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bizarre weapons and armor

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:29 am
by lucasbu
what are the most eccentric/weird weapons used in second half of 15th century in central europe, or europe in general.
i found only "lang messer" and axe/sword combinations. all other finds are fantasy stuff, which look nice but aren't usable for living history.


if you know of any bizarre plate armor (cuirass, gauntlets, shoulders, helmets) as well that would be excellent.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:19 am
by Langley
If you really want wierd think about parade armours and have a look at the Wallace Colelction stuff not to mention the helmet with spectacles used as the logo for the Royal Armouries at Leeds...

As for weapons, there are some very wonderful poll axes/hammers around which would be right for Knightly status. How are you explaining hte absence of a horse though? Down at Qik Fit having new shoes or something? Knight pretty much = horseman although getting off to fight on foot is common thanks to archers.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:22 am
by Jim
I have pictures of a hand gun with four barrels which was used as a mace once all four shots had been fired.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:47 am
by lucasbu
Langley wrote:If you really want wierd think about parade armours and have a look at the Wallace Colelction stuff not to mention the helmet with spectacles used as the logo for the Royal Armouries at Leeds...

As for weapons, there are some very wonderful poll axes/hammers around which would be right for Knightly status. How are you explaining hte absence of a horse though? Down at Qik Fit having new shoes or something? Knight pretty much = horseman although getting off to fight on foot is common thanks to archers.
young knight, trying to make his name and fame, with not enough money to buy a horse, with strange armor and weapons. something like an inventor.

young people nowadays are trying new things as first ones and are full of ideas, in the old days it should be same, or am i wrong?


and any pictures/illuminations are more than welcome. thank you

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:10 pm
by Colin Middleton
The awlspheice (sp?) is a pretty odd weapon that you don't see much of. There's also an odd sword pictured in a French manuscript (can't remember which exactly), which appears to have an elongated grip and a rondel in place of the crossguards (I think).

Langley's right about the horse. AFAIK the English are the only knights who're dismounting to fight in the middle ages and that's because of the long bow. If you can't aford a horse, why were you knighted?

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:58 pm
by lucasbu
please focus on the weapons and armor.
using "knight" may have been a bad choice of word.

here's a backstory that i had in mind.

youngish blacksmith, who spend many years making weapons and armor for others. he gets tired living the same life as his father and his father before him so he decides to go to war (enlist or as a mercenary). before he goes he makes himself some kind of basic plate armor, maybe with lames or scales for better mobility (which i know weren't mainstream in 15th C but maybe you know of somebody that used it). and also some kind of weapon, not a regular 15th C sword but something special, rare, bizarre.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:42 pm
by Phil the Grips
If the Armourers Guild found out a Blacksmith was encroaching on their territory, assuming he even had the skills and resopurces to do such since there is a huge gap in the two professions even if they do superficially seem to both be metalbashers, there'd be trouble!

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:18 pm
by Zachos
If you want bizarre things then look for examples of Kastenbrust armour. They can date to about 1450/60 and look wierd. Also uses scale in some images.

And I wouldn't bother coming up with an elaborate back story as to why you have wierd armour. You're a man at arms, rose through the ranks, and you like to stand out amongst your fellows. Thats all you need really.

Here's a few choice pictures.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:36 pm
by narvek
And W.stilleborn was selling his kastenburst not so long ago. Made by Mac from Czech repulic AFAIK.

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:10 am
by wulfenganck
There are of course several examples of weird weapons and armoury. The main problem for seems to be the mixture you will have.

@Colin:
The awlspheice (sp?)
DO you mean an ahlspiess like this?
Image

That's a weapon which became popular throughout central europe from the hussite wars on. But more amongst simple soldiers, definitely not a knightly weapon.
From the timeframe it slightly matches with the Kastenbrust, but a Kastenbrust was a german speciality from around 1420s - 1450s.

The langes Messer is absolutely NOT exotic by any means, when it comes to central europe, o. e. the Holy Roman Empire; it's a typical sidearm for german/german-speaking soldiers throughout a perood of about 250 years.

About that whole background-story-thing: leave it!
It's okay to explain one piece of equipment that doesn't match the region and slightly slips off the timeframe of your portrayal.
But being an english knoght or man-at-arms with a german Kastenbrust and a hussite Ahlspiess and marching over a battlefield with armour that's been outdated for decades.......

Once you have to explain more why you're wearing something rather than what you're wearing, it's not really a portrayal, it's more of a story-telling in costume. There are some major differences between german, french, burgundian, flemish, english, italian, spanish, polish etc. fashion, concerning clothing as well as sometimes armour.

Sorry for sounding a bot rude, but trust me, it'll get on your nerves quickly.....
Therefore: start to nail it down to a certain period and a timeframe of maybe 15 - 25 years; the region of your interest and then start with some solid foundation of equipment: basic and "average" clothing first, then expand to more "luxurious" items, same with arms and armour.
It may sounds a bit boring, but you will have something solid to expand from...

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:13 am
by lucasbu
wulfenganck wrote:There are of course several examples of weird weapons and armoury. The main problem for seems to be the mixture you will have.

@Colin:
The awlspheice (sp?)
DO you mean an ahlspiess like this?
Image

That's a weapon which became popular throughout central europe from the hussite wars on. But more amongst simple soldiers, definitely not a knightly weapon.
From the timeframe it slightly matches with the Kastenbrust, but a Kastenbrust was a german speciality from around 1420s - 1450s.

The langes Messer is absolutely NOT exotic by any means, when it comes to central europe, o. e. the Holy Roman Empire; it's a typical sidearm for german/german-speaking soldiers throughout a perood of about 250 years.

About that whole background-story-thing: leave it!
It's okay to explain one piece of equipment that doesn't match the region and slightly slips off the timeframe of your portrayal.
But being an english knoght or man-at-arms with a german Kastenbrust and a hussite Ahlspiess and marching over a battlefield with armour that's been outdated for decades.......

Once you have to explain more why you're wearing something rather than what you're wearing, it's not really a portrayal, it's more of a story-telling in costume. There are some major differences between german, french, burgundian, flemish, english, italian, spanish, polish etc. fashion, concerning clothing as well as sometimes armour.

Sorry for sounding a bot rude, but trust me, it'll get on your nerves quickly.....
Therefore: start to nail it down to a certain period and a timeframe of maybe 15 - 25 years; the region of your interest and then start with some solid foundation of equipment: basic and "average" clothing first, then expand to more "luxurious" items, same with arms and armour.
It may sounds a bit boring, but you will have something solid to expand from...
i have clothing, average, as a villager. i'll gambeson ready, just need to stich it up. so i'm looking for some armor and weapon, i'm always curious about special types, nothing average or mainstream ain't ever good for me. so please focus on strange armors and weapons from all over europe, mainly central europe.

i'm really curious what kinds of weapons were used, not just because i want to use them, but just because it's really interesting, i don't know were to look, nothing in the library, and when i search the internet it always comes to fantasy weapons.

so one more time, focus on the weapons and armor. thank you

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:28 pm
by Colin Middleton
wulfenganck wrote:@Colin:
The awlspheice (sp?)
DO you mean an ahlspiess like this?
That's the fellow. Beautiful example that! The picture that goes with "How a man shall be armed...." has what can only be an aglspiess propped up in the back-ground, so they're clearly in use be knights in the mid 15th C in England.

Sorry for mangling the spelling. My English spelling isn't that hot and my German is literally unspeakable! :wink: On a good day, I can manage "Hello, 5 pintes of beer please. Thank you." and THAT'S EVERYTHING I KNOW! :cry: It was awful when we went to Austria. Everyone spoke to me and it's my wife that knows German!

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:34 pm
by wulfenganck
Colin Middleton wrote:
wulfenganck wrote:@Colin:
The awlspheice (sp?)
DO you mean an ahlspiess like this?
That's the fellow. Beautiful example that! The picture that goes with "How a man shall be armed...." has what can only be an aglspiess propped up in the back-ground, so they're clearly in use be knights in the mid 15th C in England.

Sorry for mangling the spelling. My English spelling isn't that hot and my German is literally unspeakable! :wink: On a good day, I can manage "Hello, 5 pintes of beer please. Thank you." and THAT'S EVERYTHING I KNOW! :cry: It was awful when we went to Austria. Everyone spoke to me and it's my wife that knows German!
Don't mind, I wasn't trying to teach you german;-)
In fact, when I tried to speak out loudly your "awlspheice", pretending to be english it wasn't that far from the real german pronounciation.....and the 5 pints are all you need...mostly.....

On a more serious note: about the weapon in "How a man shall be armed..." Yes, I remember the staff weapon. It looks very much alike an ahlspiess, with the difference that it is considerably shorter and with a slightly more "blade'ish" point - just as the knightly poleaxe (again "How a man shall be armed...) is shorter than a halberd, bill. It's certainly not a "Spear" (as described here: http://www.chronique.com/Library/Armour/Armyd.htm)

IIRC there is a weapon of that type in the Neue Hofburg Vienna; I take it more for a specialised weapon for armoured combat, very much alike the special armoured combat swords you can find in Filippo Vadi's fencing treatise, the Codex Wallerstein or some Talhoffer illustrations.

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:13 pm
by lucasbu
Zachos wrote: Image
did the painter deformed the proportions or could the armor have the breastplate on top the other lames, much like it is used in fantasy armor.[/img]

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:25 am
by Zachos
Its slightly deformed but actually closer to reality than most repro armours. The breastplate should end just at the waist (or even slightly above). The long fauld should then stretch down to just over the codpiece so it can fold up when moving or riding.

See here for the correct proportions of a cuirass:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12591757@N ... 676037715/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12591757@N ... 676037715/

They are in a different style but the proportions and date are similar and so useful in explaining.

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:35 am
by Frances Perry
Hmmm....

If you want inventions, then look no further than the 1459 Talhoffer Thott Edition at the 11r-48v: Erfindungen, Kriegsmaschinerie.

Also have a look at the fantastic duelling shields and swords in plates 104r through 110r (97v-117r: Gerichtskampf mit Stechschild)

http://www.flaez.ch/talhoffer/

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:22 pm
by Colin Middleton
Zachos wrote:Its slightly deformed but actually closer to reality than most repro armours. The breastplate should end just at the waist (or even slightly above). The long fauld should then stretch down to just over the codpiece so it can fold up when moving or riding.

See here for the correct proportions of a cuirass:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12591757@N ... 676037715/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12591757@N ... 676037715/

They are in a different style but the proportions and date are similar and so useful in explaining.
Some of the English harness have an even longer fauld than that example. Toby' armour really is a beautiful example!

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:30 pm
by Colin Middleton
wulfenganck wrote:Don't mind, I wasn't trying to teach you german;-)
In fact, when I tried to speak out loudly your "awlspheice", pretending to be english it wasn't that far from the real german pronounciation.....and the 5 pints are all you need...mostly.....

On a more serious note: about the weapon in "How a man shall be armed..." Yes, I remember the staff weapon. It looks very much alike an ahlspiess, with the difference that it is considerably shorter and with a slightly more "blade'ish" point - just as the knightly poleaxe (again "How a man shall be armed...) is shorter than a halberd, bill. It's certainly not a "Spear" (as described here: http://www.chronique.com/Library/Armour/Armyd.htm)

IIRC there is a weapon of that type in the Neue Hofburg Vienna; I take it more for a specialised weapon for armoured combat, very much alike the special armoured combat swords you can find in Filippo Vadi's fencing treatise, the Codex Wallerstein or some Talhoffer illustrations.
8) :lol:

I see what you mean about the odd shape, but the artist's done some strange things to both the weapons in this picture. Asside from the fact that both appear to have a different geometry from the table that they're leaning against, the spike on the pole-axe has also become a blade. We know that pole axes varied in height between about 4 and 7 feet and were used by both nobles and common folk, so it seems plausable that the same is true for the ahlspiess.

BTW, what is the translation of ahlspiess? I'm guessing 'awl-spear'.

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:20 pm
by Phil the Grips
Colin Middleton wrote:BTW, what is the translation of ahlspiess? I'm guessing 'awl-spear'.
Eelspear- as in thing for catching eels.

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:31 pm
by Zachos
Colin Middleton wrote: Some of the English harness have an even longer fauld than that example. Toby' armour really is a beautiful example!
In fact I believe this is the second incarnation of that harness and originally the fauld was longer and the cuisses were all encompassing instead of open on the inside.

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:49 pm
by Trading-Dragon
Phil the Grips wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:BTW, what is the translation of ahlspiess? I'm guessing 'awl-spear'.
Eelspear- as in thing for catching eels.
It could both be right.
'Ahle' translates to both 'eels' and 'needle' in old germanic.

So it could literally be an 'awl-spear', as in a very long and pointy blade for precision stabbing. Some people argue that the weapon could not have derived from a tool used for eel fishing because ells used to be caught in special traps, rather than being speared. It's debatable..

Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:20 am
by Mad Monk of Mitcham
I would tend towards the "Needle" or "Awl" interpretation. Eel spears did exist, but they had multiple flat blades, set in a row.

http://images.google.com/images?client= ... e&resnum=4

here are a selection - most are post medieval, but I have seen enough original medieval ones to say they have not changed significantly.

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:58 pm
by Colin Middleton
There's a medieval eel spear in the MoL, which looks like some of those in MMM's link. I'm inclined to go for the 'needle-spear' as the translation too.

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:39 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
And was used by an Italian monk in a skirmish to rescue his abbot who had been taken hostage by the local mayor in a dispute, circa 1420ish. The monks also had coats of plates and long knives at hand. All were expelled (one of the monks had already ran away with the abbots mistress anyway) beacuse thay had been neglecting their services by playing soldier.
Suggestion is they should have used mecenaries and then it would have been okay. :?

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:52 pm
by lucasbu
as far as the ahlspiess goes, our group already has one and several other spears and halberds.

as for my original question, i found this type of weapon

Image

Image

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:09 pm
by Alan_F
Jim wrote:I have pictures of a hand gun with four barrels which was used as a mace once all four shots had been fired.
That one keeps coming back in different forms: Usually it's a knife/gun combination.

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:32 pm
by Frances Perry
lucasbu wrote:as far as the ahlspiess goes, our group already has one and several other spears and halberds.

as for my original question, i found this type of weapon

Image

Image
I. Am. In. Love.

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:52 pm
by lucasbu
Alan_F wrote:
Jim wrote:I have pictures of a hand gun with four barrels which was used as a mace once all four shots had been fired.
That one keeps coming back in different forms: Usually it's a knife/gun combination.
yes, but used much later than 15th C.

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:26 pm
by Jim
Actually this dates from late 14thC. Article 4 in the description.

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:37 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
To be fair i rekon just about any handgunne from the late 14th/early 15th century could be used as a mace and would be almost certainly just as lethal (bit of a waste though).