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Merv Cannon




PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 2:55 am    Post subject: Irish Dagger in ring-pommel ?....         Reply with quote

Hi...this is such a great post. I am fascinated by Irish and Scottish arms and armour. I guess because they are so different. I have read posts and seen examples of daggers reproduced by some manufactures with the "matching" ring-pommel.....(matching the swords) as kind of a set. I guess that could be true apart from Skeins, but I cant find any reference for them . Does anyone know of historical reference for these or are they just made up as a manufactures' sales novelty?
Also, does anyone know the approximate VARIATION of Skein blade-lengths...do they vary as much as the Seax ?
Thanks for the data and input ! Its great.
Merv



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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not aware of any historic ring-pommel daggers, but such a weapon is certainly within the realm of possibility. The skean seems to be much more common, and I suspect that the blade length of that weapon was pretty consistent (and very long). That's just a hunch, though.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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John P. Looney




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Help on irish stuff - at livinghistory.ie         Reply with quote

Guys, an addendum, you can get a lot of extra Irish specific information at http://livinghistory.ie

On the "skean" thing, you might get more information if you spell it "scian", as that's the modern Irish (Gaelic) spelling (I think skean is scots-gaelic).

Check out http://livinghistory.ie/modules.php?name=Foru...ight=scian for instance - it's handy to have a board handy that has Irish archeologists available for questions!

John
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John P. Looney




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 9:17 am    Post subject: Re: Irish Dagger in ring-pommel ?....         Reply with quote

Merv Cannon wrote:
Hi...this is such a great post. I am fascinated by Irish and Scottish arms and armour. I guess because they are so different. I have read posts and seen examples of daggers reproduced by some manufactures with the "matching" ring-pommel.....(matching the swords) as kind of a set. I guess that could be true apart from Skeins, but I cant find any reference for them . Does anyone know of historical reference for these or are they just made up as a manufactures' sales novelty?


I'd say the dagger & ring pommel is a sales novelty. It just looks too wierd to be true, and there is certainly nothing in the Irish museums that look anything like it. The big ring on the ringsword make a great face or shield-basher (which makes no sense on a dagger), while the scian is just *nasty* looking. My wife got a friend (Boyd of Irish Arms, www.irisharms.ie) to make me up a really nice scian. Alas, it's too sharp to be used for fighting with the usual unarmed irish...

http://www.livinghistory.ie/~valen/present.jpg

(sorry for the bad quality photo, laptop I'm typing this on is to give scale)

John
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the links, John! Love that scian! It's the best photo I've seen of a modern reproduction (and I've seen no photos of preserved originals). I take it that you are involved with Irish living history. We'd welcome any insight you can bring to our discussion. I'm especially interested to hear different experiences with/ interpretations of Irish darts.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Merv Cannon




PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 3:33 pm    Post subject: Re Skein         Reply with quote

Yes, thanks John.........Ironically I joined the livinghistory ie forum last night ! Thats a very cool Skien alright. I have the steel right here and I want to make one as soon as I finish some furniture. I had my own business for over 25 years and faced a ever declining market and because of new technology, just when things couldnt get any worse, I got $80,000 worth of my gear stolen. So now I make medieval gear in wood, leather and metal. Ah well, at least I'm doing somthing I love.
Why are skiens so long ? For roastin' preadies ! (potatoes).... Laughing Out Loud
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb, 2006 8:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Thanks for the links, John! Love that scian! It's the best photo I've seen of a modern reproduction (and I've seen no photos of preserved originals). I take it that you are involved with Irish living history. We'd welcome any insight you can bring to our discussion. I'm especially interested to hear different experiences with/ interpretations of Irish darts.


Don't forget that we have a similar item featured in our collection galleries: http://www.myArmoury.com/nateb_dagg_ia_skean.html

Happy

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Apr, 2006 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have completed three darts and can offer some preliminary observations:

First, a word about construction: The heads are the Modified Type 16 heads shown above. The shafts are tapered poplar. Heads are glued in place. Flush surface between shaft and head.

These look great! My first attempts at throwing were pretty dismal, however. I thought maybe poplar or the Type 16 heads (or both) are a bit too light. I also assume that the performance may be affected by my not having thrown spears from the time I was old enough to hold one Big Grin Suffice it to say that I will not be taking the prize at the 2006 All Ireland Dart Casting. My casts were all over the place, head vertical, shaft sideways, etc. Holding the shaft closer to the back (giving more weight to the head) and casting in a high arc helped, but my casts had very little range, no accuracy, and were shockingly susceptible to wind.

Clearly, something was missing. I felt certain that my darts--straight and solidly constructed--were cable of better performance even in my hands. Maybe they needed flights for stability and spin. First, though, I wanted to see how finger loops would affect performance, if at all. Feeling that stability and power might be improved by a casting force from the rear of the dart, I tied a loop a short distance from the end of the dart. With my index finger in the loop and the loop wrapped one half-turn around the shaft to impart some spin on casting, I gripped the shaft lightly between thumb and remaining fingers. Wow, what a difference! The dart had greater range, was much more stable,described a neat arc and planted itself at a 45 degree angle in the yard. Take the the finger loop seriously, folks. It makes all the difference.

One of my tests resulted in the breakage of a shaft, and this led me to a theory about the wire(?) binding Bob mentioned in earlier threads. A careless cast sent one of my darts straight into a cinderblock wall. The head had not a scratch, and the thinnest part of the shaft (the part shaped to the inside of the socket) was fine. But the shaft split in half, starting just below the head and continuing down the shaft at an angle for a few inches to the outside of the shaft. This was easily repaired but the first thing I thought was that some sort of binding would have prevented that split or at least held the damaged dart together. So, perhaps the binding Bob mentioned served two purposes--to add helpful weight to the head of the dart and prevent this kind of splitting when the dart struck a hard target.

Next up: Three darts of late 15th c. type, with large, swallowtail broadheads as shown above. These will be fletched as well, either with feathers (I ordered a ridiculous amount of white turkey feathers) or leather. I expect the heavier heads and flights to make for improved performance.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 01 Sep, 2006 12:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I accidently discovered this depiction of 15th c. darts while searching for arms & armour clues in historic artwork. This is the clearest and most informative image of darts I've yet seen. The artist even provides a handy human reference scale for us. If the soldier depicted is slightly shorter than we moderns, the darts shown are in the 50" range. The heads seem to be of the typical form seen elsewhere, including Ireland (wish I could find some at an affordable price).

Most interesting to me are what appear to be small weights at the base of each socket, confirming our previous speculation about wire bindings, etc. This is exactly the sort of thing I needed in my dart experiments, and I plan to incorporate them in my next dart project. The big question now is, "what are the weights made of?". Any guesses? Wood? Stone? Lead?

The Roman plumbata uses lead. Anybody got a few .80 lead blunderbuss balls lying around unused? Strange color for lead, though. Maybe some ordinary hardwood balls would be sufficient.

Notice what appears to be a boat-tail shaped shaft (thinner at the end opposite the head).

The painting is Resurrection by Dieric Bouts The Elder (1415-1475)



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 01 Sep, 2006 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The full-color version of another Bouts resurrection complicates things. Red? But not a tassle. And is that a finger loop?
I'm now thinking that whatever this thing is, it's not purely decorative, but probably not lead. Am I back to painted hardwood?



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Thom R.




PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

to help pay for myself I am adding to this thread to keep it alive with a few things I don't think have been posted to myArmoury before ....... two pages from The Journal of the Royal Historical & Archaeological Association of Ireland circa 1882. One discusses the use of a scian (spelled skean in the doc and referred to as a dadagh) and a shield belonging to the O'Donovan family both circa 1559. the dadagh looks like many of the hunting knives and messers of the 17th and 18th c.





Last edited by Thom R. on Fri 22 Aug, 2008 10:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2008 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Thom! That target is especially interesting because we don't see many Irish examples and the design on this one is especially attractive. It's good to see that not everything Irish is festooned with elaborate knotwork.

The "without guard" reference simply means that the guard was not included in the grip measurement.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Thom R.




PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two Galloglasses on the tomb of Phelim O'Conor (sic) at Roscommon, although depicted elsewhere this is a nice rendition I have not seen before. From The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland 1878. Note the length of the mail on the sleeves and body, the aventails/coifs, the helms without nasals, and the axe/sword. (Edit: I have added a photo of the actual effigies)


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Last edited by Thom R. on Thu 28 Aug, 2008 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Thom R.




PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also came upon this.... the effigy of one of the Burkes from the churchyard in Ballynakill. Its a lifesized limestone slab and is probably contemporaneous with the work at Roscommon


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B. Stark




PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

here is a helmet that might have possibly been used by a gallowglass
not sure of the provenance...



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"Wyrd bi∂ ful aręd"

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

Patrick Henry
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Thom R.




PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

here is why I am looking through some of these old journals - this one is a bit of a mystery and if anyone knows more about this effigy I would love to know where it resides. In addition to the rather famous carving of a knight in the window pillar which you can still see today when you visit Jerpoint Abbey (below), apparently there was another at one time that had broken into fragments and had to be put back together in order to get a rubbing which was then rendered into a sketch (attached). It contains two knights in full chain mail, one with a great helm, one with chainmail coif, each holding single hand swords that appear to have type M pommels Exclamation and slightly curved type 7,8, or even a type 9 cross. having visited this historical site, I do not recall this particular carving of the two knights on display and wonder where the fragments now reside. tr


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Kevin P Molloy




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Aug, 2008 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
to help pay for myself I am adding to this thread to keep it alive with a few things I don't think have been posted to myArmoury before ....... two pages from The Journal of the Royal Historical & Archaeological Association of Ireland circa 1882. One discusses the use of a scian (spelled skean in the doc and referred to as a dadagh) and a shield belonging to the O'Donovan family both circa 1559. the dadagh looks like many of the hunting knives and messers of the 17th and 18th c.





This is great information you have posted I really appreciate it ,especially the shield, thanks. Pictures like this are hard to come by. Do you have anymore depictions of irish arms or armour from this source? And can anyone tell me what "painted in the spanish fashion" means as stated in the article?

Kevin Patrick Molloy
"The Prince of Firceall of the Ancient Sword is O'Molloy of the Freeborn Name"... O'Dugain(d.1372AD)
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Ed McV




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Aug, 2008 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, I think you will find that "coloured after the Spanish fashion" means the method by which the targe was dyed.
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Kevin P Molloy




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Aug, 2008 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ed McV wrote:
Peter, I think you will find that "coloured after the Spanish fashion" means the method by which the targe was dyed.


Let me clarify, what I am asking is what the "colors" are in "the spanish fashion" and what made the spanish fashion so distinct as to be mentioned in this way. Are there any examples?

Kevin Patrick Molloy
"The Prince of Firceall of the Ancient Sword is O'Molloy of the Freeborn Name"... O'Dugain(d.1372AD)
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Thom R.




PostPosted: Tue 02 Sep, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: some 16th c armour         Reply with quote

Chain Mail found during the excavation of a railway in 1876 near Phoenix Park Dublin. It is made of oval (not flat) rings. Elbow length on the sleeves. Waist length. In 1890 it weighed 10.25 pounds but is missing much of the front so probably weighed 15-16 pounds originally. It is a notable find in that it had attached a silvered bronze badge of the House of O'Neill complete with the hand inside an inverted shield supported by rampant lions (?) on right and left. Therefore this probably dates to the late 15th and early 16th c. the same period as the effigies of the Gallowglass at Roscommon


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Last edited by Thom R. on Tue 02 Sep, 2008 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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