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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Two-handed swords in foot tournament combat Reply to topic
 
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Emil Andersson




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Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Two-handed swords in foot tournament combat         Reply with quote

Hello,

The tonlet armour of Henry VIII is often displayed together with a two-handed sword nearly as tall as the armour itself, yet I can't recall seeing, hearing or reading anything about how two tournament fighters in armour went at each other with these large swords. Are there any texts or images preserved that can show us anything about it?

The Royal Armouries published the following video that shows the armour with the sword, although the way he's moving with the sword in the armour doesn't look entirely right to me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi9_FHQVr7g

I'd imagine something more like super-sized half-swording, or perhaps using the sword more like a poleaxe?



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Robert B. Marks




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Re: Two-handed swords in foot tournament combat         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
Hello,

The tonlet armour of Henry VIII is often displayed together with a two-handed sword nearly as tall as the armour itself, yet I can't recall seeing, hearing or reading anything about how two tournament fighters in armour went at each other with these large swords. Are there any texts or images preserved that can show us anything about it?

The Royal Armouries published the following video that shows the armour with the sword, although the way he's moving with the sword in the armour doesn't look entirely right to me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi9_FHQVr7g

I'd imagine something more like super-sized half-swording, or perhaps using the sword more like a poleaxe?


Well, Talhoffer does have a series of plates with two men in armour fighting a duel with longswords: http://www.aemma.org/onlineResources/talhoffe...s_body.htm

However, that said, it really looks like the guy is using a ceremonial bearing sword that was never meant for combat. And even if he isn't, the technique is terrible...

(The armour is pretty cool, though...)

Robert Marks
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Philip Dyer




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 11:50 am    Post subject: Re: Two-handed swords in foot tournament combat         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
Hello,

The tonlet armour of Henry VIII is often displayed together with a two-handed sword nearly as tall as the armour itself, yet I can't recall seeing, hearing or reading anything about how two tournament fighters in armour went at each other with these large swords. Are there any texts or images preserved that can show us anything about it?

The Royal Armouries published the following video that shows the armour with the sword, although the way he's moving with the sword in the armour doesn't look entirely right to me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi9_FHQVr7g

I'd imagine something more like super-sized half-swording, or perhaps using the sword more like a poleaxe?

I honestly think this armor, with it's huge unsplit skirt and large pauldrons, which normal sized pauldrons from a understand are designed to protected a lancer from being stabbed by or probed with another's lance, is mostly built for show along with the sword. Practically was probably far from the armourers, Henry's, or the swordmakers mind. The whole is more a show of ploitical power, stating that he as a king, who as a army of a nations to protect him, is so far removed from martial realities that he can make pure flash out of it. It's all political theater and I think evaluating this in through the lens of military practically wouldn't get you very far.
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Adam Bodorics




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henry's tonlet harness was made specifically for a tournament on foot. It is not a show of power, rather a rush job after the requirements were changed. Tonlets appear on some other original tournament armours, and they offer great mobility and coverage.

I have no clue about the original question, but am also very interested.
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Philip Dyer




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Bodorics wrote:
Henry's tonlet harness was made specifically for a tournament on foot. It is not a show of power, rather a rush job after the requirements were changed. Tonlets appear on some other original tournament armours, and they offer great mobility and coverage.

I have no clue about the original question, but am also very interested.

Yeah and do you honestly think that Henry would don this armour and go into the tourney intending to kill his adversary? Having separate armour for tournament is a mark of status, a separate armour, a general to set himself away from subordinates. If I person were wear in a battle the person would surely be quickly killed or captured if he attemptted to engage in any fighting.
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Philip Dyer




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Adam Bodorics wrote:
Henry's tonlet harness was made specifically for a tournament on foot. It is not a show of power, rather a rush job after the requirements were changed. Tonlets appear on some other original tournament armours, and they offer great mobility and coverage.

I have no clue about the original question, but am also very interested.

Yeah and do you honestly think that Henry would don this armor and go into the tourney intending to kill his adversary? Having separate armor for tournament is a mark of status, a separate armor, a general to set himself away from subordinates. If I person were wear in a battle the person would surely be quickly killed or captured if he attempted to engage in any fighting.But an intended purpose of a tourney no matter want rule requirement changes are nonlethal. If they weren't then the armourer couldn't have justified doing the rush job the way they did because there no way you can use your legs to pin, trip in order to get to the best position to probe when your legs are covered in almost knee length steel skirt
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Nathan Johnson




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do not make the mistake of presuming that the unusual elements of sixteenth century armours make them impractical, far from it.
when you where well made 16thC armour for the first time it's quite an eye opener as to how functional odd looking armour can be, especially some of its most unusual elements
There is nothing about this harness that will impede you any more than any other 16thC armour, in fact its designed with 16thC threats in mind, as for using them on a battlefield this particular example is a tournament armour BUT..

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...1514_1.PNG
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Philip Dyer




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Johnson wrote:
Do not make the mistake of presuming that the unusual elements of sixteenth century armours make them impractical, far from it.
when you where well made 16thC armour for the first time it's quite an eye opener as to how functional odd looking armour can be, especially some of its most unusual elements
There is nothing about this harness that will impede you any more than any other 16thC armour, in fact its designed with 16thC threats in mind, as for using them on a battlefield this particular example is a tournament armour BUT..

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...1514_1.PNG

How are you sure this the tonlets isn't part of artistic liscense? It's not like it's not without precedent. What's the background of the painter and what is it this apart of?
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Nathan Johnson




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its from the Battle of Orsha, and having spent since I was eleven studying 16thC art and the past 15 years wearing many forms of 16thC harness as well as handling antique pieces on occasion I do not believe It to be artistic licence,
Unlike art of other eras the current battles of this time period are usually depicted with extreme realism and only ancient battles and events are shown stylised, what with a few notable artists serving as solders and even acting as a form of war correspondents and writing there own Fechtbuch, rather than having being painted by a 14thC monk or some such.

I'm not able to find the name of the artist right now so I cant prove that he knew what he was doing but
from personal experience of seeing these type of harness in use. I wouldn't bat an eyelid at this picture. and considering the rest of the action in the painting all other equipment is depicted with %100 accuracy and no stylisation of any kind.

As it happens I actually plan to have a harness similar to the ones in this painting made for myself in the near future.
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Emil Andersson




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 10:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Johnson wrote:

As it happens I actually plan to have a harness similar to the ones in this painting made for myself in the near future.


What a coincidence. I've also got a tonlet harness planned for production, to be finished some time before summer 2014. Happy

I want to thank you for that picture of the painting, Nathan. It's really interesting to see the tonlet armour being used outside of tournament combat.
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Benjamin Floyd II




PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Goliath_(MS_Germ.Quart.2020)

It's not in armor, but the swords are the right size. The armored fighters later in the book use smaller swords.


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Benjamin Floyd II




PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote



These are big swords as well. The text says this though:

Quote:
FORM OF THE SWORD IN ARMOUR
The sword for fighting in armour should have the form as written below, thus: it should be of a length to come with the pommel under the arm, sharpened four fingers from the point. Itís handle should be of a span. The crossguard should be as long as the handle of the sword. And it should be pointed on every side. And similarly, the pommel should be pointed, so that you can strike with any of these parts.


From the looks of them, they look kind of like big boar swords in shape (leaf-bladed on the ends) with a pointed cross and pommel. It's not for tournament fighting though... They aren't quite big enough either.

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Benjamin Floyd II




PostPosted: Thu 12 Sep, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tonlet armored fighting (wrong swords though):


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James Arlen Gillaspie




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Period art can be a real minefield when it comes to properly extracting information from it, as it is often extremely misleading. Written inventories and other records must also be consulted to get a better picture of what really went on. Artists only very rarely had seen an actual field battle, but they had seen tournaments. I have never ceased to be amused by the appearance of 'frogmouth' joustin helms in so many battle scenes, along with other tournament equipment. This example, dated from 1445 and concerning an incident in the Trojan War, shows people fighting in frogmouths... with swords. Wink


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James Arlen Gillaspie




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm, no comment? Well, here's an even better example of artistic license. It has me wondering if, such as in the painting of the Battle of Orsha, the fellows in the tonlet armours are shown in tonlet armours to make it clear that they are nobles, who do such things as participate in tournaments, and not ordinary men - at - arms.


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