Older swords dominate this week, some of which qualify as gifts to be carefully wrapped and lovingly placed under your modest editors’ Christmas tree!
As a historian, We find it ‘scary’ and depressing when We consider just how much history we loose each year as old items decay due to a lack of care; are lost to theft, fire and flood; or are destroyed by the unfortunate habit of intermittently bombing to smithereens libraries and museums.
Reporting about WMA/HEMA.
MISSOURIAN (Columbia, Missouri) 05 December 12 Foils fly at Columbia Classical Fencing (Alexis Hitt, Nuria Mathog)
Classical Fencing is alive and well within the Missouri School of Journalism, and you can watch a pleasant little video about their efforts at the link above.
“It’s just fun to fight with swords”.
Sword Survives War and Fire
COMMUNITY ADVOCATE (Westborough, Massachusetts) 28 November 12 Out of the ashes, a gift from the past (Bonnie Adams)
Carol Burtt Borglund had to watch a house fire destroying near everything she owned; but one thought preoccupied her as 50 firefighters fought the blaze: “I kept screaming ‘Save the sword! Please save the sword!’”
But luck was with her and her grandfather’s naval sword survived, albeit charred, to be passed on as an heirloom to a relative also in the Navy.
BROWN DAILY HERALD (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island) 03 December 12 U. up in arms over alleged sword theft (Sora Park)
The University is continuing to pursue ownership of a $750,000 Civil War-era sword, which was allegedly stolen from its collections in the 1970s.
“Colonel Rush Hawkins’ sword is unique — not only is it one of the only Civil War swords commissioned by a regiment, but it is also one of the few made by Tiffany & Co. Since it was personally gifted to the Annmary Brown family collection, the sword also plays an important role in the University’s history”.
DAILY MAIL (London, UK) 06 December 12 Sword-pistol ‘brandished by Lord Nelson’ at Battle of Trafalgar goes up for auction
A silver-mounted, double-barrelled, flintlock pistol-sword allegedly carried by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar sold for £11,000/$17,550 at auction.
There are a couple of comments made within the item that give Us pause.
Ben Gamble, head auctioneer at Cuttlestones, said: ‘The likelihood is Nelson would have used it in Trafalgar.’
‘Used it’? ‘Carried it’ … maybe. You would not need a heavy, combination weapon like this one unless you were actually boarding another vessel – or repelling attempts on your own. Lord Nelson, situated as he was on the flagship of the British fleet, was more apt to be carrying something along the lines of this. You’ll notice that there seems to be great – and doubtless monetarily profitable debate about what blade Lord Nelson was carrying during his last battle.
Mr Gamble added: ‘The idea was you would try and shoot the enemy first but if they got too close or you couldn’t fire, you had a chance of using your sword – a simpler form of bayonet.
In this case I agree with the learned gentleman; anytime a ‘flintlock’ suffers a hard blow (such as striking/warding a blow), the weapon runs the risk of suffering damage or at least dislodging the flint – making the pistol part useless. That said, if and when a combination weapon worked, it must have been an impressive (and surprising) one-two punch! By the way – the enemy ‘getting too close’ is ‘not’ a problem if you want to shoot.
YORKSHIRE EVENING POST (York, UK) 06 December 12 Sword collection from Hobbit film on show at Leeds Royal Armouries (Stuart Robinson)
Swords – of any style – still draw the crowds; and we’re lining up to see four ‘fantasy’ swords as designed by master sword smith Peter Lyon.
And while We don’t expect to see many people wanting to take up WMA/HEMA as a result of being inspired by sword play in ‘The Hobbit’; there may be renewed interest in the hard-to-find Orc-ish ‘fechtbuch’: “Sauron’s System of Sword Swinging” by Shagrat.
THE PENINSULA (Doha, Qatar) 07 December 12 Demand high for swords ahead of National Day
If you’re serious about swords (for whatever purpose), your concerns about cost and quality mirror those of other blade-aficionados across the globe.