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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
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.

You are definitely correct on that point! There is still diversity within the group of pretzel-hilted swords.


The blade in the foreground below (with the large inlay, I think it is D5113) seems to have more of a point, though the cross-section can't really be made out...


The example from the Finnish Museum (inv. no. 64048:1) seems to be another good example of the "pointy" Hinge Sø-type blade, with a full pretzel-hilt in this case. Here is another view that I have cobbled together from some scanned images.

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=298698#298698
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Large (ceremonial?) two-handed sword with recurved quillons held by a Danish king, from the frontispiece of a 1514 printing of the Gesta Danorum.


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saxo_Chr_P_front_version_002.png
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The one in the front in the picture Mark posted has triple fullers in the upper part and two fullers almost to the tip. The tip part is very soft diamond section, not very pronounced. The two I posted below are different, one is also a very soft diamond as far as I could tell, the other (the one with inlay) looks like a flattened hexagonal section, but maybe it's simply lenticular.



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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Large (ceremonial?) two-handed sword with recurved quillons held by a Danish king, from the frontispiece of a 1514 printing of the Gesta Danorum.


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saxo_Chr_P_front_version_002.png


The 1514 version of Saxo's Gesta Danorum by Christiern Pedersen was printed in France by Jodocus Badius, so it could just show a local French two-handed sword. This printed work was supposed to dazzle a wider European audience, so they could have chosen a sword in fashion in France?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiern_Pedersen.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodocus_Badius
Off course it could actually be a sword of Christian II (who was Danish & Norwegian King from 1513-1523 and Swedish King 1520-1523), since it could be him depicted on the front page as reigning "Rex Danorum"!
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Jan, 2016 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
The one in the front in the picture Mark posted has triple fullers in the upper part and two fullers almost to the tip. The tip part is very soft diamond section, not very pronounced. The two I posted below are different, one is also a very soft diamond as far as I could tell, the other (the one with inlay) looks like a flattened hexagonal section, but maybe it's simply lenticular.





Thanks Luka.
So these swords are not so point orientated as especially the well preserved E.A. Christensen Collection pretzel sword and seemingly also less than the Hinge Sword C-guard sword.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jan, 2016 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
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.


So we should move it to a new thread? "Sword development - specialization or fashion (or both)?"

About viking/norman (which is basically the same as both groups in the Channel area were predominately Danes) fighting it could be that shield-binding was preferred in duels (?) and that the "up-to-date" weaponry and martial arts are for improved battlefield capabilities?

So I actually don't know when the transition to pikes and halberds took place in Scandinavia, but you are right that already from the 1400's Danish church painting common soldiers are seen with spears (not super long as a "typical" pike but something half ways there), halberds (for instance Bardiches) and one-handed swords!
I have to look at these developments in the church paintings in more detail !
So the transition in weaponry but retention of martial arts style you talk about is possibly very obvious from Dane Axe to Bardiche!
A what point would spears turning into pike start to behave differently (if ever)? I'm talking about pikes that reaches a certain length which makes close combat with them impossible? [1600's had these enormous long pikes for "porcupine" formations used by the Swedes].
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jan, 2016 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

About viking/norman (which is basically the same as both groups in the Channel area were predominately Danes) fighting it could be that shield-binding was preferred in duels (?) and that the "up-to-date" weaponry and martial arts are for improved battlefield capabilities?


Without solid documentation it's impossible to say for sure but again I have to say in my opinion the shield-binding shown in Roland's video is unlikely to have been the way those weapons were actually fought with. I'll try to explain as best I can via text, if you can ever make it to my home town I would be happy to show you. Happy

First let me say Roland does a lot of good research and his ideas aren't foolish, they're very interesting observations based on established principles it's just that I can't agree with some of his conclusions in that video. For instance I find it highly unlikely that the large round shields were intended for single combat and especially not against swords. There are shields that were apparently designed for that specific scenario but they tend to be of two basic types, large and taller than they are wide or small and therefore light and easily maneuverable. I am convinced that the primary purpose of the large center gripped round shields was to provide an effective defense against arrows or other projectiles for warriors who on average wouldn't have any other armor. If you think about an umbrella it is also a circular shape and it's attached to a long handle so it can be held far from the body, the center grip on a round shield allows it to be held far from the body in a similar fashion against deadlier threats from above. If an arrow pierces the wooden face of the shield it would have to penetrate a considerable distance to reach the wielder's body and the hand itself is very well protected by an iron boss.

It is very insightful of Roland to recognize that pressure applied to the sides of the shield can cause it to rotate and there definitely are opportunities to exploit that but it is also an indicator that the shields weren't primarily intended for hand to hand combat. Other large shields that clearly were intended for hand to hand combat most often were strapped with enarmes and held close to the body, this arrangement makes them highly resistant to such pressure. Structure is another consideration, flat round shields certainly existed but both during and immediately after the Viking age we see many round shields that are domed or curved on a single plane. Such shields, as Roland rightly observes, wouldn't be very useful with the shield-binding approach and the evidence we have suggests it's very unlikely there was one martial art for flat round shields and something entirely different for curved or domed round shields. For that matter bucklers in any age appear to simply be scaled down versions of battlefield shields, even the oddly shaped bucklers seen in Talhoffer show up in full-sized versions in period artwork depicting battles scenes and likewise there are buckler versions of the pavise. There is also considerable overlap between the KDF buckler system and the KDF dueling shield system so it suggests that the basic methodology is essentially the same between the large form and the small form with relatively minor adjustments being made according to the unique characteristics of the particular configuration. This is mirrored with other weapons, arming swords use essentially the same technique as messers and longswords, etc.

Similarly I don't think the narrow crossed "Viking sword" was originally intended to oppose other swords. Leaving shields out of the equation for a moment, if you were to take a typical "Viking sword" against an opponent armed with a gaddhjalt you'll probably get your hand cut off because its guard is inadequate for that purpose. The narrow cross is not a significant disadvantage against the more common weapons of the Viking age; the spear and axe- both of which also lack adequate hand protection. In that environment the sword has a particular advantage in that its "haft" can chop off fingers or hands. The tendency of a center gripped round shield to rotate when struck on its edge is an advantage when facing the powerful hafted weapons because rather than trying to stop the strikes it deflects them and creates an opening for the sword to exploit. If that rotating effect isn't desired you simply turn your thumb in the direction of the attack which if you can imagine the handle of the shield without the face you'll easily see gives you leverage similar to catching a strike with your sword.

Narrow crossed sword and center gripped large round shield against like weapon set was probably a lot of passive defending with the shield and sniping with the sword with some occasional pressure-based exploits or bashing. This is simpler, more direct, not as tiring and less reliant on the guy who is trying to kill you agreeing to allow you to bind shield to shield. If someone doesn't want to bind it's difficult to force them to, usually it's just a brief moment when you can catch them by surprise.

So my answer is without documentation we can't really say what the Scandinavians may have been doing in their duels but from other sources there are reasons to doubt the shield-binding method was widely used in battle or dueling and the arms themselves probably weren't created with that as a consideration. OTOH the Scandinavians do appear to have benefited from and been active participants in the Ottonian Renaissance and that's pretty cool.

Quote:

So I actually don't know when the transition to pikes and halberds took place in Scandinavia, but you are right that already from the 1400's Danish church painting common soldiers are seen with spears (not super long as a "typical" pike but something half ways there), halberds (for instance Bardiches) and one-handed swords!
I have to look at these developments in the church paintings in more detail !


Please post pictures, I would love to see them! It seems such sources are difficult to find online but perhaps its the language barrier.

Quote:

So the transition in weaponry but retention of martial arts style you talk about is possibly very obvious from Dane Axe to Bardiche!
A what point would spears turning into pike start to behave differently (if ever)? I'm talking about pikes that reaches a certain length which makes close combat with them impossible? [1600's had these enormous long pikes for "porcupine" formations used by the Swedes].


As I said the art itself doesn't really change but depending on weapon configuration certain tactics and techniques will be more effective. IMO the biggest difference between a pike and a spear is that the reset times are generally slower with the pike and of course sweeping blows become increasingly impractical, you start to feel this with a weapon over 8 feet long. Close combat with full length pikes is still very possible though, providing you have some room for it and you don't need as much as you might initially think. One neat trick I like to use to keep a swordsman busy is to let the point of the spear/pike/etc lay on the ground and grip my weapon with one hand on the opposite end. By moving the hand to the left or right, up or down according to where the swordsman attacks you can ward off any attack and close in with the butt of the pike using it as a lever to wrestle your opponent to the ground where he can be dispatched in the way you find most expedient. The figure in the upper right of this image and this image gives some idea of what that looks like.

On the other hand if you're talking about a scenario like this image you should probably drop the pike and transition to your sidearm.
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2016 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So I actually don't know when the transition to pikes and halberds took place in Scandinavia, but you are right that already from the 1400's Danish church painting common soldiers are seen with spears (not super long as a "typical" pike but something half ways there), halberds (for instance Bardiches) and one-handed swords!
I have to look at these developments in the church paintings in more detail !

Please post pictures, I would love to see them! It seems such sources are difficult to find online but perhaps its the language barrier.

Paul Dolnstein saw Swedish infantry first hand around 1502, while fighting as a Landsknecht mercenary. He sketched Swedish troops in formation using sword-spears and "primitive" halberds. The Swedes' armor and weapons are shown as being old-fashioned compared to the German troops, wielding long pikes and "modern" halberds.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2016 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

About viking/norman (which is basically the same as both groups in the Channel area were predominately Danes) fighting it could be that shield-binding was preferred in duels (?) and that the "up-to-date" weaponry and martial arts are for improved battlefield capabilities?


Without solid documentation it's impossible to say for sure but again I have to say in my opinion the shield-binding shown in Roland's video is unlikely to have been the way those weapons were actually fought with. I'll try to explain as best I can via text, if you can ever make it to my home town I would be happy to show you. Happy

First let me say Roland does a lot of good research and his ideas aren't foolish, they're very interesting observations based on established principles it's just that I can't agree with some of his conclusions in that video. For instance I find it highly unlikely that the large round shields were intended for single combat and especially not against swords. There are shields that were apparently designed for that specific scenario but they tend to be of two basic types, large and taller than they are wide or small and therefore light and easily maneuverable. I am convinced that the primary purpose of the large center gripped round shields was to provide an effective defense against arrows or other projectiles for warriors who on average wouldn't have any other armor. If you think about an umbrella it is also a circular shape and it's attached to a long handle so it can be held far from the body, the center grip on a round shield allows it to be held far from the body in a similar fashion against deadlier threats from above. If an arrow pierces the wooden face of the shield it would have to penetrate a considerable distance to reach the wielder's body and the hand itself is very well protected by an iron boss.

It is very insightful of Roland to recognize that pressure applied to the sides of the shield can cause it to rotate and there definitely are opportunities to exploit that but it is also an indicator that the shields weren't primarily intended for hand to hand combat. Other large shields that clearly were intended for hand to hand combat most often were strapped with enarmes and held close to the body, this arrangement makes them highly resistant to such pressure. Structure is another consideration, flat round shields certainly existed but both during and immediately after the Viking age we see many round shields that are domed or curved on a single plane. Such shields, as Roland rightly observes, wouldn't be very useful with the shield-binding approach and the evidence we have suggests it's very unlikely there was one martial art for flat round shields and something entirely different for curved or domed round shields. For that matter bucklers in any age appear to simply be scaled down versions of battlefield shields, even the oddly shaped bucklers seen in Talhoffer show up in full-sized versions in period artwork depicting battles scenes and likewise there are buckler versions of the pavise. There is also considerable overlap between the KDF buckler system and the KDF dueling shield system so it suggests that the basic methodology is essentially the same between the large form and the small form with relatively minor adjustments being made according to the unique characteristics of the particular configuration. This is mirrored with other weapons, arming swords use essentially the same technique as messers and longswords, etc.

Similarly I don't think the narrow crossed "Viking sword" was originally intended to oppose other swords. Leaving shields out of the equation for a moment, if you were to take a typical "Viking sword" against an opponent armed with a gaddhjalt you'll probably get your hand cut off because its guard is inadequate for that purpose. The narrow cross is not a significant disadvantage against the more common weapons of the Viking age; the spear and axe- both of which also lack adequate hand protection. In that environment the sword has a particular advantage in that its "haft" can chop off fingers or hands. The tendency of a center gripped round shield to rotate when struck on its edge is an advantage when facing the powerful hafted weapons because rather than trying to stop the strikes it deflects them and creates an opening for the sword to exploit. If that rotating effect isn't desired you simply turn your thumb in the direction of the attack which if you can imagine the handle of the shield without the face you'll easily see gives you leverage similar to catching a strike with your sword.

Narrow crossed sword and center gripped large round shield against like weapon set was probably a lot of passive defending with the shield and sniping with the sword with some occasional pressure-based exploits or bashing. This is simpler, more direct, not as tiring and less reliant on the guy who is trying to kill you agreeing to allow you to bind shield to shield. If someone doesn't want to bind it's difficult to force them to, usually it's just a brief moment when you can catch them by surprise.

So my answer is without documentation we can't really say what the Scandinavians may have been doing in their duels but from other sources there are reasons to doubt the shield-binding method was widely used in battle or dueling and the arms themselves probably weren't created with that as a consideration. OTOH the Scandinavians do appear to have benefited from and been active participants in the Ottonian Renaissance and that's pretty cool.

Quote:

So I actually don't know when the transition to pikes and halberds took place in Scandinavia, but you are right that already from the 1400's Danish church painting common soldiers are seen with spears (not super long as a "typical" pike but something half ways there), halberds (for instance Bardiches) and one-handed swords!
I have to look at these developments in the church paintings in more detail !


Please post pictures, I would love to see them! It seems such sources are difficult to find online but perhaps its the language barrier.

Quote:

So the transition in weaponry but retention of martial arts style you talk about is possibly very obvious from Dane Axe to Bardiche!
A what point would spears turning into pike start to behave differently (if ever)? I'm talking about pikes that reaches a certain length which makes close combat with them impossible? [1600's had these enormous long pikes for "porcupine" formations used by the Swedes].


As I said the art itself doesn't really change but depending on weapon configuration certain tactics and techniques will be more effective. IMO the biggest difference between a pike and a spear is that the reset times are generally slower with the pike and of course sweeping blows become increasingly impractical, you start to feel this with a weapon over 8 feet long. Close combat with full length pikes is still very possible though, providing you have some room for it and you don't need as much as you might initially think. One neat trick I like to use to keep a swordsman busy is to let the point of the spear/pike/etc lay on the ground and grip my weapon with one hand on the opposite end. By moving the hand to the left or right, up or down according to where the swordsman attacks you can ward off any attack and close in with the butt of the pike using it as a lever to wrestle your opponent to the ground where he can be dispatched in the way you find most expedient. The figure in the upper right of this image and this image gives some idea of what that looks like.

On the other hand if you're talking about a scenario like this image you should probably drop the pike and transition to your sidearm.


The two different types of viking shields are a good indicator of two different circumstances of use. So I agree that the heavier one would be for battle and the lighter ones for duals (maybe light shields functioning as a sword catcher?).

Duals were highly ritualized with rules that had to be followed (or you would face a death penalty), but rules would differ depending on time period and place.
"Hólmganga (literally “to go to a small island”) was formal, following precise rules. These rules were known as the hólmgöngulög. The hólmgöngulög was recited at the beginning of a duel by the challenger. However, "it is clear that the rules and customs that are mentioned in the sagas never had a uniform character." They varied from region to region and could change over a period within a region. The only thing truly consistent was that the two combatants agreed to the rules under which they fought."

For instance: "In Iceland, the blows were regulated, each combatant taking turns with the challenged man going first. Whereas in Norway, the two attacked each other as in normal, open battle. The weapons, too, were open to the choice of the duelers."
Source: http://www.academia.edu/9102367/Holmganga_its...nalization

In Saxo's Gesta Danorum: Amled is fighting a holmgang for the fate of Denmark against TWO (!) Saxons - swords and shield is used.

But if the round shield was ONLY a normal battlefield shield against arrows why didn't the Scandinavians retain the rectangular shield they used in the early Iron Age - for instance the shields from Hjortspring?

Source: http://www.dandebat.dk/dk-images/535p.jpg
The change to a round shield must have had some kind of specific function. In the early Iron Age the Scandinavians probably fought in a kind of phalanx with spears and these rectangular shields. Why change to a round shield at all ??

Roland's hypothesis and seeing him performing it makes it possible that it's useful in duals (whether actually used or not), but on the battlefield holding your line and breaking the enemies are the primary concerns. Shield binding doesn't seem possible in formations where the spear was primary weapon and axe/sword secondary.
As the Viking shield essentially is a oversized buckler, it was probably used in that way - extended to close off lines.
So I agree with you that there couldn't have been a big difference between big and small viking shield in technique. I just find it interesting that the change to a viking shield took place during the Iron Age. I'm not convinced that arrows is enough to explain it. The Nydam Iron Age bow was probably 80-90 lbs. Stronger bows probably had to wait until the very late Viking Age?

The sword in the Viking age seems to be a prestige weapon for the elite. So you wouldn't encounter many on a battlefield. So I agree that it could give an advantage against spears and axes that also lack hand protection. I still think the shield was extended like a buckler, so less need for a guard protection as the viking shield provided the hand protection ?
I like your idea of being defensive waiting for an opening to snipe. That some duel-rules said you could have maximum 3 shields, shows that some duels could go on for a very long time. The fighting style in duels could have been patient. Fighters wearing opponents down by stamina.

I will post pictures of common soldiers with pole weapons and one-handed swords when I have researched it some more and found some good ones....

Many thanks for your spear/pike explanation! Happy
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2016 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Mike Ruhala wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So I actually don't know when the transition to pikes and halberds took place in Scandinavia, but you are right that already from the 1400's Danish church painting common soldiers are seen with spears (not super long as a "typical" pike but something half ways there), halberds (for instance Bardiches) and one-handed swords!
I have to look at these developments in the church paintings in more detail !

Please post pictures, I would love to see them! It seems such sources are difficult to find online but perhaps its the language barrier.

Paul Dolnstein saw Swedish infantry first hand around 1502, while fighting as a Landsknecht mercenary. He sketched Swedish troops in formation using sword-spears and "primitive" halberds. The Swedes' armor and weapons are shown as being old-fashioned compared to the German troops, wielding long pikes and "modern" halberds.


Great picture Mark.
Clearly a difference in weapons between Swedes and the Landsknechts mercenaries fighting for Denmark.
So it really points to Scandinavia of being more conservative in it's choice of pole weapons (or having specialized local weapons = sword-staff). The Germans have longer pole weapons than the Swedes - I think that is significant!
Also interesting that the Swedes had a first line of crossbowmen and it seems to inflict some damage on the German ranks.
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2016 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

The two different types of viking shields are a good indicator of two different circumstances of use. So I agree that the heavier one would be for battle and the lighter ones for duals (maybe light shields functioning as a sword catcher?).


It's hard to say but there are historical references to swords becoming stuck in the rims of shields. We do know that the size, weight and construction of round shields in the Viking Age varied considerably. For a full sized shield you could be looking at anything from 8lbs to 15lbs, realistically speaking relatively few people are going to be able to make a shield that heavy dance around nimbly for an entire battle. I built a shield 24 inches in diameter using the most accurate methods and materials I could muster, it weighed about 6lbs.

Quote:

For instance: "In Iceland, the blows were regulated, each combatant taking turns with the challenged man going first.


Interesting, this sounds similar to mensur.

Quote:

But if the round shield was ONLY a normal battlefield shield against arrows why didn't the Scandinavians retain the rectangular shield they used in the early Iron Age - for instance the shields from Hjortspring?

The change to a round shield must have had some kind of specific function. In the early Iron Age the Scandinavians probably fought in a kind of phalanx with spears and these rectangular shields. Why change to a round shield at all ??


I'm not saying they were [i]only
used against arrows but I do believe that is the main threat they were specifically designed to counter and consequently they weren't designed as some kind of specialized shield for fighting other swords and shields in single combat. The Hjortspring shields are of the type that are well suited for sword and shield combat, the Romans were also sword and shield fighters and they seem to have favored elongated shields as well. This shape is more effective for defending against direct attacks because most people are considerably taller than they are wide, it's also more resistant to being pushed aside the way Roland demonstrates in his video.

As for why they changed from the elongated style to the circular style it probably has something to do with a change in tactics and commonly encountered weaponry. From what I've gathered from casually reading Roman sources, when they first encountered the Germanic tribes the latter were accustomed to fighting as individual warriors in small, loose formations. It is also my understanding that at this earlier time javelins were the ranged weapon of choice and I imagine those probably wouldn't come in at as steep of an angle as long-range volleys of arrows. By the Viking Age there were plenty of archers on the field and they were fighting in shield walls. By the end of the Viking Age swords and mail shirts were becoming more widely available and we see a return to an enlongated design in the form of the kite shield.

Quote:
Roland's hypothesis and seeing him performing it makes it possible that it's useful in duals (whether actually used or not),


Two things to consider. IIRC Roland has said he has refined his method since making that video so it may not represent his current interpretation, 5 years is like a million years in HEMA! Happy For another thing he and his partner are familiar with their interpretation, are deliberately demonstrating it for an audience and they're not wearing a full set of protective equipment you'd need to seriously fence with real intent to defeat your opponent. The proposed system is presented in the best possible light in a video like that, if the context of the video was a competitive environment with unfamiliar opponents and everyone was wearing full gear the fight would look very different. Roland was and is aware of all that and isn't trying to misrepresent anything, it's just that video is a demonstration and shouldn't be taken as a proof in itself. I've noticed more and more people taking it out of context over the years so I feel I should point that out.

Quote:

but on the battlefield holding your line and breaking the enemies are the primary concerns. Shield binding doesn't seem possible in formations where the spear was primary weapon and axe/sword secondary.


Large group combat isn't my specialty but I suspect if you tried shield-binding in a shield wall you'd find yourself on the wrong end of a spear rather quickly. This is possibly another reason for the round shield, a wider shield can overlap with your neighbors in the line and present a more solid obstacle.

Quote:

As the Viking shield essentially is a oversized buckler, it was probably used in that way - extended to close off lines. So I agree with you that there couldn't have been a big difference between big and small viking shield in technique.


This image from the Bayeux Tapestry shows a warrior with round shield standing in a guard called luginslant. This position is scene elsewhere in the tapestry with the sword and kite shield but because of the enarmes in that case the shield is held close to the body. Other familiar KDF leger show up as well, for instance the axeman is in zornhut with his left hand above his right as is typical for staff weapons in the system. They probably used different names for their positions and organized information a bit differently than we see in Liechtenauer's teachings but the fechtbucher tell us Liechtenauer didn't invent any of this and it was already hundreds of years old in his time. So yeah, we actually have a pretty decent understanding of how the Normans likely fought with sword and shield but there is one snag... the sword is the long crossed variety so the style might not have applied to the earlier narrow-cross swords.

Quote:

I just find it interesting that the change to a viking shield took place during the Iron Age. I'm not convinced that arrows is enough to explain it. The Nydam Iron Age bow was probably 80-90 lbs. Stronger bows probably had to wait until the very late Viking Age?


80-90lbs is pretty strong! Happy I don't think it was the power of the bows though, I think it was the frequency of use and scarcity of armor that made the difference. The gaddhjalt was a pretty radical innovation though and laid the foundation for all the swordplay that followed. We know that the Medieval and later systems utilize timings and tempos inspired by the works of Aristotle so it is my belief that the renewed interest in classical texts during the Ottonian Renaissance probably helped inspire the weapon and the fencing system.

Quote:

The sword in the Viking age seems to be a prestige weapon for the elite. So you wouldn't encounter many on a battlefield. So I agree that it could give an advantage against spears and axes that also lack hand protection. I still think the shield was extended like a buckler, so less need for a guard protection as the viking shield provided the hand protection ?
I like your idea of being defensive waiting for an opening to snipe. That some duel-rules said you could have maximum 3 shields, shows that some duels could go on for a very long time. The fighting style in duels could have been patient. Fighters wearing opponents down by stamina.


Skeletal remains show a propensity for wounds to the head and legs which suggests they were passively covering most of their body most of the time and looking for the right moment to exploit a chance to cut an uncovered target. That doesn't necessarily mean they were very patient though, a more aggressive strategy consistent with that evidence could involve feints, intimidation, ramming/charging and footwork designed to cause the opponent to make an error in judging distance and thereby expose himself to a quick attack. I often use that in competition and can defeat many opponents with just a few steps and a single swing of my sword, most of the time a wide guard wouldn't be necessary for that kind of fighting.
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2016 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Also interesting that the Swedes had a first line of crossbowmen and it seems to inflict some damage on the German ranks.

Not enough damage in the event... in his commentary on this page, Dolnstein writes that his company of 1,800 Landsknechts defeated 14,000 Swedes!

Dolnstein's diary/sketchbook is a fascinating document; there is a thesis that translates and analyzes it thoroughly.
https://www.academia.edu/1176932/_There_I_Paul_Dolnstein_saw_action._The_Sketchbook_of_a_Warrior_Artisan_in_the_German_Renaissance
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
I'm not saying they were only used against arrows but I do believe that is the main threat they were specifically designed to counter and consequently they weren't designed as some kind of specialized shield for fighting other swords and shields in single combat. The Hjortspring shields are of the type that are well suited for sword and shield combat, the Romans were also sword and shield fighters and they seem to have favored elongated shields as well. This shape is more effective for defending against direct attacks because most people are considerably taller than they are wide, it's also more resistant to being pushed aside the way Roland demonstrates in his video.

As for why they changed from the elongated style to the circular style it probably has something to do with a change in tactics and commonly encountered weaponry. From what I've gathered from casually reading Roman sources, when they first encountered the Germanic tribes the latter were accustomed to fighting as individual warriors in small, loose formations. It is also my understanding that at this earlier time javelins were the ranged weapon of choice and I imagine those probably wouldn't come in at as steep of an angle as long-range volleys of arrows. By the Viking Age there were plenty of archers on the field and they were fighting in shield walls. By the end of the Viking Age swords and mail shirts were becoming more widely available and we see a return to an elongated design in the form of the kite shield.

Large group combat isn't my specialty but I suspect if you tried shield-binding in a shield wall you'd find yourself on the wrong end of a spear rather quickly. This is possibly another reason for the round shield, a wider shield can overlap with your neighbors in the line and present a more solid obstacle.

This image from the Bayeux Tapestry shows a warrior with round shield standing in a guard called luginslant. This position is scene elsewhere in the tapestry with the sword and kite shield but because of the enarmes in that case the shield is held close to the body. Other familiar KDF leger show up as well, for instance the axeman is in zornhut with his left hand above his right as is typical for staff weapons in the system. They probably used different names for their positions and organized information a bit differently than we see in Liechtenauer's teachings but the fechtbucher tell us Liechtenauer didn't invent any of this and it was already hundreds of years old in his time. So yeah, we actually have a pretty decent understanding of how the Normans likely fought with sword and shield but there is one snag... the sword is the long crossed variety so the style might not have applied to the earlier narrow-cross swords.

80-90lbs is pretty strong! Happy I don't think it was the power of the bows though, I think it was the frequency of use and scarcity of armor that made the difference. The gaddhjalt was a pretty radical innovation though and laid the foundation for all the swordplay that followed. We know that the Medieval and later systems utilize timings and tempos inspired by the works of Aristotle so it is my belief that the renewed interest in classical texts during the Ottonian Renaissance probably helped inspire the weapon and the fencing system.

Skeletal remains show a propensity for wounds to the head and legs which suggests they were passively covering most of their body most of the time and looking for the right moment to exploit a chance to cut an uncovered target. That doesn't necessarily mean they were very patient though, a more aggressive strategy consistent with that evidence could involve feints, intimidation, ramming/charging and footwork designed to cause the opponent to make an error in judging distance and thereby expose himself to a quick attack. I often use that in competition and can defeat many opponents with just a few steps and a single swing of my sword, most of the time a wide guard wouldn't be necessary for that kind of fighting.


Your hypothesis about the change of shield type from rectangular to circular is actually quite fascinating. True the Iron Age Germans either fought as auxiliaries in the Roman Army or against them in tribal uprisings or incursions, so weapons set and tactics based on "the Roman experience" would be an obvious conclusion.
The Danish bog finds from the Iron Ages do show both javelins and bows, so both were in use when rectangular shield were being used.
I'm just not certain that "volley fire" existed in Germanic warfare?! Neither to have groupings/bulks of archers OR to use long range incoming arrows. It seems that even at Agincourt 1415 arrows were used at fairly close range with a flat trajectory (Tobias Capwell). I think both Iron Age Germanic javelin throwers and archers are rather lightly clad fast moving skirmishers like the Roman Velites used in the republican army and the Thracian troops under Alexander the Great.
It may be that late in the Viking Age (900-1000 AD) with the big invasion forces you start to have more masses of archers, but the Viking Shield was actually changed to the Kite shield at Hastings in 1066.
So I agree that viking shield's must have some specific advantage reflecting a change in the battle weaponry, but I'm not certain it's primarily because of arrows.
Could it be response to increased use of axes?? I just toss forward a hypothesis here.
You see that Iron Age warriors have a general set of spear and shield, with the elites having swords. Then we (perhaps?) see from Late Iron Age the axe becoming a normal soldiers weapons with the shield and spear. Axes can hook weapons and shields (especially bearded axes), so maybe it is way harder to destabilize a person holding a round-shield than a rectangular one?

I haven't tried any reenactment so I don't know how well Viking shield actually can lock up in a shield wall. With the center group it is unstable from pressure on the sides, so are locking the shield together enough to withstand a hard charge?
Apparently the wider heavier viking shield appear later in the archaeological record than the smaller shields, so the shield wall seems to be a late development of the viking shield for greater amount of men on the battlefield and definitely a chance from semi-close formations to a tight formation in the later part of the viking age.

As for swords it seemed late Iron Age and Early Viking Age already had fast changes in types and until late viking age they are all without guards and I agree with you that it must mean a different fighting style.
Danish weapon set development from 500 AD to 750 AD. In 750 a long one edged sword (Sax) becomes absolutely dominant and is apparently based on find retained for a long time in Norway, but diminishes in use in Denmark later in the Viking Age.

[Picture 1: 550 AD, Picture 2: 600 AD, Picture 3: 700 AD, Picture 4: 750 AD]
Source: http://www.denstoredanske.dk/Danmarks_Oldtid/...%C3%A5ben#

Very interesting with the Liechtenauer info. So the fighting tradition probably harks back to some time during the 1000's AD and likely the Normans were at the "cutting edge" of it.
Classical inspiration during the Ottonian renaissance is very possible, but the classical weapons didn't have a cross-guard, so the gaddhjalt is a radical innovation as you say and must be something completely new? Where it happened is very hard to say, since "news" spread fast apparently.
The problems with skeletons is that they don't show soft tissue damage. So stabs in the stomach region can basically never be shown archaeologically. The Visby grave shows many leg wounds which is very interesting, but again that it from a medieval battle in 1361, so long after Viking times.
We simply don't have any big battlefield wound examination from Viking age battles as far as I know. When Alken Enge has been examined extensively we might have one from Iron Age Denmark. The other weapons finds didn't have the bodies, so they likely were thrown in bogs at separate locations.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 12:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Also interesting that the Swedes had a first line of crossbowmen and it seems to inflict some damage on the German ranks.

Not enough damage in the event... in his commentary on this page, Dolnstein writes that his company of 1,800 Landsknechts defeated 14,000 Swedes!

Dolnstein's diary/sketchbook is a fascinating document; there is a thesis that translates and analyzes it thoroughly.
https://www.academia.edu/1176932/_There_I_Paul_Dolnstein_saw_action._The_Sketchbook_of_a_Warrior_Artisan_in_the_German_Renaissance


I wonder if that could be true. What commander would put his 1.800 men against 14.000, unless they are nuts. The Swedish army may be a bit old fashioned, but well equipped. These are not untrained and unarmoured peasants with pitchforks, but a leding army (possibly lead by Sten Sture) as Dolnstein's picture clearly shows.
Probably its way more likely that the winning move was made by a landsknecht contingent within the Danish army under prince Christian (later King Christian II) and they were the cause of the Swedish defeat?

The Danish army laid siege to Älvsborg (precursor to Göteborg/Gothenburg) which only had a defense force of 140 men, so the arriving Swedish force must have been to break the siege. I can't imagine the Danish Crown Prince attacking Swedish territory and trying a siege with only 1800 men as the were dispatched to crush a possibly combined Norwegian/Swedish rebellion (se quote below).
Apparently Paul Dolnstein was a siege specialist, so likely hired by the Danes for this exact speciality. Here is his drawing of the fortification during the siege.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/%C3%84lvsborgs_f%C3%A4stning_1502.jpg

The situation of the war Paul Dolnstein got hired by the Danes was as follows:
'In 1500 King Hans of Denmark, Sweden and Norway made an ill-fated attempt to conquer the Ditmarshes (Dithmarschen) in Northern Germany. Knut Alvsson, who had married the granddaughter of Swedish King Karl Knutsson, and was involved with the Swedish Independence Party, concluded it was time to act. While in Sweden he participated in the Swedish National Council meeting in Vadstena Castle in 1501, at which the council approved the revolt against King Hans of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Alvsson directed harsh accusations against King Hans' control in Norway and was provided Swedish support for his return to Norway, based on the belief that a Norwegian uprising would quickly follow the Swedish uprising.[1] In 1501 he led Swedish forces in an attack on Båhus Fortress on the Swedish-Norwegian border, which Henrich Krummedige still commanded. Krummedige was able to hold his fief of Båhus, but Alvsson captured Akershus Fortress in March 1502, although the citizens of Oslo remained pro-Danish while the nobles and bishops of the country remained neutral — presumably waiting to see which side prevailed.[2][5]
King Hans dispatched his son Christian (later crowned King Christian II of Denmark and Norway) at the head of Danish forces; they relieved the siege of Båhus Fortress, and also captured Älvsborg Fortress across the river from Båhus Fortress in Gothenburg. Krummedige then led forces north to finish off the rebellion by recapturing Tønsberg Fortress and investing Akershus Fortress, which Alvsson was defending.
When it became clear that the rebellion was stalemated, Alvsson came on board one of Krummedige's ships under a safe conduct. Krummedige’s men killed Alvsson on 18 August 1502, either by treachery or, as alleged by Krummedige’s men, in response to Alvsson's own violence. Breaking the rules of safe conduct was considered a grave treachery after the old Norse laws, which were still used in Norway at the time. However, the court in Oslo deemed Krummedige to have acted justly. The conditions for this judgement have been discussed by historians for years.
The crown judged Alvsson a traitor and Alvsson's property was forfeit to the crown. Krummedige had prevailed, although Gjerset reports he was compelled to leave Norway and the uprising was not totally quelled until 1504. Alvsson's death at the hand of Krummedige’s minions solidified the Danish-Norwegian ties and marked the last attempt at Norwegian independence for over 300 years
."
Source: http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Knut_Alvsson
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I wonder if that could be true. What commander would put his 1.800 men against 14.000, unless they are nuts. The Swedish army may be a bit old fashioned, but well equipped. These are not untrained and unarmoured peasants with pitchforks, but a leding army (possibly lead by Sten Sture) as Dolnstein's picture clearly shows.
Probably its way more likely that the winning move was made by a landsknecht contingent within the Danish army under prince Christian (later King Christian II) and they were the cause of the Swedish defeat?

You are probably correct that the numbers are exaggerated. The precise engagement that Dolnstein describes is actually the Swedish counterattack after the Danish army had already taken Alvsborg; it's at least possible that an outnumbered garrison force with a strong defensive position may have held out against superior numbers, but I don't know if that is an accurate description of the actual events.

Dolnstein's complete caption reads:
"In Norway we captured a strong castle that is called Älvsborg, which we burned. Of us there were 1,800 Germans. Then the Swedish peasants, 14,000 strong, fell upon us in the camp in such a manner as here. They formidably attacked us. God gave us victory, and he smote the greater part of them completely dead. We all had backplates and breastplates and helmets and arm braces. And they had crossbows and good spears made of swords. Afterwards the king of Denmark knighted us, and he did us honor, and paid us well and transported us over the sea in the year 1503. There I, Paul von Dolnstein, saw action. Lord Sigmund List was chief colonel."

Dolnstein specifically describes the enemy as "peasants"; if he means that they genuinely were a disorganized militia-type force then this could also help explain the outcome of the battle. On the other hand, he might simply be using "peasant" as an insult. Are there any other sources that describe the makeup/recruitment/quality of the Swedish forces in this conflict?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
I wonder if that could be true. What commander would put his 1.800 men against 14.000, unless they are nuts. The Swedish army may be a bit old fashioned, but well equipped. These are not untrained and unarmoured peasants with pitchforks, but a leding army (possibly lead by Sten Sture) as Dolnstein's picture clearly shows.
Probably its way more likely that the winning move was made by a landsknecht contingent within the Danish army under prince Christian (later King Christian II) and they were the cause of the Swedish defeat?

You are probably correct that the numbers are exaggerated. The precise engagement that Dolnstein describes is actually the Swedish counterattack after the Danish army had already taken Alvsborg; it's at least possible that an outnumbered garrison force with a strong defensive position may have held out against superior numbers, but I don't know if that is an accurate description of the actual events.

Dolnstein's complete caption reads:
"In Norway we captured a strong castle that is called Älvsborg, which we burned. Of us there were 1,800 Germans. Then the Swedish peasants, 14,000 strong, fell upon us in the camp in such a manner as here. They formidably attacked us. God gave us victory, and he smote the greater part of them completely dead. We all had backplates and breastplates and helmets and arm braces. And they had crossbows and good spears made of swords. Afterwards the king of Denmark knighted us, and he did us honor, and paid us well and transported us over the sea in the year 1503. There I, Paul von Dolnstein, saw action. Lord Sigmund List was chief colonel."

Dolnstein specifically describes the enemy as "peasants"; if he means that they genuinely were a disorganized militia-type force then this could also help explain the outcome of the battle. On the other hand, he might simply be using "peasant" as an insult. Are there any other sources that describe the makeup/recruitment/quality of the Swedish forces in this conflict?


Dolnstein already makes one mistake that Älvsborg is in Norway, it was in the small area of the Götaälv which was Swedish while the territory just north was Bohuslen (Norway) and just south of it was Halland (Danish). That the "King knighted them" is interesting since King Hans to my knowledge wasn't present, but Crown Prince Christian, unless when he means "afterwards" it's after the entire war and not this battle.

All the Scandinavian leding armies was comprised of free peasants. It doesn't mean they were bad quality. The Swedish army under Gustavus Adolphus was a peasant army and so was all the viking age armies.
Peasant armies were not just "militia", but soldiers picked and supplied for the campaign - defensive or offensive - by their local region (in Danish called "hafnæ") with a full weapon set. Whether they were used on land or ship they weapon and armour requirements didn't differ. This example are a Swdish leding - the local laws from Södermanland from 1327.
Copied from Michael Ranelius post here - http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=32114&highlight=

Sweden, Södermannalagen (provincial law of Södermanland), 1327:
"Thessa lund scal konungs ledung ut biuda. at snækkiur ok scutur sculu til redo uæra um pingizdagha tidh med them redom flær til höre. Thætta svulu hamnu uapn uæra Skiolder ok suærd. spyut ok iarnhatter. Huar hamna scal haua muzo eller penzara eller ok plato. huar hamna scal ok hanbugha ok threa tylpte sköte haua. Af huarre hamnu. scal fiughur pund ok tiughu. tuælotina flesk ok thridiungen smör. aghi sidan konunger uald aftaca sua mykit hanum thækkiz. Thæfta scal lyusas huarn huitta sunnudagh i strengenæs."

"According to the passage each crewman who were called upon to serve in the ledung (fleet) should be armed with shield (skiolder), sword (suærd), speer (spyut), kettle hat (iarnhatter), maille coif (muzo), padded jack (penzara) or a coat-of-plates (plato). Also required are bow (hanbugha) and three dozen arrows (threa tylpte sköte)."

These laws was most likely in effect until Gustavus Adolphus reformed the conscription into larger provinces.
As we can see at this point (1502) bows has been changed into crossbows, which had also happened in Denmark even earlier. So every soldier in the army had these weapons as an absolute minimum. So if each Swedish soldier had a crossbow with 36 bolts I would not think the 14.000 Swedes only encountered 1.800 Germans as the only force there. They could have rained some serious amounts of missiles towards the Germans!
Crown Prince Christian II was likely still there with a good size army to confront the Swedish Army as it was Henrich Krummedige with a probably lesser army, that pushed North towards Oslo and Akerhus Fortress.

So peasant is probably an insult from Dolnstein as he sees himself as a professional.
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Mark Lewis wrote:

Dolnstein's complete caption reads:
"In Norway we captured a strong castle that is called Älvsborg, which we burned. Of us there were 1,800 Germans. Then the Swedish peasants, 14,000 strong, fell upon us in the camp in such a manner as here. [...]"


So if each Swedish soldier had a crossbow with 36 bolts I would not think the 14.000 Swedes only encountered 1.800 Germans as the only force there.


I think the most straightforward reading of the caption is "Our force included 1800 Germans." That is, the total force is larger, and includes 1800 Germans.

"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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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So peasant is probably an insult from Dolnstein as he sees himself as a professional.

This does seem to fit the tenor of his writings.

Timo Nieminen wrote:
I think the most straightforward reading of the caption is "Our force included 1800 Germans." That is, the total force is larger, and includes 1800 Germans.

This seems quite reasonable, and had crossed my mind also. Might just be an artifact of the translation though, and I don't know enough German to guess what the best interpretation is. The actual text reads:

"...prant vnser warn xviij hundert tewtscher do vber vielen vnß die schwedischen bawrn jm lager xiv tawset starck..."
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2016 11:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:

I'm just not certain that "volley fire" existed in Germanic warfare?! Neither to have groupings/bulks of archers OR to use long range incoming arrows. It seems that even at Agincourt 1415 arrows were used at fairly close range with a flat trajectory (Tobias Capwell). I think both Iron Age Germanic javelin throwers and archers are rather lightly clad fast moving skirmishers like the Roman Velites used in the republican army and the Thracian troops under Alexander the Great.
It may be that late in the Viking Age (900-1000 AD) with the big invasion forces you start to have more masses of archers, but the Viking Shield was actually changed to the Kite shield at Hastings in 1066.
So I agree that viking shield's must have some specific advantage reflecting a change in the battle weaponry, but I'm not certain it's primarily because of arrows.


It would be interesting if we could determine when massed units of archers began appearing on the central/northern European battlefield. Likewise it would be illuminating to figure out exactly when round shields became the dominant form among Germanic and Scandinavian warriors. Kite shields probably appeared decades before 1066 but if the Bayeux Tapestry is to be believed it's important to remember quite a few round shields are also depicted even if they are a minority.

Quote:

Could it be response to increased use of axes?? I just toss forward a hypothesis here.
You see that Iron Age warriors have a general set of spear and shield, with the elites having swords. Then we (perhaps?) see from Late Iron Age the axe becoming a normal soldiers weapons with the shield and spear. Axes can hook weapons and shields (especially bearded axes), so maybe it is way harder to destabilize a person holding a round-shield than a rectangular one?


I wouldn't think so, it's not so hard to hook a round shield with an axe's bottom horn, it's sharp and metal so it'll tend to bite into the shield regardless of rim shape.

Quote:

I haven't tried any reenactment so I don't know how well Viking shield actually can lock up in a shield wall. With the center group it is unstable from pressure on the sides, so are locking the shield together enough to withstand a hard charge?
Apparently the wider heavier viking shield appear later in the archaeological record than the smaller shields, so the shield wall seems to be a late development of the viking shield for greater amount of men on the battlefield and definitely a chance from semi-close formations to a tight formation in the later part of the viking age.


They did it so we know it worked but unfortunately the finer details of how they formed shield walls haven't been recorded as far as I know so the best we can do is just try it out for ourselves and see what appears to work the best. Consider a sample of three men standing shoulder to shoulder, the shield of the man in the middle is in front of the shields of the men to his left and right, kind of like this _--_. If that center man applies rearward pressure to his shield while the men to the sides apply forward pressure a surprisingly rigid structure will result. This doesn't even have to take a lot of muscular exertion to maintain, they can adjust their weight distribution in their fighting stance and essentially lean on each other. It works better with more men, like this _--_--_--_--_--_--_--_.--_--_--_, which may have something to do with why shield walls could break.

Quote:
Classical inspiration during the Ottonian renaissance is very possible, but the classical weapons didn't have a cross-guard, so the gaddhjalt is a radical innovation as you say and must be something completely new? Where it happened is very hard to say, since "news" spread fast apparently.


Just to clarify it wasn't the weapons or martial arts that influenced later swordsmanship directly, it was philosophy. If you give two ignorant people sticks and tell them to fight the first thing they'll come up with is a very simple parry-riposte system. That has its use but is vulnerable to the next thing they'll figure out on their own, feints. From there some clever people will realize that under certain circumstances it's possible to attack and defend with the same action but that's about as far as it gets without a proper teacher. There are other ways to use time and space that aren't particularly intuitive but are critically important to Medieval and later fencing systems, even after you've had them explained to you and understand them it takes a lot of training to be able to actually use them. This stuff was somehow derived from Aristotle's teachings, I don't know all the history on that but apparently Book IV of his Physics plays an important role.

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/physics.4.iv.html

Quote:

The problems with skeletons is that they don't show soft tissue damage. So stabs in the stomach region can basically never be shown archaeologically.


The most immediately fatal target in the abdomen is the aorta, I don't see how it would likely be damaged without leaving marks on at least the spine. In any case we do have Viking Age evidence to consider. Google turned up the link below which provides several useful leads, hopefully it works for you.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Ha-8CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=wounds+viking+skeleton&source=bl&ots=eFHsAUa1bB&sig=ViPTugiDQb-EgguLo7nwj5IrB4U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwibr4fdj5fKAhVJGR4KHYnUBOw4ChDoAQgpMAQ#v=onepage&q=wounds%20viking%20skeleton&f=false
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jan, 2016 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
So peasant is probably an insult from Dolnstein as he sees himself as a professional.

This does seem to fit the tenor of his writings.

Timo Nieminen wrote:
I think the most straightforward reading of the caption is "Our force included 1800 Germans." That is, the total force is larger, and includes 1800 Germans.

This seems quite reasonable, and had crossed my mind also. Might just be an artifact of the translation though, and I don't know enough German to guess what the best interpretation is. The actual text reads:

"...prant vnser warn xviij hundert tewtscher do vber vielen vnß die schwedischen bawrn jm lager xiv tawset starck..."


I agree "unser" = ours do not mean they were the only force there. It could just mean that OUR force was "18-hundred deutcher". So "our" means "German", not the combined Danish+German force against the Swedes.
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