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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Sat 30 Dec, 2006 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
The weapons known as "holy water sprinklers" are named for their resemblance to the aspergillum: the tool used by priests to sprinkle holy water that consists of a perforated globe at the end of a handle.

Below is an example.

Aspergillum
1811, 19th century
Metal: silvered and gilded copper, nonferrous metal; Turned, assembled
4 cm
Purchase from Mr. H. Baron
M10979.2
Copyright McCord Museum of Canadian History


At least that seems to be the accepted traditional explanation for the name but I was just suggesting an alternate reason based on the similar spraying of droplets: Someone used to getting droplets of holy water sprayed on them by a priest would immediately think of the same when droplets of blood would spray from the weapon. Close your eyes and the feeling on one's skin would be the same if somewhat less than holy ! Eek!

As far as the physical resemblance I can see some resemblance, but personally not that much on looks alone, but add the similar function explained above then it seems like it would reinforce the simili. Big Grin

Don't want this to sound too much as being argumentative I just think it's just approaching the origins of the name from a different angle. ( Right. wrong ...... provable ? But at least plausible. )

Oh, as a " lapsed catholic " I can vaguely remember being on the receiving end of the liturgical " holy water sprinkler " when I was a little kid in church and this is were my idea came from.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 12:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
True, a "holy water sprinkler" weapon that sprays Holy Water as it hits may be fanciful, but it also may be possible (although far from historical). There is a thread somewhere here about a pole arm that sprays lime or some other caustic compound into an opponent's face. There is a "combination" weapon in the Royal Armouries, "Henry VIII's walking staff", that is a holy water sprinkler combined with a matchlock gun. It's rather impractical, but it exists.

Have you ever watched a show about exorcism, or ever been to a Catholic house blessing? Priests actually use a device called an "aspergillum" (a brush or small perforated container with handle used for sprinkling Holy Water) in the ceremony called "asperges", the sprinkling of people and the altar with Holy Water. Since the weapon existed, and the sprinkling device also existed, it would be possible to make the weapon's head hollow with perforations like a clerical aspergillum. Of course, it wouldn't be the most practical weapon around; you would lose most of the Holy Water every time you swung the weapon, and you would have to refill it often.

Now, nothing like this existed historically; medieval and Renaissance warriors faced human opponents, not various forms of the "undead", so there would be no need to develop such a fantasy weapon. However, in a world where ghouls, vampires, and other types of walking dead are a threat, I could just see an intrepid weapon smith trying to create a "holy water sprinkler" that actually sprinkled Holy Water. Still, I doubt that it would be common.


Well, it's pretty clear that there were holy water sprinklers as mundane macelike weapons and holy water sprinklers as ceremonial tool, whether shaped like brushes or with a light and hollow metal head as per Natahn's example. The D&D description, which incidentally meshes very well with your decision, still sounds a little strange to me, though. For one thing, carrying it would have prevented a problem--I believe most of the maces I've seen were carried upside down when not wielded in the hand, and that would have made the task of retaining the liquid inside rather problematic. Of course, it might have been filled right before the fighting began. The wielder would have been a sitting duck while filling it, though, and like you said the Newtonian laws of motion seem to indicate that the weapon would have expended all its useful contents in a single hit.

Not to mention that a hollow head would probably have produced some structural flaws. I could imagine a cast-bronze head working fine with the design, but a wrought-iron head would have needed several seams, and if they weren't worked properly...too bad for the wielder. I had the suspicion that a cast-iron weapon of this design would have been too brittle to be useful but I wouldn't take the supposition so far since I've never made nor tested one myself.

Even in a fantasy world with undead, I figure a "holy water syringe" (like the water syringes used for firefighting) would have been a great deal more practical. Or a cannon with case shot.

Yeah, I've gone too far into the fantasy speculations. Can't help it, though....
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Danny Grigg




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
Hello again!

Here's an interesting bit of information regarding the holy-water sprinkler from Treasures from the Tower of London: an Exhibition of Arms and Armour, compiled by A. V. B. Norman and G. M. Wilson.
Norman & Wilson wrote:

The term "holy-water sprinkler" appears frequently in sixteenth- and seventeenth- century English inventories, and seems to refer to a long, spiked club...It was apparently a pecularly English weapon, for one Venetian ambassador, Nicolo di Savri, writing in 1513, notes that 12,000 of the English army were armed with "a weapon never seen until now, six feet in length, surmounted by a ball with six steel spikes". 493 plain "holy water sprinklers" are listed in the 1547 Inventory of the possessions of King Henry VIII...

I find it odd that this was claimed to be a uniquely English weapon, since similar weapons were certainly used in Central Europe, but this does support the claim that the name "holy water sprinkler" was used in the period of use of the weapon. I imagine that the name "holy water sprinkler" is probably a uniquely English term for this weapon. Maybe the Venetian ambassador hadn't seen Central European examples of this weapon.

Another interesting point is the fact that the one shown in the book, the one that was part of the exhibition, has a very mace-like look to it's head. It certainly could be called a "pole-mace". The spikes are along flanges, and the whole head is of iron. Here's the description from Tresures from the Tower of London:
Norman & Wilson wrote:

Large, heavy iron head, consisting of six flanges, each cusped twice to form three spikes, the spikes of alternate flanges having pyramidal tips. Above is a thick top-spike of diamond section and, below, a hexagonal neck ending in a large roped roundel. Wooden haft of squre section with chamfered corners reinforced for its entire length by four steel straps.

Dimensions: Length overall, 74.5 in (189.2 cm) Length of head, 15.5 in (47 cm)
Weight, 11 lb 9 oz (5.24 kg).

Perhaps someone with this book could scan in an image of this weapon to post it on this thread. It's number 54 on pg. 69 in Treasures from the Tower of London. There is black & white photo on that page, and also a colour picture on plate XII, page 13.

I hope this was of interest!




Richard here are the pics of the Holy Water Sprinkler from the book "Treasures From The Tower Of London"

Enjoy

Danny



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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Dec, 2006 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Danny Grigg wrote:
Richard here are the pics of the Holy Water Sprinkler from the book "Treasures From The Tower Of London"

Danny,
That was the one I was referring to out of Treasures from the Tower of London. I was hoping others could see it; a description can only take you so far. Note that the head is flanged, like a more typical flanged mace. This could certainly be called a "two-handed" mace; it's just over 6 feet long. I don't think this was necessarily a "peasant's" weapon; perhaps it was a guard's weapon or something like that. This is one "holy-water sprinkler" where crude is not an adjective I would use.
Thanks again!

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Justin Pasternak




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Jan, 2007 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was looking around the internet from several of the websites' links and I found three long-shafted morning stars (which are numbers 2, 3, and 4 in the catalog) the lengths of each of the morning stars are 83", 76" and 66" inches in overall length. the link where I found these items are at:

http://www.faganarms.com/faganarms-catalog72-1.pdf

Would these large two-handed clubs be considered as two-handed maces as "Nathan phrased it" or poll-maces?
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Jan, 2007 7:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Justin Pasternak wrote:
Would these large two-handed clubs be considered as two-handed maces as "Nathan phrased it" or poll-maces?

Justin,

Interesting pieces in the Fagan Arms catalogue. Thanks for sharing the link.

I suppose you could call these "two-handed maces". I've also seen similar weapons called "holy-water sprinklers", as discussed earlier in this thread. The catalogue actually calls them "morning stars" - "morgensterns" or "morning stars" is another possible name for these sorts of weapons. Take your pick - different people seem to have different preferences in what to call such weapons. "Holy Water Sprinkler" does seem to have been a term used in the 16th and 17th centuries for the English version of these "spiked clubs/maces". If you haven't already, check out the picture posted by Danny Grigg earlier in this thread of the "holy water sprinkler" from the Royal Armouries Collection. That has a "flanged mace" look to it's head.

If you ask "were there two-handed bludgeoning weapons used in the Middle Ages and beyond?" the answer is a clear yes. Could some be called two-handed maces? I suppose, but keep in mind there are other terms also used for these weapons.

I hope this helped!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Jan, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

Not to mention that a hollow head would probably have produced some structural flaws. I could imagine a cast-bronze head working fine with the design, but a wrought-iron head would have needed several seams, and if they weren't worked properly...too bad for the wielder. I had the suspicion that a cast-iron weapon of this design would have been too brittle to be useful but I wouldn't take the supposition so far since I've never made nor tested one myself.

Lafayette,

I doubt that a holy-water sprinkler weapon that also sprayed Holy Water would actually be a practical weapon, but it could be a possible weapon. "Henry VIII's walking staff" was a holy water sprinkler with three matchlock guns in the head. The head must have been at least partially hollow to accommodate the barrels of the guns. Substitute some sort of brushes or sponges and perforated cover, and you might have something that could spray Holy Water when it strikes. It would have to be carried with care, and might lose it's "dose" of holy water in one shot. Of course, the wielder might be better off with a solid "holy water sprinkler" of the typical historical configuration! Remember, history has given us some pretty unusual and interesting weapons. Human beings of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (and before) were just as creative as we are now, and often used that creativity to produce various tools to inflict rather ghastly harm on their fellow human beings.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just stumbled across the entry for this holy water sprinkler the other day. I'm a little amazing by the weight - eleven and a half pounds! - and wondered what other folks thought of that. Treasures from the Tower of London contains a few other monsters - a glaive and a bill, for example - but this one tops the scales. The few weights John Waldman gives in Hafted Weapons in Medieval And Renaissance Europe are rather lower. One six-and-half foot morgenstern-group weapon weighs only 4.5lbs.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Mar, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Venetian Antonio Bavarin, who apparently wrote the lines "a weapon never seen until now, six feet in length, surmounted by a ball with six steel spikes" rather than Nicolo di Savri, also wrote that in August 1513 that the English force to Calais included "iron maces fit to level not only men, but cities."
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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