early scottish kit

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

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early scottish kit

Postby nathan on Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:59 pm

hi all,
have had a big interest in scottish kits since i was small. so this is more out of curiosty than anything else. anyone know where to go for info on it fo 11th to 12th century periods?
also any ideas on when the scottish claymore was first seen in battle? i have seen a few conflicting quotes on it. also any info on weapons and warfare for this period would be much appericated. iv tried lookin it up myself but cant find many good leads.
thanks for the help :D
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby Swifty on Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:01 pm

Hi

Of claymores there are three main types. Double-handed claymores first appear during the late fifteenth century at the earliest but most extant examples are thought to be of sixteenth century date with some examples with the lowland type characteristics (no dropping quillons but with shell guards - the most typical/obvious) dating into the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Single-handed claymores tend to date from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Single-handed basket-hilted claymores first emerge in the late sixteenth century, although there is evidence for earlier English proto basket-hilted swords. So, basicly you can forget the claymore if you're into protraying the 11th and 12th centuries. See John Wallace's 'Scottish Swords and Dirks'.

If you're into Scottish garb - you're going to need to explain that a bit further, as there's differences between highland and lowland attire... However you could take a look at Ian Heath's 'Armies of the Dark Ages' published by Wargames Research Group to set you in the right direction. Also if you're looking at being a highlander, you could just pick your favourite Lewis chessman and base your portrayal on him. Simple as. Surprisingly similar to any other Anglo-Norman on the beat he is too. See Osprey Elite Series 'The Vikings' Plate H for an Angus McBride reconstruction of one of the Lewis chessmen. If you want a classic highlander look, you may have to come around to the idea of portraying a later period i.e. 13th-18thC, as the look of the highlander is far more distinctive in the Later Medieval and Early Modern eras.

Get back to me if you want more info on this - believe me we can go to town on this subject!!
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby nathan on Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:41 pm

hooray,
someone with fellow interests in this. yes im looking for highland style and im looking really a bit later due to time and kit authenticity. well 13-16 hundreds suits me best.
on two handed claymores my favourite tyoe i have seen some on the scottish museum pages with them dated around the 13th century. i want to develop this one as far as i can getting kit and info is always hard so i reckon we see how far we can go :D
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby Swifty on Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:43 pm

Well Nathan, apologies for not getting back to you earlier but I'm proverbially up to my neck in it.

The following are examples of extant claymores of the 'twahondit' type at the National Museum of Scotland. Note that they are all sixteenth century in date, typical of this type of sword. I have never heard of a double-handed claymore with a diagnostic date to the thirteenth or even the fourteenth century and I would doubt that such a sword could exist. Even in the fifteenth century there is not sufficient evidence for full-sized two handed claymores. So even for the fifteenth century re-enactor to field such a weapon would be extremely tenuous and therefore not recommended in the desire to portray typical fifteenth century highland arms much less the thirteenth century reenactor. In short if you want to portray a twahondit claymore bearing highlander/redshank you are going to have to look at the propect of doing this as a mainly sixteenth century interpretation. Whatever source you have read pertaining that a claymore of two-handed type is thirteenth century is likely 99.9% incorrect. Send me the link so that I can check it out.

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record. ... chdb=scran

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record. ... chdb=scran

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record. ... chdb=scran

The grave slab at the below link depicting a claymore is dated 1539 - still sixteenth century...

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record. ... chdb=scran


Here follows one of the very late sixteenth or early seventeenth century lowland claymores:

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record. ... chdb=scran

And lastly but not necessarily leastly follows an example of a highlander's fifteenth century single-handed claymore...

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record. ... chdb=scran

If you're interested in learning more about late medieval Irish or Scottish swords I can supply good archaeolgical material via email if you wish - but I won't get round to that until January. Let me know if you are interested.

God Jul!
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby the_power on Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:52 pm

Swifty wrote:http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-100-002-243-C&scache=2347x8y5er&searchdb=scran


Bah. That's exactly my one. I was told it was a replica of a 14thC one, when I bought it, and never thought to check it out. I never do 16thC stuff anymore...

Still, it's lovely. But I feel really dumb for fielding with it at Bannockburn. Thanks for the info!

John
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby Swifty on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:28 am

No probs John :{)

Other indicators of the age of a double-handed claymore are the open quatrefoils at the terminals of each quillon - this style is nearly always 16thC. The long langets are another sign of a later date. The pommel can be a rough - and not completely reliable - indicator of when in the 16thC the sword was made: those with a disc type pommel are generally earlier than those with an elongated globular shape which are usually assigned a late 16thC date.

Beir bua

PS As an a asides to the moderators, this topic is listed as Early Medieval when clearly we are looking at the Late Medieval Period!
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby nathan on Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:30 pm

true we should move it but it is now my personal quest to find the proverbial early claymore (truly doubt i will) but worst case scenario i will find something to suit. while on the topic of large swords does anyone have info and images on gallowglass weapons? also i failed to find out what similar weapons were being used in these periods ie 13 century onwards. so does anyone know of these? or did any even exsist? its all one big learing process :lol:
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby Guthrum on Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:38 am

Swifty wrote:The following are examples of extant claymores of the 'twahondit' type at the National Museum of Scotland. Note that they are all sixteenth century in date, typical of this type of sword. I have never heard of a double-handed claymore with a diagnostic date to the thirteenth or even the fourteenth century and I would doubt that such a sword could exist.


Of course, it's not helped by Historic Scotland showcasing 'William Wallace's Sword' at the Wallace Monument near Stirling Bridge, when the item in the case is quite clearly three hundred years later than Wallace. Feeds national pride, but is useless in terms of historical research. :evil:
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby Swifty on Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:21 pm

Guthrum wrote:
Swifty wrote:The following are examples of extant claymores of the 'twahondit' type at the National Museum of Scotland. Note that they are all sixteenth century in date, typical of this type of sword. I have never heard of a double-handed claymore with a diagnostic date to the thirteenth or even the fourteenth century and I would doubt that such a sword could exist.


Of course, it's not helped by Historic Scotland showcasing 'William Wallace's Sword' at the Wallace Monument near Stirling Bridge, when the item in the case is quite clearly three hundred years later than Wallace. Feeds national pride, but is useless in terms of historical research. :evil:


Welcome to the forum Andrew

On the above: absolut - good to hear the Scottish voice of reason on this subject!

As an aside, is there much work going on at the moment in the Scottish public sector in terms of field archaeology? Ireland's infra-structural works have dried up considerably since the second half of 2008 leading to an unfortunate drought for Irish archaeologists!

Sláinte
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Re: early scottish kit

Postby Guthrum on Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:27 pm

On the above: absolut - good to hear the Scottish voice of reason on this subject!


Like trying to explain to Scots that the Battle of Largs wasn't "Victorious Scots repel last Viking invasion of Scotland", and explaining to Irish that Clontarf wasn't "Victorious Irish stuff the Norse" :lol:

As an aside, is there much work going on at the moment in the Scottish public sector in terms of field archaeology? Ireland's infra-structural works have dried up considerably since the second half of 2008 leading to an unfortunate drought for Irish archaeologists!


Development-related work still going on over here, though the credit-crunch has led to some slow-down in development.
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