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Thread: This is a Claymore

  1. #1
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    This is a Claymore

    A Scottish Lowland Claymore, I was told and have no reason to doubt, 1550, would someone like to try and match this running wolf with a makers name? and possibly confirm the date? Likely Passue, the grooves seem to be filled with brass or latten
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    David Gray

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    The hilt is 17inches long and the quillion block is 14inches.
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    David Gray

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    It's 56inches long and weighs 2.2 kgs.
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    Last edited by David gray; 06-12-2008 at 06:38 PM. Reason: wrong weight
    David Gray

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    There are more marks like this on the blade but too worn to make out.
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    David Gray

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    The blade is 2 inches at the widest point.
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    David Gray

  6. #6
    "Lowland claymore" is a bit of a contradiction in terms. "Lowland two-handed" (or the Scots equivalent "twa-handit") would be the correct term.

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    Not at all Jonathan, originally in the Scottish gaelic "claidheamh mor" or great sword. This really is a twa handit Lowland style Claymore. There was also the Clamshell Hilted Claymore and the Highland Claymore with it downturned quillions was often hand and a half. Some refer to Basket Hilts as Claymores but I don't, to me there has allways been a distinction.
    David Gray

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    I'm not sure how large this image will render here as an attachment but it was readable when I downloaded it. it does zoom well. It might be helpful in narrowing a date.

    This sword is smaller than some of the modern reproductions, where being big seems to sell to some. I don't know if these were attributed diectly to Scot makers or if entire examples were being imported. The side rings do show up on a lot of large German swords by the early 16th century. I would think (at the least) that was a definite influence, even if being made in country.

    I don't recall that the wolf was attributed to a specific Passau maker, rather that it was just an indicator of geographic origin. we have seen examples here of early 1400s swords with inlays of the wolf. My understanding is that it was also generically copied, as were other marks of excellence.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; Some of the old sword blades seem nearly as crisp as when made
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    i believe it is a running fox, and that could be Krupp
    I am not 100% sure on this, and not sure where i read that

    Glen?

  10. #10
    Nice two handed sword, also called Bidenhänder or Bihänder. I agree on your dating, Ca 1550. Probably closer to 1560 than 1540, based on the pommel's size and form.

    The sword has a form and size that conforms with German/North European heavy two handed swords used during the period by Landsknechts.



    The function would be as seen above, to be deployed as part of the front in the Tercio to cut way into the pikes and/or halberds of the opponents Tercios.



    A Bidenhänder can be seen in the right part of center above.
    Last edited by Arne S; 06-13-2008 at 12:21 PM.
    Arne

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the replies, it would seem there is more to say this is German than Scottish. It looks Scottish and the fella that sold it 40 years ago in Scotland said it was Scottish but other than that it's German. Oh well I drive a VW, Landsknechts fine too. My son changed the weight the other day it was right to start with, 2.2 lbs, how did he do that? I was hoping the wolf could put a little more light on it but there just isn't enough there to match.
    David Gray

  12. #12
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    the arms trade at that time was much the same as it is now, it is in fact a 'claymore', it just happens to be imported from Germany. Germany was exporting sword blades well in to the early 1900's for use in combat .

  13. #13
    the arms trade at that time was much the same as it is now, it is in fact a 'claymore', it just happens to be imported from Germany. Germany was exporting sword blades well in to the early 1900's for use in combat .
    Within the borders of Europe, it could be argued that the arms trade during the renaissance was more internationalized than the arms trade today.

    I believe the hilt and blade have a German/North European origin. Off course it could have seen service in Scotland, but I don't think the hilt type conforms with what is regarded as a Claymore. Unless you classify any two handed sword used in Scotland as a Claymore - classification is off course also a result of interpretation.
    Arne

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    true as well Arne.
    I do think we get wrapped around the 'trifoil' on occasion.
    Regardless of how it got to Scotland, it is a really nice sword and can easy be the center piece of any ones collection

  15. #15
    A very nice piece indeed David ! I find it charming that the grip has not been restored and when cleaning the blade, the one that did the job left enough patina in the ricasso area to indicate that the blade has been cleaned and was once completely aged patinated as we now see the hilt.
    Arne

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=Arne S;1020023]Within the borders of Europe, it could be argued that the arms trade during the renaissance was more internationalized than the arms trade today.

    I believe the hilt and blade have a German/North European origin. Off course it could have seen service in Scotland, but I don't think the hilt type conforms with what is regarded as a Claymore. Unless you classify any two handed sword used in Scotland as a Claymore - classification is off course also a result of interpretation.[/QUOTE

    As far as I know ( after 13th c) all two handed or hand and a half swords as in the case of some Highland Claymores, were all Claymores. The lowland is on your left, Highland on the right.
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    David Gray

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    This is a two handed clam shell hilted claymore belonging to Alan Cameron 16th Chief of Clan Cameron. Crafted in 1588.
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    David Gray

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis Smith View Post
    true as well Arne.
    I do think we get wrapped around the 'trifoil' on occasion.
    Regardless of how it got to Scotland, it is a really nice sword and can easy be the center piece of any ones collection
    That is the bottom line David, nicely put, doesn't matter if it is totally German, looks like Scottish Lowland. If it did have clear origins to Scotland I likely couldn't afford it. Thankyou all
    David Gray

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by David gray View Post
    Not at all Jonathan, originally in the Scottish gaelic "claidheamh mor" or great sword. This really is a twa handit Lowland style Claymore. There was also the Clamshell Hilted Claymore and the Highland Claymore with it downturned quillions was often hand and a half.
    I realise that "lowland" may well be a misnomer (i.e. it may have seen use in the highlands also), but if the type really is culturally "lowland" then to call it a "claymore" seems a little odd. Gaelic being the language of the Highlands of course. It also confuses matters more, since there are already two types with legitimate claims to the name (see below).

    Some refer to Basket Hilts as Claymores but I don't, to me there has allways been a distinction.
    They do so based on the evidence. There are far more historical references to "claymore" as applied to the basket hilt, and those relating to the two-hander date from the 18th century, not at all its heyday. So both have claim to the name, but in fact it's the basket hilt that is the "true" claymore.

  20. #20
    Thank you Jonathan ! You sound sober, so you might know: What was the origin of the name claymore and when was it first used ?
    Arne

  21. #21
    I'm thinking of the chapter by Claude Blair in Caldwell's "Scottish Arms and Fortifications", which is handily paraphrased on wikipedia;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claymore

    The first instance in which a written usage of this word is after the beginning of the 1715 uprising, coming into much wider use during the uprising in 1745. During this time, two handed swords were not used so this mention is likely to have been referring to the basket-hilted sword. The document naming basket-hilted swords as claymores states that men were armed with rifles, pistols, dirk, targe (shield) and “a sturdy claymore by his side”. There is a later document (July 11th, 1747) describing the Prince’s escape through the Highlands following Culloden that uses the term ‘broadsword’ and ‘claymore’ synonymously.

  22. #22
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    First off you do realize that not everything in Wikopedia is fact? Any Tom, Dick or Harry can add info to that site. Perhaps the reason you think Baskets are "the true claymore" because you never read anything prior to the basket coming into style in 1700. I quite believe Victorian era romantics played a role in the name Claymore being used for every Scottish sword, they went a bit daft in that way. The sword itself was used after 1700 but it was going out of style in favor of baskets. I don't know when the name was used first but it was being carried in the late 1200's. These are the claymores I talk about, the original holder of the name, not a single handed basket hilt. I have yet to see in all the antique sites on this computer, a basket hilted claymore offered for sale. I see the odd claymore, not many any more, mostly I see basket hilted broad or back swords. Like I said before some folks do call basket hilts, claymores, but I don't, there is a distinction. They are not the same thing, you can tell just by looking.
    David Gray

  23. #23
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    David Gray brings up a good point. The word claymore has become a generic term for swords Scottish of the two handed kind and the basket hilted kind. Note that any one handed cross hilted sword from Scotland is usually called a 'medieval Scottish sword'

    Claymores are both really. Keep in mind this is opinion mostly. Basket hilted claymores are adaptations from mainland Europe, just as the two handed variety with trifoils are simply a Scots twist on two handed swords

    Is every sword that comes from or was rehilted in Scotland a Claymore? No

    but baskets and trifoil two handers are.

    After all are not most of the terms we use today adaptations of Victorian terms for swords?

  24. #24
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    [QUOTE=David Lewis Smith;1021735]

    Claymores are both really. Keep in mind this is opinion mostly. Basket hilted claymores are adaptations from mainland Europe, just as the two handed variety with trifoils are simply a Scots twist on two handed swords



    but baskets and trifoil two handers are.

    If by "trifoils" your talking about the ends of the cross bar as in the Highland Claymore above these are quatrefoils.
    David Gray

  25. #25
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    There is an old article off the front page here that offers a perspective on it.
    http://swordforum.com/fall99/fighting-methods-1.html

    There are some other interesting articles found in the 1999 efforts of an online magazine.
    http://swordforum.com/magazine/

    Cheers

    Hotspur; folk generally think of the big swords first

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