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Old 11th November 2009, 02:51 PM   #1
cornelistromp
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Default rare medieval weapon against heavy Armour.

I found a very interesting thread from vikingsword out of 2002.

its about a very heavy two handed medieval weapon.

http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum5/HTML/000070.html

(I don't know if this old link can be copied to European Armoury)

best regards from Holland

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Old 11th November 2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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Pictures from Maciejowski Bible 1250AD
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Old 11th November 2009, 03:07 PM   #3
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Old 11th November 2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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from own collection!

Can somebody provide some info concerning the cross mark?

thanks+regards
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Old 11th November 2009, 06:01 PM   #5
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Hi Cornelistromp,
the item looks to be more agricultural than a weapon, although a number of agricultural tools were utilised as weapons.

Unfortunately, there seems to be evidence of arc welding , a recent repair ? or worse ....an attempt to deceive. It is therefore possible that the 'blade' and the 'tang' section were originally not together.

Kind Regards David
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Old 11th November 2009, 06:36 PM   #6
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Old 11th November 2009, 06:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Hi Cornelistromp,
the item looks to be more agricultural than a weapon, although a number of agricultural tools were utilised as weapons.

Unfortunately, there seems to be evidence of arc welding , a recent repair ? or worse ....an attempt to deceive. It is therefore possible that the 'blade' and the 'tang' section were originally not together.

Kind Regards David

Hi David,
Agricultural tool,can you tell me for what purpose , have you seen something similar, maybe you can post in this thread ?

on the pictures it looks like welding because of the relief however
there are absolute no traces of welding, the parts have been hammered together when it was made approx 700 years ago.

Best regards
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Old 11th November 2009, 08:51 PM   #8
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Hi
possibly a blade from a plough (a coulter).....the first pic is of a medievel plough . The second is from the British museum and is described as .....


Iron plough coulter

Roman Britain, 1st-4th century AD
From Great Witcombe, Gloucestershire

The coulter was a technical innovation introduced to Britain by the Romans. Its function was to make a vertical cut in advance of the plough-share, which then undercut the furrow made by the coulter. This made it easier to cultivate heavy soils. Roman coulters were therefore stout knife-like iron blades with a heavy shaft by which they were secured to the plough's wooden beam.

W.H. Manning, Catalogue of the Romano-Britis (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)

Could you post a picture of the other side of the crack (shown in the first picture of your last post) as this is where I suspected the 'weld'.

Even if this is a 'coulter' .....who's to say that during war it might be utilised as a weapon.

Plough shares to swords

Best Regards David
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Old 11th November 2009, 09:06 PM   #9
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Hi David,

thanks, so this is something for the agricultural museum

herewith a picture from the other side.

btw you can see a similar line on your picture from the museum.

Best regards
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Old 11th November 2009, 11:16 PM   #10
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Hi Cornelistromp,
still an interesting object in its own right. It is always disappointing to find a piece which you believe is a weapon ...then to find out it is something else

I have done this myself ....... a number of times

....here's one ...which others had a little fun with

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...light=asparagus

All the best

Kind Regards David
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Old 12th November 2009, 01:36 AM   #11
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Always worth looking at more modern agricultural bill-hooks (see Wikipedia on more information). They were the European equivalent of machetes, and there were many different versions of them. I suspect that a lot of what has been pictured here are either bill-hooks, or weaponized versions of them like Stone's fauchard or voulge, as the first thread noted.

Best,

F
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Old 12th November 2009, 08:31 PM   #12
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thatching tools, particularly the eaves knives (no.5 below) - looks like a long single edged knife on a 3ft pole, look very weapon-like, as do hay knives.
drawing of thatchers tools:

more


hay knives also come in some rather odd shapes, used for cutting hay bales and trimming hay stacks to shape. (google on 'hay knife')


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Old 13th November 2009, 07:57 PM   #13
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Is a viking helmet considered heavy armor?
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Old 13th November 2009, 08:06 PM   #14
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Remember this one?
Reed/Hay knife
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Old 13th November 2009, 08:26 PM   #15
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celtan, no armour is heavy enough to protect you from an enraged spouse.

and atlantia, i did have that one in mind along with the asparagus pilum.

we need to remember that weapons are also tools. and visa versa...and the lines can blur.

SE Asia especially, neat video on using a parang:
Harvesting Palm heart, sarawak.

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Old 31st March 2013, 09:49 AM   #16
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the tool of post nr 4 was also, probably, in exceptional cases, used on the battlefield.
I noticed this in images of Original manuscripts from the period 1425-1450 from German speaking countries.
it is partly used in a biblical story in the translation from the Latin book Speculum Humanae salvation.
hero epic story? lack of real swords in time of war?, very interesting.
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Old 1st April 2013, 06:57 AM   #17
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The more I look at it, the more I think these are billhooks.

Here's the puzzle: most billhooks are single-handed tools (amply illustrated by http://billhooks.co.uk/). The weird thing is that most weaponized billhooks are presented as two-handed and long-handled, mostly based on a few late models in museums.

Kind of weird, no? I'd suggest that these mysterious weapons are weaponized one-hand bills, which are by far the most common type of bill. They've also been present in Europe since Pre-Roman times.

I'd also suggest checking out the diversity of shapes subsumed under the general term "billhook" (see http://billhooks.co.uk/photos-and-other-images/ and the pages following it). I think, if you prowl through, you'll find some familiar looking shapes.

My 0.0002 conjectural cents,

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Old 1st April 2013, 08:38 AM   #18
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thanks for your comment.

no, I do not think that they are bill hooks, these have a Curved cutting edge (a hook)
the images that I have placed all have a straight cutting edge.
a bill hook is also a lot smaller centimetres 20 to 25 (7.9 to 9.8 in) long.
this does not correspond to the illustrations in the manuscript

best,
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Old 1st April 2013, 03:16 PM   #19
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Ah, you didn't check all the images, did you?
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Old 1st April 2013, 08:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Ah, you didn't check all the images, did you?

yes I have done ,nothing of this size.
though the defenition of billhooks agrees not but fact seems to be that 99.9% has a hook or curve

also seems the handle of the different manuscript images is of steel instead of a wooden stick like the billhooks.

we disagree, for me it is not a billhook, but of course you are free to your own opinion.

best,
jasper

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Old 2nd April 2013, 01:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
yes I have done ,nothing of this size.
though the defenition of billhooks agrees not but fact seems to be that 99.9% has a hook or curve

also seems to handle of the different manuscript images of steel instead of a wooden stick like the billhooks.

we disagree, for me it is not a billhook, but of course you are free to your own opinion.

best,
jasper


Hi Jasper,

Always a *really* good idea to check the color of the sword hilts appearing in the picture, before you assume it's metal. None of the swords in those illustrations have wood or even cloth handles, yet we know from historical evidence that none of them had solid steel handles.

There are a bunch of problems with a solid metal hilt, which is why they are very uncommon. They get very hot in the sun, and even colder in the winter (for example, Cold Steel's all-metal Bushman cannot be used barehanded in the snow, and is not fun to hold if left in a sunny car all day. Guess how I learned that?). Even worse, potentially, solid steel does a wonderful job transferring shocks from cutting edge to hand. While a lot of us like to whine about how "weak" rat-tail tangs in wooden handles are, compared with slab handles on solid tangs, the real problem is that solid tang transfer a lot more hand shock than the rat-tail does. Hand shock won't kill you, at least until your hands are so sore that you can no longer hold the blade. At that point, you're in serious trouble. If you're talking about a weapon that's theoretically hewing through armor, hand shock is going to be a huge issue every time the warrior connects. If you're fighting all day with a solid steel weapon, you're going to have trouble holding onto it long before the end of the day.

I'd be quite willing to bet that the weapons had wooden handles. They may have been wire-wrapped or clad in metal strips, but structurally, they had wood cores, and may well have had socketed heads.

Best,

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Old 2nd April 2013, 08:23 AM   #22
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thanks for the explanation, a small attempt to convince you.

I agree that this tool is not likely to be developed as a weapon but exceptionally be used so.

re: wooden or steel handle?
if we take the manuscript as an example, here the artist has made 2 drawings, where all the steel/metal is gray colored (armour blades helmet eso) and also can be seen that the shaft of pole weapons is in a wood-tone color, fe see the Swiss voulge on the right drawing you can clearly see the difference between metal and wood!

The grip of the sword is with detailed windings clearly visible as a sword grip with some kind of binding.

However the big squareshaped! handle of the tool is gray colored! why not as the polearmshafts in the wood-tone color ?
...............because it is not wood.

best,
jasper
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Old 2nd April 2013, 06:57 PM   #23
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Does someone know the German or its historic name of the tool?
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Old 2nd April 2013, 07:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andi
Does someone know the German or its historic name of the tool?


yes I think so
in the book Speculum Humanae salvation (a mediėval mirror) above the drawing can be read
sangoz occidit sexcetos vios cu vome
this must be read in latin as:
sangoz occidit sexce(n)tos vi(r)os cu(m) vom(er)e this means something like
sangoz killed 600 men with a ???goad??? (ploughshare)

In the old german historic translations vomere is translated as plōgaz or plōguz

best,
jasper

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Old 3rd April 2013, 12:30 AM   #25
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Okay, I'll take your word for it, although I think strong faith is misplaced. I'd still suggest swinging something like that against a hard target before believing the artwork uncritically (or at least, pick up a rectangular piece of metal about the same size and swing it against a hard target. An iron stake should do as a crude replica).

Also remember the Biblical story of Samson killing a thousand men with "the jawbone of a donkey" (Judges 15:16). It's not inconceivable that someone borrowed the idea of killing a massive number of enemies with an improbable implement and restated it in Medieval times.

Best,

F
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Old 3rd April 2013, 12:42 AM   #26
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Such large steel tool need not weigh much...I guess that glaive was about five pounds.
The gaive from that Bible was reproduced by a friend not long ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JevwURrwQA

Michael is a good smith and so were those in Medieval Europe. By putting just enough metal in just the right places I think you would be amazed ay how large you can go and still be useful.

Ric
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Old 4th April 2013, 01:08 AM   #27
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I should point out that most one-handed swords (steel and bronze) way no more than about a kilogram. Five pounds is reasonable for a two-handed weapon, but that's not what is shown. As for the video, he's not the first to reproduce the Maciejowski glaive. Museum Replicas had an edition about a decade ago, and it was judged extremely awkward and tip heavy.

The point here is that when most warriors go for kilogram-scale single-handed weapons, regardless of culture, regardless even of metal used, a double-weight weapon doesn't immediately jump out as a massive improvement

Just to dump some more sand in the gears, I'd like to point out that the plow (pflug) is one of the fundamental stances in European sword fighting, one that probably will look very familiar (http://www.thearma.org/essays/StancesIntro.htm). If a swordsman says "the Plow" is his favorite and he's killed many men with it, what's an artist to make of that? Paint a warrior with a plowshare in his hand, perhaps?

Best,

F
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Old 6th April 2013, 04:33 PM   #28
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Fearn,
I believe the fourth picture in the Bible posted above is a two handed sword...which is what Michael was reproducing.

As to a weapons awkwardness:
It often comes down to the particular piece and who made the item. As they are hand made items they vary and a vast majority of the particulars of the item depends on the skill and understanding of the person who made it.
A tool made for farm use may not lend itself to the battlefield in our mind, but be sure that the farmer who harvests with the tool can harvest whatever may be the crop....veg or meat.

I have never held a Museum Replicas piece so I can not comment on what they make.

Is your point that there may be a discrepancy between art and reality?

Ric

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Old 29th May 2013, 12:38 AM   #29
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Default Plough Coulter

Hi

The original item is almost certainly a plough coulter - the origins of the word for knife in Latin 'cultellus' also gives us words such as cut, cutter in English and couteau in French.

Many agricultural tools could have been used as weapons, or turned into weapons.

Bill hooks can be concave (i.e. with a hook), but also convex or even straight bladed (see www.billhooks.co.uk), or with a back blade, or a hook.

Fitted to a long handle they become the English slasher, the American brush axe or the French croissant.

Given an even longer handle they become pole arms - various names given, depending upon the blade shape and country of origin - in the UK the most common was the bill....

Billhooks were just known as bills until the 19th century - sometimes with a prefix such as hedging bill - hookbill is another spelling - origins probably hackebeil (DE) or hakbijl (NL) - meaning a chopping sword or axe....

The Dacian falx, one of the few weapons to strike fear into the Roman legions, was shaped like a big billhook. Falx in Latin means sickle, or with a suffix it means billhook (falx vinitoria, falx silvaticus, falx arboraria - spellings may be off at it is late at night here in the UK, and well past my bedtime...)

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Old 29th May 2013, 03:13 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billman
Hi

The original item is almost certainly a plough coulter - the origins of the word for knife in Latin 'cultellus' also gives us words such as cut, cutter in English and couteau in French.

Many agricultural tools could have been used as weapons, or turned into weapons.

Bill hooks can be concave (i.e. with a hook), but also convex or even straight bladed (see www.billhooks.co.uk), or with a back blade, or a hook.

Fitted to a long handle they become the English slasher, the American brush axe or the French croissant.

Given an even longer handle they become pole arms - various names given, depending upon the blade shape and country of origin - in the UK the most common was the bill....

Billhooks were just known as bills until the 19th century - sometimes with a prefix such as hedging bill - hookbill is another spelling - origins probably hackebeil (DE) or hakbijl (NL) - meaning a chopping sword or axe....

The Dacian falx, one of the few weapons to strike fear into the Roman legions, was shaped like a big billhook. Falx in Latin means sickle, or with a suffix it means billhook (falx vinitoria, falx silvaticus, falx arboraria - spellings may be off at it is late at night here in the UK, and well past my bedtime...)


what...........The French croissant ????
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