownership to the Elmelunde depiction of Paulus attached in the post above.

Elmelunde Kirke was directly attached to the manor or castle of the lensmand of Møn Island (the local authority appointed by the King). So Elmelunde Kirke wasn't attached to any town or village.
So the church-attending people were the Lensmand and his family and the people working under him at the manor/castle.
We know Eggert Andersen Ulfeldt til Kragerup was lensmand over Møn and lived there from 1482-1504. So it is very possible that the sword depicted in the hands of Paulus is his.

Ulfeldt Coat of Arms is depicted already from 1230.

Source: http://finnholbek.dk/genealogy/showmedia.php?mediaID=667
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2015 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a number of Swedish swords for comparison, some from old myArmoury threads.

Here is a very long one in Historical Museum in Stockholm. The blade is hard to type but it is definitely not any subtype of XVIII...my overall impression is that it is one of the older swords we have looked at, from earlier in the 15th c.

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/fid.asp?fid=120290

Here is an example of a C-guard in the Goteborg Museum. Notice that it has the same triple of pierced holes (for the Trinity?) at the ends of the cross. Perhaps an indication that the cross was originally straight and the curve applied later as fashions changed?


http://62.88.129.39/carlotta/web/object/430994/REFERENCES/53

Another example from Goteborg.

http://62.88.129.39/carlotta/web/object/101077

This sword was recovered from Lake Vattern, along with it's scabbard. It has a similar combination of features as the Hinge Sø sword, with the C-guard and banded grip, but a type-T pommel instead of a spherical type R.


This one is (I think) in the Kulturen Museum, in Lund. It shares the curved cross-tips and overall proportions of four previously-posted Danish examples. I haven't been able to match this photo with an inventory number in the museum's online collection.

http://carl.kulturen.com/web
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2015 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Here are a number of Swedish swords for comparison, some from old myArmoury threads.

Here is a very long one in Historical Museum in Stockholm. The blade is hard to type but it is definitely not any subtype of XVIII...my overall impression is that it is one of the older swords we have looked at, from earlier in the 15th c.

Here is an example of a C-guard in the Goteborg Museum. Notice that it has the same triple of pierced holes (for the Trinity?) at the ends of the cross. Perhaps an indication that the cross was originally straight and the curve applied later as fashions changed?

Another example from Goteborg.

This sword was recovered from Lake Vattern, along with it's scabbard. It has a similar combination of features as the Hinge Sø sword, with the C-guard and banded grip, but a type-T pommel instead of a spherical type R.

This one is (I think) in the Kulturen Museum, in Lund. It shares the curved cross-tips and overall proportions of four previously-posted Danish examples. I haven't been able to match this photo with an inventory number in the museum's online collection.

http://carl.kulturen.com/web


Great finds Mark.
Perhaps you should also post these C-guard swords in the pretzel-thread, so we have them there.
Apparently the "C-guard sword" [halv-kringel] seems very common in Sweden!

The observation with the three holes are quite interesting. It doesn't have to be the Trinity, but could also be holes for filling in some decoration. Sweden has "three crowns", so it could be that instead? If we find this feature on Danish swords, then we can dump that hypothesis, but if it only occurs on Swedish swords, its telling!

About the sword from Lund. I think its the one described by Lis Nymark (1980) in her article about the Danish grave-swords.
She notes that the sword closest to the Øm sword was NOT described by Bruhn-Hoffmeyer, but by Blomquist (1937).
It was found in Höjeå near Lund hospital in 1902 and is bigger than the Øm sword:
Total length: 130,5 cm.
Blade length: 91,8 cm [broad, powerful, with "fladslibning" (flat polishing) on the upper part].
Pommel: Ball-shaped [octagonal with tall center knob]
Grip (Angel): Small [maybe she means narrow width as you do see that in some Danish sword descriptions, like the Koldinghus Danish two hander, where the grip is not 2,2 cm long, but must mean width].
Cross-guard: Long, band-shaped, curving downwards with upturned ends.

Conclusion: Your picture must be of the Höjeå sword as it is also on exhibition in Lund.
So since Skåne pre-1658 was Danish, it is the fifth Danish sword located with upturned cross-guard ends (+ the one depicted in Kongsted Kirke).
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec, 2015 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
The Norwegian sword you posted is actually a perfectly "theoretical transition sword" between the "Danish-two-hander" and the "pretzel sword"!

I would tend to disagree here, and place the Norwegian sword after the pretzel swords rather than before. I think the hilt has more in common with those incorporating early finger-guards than with the full pretzel-hilts. Here is another Norwegian example with some similar features, and dated much later by the museum, to 1550-80.

http://digitaltmuseum.no/011021908626?name=Sv...&pos=2

Mark, what is interested is that the quillons on the Norwegian sword actually looks a lot like the quillons on the C-guard swords and the fairly simple pretzel-ring looks like the pretzel on the Tudeå sword.
So possible the Norwegian sword dated 1550-1580 is of a mix between these two types.

This hand-and-a-half sword at Malmö Museer in Sweden is dated from ~1520 (so while Skåne was Danish). It also have quillons that looks VERY MUCH like the big Swedish sword with three holes punched through the quillons.
Inventory number: MHM 001120
Total length: 119 cm
Blade length: 93,5 cm
Blade width: 4,5 cm
Origin of blade likely Germany.


Source: http://carlotta.malmo.se/carlotta-mmus/web/im...001120.jpg

So how the development is between these sword-variants are not clear cut; but the version with straight quillons and cross-guard-ring (also from the depictions you showed) could to be established in Scandinavia around the 1530-40 as I have found church paintings from Denmark in that period (Sennels Kirke & Nørre Galten Kirke).

NB: Notice that on both these swords (and also some of the others you showed) its not really like the "neat" horizontal side-rings you see from many swords post-1530's, but a more twisted (pretzel like?) ring!
So I think the Norwegian sword might be dated to late! Perhaps it should also be pre-1530 because of the quillons and the pretzel like ring.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Tue 29 Dec, 2015 7:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec, 2015 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Found an interesting picture of how a big two-handed Scandinavian sword was carried!

This image of Skt. Jørgen (Saint George) fighting the dragon has him with a big two handed sword at his side.
I can't figure out how the sword is attached though, but it is clearly held in a scabbard as we can see the sword depection ends in brown.

So because of the scabbard we can't see if the sword has a ricasso or not, but it has the "signature" forward curving cross-guard. Pommel is obscured by the armour.

Painting is from Sønder Vissing Kirke in central Jutland and dated 1500-1510.



 Attachment: 158.68 KB
Soender Vissing Kirke_Skt Joergen.jpg
Skt. Jørgen with two-handed sword.
Sønder Vissing Kirke.
Source: http://natmus.dk/salg-og-ydelser/museumsfaglige-ydelser/kirker-og-kirkegaarde/kalkmalerier-i-danske-kirker/

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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec, 2015 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Conclusion: Your picture must be of the Höjeå sword as it is also on exhibition in Lund.
So since Skåne pre-1658 was Danish, it is the fifth Danish sword located with upturned cross-guard ends (+ the one depicted in Kongsted Kirke).

Great detective work on this identification! So the correlation between this hilt style and Danish territory/influence is very strong.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
This hand-and-a-half sword at Malmö Museer in Sweden is dated from ~1520 (so while Skåne was Danish).

Great comparison! It's remarkably similar to the Norwegian example from Maihaugen. At first glance, I thought you had simply posted another view of the same sword...

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So I think the Norwegian sword might be dated to late! Perhaps it should also be pre-1530 because of the quillons and the pretzel like ring.

Quite possibly the museum's date is too late... I think the pommel may be a later type though, and the blades themselves seem different to me. The Malmo blade (and the original Norwegian example, C259 in Oslo) seems quite similar and contemporary to the XX types we have seen on pretzel-hilts and others, but the Maihaugen blade is different: the edges are more parallel, and the two fullers appear to run almost to the tip of the blade. Perhaps this is a later type also?

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Notice that on both these swords (and also some of the others you showed) its not really like the "neat" horizontal side-rings you see from many swords post-1530's, but a more twisted (pretzel like?) ring!

The early ring/finger-guards have this characteristic curved, twisted shape in all the German (and other) examples also. Reported datings for swords with this feature vary widely... It would be interesting to try to better pinpoint when it first appeared; I don't think I can offer any examples from art as of yet.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Dec, 2015 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So it would definitely by interesting to have more sparring two-hander vs. spear to see if the two handed sword can hold up defensively and counter the quick attacks from the spear, maybe copying the spear-guards for parries? Also how well does the cross-guard prevent the spear from disengaging when you catch it?


The difficulties are having people to do the sparring who are skilled with their weapons, and to have a safe sparring simulator for a big two-hander (the weight works against this).

A long cross-guard means that the spear must move further to disengage. A guard that curves towards the point can mean it must also first move back towards the sword-point (depending on where it started). A longer guard helps a lot. Especially for a heavier, slower weapon. (A classic Chinese technique against spear is to use two weapons. Block/parry/trap with both together, held as a cross, and the blade of the 2nd weapon works like a long cross-guard to make the disengage harder.) I don't think that long cross-guards like we see on many big two-handers are to protect the hands - if you're getting smacked in the hands, you're doing something wrong. They will help against spears and other polearms, by making disengaging harder for the polearm.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Other swords in the same time were very specialized - like panzerstechers for thrusting against plate armoured opponents. Other weapons like maces are also specialized against plate mail. So it first glance the Danish-two-hander also looks very specialized, but it's a trend "back" to a compromise weapon for improved defense.
Maybe the danish-two-hander is created to counter the rising emphasize on pikes on the battlefield we see especially with landsknechts and swiss mercenaries?


If you wanted more reach, you'd use a longer polearm. If you wanted better cutting, you'd use a German-style two-hander. If you wanted a faster weapon, you'd use a longsword. If you wanted a dedicated anti-armour weapon, you'd use an estoc/Panzerstecher. "Compromise weapon" looks like a good call. A compromise weapon with features (like long curved crosses) to help it against pikes? Perhaps.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Dec, 2015 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So I think the Norwegian sword might be dated to late! Perhaps it should also be pre-1530 because of the quillons and the pretzel like ring.

Quite possibly the museum's date is too late... I think the pommel may be a later type though, and the blades themselves seem different to me. The Malmo blade (and the original Norwegian example, C259 in Oslo) seems quite similar and contemporary to the XX types we have seen on pretzel-hilts and others, but the Maihaugen blade is different: the edges are more parallel, and the two fullers appear to run almost to the tip of the blade. Perhaps this is a later type also?

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Notice that on both these swords (and also some of the others you showed) its not really like the "neat" horizontal side-rings you see from many swords post-1530's, but a more twisted (pretzel like?) ring!

The early ring/finger-guards have this characteristic curved, twisted shape in all the German (and other) examples also. Reported datings for swords with this feature vary widely... It would be interesting to try to better pinpoint when it first appeared; I don't think I can offer any examples from art as of yet.


Mark, I think many of the C-guard and Pretzel-swords does in fact have fullers that run the entire length of the blade and with parallel edges. Actually most the pretzel swords we have located have the feature of fullers running almost the entire length of the blade - the good sharp pointed sword from E.A. Christensen's collection seems to be an exception
So since they are early 1500's then that blade-type doesn't mean it couldn't be early 1500 dating for the Norwegian Maihaugen sword.
So I would be interesting if you can find some art examples that could pinpoint the shift from "twisted ring-guard" to "straight ring-guard".

So here is toss out an idea - this is cross-guard types alone and not taking pommels or blades into account.:
Scandinavian Development:
A) Boringholm style sword -> C-guard sword ? [you had some quillons which was possibly bend for the new fashion!].
B) C-guard sword -> Pretzel sword ? [the C-guard with half-pretzel gets further developed to a full pretzel]
- you have swords with only faint C-guards and some that almost closes to a pretzel.
- what is interesting here is the total loss of quillons in the "real" pretzel swords.
or
C) Danish-two-hander -> Pretzel sword [both seems to be big war-swords and not side-swords].
or
D) Danish-two-hander -> dead end
-> German-two-hander [the Danish swords was abandoned for big German types)

Influence from Germany:
E) Swords with straight quillons + twisted finger-ring -> Swords with straight quillons and horisontal even finger-ring -> followed maybe by two finger-rings (one small and one big). The Nørre Galten Kirke image shows a sword with both straight quillons, big ring and small ring (dating around ~1540)
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Dec, 2015 5:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So it would definitely by interesting to have more sparring two-hander vs. spear to see if the two handed sword can hold up defensively and counter the quick attacks from the spear, maybe copying the spear-guards for parries? Also how well does the cross-guard prevent the spear from disengaging when you catch it?


The difficulties are having people to do the sparring who are skilled with their weapons, and to have a safe sparring simulator for a big two-hander (the weight works against this).

A long cross-guard means that the spear must move further to disengage. A guard that curves towards the point can mean it must also first move back towards the sword-point (depending on where it started). A longer guard helps a lot. Especially for a heavier, slower weapon. (A classic Chinese technique against spear is to use two weapons. Block/parry/trap with both together, held as a cross, and the blade of the 2nd weapon works like a long cross-guard to make the disengage harder.) I don't think that long cross-guards like we see on many big two-handers are to protect the hands - if you're getting smacked in the hands, you're doing something wrong. They will help against spears and other polearms, by making disengaging harder for the polearm.

If you wanted more reach, you'd use a longer polearm. If you wanted better cutting, you'd use a German-style two-hander. If you wanted a faster weapon, you'd use a longsword. If you wanted a dedicated anti-armour weapon, you'd use an estoc/Panzerstecher. "Compromise weapon" looks like a good call. A compromise weapon with features (like long curved crosses) to help it against pikes? Perhaps.


So maybe we can get around the dangerous heavy weapon problem in sparring defensively and see how it performs against spears. For what I have seen around the internet is that defending with a sword against just an average spearman if a REAL challenge.
Great info that the forward curving cross-guards are not really hand protection, but primarily anti-spear/pole-arm devices!
Because of the Scandinavian "leding" laws EVERY Scandinavian soldier would be equipped with a spear (or other kind of long pole weapon), so you would find tons of them on the battlefield and around 1500 these weapons are long indeed.
A Danish noblemen fighting Swedish "leding" armies would have had to deal with that and perhaps the Danish-two-hander is that compromise. A weapon useful against both enemy knights in plate armour and against peasants with spear and mail (and german+swiss mercenary units).
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Dec, 2015 6:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:

A long cross-guard means that the spear must move further to disengage. A guard that curves towards the point can mean it must also first move back towards the sword-point (depending on where it started).


Not with the German disengage and this method is demonstrated in the staff weapons section of Meyer's 1570. If the spearman is threatening with the point to draw a response from the swordsman and disengage he shouldn't be letting his point past his opponent's guard in the first place.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jan, 2016 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
Timo Nieminen wrote:

A long cross-guard means that the spear must move further to disengage. A guard that curves towards the point can mean it must also first move back towards the sword-point (depending on where it started).


Not with the German disengage and this method is demonstrated in the staff weapons section of Meyer's 1570. If the spearman is threatening with the point to draw a response from the swordsman and disengage he shouldn't be letting his point past his opponent's guard in the first place.


Would that change anything for the perceived use of the forward curving cross-guard against spears and pole-arms??
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jan, 2016 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A cross that bends its tips toward the point of the blade can be a little more suited to capturing an opponent's weapon with a twist of the hilt which is why you see this configuration on some parrying daggers. From there you can thrust in with the point while maintaining contact with your cross and strong of the blade against the length of the opponent's weapon. An XVIIIe with its curved guard and long ricasso would be well set up for performing this kind of action against a spear since its blunt strong wouldn't try to bite into the wooden haft of the polearm.

The width of the guard wouldn't slow down a competent spearman even if it was four feet across since all he'd have to do is withdraw his weapon and go back in on the other side of the blade, no need to go around the cross at all. This back and forth action is the most essential function of any thrusting weapon so it can be assumed all spearmen of any era would have figured this out. A wide cross can be useful in other ways such as forming another striking surface, providing a defense for the head in cuts like the zwerchauw, binding an opponent's weapon as mentioned above, etc.

To be honest I doubt that there was an exotic Scandinavian martial art that explains these distinctive weapon configurations for two main reasons. The first is that there are relatively few exotic techniques in any Western sword art, what really sets one style apart from another are finer points like preferred tactics and the organization of information but those distinctions do lead to the rise of specialized weapon configurations. The other reason is that the fundamentals of Medieval and later styles of Western swordsmanship seem to have been developed with the gaddhjalt and center gripped round shield which the Scandinavians were obviously quite familiar with from an early time. On the other hand I'm generally wary to attribute distinctive weapon configurations to mere fashion. Some embellishments like engravings and inlays are clearly used for purely aesthetic reasons but features like curved crosses, pretzel guards and long ricassos yielded practical benefits to those who made and wielded them.
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jan, 2016 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Happy New Year! Godt nytår!

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Mark, I think many of the C-guard and Pretzel-swords does in fact have fullers that run the entire length of the blade and with parallel edges. Actually most the pretzel swords we have located have the feature of fullers running almost the entire length of the blade

I think an illustration of D4445 from the other thread best represents the features that seem fairly "typical" to me now... the blade is broad (and thick as Luka has shown) with some combination of two or three fullers, edges are roughly parallel for most of the length, but the fullers stop short of the point, which is quite pronounced, with a different (diamond?) cross-section more suitable for thrusting.



These details seem fairly distinct to me, and don't seem to overlap with some of the other (older?) features we have discussed, like crosses with upturned tips, the "classic" Danish two-handers with long grips+long crosses, the XVIIIe's, etc. I think C18629 in Oslo with the unique S-guard is another good example of the type; C259 and the Malmo sword with ring-guards are less good; the Maihaugen sword seems the poorest match to me.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So since they are early 1500's then that blade-type doesn't mean it couldn't be early 1500 dating for the Norwegian Maihaugen sword.

I am still not convinced, and favour at least a somewhat later dating compared to the other examples for the reasons I have mentioned.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So I would be interesting if you can find some art examples that could pinpoint the shift from "twisted ring-guard" to "straight ring-guard".

I hope to find some more comparisons, and will certainly share anything I come across!

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
the good sharp pointed sword from E.A. Christensen's collection seems to be an exception

Agreed; seems like it might best be described as a XVIIIb?

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Also found a Swedish sword from Skokloster Slott that looks like the Søborg type of Danish-two-hander (without ricasso) in Koppeschaar's pictures (see attachment).
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98015679@N04/9278158502/in/album-72157634624367756/

Forgot to comment on this earlier: I wonder if this is a modern reproduction (possibly even of the Soborg sword specifically), both the wood and metal surfaces seem just a little too pristine.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jan, 2016 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
The width of the guard wouldn't slow down a competent spearman even if it was four feet across since all he'd have to do is withdraw his weapon and go back in on the other side of the blade, no need to go around the cross at all. This back and forth action is the most essential function of any thrusting weapon so it can be assumed all spearmen of any era would have figured this out.


Facing a sword with a short cross, the round-the-cross disengage is very fast. To pull back and thrust in again, if the first thrust was actually intended to hit the opponent, can mean moving your spear 2' or more in each direction. If the swordsman moved in towards you as you attacked, pull back even further.

Forcing the spearman to pull back and thrust again, instead of using the fast circular disengage around the cross, does slow them down. YMMV with a heavy enough spear. (I find that pull back and thrust again is easier to block/parry than the circular disengage; another reason I prefer the circular disengage against a sword when possible.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jan, 2016 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:

Facing a sword with a short cross, the round-the-cross disengage is very fast. To pull back and thrust in again, if the first thrust was actually intended to hit the opponent, can mean moving your spear 2' or more in each direction. If the swordsman moved in towards you as you attacked, pull back even further.


In that case you transition to steurhut and/or go in with the butt while maintaining opposition against the blade with your haft.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Happy New Year! Godt nytår!

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Mark, I think many of the C-guard and Pretzel-swords does in fact have fullers that run the entire length of the blade and with parallel edges. Actually most the pretzel swords we have located have the feature of fullers running almost the entire length of the blade

I think an illustration of D4445 from the other thread best represents the features that seem fairly "typical" to me now... the blade is broad (and thick as Luka has shown) with some combination of two or three fullers, edges are roughly parallel for most of the length, but the fullers stop short of the point, which is quite pronounced, with a different (diamond?) cross-section more suitable for thrusting.



These details seem fairly distinct to me, and don't seem to overlap with some of the other (older?) features we have discussed, like crosses with upturned tips, the "classic" Danish two-handers with long grips+long crosses, the XVIIIe's, etc. I think C18629 in Oslo with the unique S-guard is another good example of the type; C259 and the Malmo sword with ring-guards are less good; the Maihaugen sword seems the poorest match to me.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So since they are early 1500's then that blade-type doesn't mean it couldn't be early 1500 dating for the Norwegian Maihaugen sword.

I am still not convinced, and favour at least a somewhat later dating compared to the other examples for the reasons I have mentioned.

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So I would be interesting if you can find some art examples that could pinpoint the shift from "twisted ring-guard" to "straight ring-guard".

I hope to find some more comparisons, and will certainly share anything I come across!

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
the good sharp pointed sword from E.A. Christensen's collection seems to be an exception

Agreed; seems like it might best be described as a XVIIIb?

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Also found a Swedish sword from Skokloster Slott that looks like the Søborg type of Danish-two-hander (without ricasso) in Koppeschaar's pictures (see attachment).
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98015679@N04/9278158502/in/album-72157634624367756/

Forgot to comment on this earlier: I wonder if this is a modern reproduction (possibly even of the Soborg sword specifically), both the wood and metal surfaces seem just a little too pristine.


"Godt nytår" to you as well, Mark Big Grin
Good observation with the Hinge Sø (D 4445) sword blade. I agree that the last part of the sword seems to have diamond cross-section for thrusting.
Some of the pretzel sword (like 787) does look like the fullers extend even further down the blade, which doesn't end in a diamond cross-section and neither has a sharp point.
The E.A. Christensen pretzel sword has a blade which seems to be with diamond cross-section the whole blade length!
Norwegian C18629 s-guard sword: The blade does look like the Hinge Sø sword blade in having fullers going most of the blade length, but then having the tip without fullers (difficult to see on the Norwegian blade if it is diamond shaped this last section) ending in a sharpened point.
So you would still think the Maihaugen blade is a middle/late 1500's type blade - so interesting whether it retains an older style guard (or the twisted-ring and the straight-ring are more synchronic in time, that one preceding the other).

The Skokloster Slott sword does look in very good quality (to arouse some suspecion) and very much like the Søborg sword (but not an exact fit as the guards are a bit different) - unfortunately their inventory does't contain a lot of pictures or info on the collection.
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
A cross that bends its tips toward the point of the blade can be a little more suited to capturing an opponent's weapon with a twist of the hilt which is why you see this configuration on some parrying daggers. From there you can thrust in with the point while maintaining contact with your cross and strong of the blade against the length of the opponent's weapon. An XVIIIe with its curved guard and long ricasso would be well set up for performing this kind of action against a spear since its blunt strong wouldn't try to bite into the wooden haft of the polearm.

The width of the guard wouldn't slow down a competent spearman even if it was four feet across since all he'd have to do is withdraw his weapon and go back in on the other side of the blade, no need to go around the cross at all. This back and forth action is the most essential function of any thrusting weapon so it can be assumed all spearmen of any era would have figured this out. A wide cross can be useful in other ways such as forming another striking surface, providing a defense for the head in cuts like the zwerchauw, binding an opponent's weapon as mentioned above, etc.

To be honest I doubt that there was an exotic Scandinavian martial art that explains these distinctive weapon configurations for two main reasons. The first is that there are relatively few exotic techniques in any Western sword art, what really sets one style apart from another are finer points like preferred tactics and the organization of information but those distinctions do lead to the rise of specialized weapon configurations. The other reason is that the fundamentals of Medieval and later styles of Western swordsmanship seem to have been developed with the gaddhjalt and center gripped round shield which the Scandinavians were obviously quite familiar with from an early time. On the other hand I'm generally wary to attribute distinctive weapon configurations to mere fashion. Some embellishments like engravings and inlays are clearly used for purely aesthetic reasons but features like curved crosses, pretzel guards and long ricassos yielded practical benefits to those who made and wielded them.


I agree that these features are specialization of some kind and not "just fashion". Swords were still battlefield weapons and not clothing ornaments as we see later.
Scandinavia had with in all likelihood in 1400-1500's abandoned the Viking shield-binding style of combat (though perhaps retained in duels for some time into the medieval period?), so I agree that a special Scandinavian Martial Art is quite unlikely as the fighting style in Western Europe all descents from common Germanic roots; but specific Scandinavian sword fighting tactics could have lead to the development of these "local" features.

Without being an expert in pole-weapons maybe the amount of traditional sized spears on a Scandinavian battlefield were very much higher than in the rest of Europe where pole-arms might have dominated?
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

I agree that these features are specialization of some kind and not "just fashion". Swords were still battlefield weapons and not clothing ornaments as we see later.


That would be a thread of its own and is a discussion worth having since it deals with longstanding myths that have developed in the community at large but suffice it to say that ornamental swords existed from an early age and swords were used in combat by Western armies into the 20th century. IMO the mid-late 20th century was really the worst era for Western martial swordsmanship.

Quote:

Scandinavia had with in all likelihood in 1400-1500's abandoned the Viking shield-binding style of combat (though perhaps retained in duels for some time into the medieval period?),


If you mean like this I'll have to say that Roland makes some interesting observations but I'm not convinced that was ever the way those arms were actually fought with. There definitely was an undocumented system of wielding center gripped round shields with reverse-gripped spears and narrow-crossed swords and my guess is it was notably different than the familiar systems from later eras that followed but in the Bayeux Tapestry we can already see sword+shield and haft weapon techniques recognizable from the KDF sources being used together. To me this suggests that the Scandinavians were very much "in the loop" when it came to up-to-date weaponry and martial arts, they may have even played a significant role in disseminating the styles when you consider the Norman presence in epicenters like France and Italy.

Quote:

Without being an expert in pole-weapons maybe the amount of traditional sized spears on a Scandinavian battlefield were very much higher than in the rest of Europe where pole-arms might have dominated?


The two most commonly used hafted weapons of the 1400-1500's were the pike and halberd, I don't have any hard data but I suspect this was as true for Scandinavia as it was for other parts of Europe. What may not be immediately apparent is that it isn't actually a big change from the Viking era panoply. The pike is analogous to the spear and the halberd is analogous to the Dane axe, not just in terms of gross function but from a martial arts perspective and what's more is even though these weapons seem quite different from each other their associated methods of use are actually branches off the same trunk. The common core is the staff technique documented in sources like Meyer's Thorough Description, Paurnfeyndt's Foundation and others that aren't necessarily accompanied by much useful text but are recognizable as related systems nonetheless. The upshot of this is that the same techniques work with and against the various weapons regardless of era.
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