Bastard Sword

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Meteorain, May 11, 2008.

  1. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Right, so I was doing some research on different sword types and was interested by the "hand and a half sword" also known as the Bastard Sword. A point of interest that came up was the grip of this sword. Now I've tried finding information on how exactly the grip helps in using the sword when you can fit on only half a second hand.

    Can anyone link me, or directly provide me information as to the advantages of this sword's grip?
     
  2. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    from what i gather, you can fit a few extra fingers on it, for a little bit of extra leverage.
     
  3. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Yea I read about that, but it doesn't explain it in sufficient detail for me. Thinking about it, I can't imagine just half a hand adding much power, not to mention it makes it awkward and so if anything makes it less powerful :S
     
  4. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    i have to agree... but that's really all i could find about the grip.
     
  5. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    If the pommel is of a suitable shape eg rounded, you can fit that second "half hand" on for extra power. Trust me, it makes a big difference.

    Try it with a suitably sized branch. Swing it one handed, leaving half a hand of extra room. Go smack a dead tree with it.

    Then put the half hand on as well, and then tell me it doesn't add power and control.

    If not me, then trust to history. It was a popular sword design. Real military technology will be abandoned immediately if it doesn't work, because it'll get you killed. This design works very well. The sword can be used one handed, on horseback, with a shield etc, but if you need to you cna grab it with both hands for that almighty blow.
     
  6. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    I'm sure it does work, because it wouldn't have been used if it didn't. I just wasn't sure how exactly it helped. I suppose only doing it in practice can one understand if it works or not...
     
  7. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    a good question is:

    why not use just a 2 handed sword?
     
  8. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Coz you can't use them one handed.

    Depends on the job at hand, the enemy, their armour etc. The hand and a half sword was popular because it can do two jobs pretty well. Works as a one hander, works as a two hander, works with a shield or off-hand weapon like a dagger perhaps, or a warhammer.

    It's a good design.
     
  9. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    That's one of the reasons that I dislike the term "hand and a half sword": it's misleading. The other it that it's unwieldy (the term, not the sword).

    Bastard swords had blades larger than arming swords (one handers) and smaller than two handers, but they had plenty of grip to get two hands on.

    Anduril from the LotR movies is a classic bastard sword.
     
  10. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    What's misleading about it?
     
  11. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    probally the fact that it can be used as a two or one handed sword?
     
  12. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    The term is misleading because it can give the impression that the grip is large enough for only one and a half hands. The grip actually gave plenty of room for two hands.
     
  13. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Well looking at various sources they cite that the sword usually had only grip for about an extra half hand, although it was not unusual for it to fit a whole two hands.
     
  14. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    I'd like to see your sources.

    Have you posted this question on a dedicated weapons forum like netsword.com, swordforums.com or thearma.org? They'll be able to give scholarly answers.
     
  15. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Since I'm not much of a weapon's buff I wasn't aware of such sites, but I will go check them out now!
     
  16. Andradir

    Andradir Grampa

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    Most of these words are modern expressions. The historical warriors, knights, soldiers, mercenaries etc never used these expressions.
    Some of those words are nothing more than inventions by RPG-rule-makers or by Fantasy authors.
    The so-called "bastard sword" was commonly referred to as (German) Langes Schwert or (English] Long Sword. It was used two-handed in most cases.
     
  17. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Yes and no. So far only two terms have been used in this thread for such swords: hand-and-a-half sword and bastard sword.

    Hand-and-a-half sword is not historical. While it appears in Spanish as early as 1564, it is not used in English until later. I prefer not to use it because it's unwieldy, misleading, and dates from the Renaissance.

    Bastard sword is historical, appearing no later than 1418, near the end of the medieval period, while such swords were still in common use. I prefer not to use it because bastard is a word that some find offensive, and the term dates from later in the Middle Ages than I prefer to set my stories.

    Longsword is historical. I prefer not to use it because its use in D&D for an arming sword of Oakeshott's Group 2 confuses people familiar with the game, but not with Medieval history or weaponry, which - unfortunately - describes a majority of general fantasy fandom. However, it is the preferred term among modern students of hoplology and European historical martial arts, and is the term I would use in such a setting.

    Warsword (or war sword or war-sword) is also historical. It dates at least to the early 1300s, and is another useful term for the same device. It is my first choice for describing such swords.

    Great sword is also historical, and probably the oldest term of the bunch. I prefer not to use it for the sword under discussion because it has also been used for - and I prefer to reserve its use for - swords too large to effectively wield with one hand but less specialized than the proper two-handers of the Renaissance.

    So as we see, Medieval "warriors, knights, soldiers, mercenaries etc" did use four out of the five terms.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  18. beorn the oldwolf

    beorn the oldwolf New Member

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    I do historical combat with live steel and the Bastard sword is without a doubt the most versatile of weapons, Commonly it has a grip that allows it to be used two handed, but the ballance of the blade is such hat it can be used one handed while the other hand supports something else like a shield,

    Great swords or two handed swords are weighted slightly blade forward and require the strength of two hands to use, The bastard does not have the length of the great sword but it makes up for it in versatility.

    Too many people discount the qualities of a shield. A shield can make a average warrior good and a good warrior even better.

    D
     
  19. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Oh, I'm strongly in favour of the aggressive use of a shield. But the shield all but vanished from the battlefield shortly after the arrival of full suits of plate armour. It seems that when people could afford to get both hands on their weapons they chose to.
     
  20. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, shields rock.

    But when you're wearing your shield, I guess it's easier to poke a guy in the face using both hands :D
     
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