Swords

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I still haven’t found the time to properly read your really interesting posts about swords (and music), in the detail they deserve, @Haerangil . But I do want to take back what I said about short swords. It turns out that in the Battle-Under-Stars “their swords were long and terrible.” So they must have longer ones already.

Can I ask briefly, are all those weapon names from the books? I can recognize a few but I don’t know as much linguistics as you do.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I took names from jrrts languages for the most part, yes. Sometimes he gave us a bit more detailed vocabular, for example lang = cutlass, crist = cleaver, makil = broadsword, megil = longsword , ecet = short, broad bladed stabning-sword... but most of the time he just glosses "sword" and many of his words are ambiguous ( same word for long & broad sword or even axe and sword, ...) . I did my best to apply jrrt terms to defined technical terms of sword typess.a few times i cheated and created neologisms ( yausta, nelekko, limilpamba, duruaithi, ...).
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Yeah, but there are still differences between more spread terms for specific types of weapons and, say kennings of the various kind.

For example we usually know what kind of weapon we have in mind when we hear the word "sax", and indeed the word was used for a specific kind of weapon, however it could and was be used also for totally different objects and in some context sax could simply mean any kind of knife or even scissors.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So, I have had to think a lot about the "long and terrible" descriptor about the swords of the Noldor in their first battle. I eventually found an internal compromise by having their swords be longer than those of the Orcs. Giving Orcs swords the length of a gladius means that giving the Noldor a xiphos-like sword means that by comparison they _would_ have long and terrible swords.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So, I have had to think a lot about the "long and terrible" descriptor about the swords of the Noldor in their first battle. I eventually found an internal compromise by having their swords be longer than those of the Orcs. Giving Orcs swords the length of a gladius means that giving the Noldor a xiphos-like sword means that by comparison they _would_ have long and terrible swords.
I thought a gladius is longer than a xiphos. A gladius is somewhere from 27-33 inches and a xiphos is no more than 24 inches.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I thought a gladius is longer than a xiphos. A gladius is somewhere from 27-33 inches and a xiphos is no more than 24 inches.
Turns out that you are quite correct. The proportions of the xiphos hilt messed me up. So ... we size the xiphos up to the length of a spatha (topping out just shy of 40 in). The original desire for the xiphos stemmed, I believe, from the aesthetics of the blade rather than anything else.

I'm reticent to place any full-length arming swords this early in the "history of warfare" as it were. To be fair, you could make the case that the lengthening of sword blades had more to do with advances in metallurgy than the bladed weapon arms race, but I'm not convinced this is true. Longer blades were well within the abilities of the Romans, but they did not use them. The current iteration we have come up with, with at least a nod to ancient and classical warfare, is a good one, I think.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Turns out that you are quite correct. The proportions of the xiphos hilt messed me up. So ... we size the xiphos up to the length of a spatha (topping out just shy of 40 in). The original desire for the xiphos stemmed, I believe, from the aesthetics of the blade rather than anything else.

I'm reticent to place any full-length arming swords this early in the "history of warfare" as it were. To be fair, you could make the case that the lengthening of sword blades had more to do with advances in metallurgy than the bladed weapon arms race, but I'm not convinced this is true. Longer blades were well within the abilities of the Romans, but they did not use them. The current iteration we have come up with, with at least a nod to ancient and classical warfare, is a good one, I think.
Wouldn’t the Noldor already have access to advances in metallurgy by the time they left Valinor?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I think the noldor should have swords of spatha length or long latene sword length. But again with larger crossguards, and a second shorter sword type.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Wouldn’t the Noldor already have access to advances in metallurgy by the time they left Valinor?
Absolutely. The Romans also had access to good enough metallurgy for longer sword blades, but they opted not to make them. This leads me to believe that increases in sword length resulted more from advances in other areas rather than metallurgy, as I stated in the post you quoted.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
One theorie i have read was that the short gladius became popular because of large field battles in narrow formations, where a short or mid-blade proved very effective in spear & shield combat.

In the late empire that kind of battle seems to have become more uncommon and in skirmishes mantoman duels became more common ans a longer spatha was seen as more benefitting for that sort of combat.

Don't know if i should believe that statement, but it's one way to think about it.

Before the romans, etruscan and greek swords had types of different length. Some estruscan swords were almost daggers, other types were longer almost of spatha length. The greeks used the xiphos for fighting on foot in narrow formations, but their cavalry used longer types such as the kopis, which could reach spatha length.
 

Halstein

Active Member
The classical legionary style of fighting was open compared to the phalanx. During the 3rd-5th century the Romans turned to a more close phalanx style of combat, relying more on the spear than the sword. In the "Strategikon" of Maurice (~600 AD) they have changed to a standard 16 deep phalanx.

My suspicion is that they wanted more reach, as the soldiers were facing more cavalry.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I found this article quite interesting, as well as the follow-up lessons...

https://study.com/academy/lesson/spatha-vs-gladius.html

But more about formations in the other threat about military tactics.

What i noticed, as i mentioned in the tactics threat: the early hispanic gladius seems to have been a longer type, of midlength rather than the shorter version of later imperial times. I didn't know that until now... but it is intriguing that both, early gladius and lather spatha types seem to be based on celtic sword types, rather than greek or etruscan ones.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The classical legionary style of fighting was open compared to the phalanx. During the 3rd-5th century the Romans turned to a more close phalanx style of combat, relying more on the spear than the sword. In the "Strategikon" of Maurice (~600 AD) they have changed to a standard 16 deep phalanx.

My suspicion is that they wanted more reach, as the soldiers were facing more cavalry.
The article that Haerangil posted over on the tactics thread brought up an interesting point: the maniple works best when paired with officers and legionaries willing to take bold action and take advantage of opportunities, even at great personal risk. It is widely accepted that the Romans of the late empire had lost a lot of the martial vigor that they had once had. The phalanx is a powerful formation that provides a lot of safety to its members, despite being less maneuverable. This may have been part of the shift as well as the increase in cavalry use.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Regarding Narsil, since it's been decided that it will be introduced during Season 4, are we fine with how it's depicted in the Peter Jackson films, or should there be some substantial change?
 
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