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Old 18th February 2012, 12:27 PM   #1
Swordfish
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Default The Falchion or Malchus, the rarest medieval sword

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Old 18th February 2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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Old 18th February 2012, 12:36 PM   #3
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Default The origin of the medieval Falchion, and a Typology

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Old 18th February 2012, 12:38 PM   #4
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Typology
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Old 18th February 2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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Old 18th February 2012, 12:51 PM   #6
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Falchions Type I
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Old 18th February 2012, 12:56 PM   #7
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More photos Type I
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Old 18th February 2012, 01:00 PM   #8
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Falchions Type II
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Old 18th February 2012, 01:05 PM   #9
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Falchions Type III
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Old 18th February 2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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From the historic point of view, this is a very good survey covering many important and dated pieces of period artwork - exactly the kind of thing that is appreciated a lot!

The three actually illustrated samples (Baumann, Czerny etc.) at the beginning are at least of dubious quality ...


m

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Old 23rd February 2012, 04:29 PM   #11
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perfect typology and beautiful balanced historic image material.


My compliments!
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Old 8th March 2012, 05:37 PM   #12
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Salaams Swordfish! Brilliant thread !! Bump !!

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 8th March 2012, 05:49 PM   #13
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Salaams Swordfish! I note that you have a Malchus in one of the pictures with dots down the backblade... Very interesting.

Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

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Old 9th March 2012, 03:29 AM   #14
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Absolutely brilliant work Susi!!!!
While your excellent typology and survey of these intriguing medieval swords gives us perfect understanding of these, I was reminded of the first time I heard the term 'malchus' used to describe them in 2009 with Jasper's post which I brought back up.

I wanted to add some information on where this term came from.
Apparantly the term 'malchus' was used by Herbert Seitz (1965) in his "Blankwaffen" in describing these medieval falchions, and I am not certain whether he coined the term or drew from other material. The term refers to the 'sword of St. Peter' , a religious relic held in the Poznan Archdiocesal Museum in Poland, and held to be the weapon used by Simon Peter when he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane. The servants name was Malchus, and the sword, though described in 1609 as being a Roman gladius, in form it has the same kind of dramatically widened blade as these medieval falchions.
The Italian storta having the 'clipped tip' resembling the 'Thorpe falchion' falls into the collective 'malchus' group with the falchion term.

It is unclear whether the sword in Poznan is actually of the period suggested by tradition or whether it is a medieval production of the 14th c. as believed by Marian Glosek the authority on Polish swords.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 9th March 2012, 11:44 AM   #15
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Excellent! Probably my preferred medieval weapon.
It seems that no. 11b, 12, 12a & 13 are all alike (well, 13 has a point) and I'm very happy to see a surviving example. Apparently a peasant class weapon, being pretty simple to make and lacking a guard nor a pommel. Similar to the Italian Beidana that had been used into later times.
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Old 9th March 2012, 06:39 PM   #16
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Salaams all~ There is a monumental thread full of detail and drawings etc called Help pls. on 15th-17th C. cutlass & scimitar of 2009 which although it ended rather badly is otherwise very interesting. Well worth serious research. Easy to find by typing in Falchion on search Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 9th March 2012, 07:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Absolutely brilliant work Susi!!!!
While your excellent typology and survey of these intriguing medieval swords gives us perfect understanding of these, I was reminded of the first time I heard the term 'malchus' used to describe them in 2009 with Jasper's post which I brought back up.

I wanted to add some information on where this term came from.
Apparantly the term 'malchus' was used by Herbert Seitz (1965) in his "Blankwaffen" in describing these medieval falchions, and I am not certain whether he coined the term or drew from other material. The term refers to the 'sword of St. Peter' , a religious relic held in the Poznan Archdiocesal Museum in Poland, and held to be the weapon used by Simon Peter when he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane. The servants name was Malchus, and the sword, though described in 1609 as being a Roman gladius, in form it has the same kind of dramatically widened blade as these medieval falchions.
The Italian storta having the 'clipped tip' resembling the 'Thorpe falchion' falls into the collective 'malchus' group with the falchion term.

It is unclear whether the sword in Poznan is actually of the period suggested by tradition or whether it is a medieval production of the 14th c. as believed by Marian Glosek the authority on Polish swords.

All best regards,
Jim


Thanks all for the kind compliments!

Dear Jim, I must confess that I never heard of the sword in Poznan. Do you have a photo of it?

Regards
Susi
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Old 9th March 2012, 08:35 PM   #18
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st Peter's sword in Poznan's cathedral.

another interesting falchion outof the castillon hoard, one from the klingenmuseum in Solingen and one from nurnberg museum.

best,
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Old 9th March 2012, 09:22 PM   #19
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Default Nice photos

Very interesting photos. Thank you very much. I didn`t knew that the Castillon hoard contained a falchion. The Nurenberg Falchion, is it in the Germanic National Museum? I have not seen it there during my last visit. Or is it in another Museum?

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Old 9th March 2012, 09:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams all~ There is a monumental thread full of detail and drawings etc called Help pls. on 15th-17th C. cutlass & scimitar of 2009 which although it ended rather badly is otherwise very interesting. Well worth serious research. Easy to find by typing in Falchion on search Regards Ibrahiim al Balooshi.



Thank you so much Ibrahiim for the reference to this thread, with which the description 'ended badly' beautifully and with diplomatic demeanor describes the terminus of that thread. This was indeed a magnificent and informative discussion which was entirely destroyed by the inability of two members (no longer participating) to consider the topics at hand more important than themselves. This was a great discourse revealing outstanding details on the topics and became an unfortunate textbook example of how poor choice of words in rebuttal as well as personally oriented retort led to the loss of what was an important course of discussion, much to the misfortune of all others involved.

The material prior to this was as noted, extremely important and interesting with application to this subject on the falchion and related weapons.

Susi, the compliments I assure you are more than well deserved! .
I was trying to post a photo which I had found under 'St.Peters sword' in Wikipedia but computer malfunction apparantly took it out. I had found this originally when the original 'malchus sword' topic came up, and discovered this sword and the 'malchus' were one in the same.

Thank you Jasper for adding the illustrations, and as always for your outstanding and knowledgeable contributions which truly add such detail in understanding more on these weapons.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 10th March 2012, 05:38 AM   #21
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Just wanted to add a note concerning the use of the 'malchus' term, which as I had mentioned earlier I had seen as noted by Jasper, in Herbert Seitz' "Blankwaffen" (1965), but was unclear if it had been in use earlier.
I discovered apparantly it was in use as early as 1885, when described in "Schools and Masters of Fence" by Egerton Castle on p.229, "...malchus was the name often given to a short, broad and straight bladed sword, synonomous with braquemar, in remembrance of Malchus, who had, according to the Gospel, his ear cut off by St.Peter presumably with an instrument of this kind".
The illustration (plate VI, #4) shows a medieval broadsword, short blade which is straight and not with this falchion type blade at all, with the 'crab claw' type hilt with downturned quillons seen on various medieval swords.
It is interesting to see yet another case of terms and classification semantics which repeatedly plague serious arms scholarship in discovering the progression in development of these historic weapons.
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Old 10th March 2012, 09:46 AM   #22
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@Susi
re: Nurnberg sword
I believe it is the GNM in Nuremberg.

@All
re: castillon
there is a wonderful article published in the catalog of the London A & A fair 2012;
Additional notes on the swords of castillon by Clive Thomas.
herein are the different types of castillon swords classified and described in way a only Clive can do.
This is "a must have" for the sword enthusiasts.
The Falchion of the Royal Armouries in Leeds is also shown here.


best,
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Old 3rd April 2012, 03:53 AM   #23
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Well, what to say...

Swordfish, I'm absolutely fascinated by the documentation and study you've produced here - namely as I've been workingon exactly the same subject matter in myself for the last 6 months, slowly working through studying each of the falchions in detail.

My focus has been slightly different, in that I've also been looking at the single-edged weapons - sword and knife/messer, as I'm rather of the opinion that the two are closely inter-related, and studying one without the other is rather counterproductive, and to a lesser extent, have been taking the time to produce replicas of a number of the blades to get a better understanding of the handling properties.

However, I'm extremely pleased to read your study, and would be extremely interested in discussing the subject with you, if you would care for such.


Meanwhile, a few points I'd add, in no particular order:
your first photographed example, the "Public Museum Germany" - that example is in the Reichsstadtmuseum Rothenburg now, is'nt it?
I understand that it is somewhat suspect - I was informed that it may be a 19th century forgery. Have you managed to find any data on the provenance that one to verify its provenance? I've left it to last as a result of the suspicions about it that I've heard, so have not looked at it in detail. I was, equally, unaware of the two from the same source, since I had'nt looked into that one much, so am particularly interested to know if there is any documentation and study into those.

I'm particularly interested to notice that you have also spotted the similarities with the Langobardian knife/cleaver-hilts with the looped guards. My personal take on this is that the earlier-dated langobardian form influenced the knife-hilted types, as depicted in the illustrations of the maciejowski bible and by Villiard de Honnecourt. I'd be particularly interested in your take on this to see if we have reached the same conclusions. The construction method of the Langobardian hilts, incidentally, is the principal reason that I expanded my study criteria to include all single-edged blades, as I feel the interelation and association of blades makes it impossible to study one in isolation.

Have you had any luck with access to the Conyers Falchion? while curators in Milan, Norwich, the Royal Armouries, Scottish National Museum, Delft and Paris have been of wonderful help, Durham Cathedral have refused outright to assist me in any manner; apparently noone is allowed access to it. (I'll not repeat the somewhat sarcastic comment about that I got from one fine member of the Royal Armouries staff. at least, not in public!).


Are you aware of the existence of the storta/falchion of 13th C date in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan?
If not, I can arrange to get data to you.

I'm interested to notice that you have copied Heribert Seitz' type 1 and type 2 choices, despite the act that the type 1 predates type 2. I'm rather of the opinion that Seitz' typology should be entirely overhauled, rather than simply added to, and I'd be particularly interested in your opinions there.


I expect I'll be adding more to this later on, but, well, its horribly late here... so that'll do for now.

(and, erm, hello to everyone on the forum, looks like I've fonally got round to posting here instead of lurking!)
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Old 3rd April 2012, 04:42 AM   #24
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An additional note before I head off for the night:

your figure 9b, the excavated falchion which was on auction with Hermann-Historica, but did not sell.

I have documentation of this one, and its distal and cross-sectional profiles, and I'm afraid it does not fall into the type III category you propose.
its primary cutting edge is on the other side that you have assumed, nor does it does have a false edge on the clip-point; infact it possibly has a reinforced tip, though its difficult to tell as there is considerable concretion on it at that point.

Apologies if that's thrown a spanner in the works.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 10:17 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.G.Elmslie
An additional note before I head off for the night:

your figure 9b, the excavated falchion which was on auction with Hermann-Historica, but did not sell.

.


Hi JG,
welcome to the forum.
The Hermann Historica Falchion sale63 lot 2308 is sold after the auction

Best,
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Old 3rd April 2012, 12:31 PM   #26
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Welcome to the forum GJ.
We hope you enjoy being around
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Old 3rd April 2012, 05:48 PM   #27
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Welcome J.G.

You are right, Falchion #1 is in the Reichsstadtmuseum Rothenburg. It is some years ago that I saw it there. It was behind glass, and I was not able to examine it closely. Therefore I can not be sure that it is genuine.

Falchion #2 was at an auction in Italy. I was present at that auction and have examined it closely. It is surely a genuine medieval Falchion, but the copper inlays looked not good to me, therefore I refused to bid for it.

The photos of Falchion #3 were taken in the collection of one of the renownest experts in medieval arms and armour with over 40 years experience in that subject. There can be no doubt that this Falchion is genuine in all parts.

I have never been at Durham Cathedral, I know the Conyers Falchion only from photos.

I would be lucky if you have photos and measurements from the Falchion at Castello Sforzesco.

#1 and #2 of my typology are identical with the typology of Seitz, with the addition of Type #3. But all three types depend on real existing examples shown in sufficient numbers in art or real items in Museums. Therefore I see no need to overhaul it completely. There are surely examples shown in art, which do not fit exactly the three types, these may form sub-types of one of the three. Depending on the depictions of the Falchions that I have found, type II is depicted in earlier manuscripts than type I (see the Miniature from Paris dated before 1247). Pleas note that my Typology is only valid for Falchions with knightly sword hilts dating c.1240-1480.

I have not seen the Falchion at the Hermann sale in reality, therefore I assumed that the cutting edge is on the short side. If it is on the opposite side, it does not fit neither type III in my typology nor type I or II. This Falchion is again for sale at the next auction.

Best
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Old 3rd April 2012, 06:18 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
I have not seen the Falchion at the Hermann sale in reality, therefore I assumed that the cutting edge is on the short side. If it is on the opposite side, it does not fit neither type III in my typology nor type I or II. This Falchion is again for sale at the next auction.
Best


The Hermann-Historica Falchion is listed as sold on their website sale 63 and is also not included in the new auction cat 64, now online??


Lot Nr. 2308
A Central European falchion
circa 1300
A forged iron single-edged blade, which widens to a double-edged point, and has encrustations stuck to both sides. The base of the blad ... >>more
Condition: III

Limit: 2000 EURO

sold

Last edited by cornelistromp : 3rd April 2012 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 06:58 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
The Hermann-Historica Falchion is listed as sold on their website sale 63 and is also not included in the new auction cat 64, now online??


Lot Nr. 2308
A Central European falchion
circa 1300
A forged iron single-edged blade, which widens to a double-edged point, and has encrustations stuck to both sides. The base of the blad ... >>more
Condition: III

Limit: 2000 EURO

sold



It is in the print catalogue Lot 2286, but is cancelled in the online catalogue.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 08:20 PM   #30
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oh yes now I see, it is withdrawn, it is probably sold in between the auctions and it could not be removed from the paper catalog anymore because the catalog was already under printing.
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