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Old 11th December 2006, 08:09 PM   #14
Philip
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 402
Default "heading" or "bearing"

Jim, you brought up an interesting point that may touch upon etymology...

I think that there is no doubt what the Euro. swords that we've been discussing were used for. So many of the German examples are engraved with motifs including the gallows, wheel, and simple verses dealing with justice and mercy. I've seen others with Latin inscriptions of a quasi-religious nature, these may be Bohemian or perhaps Polish.

I think that the "bearing" sword that you mention is another breed of cat -- a larger two hander (often of impressive size though not constructed in a particularly wieldable manner), and with a pointed tip. Museums in Europe are full of these things, I saw a gigantic example in the Museum of Scotland that was big enough to whack the head off a hippopotamous if (1) it had been sharp (2) if its blade and tang were sturdily constructed, and (3) if Paul Bunyan could be hired to swing it! (OK, I better shuddup now, I don't want the folks at PETA or the Animal Liberation Front after my hide for that last remark )
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