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Market Square => Arms and Armor => Topic started by: The Scottish Knight on October 21, 2009, 09:52:20 PM

Title: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 21, 2009, 09:52:20 PM
I'm trying to choose a sword for my persona. What kind of sword would you recomend for a Renaissance traveler, basically, he just travels around, taking various jobs, usually ones that involve combat- something of a sword for hire. He's (probably) from Scotland originally.

I don't particularly care for Rapiers and I'd need something tougher than that, but nothing to heavy or slow. I would go with the Scottish basket-hilt broadsword, but they're a little anachronistic for the Renaissance.

Also, I've been a sword enthusiast for a long time, but, up until now, I was more interested in swords of the 18th century and Medieval times. I've never given much thought to the Renaissance before.


Any suggestions? :-\
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Hoowil on October 21, 2009, 10:48:47 PM
During the early renaissance the basket hilt claymores were not uncommon in some areas (Scotland, England, Britain in general).  It took a while before the rapier fencing, more common in Italy and France became popular in the isles. The English and Scottish still used heavier cut and thrust swords, paired with bucklers ( or targes ) for a time. There was a division between those who wished to be fashionable, and hire fencing masters from the continent to learn rapier style fencing, and those who wished to follow the more local fighting traditions. Think of the movie Rob Roy, and the various types of swords used in he duels, and the differences of styles the fighters used. It is a fairly accurate depiction of the transition. A Scottish wandering sell-sword would be more likely to use the heavier, traditional weapons of his homeland, as it is unlikely he would have the money, or time, to hire and train with a fencing master. Also, as armor was still present on the battle field, as a mercenary, somethign with a little more impact might be preferable anyway. But then it depends on wether you want to go early, mid, or later period ren. Find a peice you like, and do a little checking, you can probably make it work. If nothign else, if you want something a little 'outdated' say its an inherited blade, and that you are working towards the coin to get a more modern blade. Mercs, rogues, and peasant background fighters would carry what they could find/afford/steal or get ahold of in whatever way, even if its a little outdated.
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: escherblacksmith on October 22, 2009, 08:20:58 AM
Yeah, I agree with Hoowil, and I would ask, where and when are you thinking about?

The renaissance covers a lot of ground (300 years or so) and was not in all of Europe at the same time.  Since you seem to be taking something of an exacting approach, you may want to consider that.

Otherwise, if this is for any sort of renaissance festival, then I'd just go with something appropriate for the show.  Depending, they probably won't let you draw it anyway.



Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: BLAKDUKE on October 22, 2009, 09:59:30 AM
SCOTTISH KNIGHT:

My personna was developed a long time ago and has always centered on a swordsman.  Having had fencing training for many years sometime under the best masters, I generally preferred the Spanish Cup Hilt Rapier of which I have a few.  When presented with a Scottish Basket Hilt Claymore for a fantastic price, I could not pass it up.  I have alternated between all of these blades depending on mood.  Since I am not on cast as most faires I carry what I please.   So the H/A idea does not bother me at all.  If the faire was of a specific year is which the only S.B.H.C that were around were in museums then I would have to carry something else.   Your site id pretty much demands the S.B.H.C.   I already have a mental picture of you in kilt, and no other sword fits, unless you want to carry a braveheart sword. 

The BLAKDUKE
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 22, 2009, 10:44:26 AM
I'm pretty sure the Scottish basket hilt didn't come into use until the late 17th century.

As far as the time period I was thinking, proably the early-mid 1500s.

That said, do you think a Scottish basket-hilt would be to out of place?


[Edit] BLAKDUKE, didn't see you post, thanks. I think I will go with the basket-hilt. In the future I may get a small amount of armour (shoulder, gauntlets) and a big claymore and go as a mercenary.

Till then though, just a Scottish traveler with a basket-hilt. It is my favorite sword. ;)
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: RSLeask on October 22, 2009, 11:20:51 AM
For some aid on the subject, I'll give you my choice and reasoning of blade selection.  I've had this backgrounded since May, when I finally fleshed out what my particular character was... which is basically a Scotland-born wayfarer, sword-for-hire, and occasional "coin-expidited demise bringer".  I've heard the nasty term "assassin" tossed around a couple times...  :-X

For my choice of sword, I mainly use a simple bastard sword (sometimes, I wear a longsword with more decorative falcon-head hilt and winged crossguard).  The bastard sword was realtively easy to make with the basic design, and would have been plentiful enough as a basic armament during the time.  As well, the variation of one-handed and two-handed fighting style made the blade particularly effective in most situations, since you could switch quickly to using both hands to deliver powerful blows to lightly armored opponents (ie, bandits in leather).  I've also been toying with the idea of a matching shortsword for dual bladed fighting. 

These reasons, to me, make the blade a far better choice to someone relying on it for their living, over a longsword or claymore.  When relying on your blade, you want effectiveness to be matched with versatility.  Something that's easy to use, but will stand up in a fight no matter the conditions.  Unless you're talking about arrows.  But then, that's what a large metal shield is for, and you can still wield the blade while protecting yourself from the cowards firing from the back lines.

Cuz someone like me would never use a bow.  Stalking a target.  Firing from the trees.  Under the cover of night.  For a nice purse of coin from someone that wished them dead.  Nope, no sir, not me.   :o

Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 22, 2009, 11:34:00 AM
For some aid on the subject, I'll give you my choice and reasoning of blade selection.  I've had this backgrounded since May, when I finally fleshed out what my particular character was... which is basically a Scotland-born wayfarer, sword-for-hire, and occasional "coin-expidited demise bringer".  I've heard the nasty term "assassin" tossed around a couple times...  :-X

For my choice of sword, I mainly use a simple bastard sword (sometimes, I wear a longsword with more decorative falcon-head hilt and winged crossguard).  The bastard sword was realtively easy to make with the basic design, and would have been plentiful enough as a basic armament during the time.  As well, the variation of one-handed and two-handed fighting style made the blade particularly effective in most situations, since you could switch quickly to using both hands to deliver powerful blows to lightly armored opponents (ie, bandits in leather).  I've also been toying with the idea of a matching shortsword for dual bladed fighting. 

These reasons, to me, make the blade a far better choice to someone relying on it for their living, over a longsword or claymore.  When relying on your blade, you want effectiveness to be matched with versatility.  Something that's easy to use, but will stand up in a fight no matter the conditions.  Unless you're talking about arrows.  But then, that's what a large metal shield is for, and you can still wield the blade while protecting yourself from the cowards firing from the back lines.

Cuz someone like me would never use a bow.  Stalking a target.  Firing from the trees.  Under the cover of night.  For a nice purse of coin from someone that wished them dead.  Nope, no sir, not me.   :o



Your persona sounds just about like what I had in mind for my own. You made your sword? Are you a blacksmith?

I was considering a hand-and-a-half sword. If I did I'd probably move my character back about a hundred years. I do love longswords... ::)
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: RSLeask on October 22, 2009, 01:34:57 PM
Your persona sounds just about like what I had in mind for my own. You made your sword? Are you a blacksmith?

I wish, but no.  I meant they were relatively easy to make, as in, the smiths of the time could make them in a greater quantity for, say, larger armies.  Buying one would have been cheaper because the materials needed were less than larger two-handed swords, and the process less than the longer-bladed one-handed swords.
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 22, 2009, 01:47:01 PM
I found this. Should be very useful to anyone looking into 16 and 17th century Scottish military.

http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_armies_scots.html
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: SirRichardBear on October 22, 2009, 01:52:08 PM
The basket sword has a long history and evolution while the "classical" Scottish basket sword was from the 17th century there are examples of basket swords being used as early as the 1500's.   A merc would be more likely to use a heavier sword than a rapier since it would be less likely to break in combat when a soldier could easly find himself facing someone wearing armour.  
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 22, 2009, 02:20:17 PM
The basket sword has a long history and evolution while the "classical" Scottish basket sword was from the 17th century there are examples of basket swords being used as early as the 1500's.   A merc would be more likely to use a heavier sword than a rapier since it would be less likely to break in combat when a soldier could easly find himself facing someone wearing armour.  

I think you're right. Do you think a basket-hilt would be heavy enough? I'm considering going with a two-handed claymore and a look similar to figure 3 on this page.
http://swordforum.com/articles/history/the_medieval_gaelic_soldier.php
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Count Adolfo on October 22, 2009, 02:59:50 PM
from reading your description of your persona, I'd go with a hand-and-a-half bastard sword, something not too heavy but also not a fencer... something with both cut and thrust capabilities and something that looks suitably impressive upon your waist.
Nothing too too fancy, though... as one who is coin-activated death is not going to want to attract a lot of attention to himself.
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Monsignor de Beaumanoir on October 22, 2009, 03:11:30 PM
For your reading pleasure....

http://www.thearma.org/terms4.htm


and....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallowglass

This may help as well....

http://www.amazon.com/Scottish-Renaissance-Armies-1513-1550-Elite/dp/184603325X
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 22, 2009, 06:36:04 PM
Warrior Monk, thanks for the links! Ah, if only I could afford a Gallowglass sword... ::)

Count Adolfo, as much as I love the basket-hilts, you may be right.

Although, I had originally concieved this persona as someone who handles non-military matters. Local gangs, an occasional assasination, things like that. So a hand-and-a-half may not be the best choice.

I'll have to think about it a bit more. Refine my persona.


Thanks everyone!
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Kruzar on October 22, 2009, 08:07:55 PM
It's really interesting to me the number of us, who come to have a roguish faire personality... I know that is what I go for when I done my gear.

For my blades, I carry a Scottish Court Sword.  It is a historical replica, but it is not quite accurate for the time period.  It basically looks like a short rapier, and I wear it primarily for the show of it.  And it feels good in my hand, which is most important.

The second blade that I carry is a black stilleto, which is very easy to conceal and is my back-up weapon.

When it comes to blades, I think the key is to have fun with it... and find something that fits you.  Both of my blades felt right when I held them... and that is why I ended up purchasing them both.  And I know that when I was looking, I spent a lot of time trying out a whole bunch of different blades until that perfect fit came along.

Good luck out there...
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: madmanpsu on October 22, 2009, 08:19:39 PM
Another blade you may wish to consider is the side sword.  That is a very common civilian and military weapon dating from sometime in the late 1400s to early 1500s (the various sources I have seen disagree about the exact appearance date) and was used well into the late 1500s to early 1600s.  It is a cross between the war sword (longsword) and rapier.  It retains the heavier blade, but is capable of both cut and thrust.  It lacks the basket or swept hilt of period rapiers, but has better had protection than the period war sword.  It is also lighter and therefore faster than the war sword but heavier than the rapier, thus making it suitable for use against armored opponents.  In the late 1500s this sword began to be replaced in popularity by the backsword, a basket hilted weapon similiar to the scottish basket hilt claymore.  This is my sword of choice for a military style personae for the 1500s.

Matt
Mail'n M'Crack
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: RSLeask on October 22, 2009, 09:07:13 PM
It's really interesting to me the number of us, who come to have a roguish faire personality... I know that is what I go for when I done my gear.

Dunno about the rest of anyone here, but personally, there's always that affection for the days of sitting around the table with friends, setting out on an adventure against local bandit rings, masses of orcs, and the occasional dragon or lich.  Of course, there's nothing really to actually fight (unless you're LARPing), but the attraction of being that adventurer still draws me in when I'm looking at my own character.  Of course, I also kind of wish I was about a foot and a half shorter and able to grow a long, thick beard, rather than being an earpoint away from an entirely different race...

As a word of caution, don't discount a sword simply because we toss terms like "militaristic" around.  Think about where your character came from.  Did he learn effective swordplay and combat tactics simply on his own, or maybe was he part of a guard or army until he found he could make coin better working for himself?  Or perhaps he took the sword from someone, as well.  These kind of little nuances come into play as well.  You also said "non-military matters" like local bandits... which actually, if you think on it, IS a job of the militia, albeit the local one.  Usually, they're ineffective against bandits, though, since you can hear them coming a mile away.  However, a single hired sword, while able to catch them unawares, would need to be pretty well armed himself to take them down.  Unless you go by the old Klingon proverb, "A running man with a dagger can silence a thousand voices in the night."

Of course, as was said, the best choice of a sword, is one that feels right in your hand.  Go to the local armory at your faire, and try the weight of several different blades.  Find the one that fits you best.
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: SirRichardBear on October 22, 2009, 11:53:30 PM
Scottish Knight a basket is heavy enough and its a versatile blade good for both cutting and thrusting and the basket makes a wicked weapon itself in close combat.  My own persona is a Welsh/Scottish mercenary soldier.  this line form the movie Captain Blood fits him well   I've been most everywhere that fighting was in evidence: I fought for the French against the Spanish and the Spanish against the French... and I learned me seamanship in the Dutch navy.

in real life I've fenced with Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European swords and there is just something about a basket that feels right when I use it. 

My persona came from my love of books like the White Company, Robert Howard's Conan, Solomon Kane, and Cormac, Foresters' Hornblower etc.

I agree with others fine a blade that feels right to you and then put a story around it to give your persona a little character and a talking point to the t-shirts and blue jeans who might ask why you carry such a sword.
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Hatter on October 23, 2009, 05:19:50 PM
You could go with the German Branch sword.  This was contemporary to the mid 15th century.  Arms & Armor make a great recreation.  I love mine!!
http://www.armor.com/sword078.html (http://www.armor.com/sword078.html)
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on October 23, 2009, 09:57:42 PM
You could go with the German Branch sword.  This was contemporary to the mid 15th century.  Arms & Armor make a great recreation.  I love mine!!
http://www.armor.com/sword078.html (http://www.armor.com/sword078.html)

If only... It's a beautiful sword, but a bit out of my price range.

Although, I should look into more riding swords.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: The Scottish Knight on December 17, 2009, 11:04:22 AM
Greetings all!

I have purchased a Scottish Basket Hilted Broadsword (Hanwei, antiqued.) It's a beautiful sword, I'll probably be using it for my pirate and 18th century Highlander costumes more than for Renne. But this is (hopefully) the beginning a a larger sword collections, so I'll probably aquire a more suitable blade sometime in the future.

Thanks to everyone for the help!
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Count Adolfo on December 19, 2009, 09:04:14 PM
pictures
we want pictures!
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: L Dale Walter on December 22, 2009, 07:04:06 PM
Look at "period weapons" this way:  What does a pistol look like?  Could you go out today and buy a flintlock?  Why yes you could.  Or a polymer Glock?  Yes to that too.  It's not like when a new gun comes out everyone throws away their old ones.  Swords were expensive, and tended to hang around.  I have 2 blades from approximately the same time period that illustrate this http://www.armor.com/rapier163.html (http://www.armor.com/rapier163.html) and http://www.armor.com/rapier121.html (http://www.armor.com/rapier121.html) Same period, very different blades.  The blade on the Dresden was probably originally on a broadsword, and then reworked into a rapier style.

Plus, you have to take into account different styles and abilities.  I will take a straight hand and a half with about a 33" blade over anything.  For my size, height, strength level, and preferred strategy, this works best for me, and again I say FOR ME.  Rapiers I prefer shorter than longer, 33-34" blades, with big quillons for binds.  Everyone has their favorites, but to assume that because in a book somewhere it says "Typical sword of 1600" that all others had been thrown away is a bit foolish.  Someone was carrying a Claymore, because it was what they had...

L. Dale Walter
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: Carl Heinz on December 22, 2009, 09:29:45 PM
Might want to give Jim Hrisoulas at www.atar.com a holler.

His in stock varies, but his Salamander Armory booth at RPFS is very popular especially when he has some rapiers available.

If you're interested in pattern welded pointies, he's the guy who wrote the books--literally.
Title: Re: Choosing a sword...
Post by: TheMightyMcClaw on January 18, 2010, 07:16:40 PM
If you happen to have a plasma cutter and an angle grinder lying around, I highly endorse making your own sword. It's an immensely satisfying experience. ^_^