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Pedro Paulo Gaićo

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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PostPosted: Sat 11 Nov, 2017 5:51 am    Post subject: Swiss Longswords in Schilling's Chronicles         Reply with quote

Rudolf von Erlach as field commander of Berne kneeling in prayer before the battle of Laupen 1339 (illustration from Spiezer Chronik, c. 1485). Rudolf is shown with his family coat or arms and wearing a pointed hat with his heraldic colours.

In Schilling's Manuscript, there is a fairly good representation of these longswords/two-handers as a second side-weapon of the Swiss, after the Baselard. Apparently, everyone was expected to afford at least his main weapon, a baselard, and basic armor. Those who could afford this very long gripped-sword could add it as a secondary side-weapon. I also find interesting that this is perhaps the only manuscript I know so far to describe some swiss soldiers in full harness.

However, my doubt is related to the fact that sometimes you can see highlighted groups carrying their greatswords (often resting on the shoulders) without a main weapon. So I'm interested if by that time (late 15th century) the officers were mainly armed with the greatsword or if there were units of two-handed armed swordsmen amongst them.

Schilling's swordsmen:

Regarding what I have researched:

In some obscure period, the Confederation banned the use of zweihandėr, but it was ignored or relaxed somewhere until the Second War of Kappel (where you can see illustration showing zweihandėr-armed swordsmen fighting pikemen).

The zweihander wasn't adopted by the Landsknecht until somewhere by 1510's. Paul Dolstein drawings don't include them among the weapon of the Landsknecht serving in Sweden, for example. Some authors also argued it was swiss/german influence that make Scots adopt the use of two-handed swordsmen at the Schiltron's flanks starting at Flodden (1513).

Giving the fact that Oakeshott traces the earliest two-handers in Spain and then to Italy, it's possible the Swiss adopted the two-handers before the germans, who were likely to have copied them.

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Benjamin H. Abbott

Location: New Mexico
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Nov, 2017 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a lot of evidence that Swiss soldiers carried longswords as sidearms. They were famous for using longswords/two-handers even into the middle of the 17th century.

Now, some of the swords worn at the side in this particular chronicle look so big as to prove a hindrance. That might just be a matter of inconsistent proportions and artwork.

There are various later pieces that show pikers and halberdiers equipped with longswords, such as from Urs Graf. Sometimes these do have long handles, as in this picture.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

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To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
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