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civilisation and the sword?

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  Quote Surenas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: civilisation and the sword?
    Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 09:04
Hello all,
In your opinion which civilisation were able to grasp the true prowess of the sword and use effectively in battle.
My opinion i would probably say the Romans, then as a personal favourite the Japanese,i don't know enough about the spainish(who were the buckler man?).

Your thoughts
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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 13:08
The sword simply isn't a battlefield weapon it's a sidearm. Only three cultures have used it as a primary weapon on the battlefield. The Roman's, the Spanish Rodeleros and the Meso-Americas.
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  Quote BigL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 18:56
samurai???
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  Quote Surenas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 21:34
Originally posted by Paul

The sword simply isn't a battlefield weapon it's a sidearm. Only three cultures have used it as a primary weapon on the battlefield. The Roman's, the Spanish Rodeleros and the Meso-Americas.


Who were the spainish rodeleros and the Meso Americans?
just asking.
I know they were a sidearm for most armies but look how successful the Roman's were using it.
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  Quote Surenas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 21:34
Originally posted by Paul

The sword simply isn't a battlefield weapon it's a sidearm. Only three cultures have used it as a primary weapon on the battlefield. The Roman's, the Spanish Rodeleros and the Meso-Americas.
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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 22:12

Originally posted by Surenas

Originally posted by Paul

The sword simply isn't a battlefield weapon it's a sidearm. Only three cultures have used it as a primary weapon on the battlefield. The Roman's, the Spanish Rodeleros and the Meso-Americas.


Who were the spainish rodeleros and the Meso Americans?
just asking.
I know they were a sidearm for most armies but look how successful the Roman's were using it.

The Spanish Rodeleros were the target men who fought in Turkey, Italy and the Americas. They carried cut and thrust broadswords and buckler shields.

The meso-americans were the inhabitants of mexico, such as Aztecs, mixtecs, toltecs, maya and so on. They used wooden swords with obsidian blades inserted in the edges.

After answering the next question I shall go into hiding from the Roman historians on the forum...... The Romans used the gladius short sword to mixed success. It was designed to break the deadlock of pike warfare and very successful in the late republic and early empire against pike/spear armies. Against barbarians it was no better or no worse than a spear, it was the shield, armour and organisaton that beat barbarian foes. Against the cavalry armies the later empire faced it was alot less successful than spear armed troops would have been.



Edited by Paul
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  Quote Achilles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2006 at 23:56
i am going to have to disagree with you Paul. Take the "Vikings" for example, they primaraly relied on swords and axes. Also dont forget the Greeks, although they did use spears and javelins also, but the Romans did too. 
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  Quote Surenas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2006 at 02:06
i'm still interested in these spainish rodelero's what century were they around in i'm guessing 16th century
were they infantry or cavalry
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  Quote Mangudai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2006 at 05:35

Originally posted by Achilles

i am going to have to disagree with you Paul. Take the "Vikings" for example, they primaraly relied on swords and axes. Also dont forget the Greeks, although they did use spears and javelins also, but the Romans did too. 

Actually the spear seem to have been the most important weapon of the vikings, judging from archeological finds

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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2006 at 16:22

Originally posted by BigL

samurai???

no, the weapon of the Samurai was the bow in medieval ages, and the lance during the Sengoku Jidai period, the sword was in all cases just a sidearm. the whole Samurai sword-thing just comes from the period after the Sengoku Jidai, when the major war weapons were discarded and Samurai only carried their peace-time weapons, the swords...

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  Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2006 at 17:04
About the spanish rodeleros: they were very important at the end of the XV century and the beginning of the XVI, but never were the main force of the spanish armies. The medieval infantrymen of the spanish was equal to the other europeans: spear+sword+shield; in the war of Granada we can see the first units (called tercios, but not was the final Tercio) that have the two weapons separated: spearmen/pikemen + rodeleros (+ crossbowmen) I think this is the only moment that the rodeleros could be the first weapon, with the XVI century, at the time of Charles V to XVII century, the spanish considered to the Pike the better and most noble weapon.

But there is other moment for the sword in Spain: the preroman time. The hispanic warriors, iberians, celtiberians, lusitans... were men with (offensive role) javelins and swords, this last was always the main weapon of the warrior. Curiously, they don't like very much the spear, the hispanic prefer the guerrilla warfare and skirmishes but not the phalanx formation like the gauls and the greeks, when they was in battle their favorite tactic was equal to the roman way of fight: launch the javelins and attack with the short sword.

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  Quote Achilles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2006 at 17:08
Originally posted by Mangudai

Originally posted by Achilles

i am going to have to disagree with you Paul. Take the "Vikings" for example, they primaraly relied on swords and axes. Also dont forget the Greeks, although they did use spears and javelins also, but the Romans did too. 

Actually the spear seem to have been the most important weapon of the vikings, judging from archeological finds



really? I did not know that the vikings really even used spears. I guess the typical hollywood image still has it hold on some parts of my brain.

thanks for that info
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  Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 19:19
It seems the sword has always been more a symbolic weapon than the best way to kill an enemy. Old Norse poems refer to blood as 'sword-drink,' and so forth, and historically swords have been the common side-arm of humanity ever since the Iron Age began. There's something very natural, pure, and menacing about the sword that caused every single civilization we know about (apart from technologically slow societies, such as aborigines in Australia and many African tribes). There have also been millions of quotes about swords and war. 
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  Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 09:43
LOL how many have changed my opinion about this since one year.

The preroman tribes of Iberia, according with archeological findings and roman accounts, had as main weapon the Spear, using too of course the short sword and the javelins.

The myth about the rodeleros is excesivelly great: they wasn't very useful in the battlefield, dissapeared quickly from european theater but survived more in Amrica wich was a warfare enviroment less advanced.
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  Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 18:13
I was referring to ancient times. Thanks for the ethnocentric rebuttal.

Archaeological findings have proven the sword to be the earliest successor to the spear and the bronze axe. Which makes sense, since the sword is a natural (albeit bladed) extension of the arm.  No one's doubting the fact that swords aren't the universal primary combat weapon, but almost every race and civilization has developed a sword as a side-arm, making it one of the universals of warfare, past and present.
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  Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 18:47
Originally posted by Brian J Checco

I was referring to ancient times. Thanks for the ethnocentric rebuttal.

Archaeological findings have proven the sword to be the earliest successor to the spear and the bronze axe. Which makes sense, since the sword is a natural (albeit bladed) extension of the arm.  No one's doubting the fact that swords aren't the universal primary combat weapon, but almost every race and civilization has developed a sword as a side-arm, making it one of the universals of warfare, past and present.
Cheers.


Sorry man, i only wanted reform an opinion that i posted here many time ago.

About the universality of the sword i must disagree: the incas don't developed sword if i'm not in a mistake, and primitive but dangerous in warfare people like islanders of the Pacific or the case that i know well, the aborigins of Canary Islands (my land) with the exception of one group (who copied the europeans swords) used maces and not swords.

So, not all the civilizations, not all the "races" and not all the time the sword had played an important rol.

But i agree that the axis of civilization of the Old World, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, developed a highly refined use of the sword, weapon that don't desapeared until recent times. Well, i don't know why you said "present", the sword is today a decorative relic.
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  Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 18:55
True, but the fact that it's still used ceremonially implies that it is important symbollically.
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  Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 19:28
Originally posted by Temujin

Originally posted by BigL

samurai???

no, the weapon of the Samurai was the bow in medieval ages, and the lance during the Sengoku Jidai period, the sword was in all cases just a sidearm. the whole Samurai sword-thing just comes from the period after the Sengoku Jidai, when the major war weapons were discarded and Samurai only carried their peace-time weapons, the swords...

 
Swords were considered symbolic in Japan, since the blacksmiths took great pride to forge the swords... which soon became among the finest sword in the world. It was too expensive for mass production, and only samurai warriors were allowed to carry swords.
 
I wouldn't count on Romans. Their true military might lies with their armor, formation and spear.
 
Vikings, in my point of view, should not be consiered armies... since they raided the villages near the coast and fled before the main armies arrived. Plus, they mainly used spears because they are cheap to produce, and can be used as ranged weapons. Swords and axes are symbolic for strength, which Vikings valued deeply.
 
I don't know. What nations truly used sword? They were mainly used by elites, or merely symbolic. I may be wrong, but I don't know what civilization would use sword as their standard issued weapon...
     
   
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  Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 19:37
Originally posted by pekau

 
I wouldn't count on Romans. Their true military might lies with their armor, formation and spear.
 

 
I don't know. What nations truly used sword? They were mainly used by elites, or merely symbolic. I may be wrong, but I don't know what civilization would use sword as their standard issued weapon...


Romans of the middle-later Republic and Early Empire, first greek type then the famous Gladius Hispaniense (this is the original type, they developed it more); they had a portion of soldier, the Triarii troops, with spear until around 100 BC with marian reforms. The romans take again the spear along the III century AC, in front of the rise of heavy cavalry; before that date they had the famous javelins called Pilum, used from time to time as spear, like the Caesar's legionnaries against the pompeyan cavalry in Farsalia.


Edited by Ikki - 01-Feb-2007 at 19:42
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  Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 20:44
I believe that some of the ancient Gauls used swords as their main weapon. Could they not be added to Paul's list?

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