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Horny for swords? Me too.

You may recall I went to Scotland a couple of weeks ago, and on that trip a select few got to travel to Glasgow to visit the Museum Resource Centre. There we met a curator, Dr Ralph Moffat, who kindly opened case after case of swords, guns, and armour, for us to (literally) play with. One piece at a time, of course, and no actual murder allowed, but still, a morning exceptionally well spent.

As you can see from this photo, I was miserable the whole time.
happy-guy

That's a cinquedea, one of my favourite kinds of blades. They are just so in-your-face, unapologetic, and dear god you don't want ever to be hit by one.

Though Phil Crawley, who organised the trip, seems entirely unconcerned about being stabbed by an early 17th century rapier (a blissful sword- much more agile than some others I've handled, but a proper killing blade nonetheless).

stabbing-phil

(I snagged this picture from Facebook, so if whoever took it would like credit, let me know).

For me one of the highlights, and the impetus for this post, was this extraordinary weapon.

boar-sword-hiltWhich has a blunt blade and a spear tip:

 

boar-sword-tip

And two almighty horns sticking out the sides!

boar-sword-second-crossguard

boar-sword-horns

boar-sword

As you can see, the blade is completely blunt- it's only function is to create space between the spear tip and the handle. This is the only historical example of a boar sword with its secondary crossguard fitted that I've ever got to handle. Why am I so excited? Because Fiore shows one, here:

boar-sword-in-il-fior-di-battaglia

(From folio 24v of Il Fior di Battaglia, Getty MS.) The purpose of the secondary crossguard is to stop a wild boar from running up your blade after you've stabbed it, and goring you (as Mordred did to King Arthur in Le Morte d'Arthur).

This boar sword is obviously a lot later than 1410; I'd put it about 1550-1600, from Germany (experts please chime in if I'm wrong), but still, I hope it's catnip to us Fiore fans.

On the subject of Fiore: I do hope you've seen this awesome piece of work: the Fiore app for Android! it's basically a concordance of the four surviving manuscripts, and oh my, what a handy resource it is!

I'm sure you have an opinion: do share!

3 Responses

  1. Good catch! Those special swords for boar-hunting and for armoured combat would be a good thing for one of the more academic Fiore people to research. I am pretty sure that we have sources other than Johann Hill and the fencing manuals, but historical fencers don’t necessarily spend a lot of time working through studies of hunting or inventories of tournament gear.

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