1. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Vocab on handling Medieval weaponry.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by chacotaco91, Apr 21, 2011.

    So, just by the word "medieval" everyone should guess that I'm writing fantasy.

    However, I'm having difficulty writing certain fight/battle scenes in terms of grammar, since I'm limited in terms of what vocabulary should work to match the scenes.

    I've looked on the internet, but so far I just have explanations on how they fought, and what medieval equipment was like. That's not really my problem.

    For instance, I have a character with a sword and a shield. If he was about to get ready for a fight, how would I word this?

    Would he "unsheathe" his sword from its scabbard, or his belt?


    Would he "unfurl" his shield from his back, or would he "brazen" it forward? Or would he "adorn" it?

    What would I call the thing holding his shield on his back? A harness, a belt?

    If there was a very large two-handed blade on someones back, would they unsheathe that as well even though it most likely would not be in some kind of scabbard?

    Would you "unsheathe" a mace or axe if it was on their belt?

    When using a bow, I know that archers don't run around with their bow strings always attached to the bow, since it would cause the wood to lose tension. How do I say other ways in which he "strung his bow", are there other names for the "bow string"? Maybe "coil", "wire", "line", "cord", or "twine"?

    Are there other ways of saying someone "parried" a blow or strike?

    If anyone has found a site that has the vocab for sword, shield, and cavalry kinds of fighting, I'd love to see it. Since I'm repeating a lot of the same actions in my fight scenes (blocking, strikes, and use taking out, putting away of equipment) I need to find other ways of writing it to avoid repetition.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Hope this helped :D
     
  3. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Thanks Trish. To clarify the shield part:

    It is a shield you use on your arm when fighting. However, when traveling and the such, you just have it fastened to you back. Have you ever played the legend of Zelda? My character has his equipment like that: A shield on his back, and his sword sheathed between his back and the shield. He take them both out in each hand when fighting.

    If that makes sense.
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Ah, why yes I have :D Forgot about that. Hmmm. Give me a few, I'll get back to you :)

    (gonna call my dad, the hunting, war, zelda master, lol)
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    He says he's always just called them shield straps, and they go around the body like a bandolier (sp?) so you can just flip it around when you need it, but the shield will protect your back when you're not using it? I guess you just be careful how you arrange it so it doesn't get hung up on the scabbard for your sword. Hope that helps. Dad says hi, lol.
     
  6. Cthulhu
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    Try looking for Role Playing resources, they often deal with this specifically.

    It's my impression that all those words are wrong.

    Well according to Wiki;
    Actually all swords would have had a scabbard, and none would have been worn on the back [It's not actually possible to draw a large sword from ones back] but as to the question No, unless a it's being drawn from a set it is not being Unshethed, and should not be referred to as that, [note that 'drawn' means the same thing as inserted in this context]

    To my knowledge there is no other way to say he 'strung his bow', however stringing a bow is simply the act of attaching a bow string, and should only have to be done once before a battle, or when a battle is expected [it's not if I recall the fastest procedure in the world, especially since care must be taken not to break the string or bow]
    If this is set in medieval times I wish to draw your attention to the crossbow as a possible substitute.

    No, definitely not.

    Scabbard, the sword is in the scabbard which is then attached to the belt.

    Yes other than Trish's fine examples you can also say things like bypass, elude, evade, fend off, hold at bay, repel, repulse, sidestep, stave off.

    Heres what I could find,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Medieval_shields
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claymorehttp://www.middle-ages.org.uk/medieval-shields.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Medieval_armourhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Medieval_weapons

    I recommend you try Robert E. Howard's Conan the barbarian stories, as they are chock full of evocatively described fantasy/medieval combats.
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    This actually isn't true. The scottish did it with their basket-hilt swords (more commonly known as Claymore's these days) by wearing the scabbard at an angle so it could be drawn at an angle. I would post a link, but all the ones I can find have repro's for sale, so I think that's against the rules. Just look for "Claymore back scabbard"
     
  8. Cthulhu
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    My sources say that that is not true, they say that the idea comes from the fact it was sometimes called an claidheamh cuil or 'back sword', "referring to a single-edged or edge-and-a-quarter sword with a flat "spine" [not one worn on the back, a common misinterpretation], " this would imply that the back scabbard is a modern invention, an implication backed up by the fact that I can't find any period examples, or representations, or descriptions of the indicated object. [Note; having now looked at videos of such scabbards in use I wish to point out that it's a highly inefficient way to draw a sword, and leaves one open to attack for much longer that a 'belt scabbard']

    Edit; It was somtimes carried on the back while traveling but it was also wrapped in skins, and would not have been caried that way anywhere near a battle.
     
  9. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Maybe we're talking about two different things? I'm referring to a hand-and-a-half sword that would have been carried on the back. Far too large to carry at the waist, they'd be tripping on it.

    I suppose it would be inefficient if you weren't trained, doing it everyday, and you're life didn't depend upon it. Chainsaws are unwieldy when climbing a tree with them dangling from your waist, but loggers do it all the time and make it look easy. (I'm not being rude, hope I'm not coming across that way).

    Also, as far as use of them, have you seen Braveheart?
     
  10. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    It does, thanks. Also, I've nominated your dad for coolest Dad of the year award. A hunting medieval warfare zelda enthusiast? Jesus Christmas thats cool

    Thanks a bunch to both of you. Most of the weapon I try to keep standard fare, but a few people in it do wield large 2 handed swords. I already had the idea that a 2 handed sword would be a difficult weapon to quickly take out, so those who use them always have just a normal, easily used weapon at their side.

    However, this is basically fantasy so I'll probably just make up certain things for simplicities sake. Do you think If I said someone had a back-scabbard it would be a decent way to describe what's holding the sword behind his back? Historical accuracy aside.

    I'm still thinking of other ways in which to say someone "took out their shield". So far I have "he presented his shield" "his shield emerged to prepare for battle"
    Also, when I wrote brazened, I realize I actually meant brandished. so would "He brandished his shield" work to?

    Other then that, thanks for all the support!
     
  11. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just adding to this. Those large swords they wore on their backs, in addition to being worn at an angle, the side of the scabbard facing the sky sometimes only went up two-thirds the length of the scabbard to make drawing the sword easier.

    A mace or small axe would hang from the belt. Sort of similar to how a hammer hangs on a construction worker's belt. You could say the person 'draws' or 'unhooks' it.

    A larger axe would probably be worn on the back.

    Just remember that a mace and a morning star are not the same thing.
     

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