Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 1st October 2009, 11:27 AM   #1
eftihis
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Chania Crete Greece
Posts: 349
Default The wooden fighting sword-sticks of Crete

Hallo,

This an area that nothing is written up to now.
Made from hard wood, its greek name is "spathoravdi" or "spathoverga", meaning "sword-stick".
It was in use in all 19th century revolutions, and up in the begining of 20th century, being a weapon that you could made yourself, and armed with this, you were to take the real weapons from the enemy!
In fact, some people in mountain villages carrying it to the local coffe shop up to 1960s.
Possibly it has a much older history and origin,since they all follow a specific pattern and shape.
Attached Images
        
eftihis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2009, 01:05 PM   #2
migueldiaz
Member
 
migueldiaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Posts: 1,042
Default

thanks eftihis! the info and photos are very informative.

here in the philippines, there's a historic place called butuan city where prehispanic filipino sailing boats were found. aside from the boats, many other artifacts were also dug up.

the pic below is from a friend who recently visited butuan city. it shows wooden swords that were part of the archeological find.

i've always thought that these prehispanic wooden swords were used merely for training.

now that you mentioned that in greece some warriors used to be armed with this, i'm thinking now that perhaps in our own ancient past the practice was the same.

and in our case that is very plausible. because iron and steel as raw materials in olden philippines were not that common.

thus in our case, the art of stick fighting (arnis, etc.) became a highly developed martial art.

so thanks again for sharing the pics and info. it's quite interesting definitely
Attached Images
 
migueldiaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2009, 01:21 PM   #3
migueldiaz
Member
 
migueldiaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Posts: 1,042
Default

the auction for the wooden 'sword' below has just ended (ebay item 380160497379).

it's described as --

"You are bidding on a Negrito war club from the Philippines made from palmwood. It is a heavy large club and bears a museum mark as some of the other Philipinne weapons I am listing they all come from a museum via an auction house. It is carved like a to be used like a 2 edged sword and has also a carved grip as you can see. It has good patina and it is in good condition. Very nice to handle. Probably early 20th century."

i wonder if one of the forum members got this ...
Attached Images
 
migueldiaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2009, 02:50 PM   #4
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

Neat stuff!

eftihis,

I wonder how much of that shape is due to a preferred pattern, and how much of it is due to the fact that, in Mediterranean climates, shrubs and trees with hard wood tend to have curving branches, and making a straight wooden sword would require more work than simply flattening a curved branch?

Great to see these! Anyone have an example of the magila from the Canary Islands?

Best,

F
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2009, 03:31 PM   #5
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,903
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by eftihis
Hallo,

This an area that nothing is written up to now.
Made from hard wood, its greek name is "spathoravdi" or "spathoverga", meaning "sword-stick".
It was in use in all 19th century revolutions, and up in the begining of 20th century, being a weapon that you could made yourself, and armed with this, you were to take the real weapons from the enemy!
In fact, some people in mountain villages carrying it to the local coffe shop up to 1960s.
Possibly it has a much older history and origin,since they all follow a specific pattern and shape.


Very interesting, thank you for the information!
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2009, 07:45 PM   #6
Tim Simmons
Member
 
Tim Simmons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: England UK.
Posts: 5,226
Default

Very interesting. Nothing unreal about sword clubs. Get the blow in first and no matter how big you metal sword is you are unlikely to be in a condition to fight back. In good hands a wood sword club will break the arm/wrist of a target. Or a blow to the knee would see the target on the ground at your mercy. A blow to the head or face would have it in tears I am sure.
Attached Images
 
Tim Simmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st October 2009, 09:40 PM   #7
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

Does anyone know where the phrase "forests are the arsenals of God" (link) came from? This is a great example of the people turning to that arsenal to arm themselves.

Best,

F
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2009, 09:39 AM   #8
Marc
Member
 
Marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madrid / Barcelona
Posts: 259
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn

Great to see these! Anyone have an example of the magila from the Canary Islands?
Just to clarify, "makila" is the Basque word for "stick", and also a specific type of it :

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

http://www.argia.com/makilak/makopaes.htm

There's also a Basque combat school using a big stick (quarterstaff-type), also called "makila", but it has nothing to do with the cane-type stick mentioned above.


On the other hand, the Canary Islands stick fighting is called "Juego del palo Canario" (Canary Stick Play):

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

http://www.palocanario.com/Historia%20JPC%20INGLES.htm


I didn't know about the Cretan stick fighting. The specialized shape of the stick is fascinating. Thank you very much for pointing this up, Eftihis!
Marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2009, 05:30 PM   #9
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

Hi Marc,

Thanks for the references!

To clarify my side, the Guanches ( Wikipedia link) had a long sword/club they called a magado or magido (it's listed as a mace on Wikipedia, but other references say it was long, wooden and sword-like). That's what I was wondering about. Supposedly, the magido was a chief's weapon, and they actually beat the Spaniards with this and other indigenous weapons, which makes for a good story (and might be true. A 15th Century British sailor with a quarterstaff took on a number of Spanish swordsman in duels, and beat them all).

I can easily believe that the guanches got the idea and the name "magido" from Basque whalers, but I was wondering what the Canary Island version looked like. And yes, I've read everything I can get my hands on regarding Juego del palo. I'm unclear on how much that sport is a descendent of the guanche martial traditions, and how much came over with the Europeans.

Best,

F
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd October 2009, 08:40 AM   #10
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 2,383
Default

on a more delicate note, here is a british victorian era defence cane, it's about 33.5 in long, 1.5 in wide just ahead of the bulbous grip, 1/2 in. thick at the same point. it's tear-drop shaped in cross section with a fairly sharp 'edge' to concentrate a blow's force. the shaft tapers to a 1/2 in. wide x 1/4 in thick tip. it's made of a hard unknown reddish wood with a fair patina. i doubt it's heavy enough to break bones, but it is sufficient to hurt & see off a less determined assailant, and the tip can be used in thrusting against a throat, eyes, or into a mouth with effect.



Victorian cane defence video linky

also includes irish stick fighting

the cane as a defence weapon linky

partway down the page... some interesting links on english stick fighting.
i'd assume that as a gentlemans cane was a fashion item in the 1800's, many countries would know the gentle art of bashing out someone's brains with a stick.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th October 2009, 10:38 AM   #11
Marc
Member
 
Marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madrid / Barcelona
Posts: 259
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Hi Marc,

Thanks for the references!

To clarify my side, the Guanches ( Wikipedia link) had a long sword/club they called a magado or magido (it's listed as a mace on Wikipedia, but other references say it was long, wooden and sword-like). That's what I was wondering about. Supposedly, the magido was a chief's weapon, and they actually beat the Spaniards with this and other indigenous weapons, which makes for a good story (and might be true. A 15th Century British sailor with a quarterstaff took on a number of Spanish swordsman in duels, and beat them all).

I can easily believe that the guanches got the idea and the name "magido" from Basque whalers, but I was wondering what the Canary Island version looked like. And yes, I've read everything I can get my hands on regarding Juego del palo. I'm unclear on how much that sport is a descendent of the guanche martial traditions, and how much came over with the Europeans.

Best,

F
Hi, Fearn.

You're welcome

It's my turn to clarify a bit... the magado was a Guanche club, made of hardwood and with a protusion at one end (think knobkerry or that Victorian cane kronckew posted above), and seemingly used one-handed. They also had what they called a mejido, apparently some kind of wooden sword, with hilt and guard and also fairly sharp and pointy. The "modern" palo canario is longer, with a more or less of regular width and used with one and two-handed techniques. They have no morphological relationship, and I haven't seen anyone claiming any, beyond the fact that the palo canario practitioners say their Art goes back to the Guanches, with all the ethnological complications when trying to prove it.
The etymology of the name, as far as I know, goes back to the Guanche language, no relationship whatsoever with the Basque makila.

And regarding the English sailor... well, yes I heard that one. Many times. His name was Richard Peek, a 17th c. sailor. He claims to have done the deed in Xeres, and afterward having been brought to Madrid to meet the King, offered goods and fortune, that he refused for love to his Country and King. Funny how the only description (notice I havenít even mentioned evidences) of the events that happened to Peek are to be found in the book written by Peek. But who am I to question such a beautiful story...
Marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th October 2009, 04:16 PM   #12
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

That helps Marc. The english-language web references to Guanche weapons are confused (unsurprising), and it's nice to know what those weapons are.

As for the makila/magado thing, I'm pretty sure you were right. I was speculating based on three grounds:

1. If one believes Wikipedia, the mejido wooden swords were inspired by European swords.

2. G and K (hard G as in english) are closely related letters. A great example is my Korean partner's name. Her name is spelled with a K in English and a G equivalent in Hangul. L to D seems to be an occasional shift in Berber languages, which include Guanche It's a muddled argument (and I'm NOT a linguist), but I could see someone introducing a sword-like stick called a Makila, and the name being blurred by translation and use.

3. The Basques started hunting Right Whales in the Bay of Biscay in the 1200s, and were sailing to Newfoundland by 1530, and they pioneered whaling. Right whales were found in small numbers around the Canaries. The Spanish started conquering the Canary Islands in 1402. That leaves about a 200 year window when Basque whaleboats could have been visiting the Canary Islands. What I don't know is when the Basques stopped shore whaling and started deep-sea hunting. However, they were Atlantic ocean pioneers, and I'd expect them to be among the first to visit the Canary Islands in Medieval times.

As I said, speculation, and unless there's good linguistic or historical evidence, it's idle speculation, although it makes for fun reading.

As for Peek? Must be annoying to hear that story over and over again.

Best,

F

Last edited by fearn : 5th October 2009 at 04:28 PM.
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th October 2009, 02:19 PM   #13
Marc
Member
 
Marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madrid / Barcelona
Posts: 259
Default

Regarding the etymology of the word, I'm not a linguist, neither, I just repeat what some linguists do claim, that's all
Oh, and don't worry about the Peek thing. I practise historical fencing, based on the Spanish 17th c. fencing tradition, so you can easily guess this episode gets tossed around a lot, specially in international meetings. After all this time, I ended up developing a certain sympathy for Mr. Peek. Sort of.
Marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th October 2009, 01:47 AM   #14
fearn
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
Default

But no pics of the Mejido or magado...
fearn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:55 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.