Limited Edition Medieval War Sword
(Oakeshott Type XVIIIc)
Among the famous European Knightly swords that were deposited in the arsenal of Alexandria during a period from 1367 to 1436, one group stands out because of their striking proportions and fine quality.
They are of Oakeshott type XVIIIc, having very wide blades that taper to a sharp point. Their hilts consists of a wide slim guard with downturned ends and a pommel that is either of wheel type or octagonal in shape. No two swords of this group have exactly the same dimensions, but they share so may similarities in form and proportion that it seems likely they were are all made to the same description. The blades bear marks of bladesmihts from Milan.
All these type XVIIIc swords were introduced to the arsenal in the years 1414-15, 1415-16 and finally a large group in 1419.
It is probable that the swords were given as dipomatic gifts following the peace treaty of 1414 between King Janus of Cyprus and the Sultan al-Mu´ayyad Shaykh (a peace that lasted ten years). They may have been specially made as gifts to the Sultan, or were perhaps chosen because of their high quality as fighting weapons, representing the martial spirit of the knights and men at arms who fought for King Janus of Cyprus.
The Next Generation Alexandria sword is made after first hand study and documentation of original swords of this group. Taking away all guesswork and conjecture, it is made to represent the actual dynamic and functional properties that swords from this group typically exhibit.
The forward pivot point is close the the point of the blade, while the aft pivot point is located close to the middle. The balance of this sword makes it feel much lighter in the hand than it actually is. It moves swiftly and allows cuts to be delivered with authority and precision.
The blade is wide with a slim flattened diamond cross section. The edges are thin and sharpened in a way that is reminiscent of a cold chisel. This design makes the most of the cutting power of a wide thin blade and the resilience of a chisel like edge.
The guard is wide and slim with a hexagonal cross section. There is a marked widening at the middle that matches the midrib of the blade. This type of guard seems to have been especially popular in Italy in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
The pommel is a deep wheel type pommel with a circular hollow in the mid face. Since it is nearly hemispherical in proportion it allows for a good amount of mass without being too big.
The overall proportions of the Next Generation Alexandria closely matches a number of original swords in the group. A short video demonstrates how the proportions are defined with geometry, following principles that were used by medieval artisans in the Gothic period.
Proportion between hilt and blade is 3:11, a prime number ratio that is always the result of a design where the guard is placed in the first Vesica.
The width of the blade is one quarter of the diameter of the basic circle.
The width of the pommel is a sixth of the diameter of the basic circle and the width of the guard is defined by an equilateral triangle inscribed into the basic circle.
The design is made according to the idea that all parts should come together into a meaningful and harmonious whole, a notion that was as important to medieval philosophers as it was to artists and artisans.
A wide bladed XVIIIc sword, of the same general type as the swords from the Alexandria arsenal. The detail is from an illumination in the French manuscript BNF Français 357 Guiron le Courtois, dated to 1420 ( from manuscriptminiatures.com).
In the same manuscript there are several other depictions of similar broad bladed swords, having blades of moderate length and hilts with room for two hands.
Above, another Fench manuscript (BNF Français 118 Lancelot du Lac) c. 1400-1425.
A detail from the "Roman de Tristan", French 1410.
Limited Edition Hand Crafted Collectible Sword
©2003/2007 Peter Johnsson.
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