What is the point of a battle ready sword

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Halo's Hobbit, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. FireSnake

    FireSnake Bhaal Spawn

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    well if you think abou it it would sort of crush through the flesh but will appear as a cut,its sort of like pushing a dull knife through cheese,and if since the edge of the sword will provide a much more concentrated area of where the force is delivered it will be easier to crush the bones, then the club wich since it covers a larger area for the hit disperse alll the force over a general area not necesaraly breaking bones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2005
  2. R. Laine

    R. Laine New Member

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    Care to give me one single piece of supporting evidence from a historical source? I could give you at least half a dozen ones for the contrary viewpoint, but none for bashing through armour. Here's two, can't be bothered to look up decent transcriptions of others right now:
    http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/Gladiatoria/Gladiatoria.htm
    http://www.varmouries.com/wildrose/fiore/section6.html

    The idea of crushing armour with large swords is really just another victorian era myth. Fencing historians back then simply didn't have access, or didn't understand, the sources we have today, and had to base much of their research on guess-work. Why on Earth would Medieval people have tried crushing armour with swords (for godssakes, they didn't try that with halberds either!) when there was a much more effective way?

    Nope, sorry. That is an unfortunately common misconception, even in sword collector circles. Claymores, both baskethilts and two-handers, were usually rather thin at the foible, and there are numerous historical accounts describing their sharpness and the horrific cuts they were capable of inflicting.

    Rabbe

    Edit: Just for the kicks, try this or this with a blunt sword...
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2005
  3. Skyanide

    Skyanide The Big Meanie Staff Member

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    Well, for one, my last name is Scott, so for one, you probably wouldn't tell a Chinese person how to cook rice or an Italian how to make spaghetti. Have you ever been to Scotland? Or toured their museums or castles? I have.

    Claymores were used to combat English armour while still maintaining the functionality of a sword.

    http://swordforum.com/articles/hes/highlandscots.php

    And R. Laine, don't confuse a basket-hilt broad and backsword with a claymore. I know, I have a real backsword.

    And I work in a factory, I'm quite aware of the damage that a blunt piece of steel can do.
     
  4. R. Laine

    R. Laine New Member

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    I mean absolutely no offense, but being of Scottish descent hardly renders one an expert in Scottish history and arms. Despite being Finnish, I used to hold similar misconceptions about continental arms for a long time before my introduction to Oakeshott's books.

    Admittedly, I didn't have the time to properly read through the article (got an essay to write that is due tomorrow...), but I didn't notice a reference to hacking at armour anywhere in it.

    Actually, "claymore" seems to have been used for both sword types historically.

    Agreed. That doesn't change the fact that a sharp sword can do considerably more damage than a blunt one, though.

    Rabbe
     
  5. Skyanide

    Skyanide The Big Meanie Staff Member

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    I never claimed to be an "expert", but I can personally identify with the subject, I HAVE been to Scotland, to Edinburgh Castle, Culloden, etc. etc.; perhaps you should consider doing it as well, you may learn more than just what is written in the Oakenshott books.
    It doesn't. The claymore wasn't used to hack through armour, it didn't weigh 20 pounds either. It was effective in delivering a disabling blow to light armour, not as effective as a mace, but effective nonetheless. The last 1/3 was sharpened, it was still used "as a sword" but the reason for its size was for both reach and inertia.
    Improperly, yes they have. Just as you say to have been corrected on "similar misconceptions about continental arms" you are perpetuating one now. Most people that call a basket hilt a claymore don't know the difference between a dirk and a sgian dubh.
    Well, I suppose that would depend on what your opponent is wearing, right?;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2005
  6. R. Laine

    R. Laine New Member

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    Total agreement here, on both points. I thought you meant the entire length of the blade was unsharpened.

    I'm still not exactly convinced. "Claymore" was just an English corruption of "claidheamh mor", the term meaning "large sword", as opposed to "claidheamh da laimh" (two-handed sword), correct? It seems that the English used it to refer to both the baskethilt and the two-hander, and I'd imagine the military and fencing authors understood the proper terminology of their time.

    I'll see if I can dig up a historical reference or two tomorrow. Don't have the time right now, because I'm very actively working on that essay, as you can propably see... :rolleyes:

    Well, yeah, sorta agreed; in the case of an heavily armoured opponent, a cut from a sharp edge is going to be just as useless as a strike from a blunt one. In an unarmoured confrontation, however...

    Rabbe
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2005
  7. R. Laine

    R. Laine New Member

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    Right, as promised, here we go...

    The earliest known use of the term is from 1715, in a description of a group of highlanders:

    This is the first reference to a "claymore", and as you likely know, the two-handed variety was already largely out of use by this time. I don't think they were ever wonrn by the side, either, but I'm not certain of that.

    Then, a few decades later, the "Lyoness in the Mourning" manuscript says the following (quite clearly referring to the baskethilt):

    Then, from another text:

    From John Campbell's "A Full and Paricular Description of the Highlander of Scotland":

    Admittedly, there are also accounts that use "claymore" to refer to the two-hander, so it would seem that the term was actually used for both types of sword. Claude Blair discusses this quite well in his article "The word Claymore", which can be found in David Caldwell's "Scottish Weapons & Fortifications 1100-1800".

    Rabbe
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2005
  8. Skyanide

    Skyanide The Big Meanie Staff Member

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    You can quote and Google all the sources you wish; nobody in my lineage refers to a baskethilt as a true claymore.
     
  9. R. Laine

    R. Laine New Member

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    Okay. It would seem to me that "claymore" was a very proper term when referring to the baskethilted broadsword historically though, even among Scots.

    Here's another quote to back up what I said above, from the commander of Prince Charles' Jacobite army: "I immediately drew my sword and cried CLAYMORE! Cluny did the same, and we ran down to the bottom ditch, clearing the diagonal hedges as we went." The shout of "claymore" is apparently a command for the soldiers to draw their swords - which, quite likely, were baskethilts.

    Other than that, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    Rabbe
     
  10. Skyanide

    Skyanide The Big Meanie Staff Member

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    :)
     
  11. Thorin

    Thorin Avatar of Darkness

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    I think its safe to say that unless you were actually there and saw it happen.. none of us will truely understand how and what happened. Oh sure, you can try and make sense of it... but whatever. To me, a sword is a self-defense weapon. Im not sure about the rest of you... but here, if someone is attacking you, you are allowed to use the same force being used against you. I would never think about using a sword against someone... its more to scare them away.
     
  12. R. Laine

    R. Laine New Member

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    Hey, don't know about you, but at least I found it an interesting discussion. Thanks. :)

    Rabbe
     
  13. Skyanide

    Skyanide The Big Meanie Staff Member

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    Hey, it's all entertaining. :D
     
  14. Kellarly

    Kellarly Snow Merchant

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    Rabbe is right. Although no-one in your (skyanide) lineage may call it a Claymore, it is still referred to as a Claymore, whether it be a baskethilt or a large two hander (That really isn't meant to be an insult to your lineage). They are referred to as such in the Royal Armouries in Leeds and in the Great Hall in Edinburgh Castle, as well as various private and public collections. The officers in the Black Watch (and other scottish regiments) recieved a double edged basket hilt sword which was called a "Claymore" even up to the Crimea.

    The reference by Rabbe to the

    is very much correct.

    But I will grant you, they were referred by other names too, mainly backsword if they were single edged and more commonly (and recently) broadsword, as well as basket hilt too. It is just one of a variety of names for it. I refer to them as basket hilted claymores so people can know the difference. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2005
  15. Kellarly

    Kellarly Snow Merchant

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    To be honest I would go with what Oakeshott says...after all his works are pretty much the authority on western european swords. Thats really not meant to be an insult to your lineage, just my honest opinion as a student of history and knowing how highly Oakeshott is regarded in the sword world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2005
  16. Kellarly

    Kellarly Snow Merchant

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    Ohhhh I think I might have found something here....from a book on Culloden in an entry about a basket hilt sword, its is named as a "Claidheam-crom".

    Linky
     
  17. steelpounder

    steelpounder New Member

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    From my own experiments I have found that a well made sword will cut 12-16 guage sheet metal with little damage.
    I have often heard that this is the average thickness of most armour of the day. Thicker would be too heavy, thinner would not be much good.
    I am not sure if this is correct though
     
  18. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Well sure you can cut thin shets of mild steel edge on And you can use a very heavy blade to shear through it using weight and leverage. How do you think they take big sheets and make them into little sheets. But armor isnt in nice little sheets. Its shaped into round forms which are better at defelcting cuts and thrusts, so there are very few places to get purchase for a cut. some times its not made of mild steel some times its been tempered and hardened, would you say that a sword could cut through hardened and tempered medium to high carbon steel?
     
  19. sihn jihn

    sihn jihn New Member

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    I actually own a real Katana which was folded over 200 times. This sword was made in Japan. I recently had to prove a point to a freind who sold replicas. he said that his replicas that he sold for $35.00 was just as good as the one I had paid $1200.00 for. So i made him a deal, i told him that if on of his replica Katanas would stand up to mine I would buy it. With the first strike his sword broke and mine didn't have a blemish. That's the difference.
     
  20. Skyanide

    Skyanide The Big Meanie Staff Member

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