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Clements "never overlay thy selfe with a heavy weapon, for nimblenesse of bodie, and nimblenesse of weapon are two chief helpes for thy advantage" - Joseph Swetnam, The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence Popular media, fantasy games, and uninformed historians frequently give the impression that these immense weapons were awkward, unwieldy and ponderously heavy.
The facts confirm an entirely different understanding. Identification - Definition of the Two-Handed Great Sword To understand what we are discussing it is important to first have a working definition. The respected work, Swords and Hilt Weapons, offers this description of the weapon: In the hands of the Swiss and German infantrymen it was lethal, and its use was considered as special skill, often meriting extra pay.
Fifteenth-century examples usually have an expanded cruciform hilt, sometimes with side rings on one or both sides of the quillon block.
This was the form which remained dominant in Italy during the sixteenth century, but in Germany a more flamboyant form developed. Two-handed swords typically have a generous ricasso to allow the blade Great photo essays be safely gripped below the quillons and thus wielded more effectively at close quarters.
Triangular or pointed projections, known as flukes, were added at the base of the ricasso to defend the hand. English ones were sometimes referred to as "slaughter-swords" after the German, Schlachterschwerter "battle swords". While used similarly to longswords, and even employed in some duels, Great photo essays were not identical in handling or performance.
No major historical teachings detailing fencing with these specific weapons are known. These weapons were used primarily for fighting among pike-squares where they would hack paths through knocking aside poles, possibly even lobbing the ends off opposing halberds and pikes then slashing and stabbing among the ranks.
Wielded by the largest and most impressive soldiers Doppelsoldners, who received double paythey were also used to guard banners and castle walls. The Italian humanist historian Paulus Jovius writing in the early s also described the two-hand great sword as being used by Swiss soldiers to chop the shafts of pikes at the battle of Fornovo in Many of these weapons have compound-hilts with side-rings and enlarged cross-guards of up to 12 inches.
Most have small, pointed lugs or flanges protruding from their blades inches below their guard. These parrierhaken or "parrying hooks" act almost as a secondary guard for the ricasso to catch and bind other weapons or prevent them from sliding down into the hands.
They can also be used to strike with.
The Weighty Issue of Two-Handed Greatswords. By J. Clements "never overlay thy selfe with a heavy weapon, for nimblenesse of bodie. An essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse". It is difficult to define the genre into which essays . The titular essay from this collection — which honestly you should just read — is an ambitious and candid discussion of the passing of his father during a time of great racial turmoil.
Certain wave or flame-bladed two-handed swords have come to be known by collectors as flamberges, although they are more appropriately known as flammards or flambards the German, Flammenschwert.
The wave-blade form is visually striking but really no more effective in its cutting than a straight one. There were also huge two-handed blades known as "bearing-swords" or "parade-swords" Paratschwertweighing up to 10 or even 15 pounds and which were intended only for carrying in ceremonial processions and parades.
Hans-Peter Hils in his dissertation on the work of the great 14th century master Johannes Liechtenauer noted that since the 19th century many arms museum collections typically feature immense parade or bearing greatswords as if they were actual combat weapons ignoring the fact they are not only blunt edged, but of impractical size and weight as well as poorly balanced for effective use.
Though never intended for actual fighting, examples of such ponderous specimens are still occasionally cited incorrectly as having been actual combat weapons. One source tells us that among 16th century armies the adoption of the two-handers was very limited and in comparison with the pike or the halberd did not play a meaningful role.
However it would become unusable, as soon as the opposing forces collided with one another, and there would be increased pressure from the back ranks onto the front ranks, which created a thick melee. As one writer says of the weapon, "Among the smaller countries where mercenary bands were likely to developthe Low Countries, the Italian city states, and the free cities and states of the German landsthe Swiss became premier two-handed swordsmen for hire from the 14th century until well into the 16th century.
The two-handed sword and the multipurpose polearm, called the halberd, were familiar Swiss trademarks. The Swiss and Germans made their own two-handed swords. The Italians made a basic two-hander that they exported throughout Europe.The Great Inflation was the defining macroeconomic period of the second half of the twentieth century.
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