Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Meteorain, May 11, 2008.
I agree with the first poster.
The pommel is the key. Even on a true two handed sword one tends to use the non-dominant hand on the pommel rather that holding the sword like a baseball bat. The dominant hand/arm will target and the non-dominant hand will provide the power. The use of the fulcrum between the hands creates an amazing amount of speed and power. The two handed sword was not carried on the hip in a scabbard as a bastard sword could be. It was a war sword. Usually carried in a scab on a horse. The two handed sword came up to the armpit when standing. The bastard sword comes up to about chest level.
If you check out Albion Arms site look at the 'next generation' line and see the Fiore sword. You will see a thicker area near the cross and a thinner area near the pommel end. This is a good example of a bastard sword. Arms and Armor has several good examples also. The balance is a bit different than on a two hander and the point of percussion is a bit different also. The beauty of the bastard is that you can carry on your hip if you like. You can use it with one hand or two. If you use it with one you can use it with something like a buckler, etc. The balance of a two hander would soon wear you out if you used it one handed (tho there are plenty of one hand uses shown in various treatises, German and Italian).
Hope that helps.
I've heard it suggested that "bastard sword" should be reserved for a sword, the grip of which has a prominent mid ring. If you look on the Albion site, the Next Generation swords "Mercenary," "Castellan," "Ringeck," "Fiore," and "Munich" would be bastard swords, while "Baron," "Constable," "Crecy" and "Sempach" aren't. All, however are longswords in the historical/hoplological sense.
Here's the link to the Albion website.
Thought I'd respond to this because I'm also a historical fencer, like some of the others on this site. I started learning longsword about 7 years ago and I have to say that it's a terrific weapon, and incredibly versatile. Greybeard, I pretty much agree with you that a "Bastard Sword" is typically identified by the waisted grip, but it's otherwise similar to a longsword.
One thing about their use that I don't think has been mentioned yet is that they're not always used how we might think a sword is used - i.e. with the hands on the grip. A longsword can be used as a club, spear, or hammer, all depending on how you put your hands on it and what you need to do at the time. A quick look through the available fechtbucher will provide examples of this (I'm partial to Talhoffer and Meyer, m'self.) A well-made longsword is light and fast, and can cleave right through bone.
I'm jealous. I'd love to get into historical fencing, but my knees will no longer allow it.
The first time you see an illustration of someone holding the blade of his sword it's right strange, but it really does make sense at some points of an active swordfight.
I have a full weight "Bastard Sword", The handle looks to short to fit 2 hands on unless YOU include the pommel? Then it becomes a 2 hander. I train with it & aheavy Sheild,I have no problems swinging it 1 handed. But in 2 hands it becomes a very powerful slicer.
From what I understand
"Hand and a Half": Not an appropriate name. You can indeed fit two hands on the hilt if it's needed, but the sword is balanced and lengthed so that it could be wielded with one hand if necessary. This affords it an insane amount of versatility, usable by unskilled and skilled warriors as needed. Mounted cavalry, archers, footsoldiers would all be equipped with this weapon sheerly because it was a weapon that could be used in any style, no matter the experience. As has been previously stated the "Bastard" sword can be used in the same manner as any other medeival weapon simply by changing the hand placement on the hilt. I think historically the "Bastard" sword's name has changed and has become misleading to todays society when looked back upon.
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