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Old 14th February 2009, 03:12 PM   #17
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Yikes, Lorenz!!
Now thats compehensive,
Thank you for adding this list, and it does show the mythical weapons of literary classics and legend...and as you note, many, if not most are in some degree either fictitious or contained in illustrious descriptive metaphor.

With a number of these weapons, they actually existed, however they have been embellished or metaphorically described in so much literature that often conflicts with another, that in cases where these swords are supposed to still exist, there are unsurprisingly disputed perspectives on their authenticity.

Heroic figures such as El Cid, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc and so many others of course used swords, but they have reached such lofty stature in legend, it almost seems that to hold a sword said to have belonged to any one of them would seem almost disappointing, as a mere mortal object. This is my own perception at least, though in my mind I choose to imagine what these swords were like.

I recall once researching a sword said to have been used by a heroic Scottish figure during the time of the English civil wars, who was said to have had a huge sword with a ten pound sliding weight on a rod on the blade, there to add force to the deadly cut. A writer was doing research for a period novel and wanted to add as much authenticity as possible, always admirable.
It was incredibly fascinating and I found most of the events and locations associated with the individual factual, however in varying degree embellished. For example a castle was actually a rather large home or estate, and as always, the battles were of course not like the movies.
The 'ten pound' weight was naturally impossible, and the first sign of improbability, for even in the unlikely case he was actually using a true claymore..the huge two hand sword, such a weight would make use of one of these uncontrollable....especially sliding up and down the blade!

The term 'claymore' as noted, typically describes these huge two hand swords used during medieval times, but had mostly fallen out of use in Scotland by the 17th century, naturally with known exceptions. Many of these huge blades did end up in the developing basket hilt form, made famous in Scotland, cut down from these heirloom two hand swords. In yet another case of the semantics and misinterpretations with the study of weapons, the term 'claymore' became popularly applied to the single hand basket hilts.
Pehaps this was due to the known use in so many cases of 'claymore' blades, but whatever the case, in understanding contemporary literature and narratives, the conflicting terms can be confounding.

I never found any evidence of any sword with such a sliding weight on the blade, despite obviously the well known sliding bearings in open channels in the blades of 'tears of the wounded' swords of China, India and Persia. These were primarily ceremonial or parade type swords, with the sound of the moving bearings more thier purpose than any weight or force transfer.
I also found another mythical reference to such a blade with moving weight however, in a romanticized book about the famed Bowie knife, and of course regarded the context accordingly.

The sword attributed to the Scottish hero was eventually discovered, and honestly it was disappointing when there was no sliding weight, nor was it the huge claymore I imagined. Somehow, the stature of the hero himself to me was never compromised, and I realized that such a feature really was never needed, as the achievements of the man himself was the power and force. Perhaps even as mere mortals, we all have such power and force within ourselves in our own ways.
I'd like to think so...

All best regards,
Jim
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