August 22, 2020 at 3:11 pm #761
Very early basket hilt sword here (Austrian, 16th Century)September 15, 2020 at 6:52 pm #914
Check out this highly unusual reproduction made by Dr. Fabrice Cognot:
…I recall seeing a children’s book in my elementary school that featured characters with these goofy extendo-tangs in front of the guard. When I looked back on it before, I just figured the illustrator must have seen images of old swords whose fittings were loose. However, maybe he had seen something akin to Dr. Cognot’s reproduction, either in art or as an existent piece.
Note that the extendo-tang feature is not unlike the blade profile of many fantasy swords, where the connection to the crossguard is fairly narrow, and then the blade swells into a pair of points which are sharpened like the rest of the blade. I used to draw swords like that all the time, because they looked so cool. People, it seems, have always seemed to think this looked cool in retrospect.
In a practical sense, this is not necessarily a bad feature depending on the usage of the sword. A long tang section in an arming sword could allow for a comfortable second hand on the weapon, not unlike the designs seen on large Renaissance swords just about a century later. If the extended tang is shorter, it can allow very safe “fingering” of the blade around the crossguard without risking cutting the hand. Add a complex hilt, and you have a very modern sword indeed. As per my fantasy sword doodles (which I still occasionally make), I don’t like overly complex hilts, but the extended tang, complex cross (which does not incorporate a knuckle bow), and flared blade near the cross offer both good protection and control of the weapon. That said, it’s not a bad element to add to a fantasy weapon if it’s done sensibly, and in fact it must have made enough sense for people to do it in a historical sense!September 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm #918
Here is yet another reproduction, but this time based on a definite artifact:
…Please consider adding that to the list of items you and I will never be able to afford.
Although this is not the type of sword I generally gravitate to, and I feel that the sentiment that swords only improved as time progressed is questionable, by the latter standards, “Charlemagne’s sabre” is a highly sophisticated weapon. The blade is not at all unlike the “general” form of a British 1821 cavalry sabre, featuring an effective point and gentle, but not overly aggressive curve. Both weapons featured a short edge, though the yelman on the centuries’ earlier weapon is way cooler than the one from 1821.
Next, the, dare-one-say, ergonomic pistol-type grip is an incredible pairing with the blade. By virtue of hilt design, this sword generally achieves the design goals of the last cavalry “sabres” put into military service while also retaining an effective cut! The straight point, with that hilt, allows the wielder to simply aim the sword while charging and lance his opponents, simply turning the wrist as he passes to clear the area. All the while, remains more than enough blade presence for cutting, something an M1913 Patton sabre or British 1908 sabre would struggle to do on a good day. The only advantage the later mass-produced weapons have are their metallurgy and integral hand protection. With the latter, depending on the other kit available, that might not be a necessity, either!
In short, if you are somehow ever contracted to design a new military sabre for some power somewhere, you should consider the “Charlemagne” sabre as a basis. As Solomon once said, “there is nothing new under the sun.”September 30, 2020 at 7:51 pm #975
I remember when Fab made that funny looking sword. I admit it kind of put me off. You are totally right it does resemble many fantasy swords. Kudos to him for making something that doesn’t fit the expectations of the period.
That part of the ‘strong’ of your blade is often where you ideally want to parry, trap the opponents sword against your cross. If you have a blade there it’s just going to get dinged. One of my longswords has a big notch right at about that point. It could also be a half-swording grip like you see on some of the really big ‘true’ two handed swords.October 5, 2020 at 3:01 am #997
Another note on Dr. Cognot’s sword: if you have a setting where a proper longsword is “verboten” for your particular social status, such a weapon could act as a concealed version thereof, though you will be at a disadvantage when it comes to hand protection.
On a more serious note, when do you actually want a blade at the hilt for purposes of binding, and when do you not? Something like a Type XX blade might have a very substantial ricasso section with no edge whatsoever. Thus, that section of the blade will be very durable, but you will not get a firm bind there from “edge bite,” either.
…Also, I’m sorry to hear about your sword!October 5, 2020 at 4:59 am #998
Hahah that’s ok it’s a sparring sword, more of a blunt than a feder. I’ve had it for years and used it in four tournaments. I expect it to get a little battered, it’s actually held up quite well, and still feels lively in the hand.October 8, 2020 at 4:57 am #1085
Tod and the mighty Toby Capwell discuss historical fantasy weapons:
…It’s possible you’ve seen this before, but it’s probably been a while since you have if such is the case. It’s a wonderful discussion, to say the least. While the weapon is likely a “cobble job” as suggested, it’s actually still very practical – note the following:
If the sword is carried with the simple guard bow facing away from the body, it will cover the area above the knuckles when drawn. That structure should do a fair bit to protect that part of the hand if the cross doesn’t catch an opposing blow.
Next, while the complex elements of the guard are oriented such that a right-hander could access the “finger ring” from the position described above, that structure, I feel, has a different purpose. As alluded to in the video, the “finger ring” allows the complex guard on the opposite side of the blade to actually rise over the blade itself: this is important, as this is (if the thumb grip is used) where the thumb will in fact be. So, there is a structure to protect the knuckles from a downward blow, and there is also a structure which will protect the thumb when the latter is placed on the blade. Perhaps the guard, be it original or not, is not the best design, but it certainly does work…
I suppose I am just seeing more potential purpose in this design now than I did when it first became an item of discussion on MyArmoury. Dammit, I need one to try this idea out now!October 8, 2020 at 5:45 pm #1090
Interesting vid and quite a pretty (if strange looking) sword. The 19th Century or museum mashups are always a bit suspect for me. Toby Capwell is a sort of ‘friend of a friend’ – he sure has a nice job!October 16, 2020 at 9:26 pm #1178
This is not strictly historical, but I doubt you’d get any complaints regarding function if you had to take it back in time with you:
…I also assume you could find something like this at the MET, or at least on their website. What is so neat about this particular reproduction is the complex construction. The spear not only has a socket, but langets to keep everything together as well. The parrying hooks are dull at the front – which would help with parrying, and also would help to prevent over-penetration. Against an armored man, that may not be much of an issue, but an unbarded horse might not be a target you’d want to get your primary weapon lodged too deeply into. In contrast, the hooks are sharpened to the rear and pose a nasty threat to the often unprotected areas at the back of a leg. The overall grind on the hooks also make for a wicked spike if the spear was to be swung rather than thrust with…
…The butt of the spear is provisioned with a wicked triangular, hollow-ground cap. And while this is impressive, there is one thing you may have not noticed: the shaft is hexagonal. Hex shapes are very ergonomic: take your hand and imagine you are gripping something while looking through the opening – notice anything about the shape? While octagons may look cool and work well, I am fully convinced that hexes are better for a tight grip. The only thing the spear above really needs is a bit more of a radius on the corners of the shaft, and you’d have something approaching what might be the ultimate spear: strength, edge alignment control, and utility for just about every occasion. The weapon above can almost double as a pollaxe, and if you were in an unarmored duel, it would be a superior choice to the pollaxe.October 17, 2020 at 3:22 am #1179
Oooh that looks lethal as hellOctober 17, 2020 at 4:16 pm #1183
The lugs are used for grappling too -you can pull someone off their horse for example or pull someones shield down before thrusting into their face. Langets are pretty common on medieval weapons I think.
All in all much, much prettier than my crappy Cold Steel boar spear.October 23, 2020 at 1:42 am #1196
…Also features an arquebus at the end. Perhaps not something to recommend someone doing, but then, options.November 11, 2020 at 6:23 pm #1557
I love early blackpowder firearms, the earlier the better. If I had the money I’d have 4 or 5 of them right now.November 11, 2020 at 6:26 pm #1558
Great vid but too short!November 11, 2020 at 7:33 pm #1560
Did you see the second part on Vimeo? That’s the one with the arquebus (matchlock).
…The gist of the video series here, if not apparent, is that there’s apparently a bit of interest around some of these more unique black powder weapons, and “actual” reproductions are hard to come by. However, some of the Indian prop weapons are actually serviceable as working arms once modified – which you do at your own risk. Apparently they work as well as legitimate reproductions so long as they are loaded appropriately, though of course you conduct these modifications at – again – your own risk.
This is the website referenced in the video:
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