Single-Edged Edged Weapons of Central and Western Europe: Part 1


 I'm frankly ashamed of the fact that, after 5 years, the "news", later renamed "research" section of this website is still blank. I have a fear of the blank page. What do I say? How do I say it? I'm a serial abuser of the comma and I know I'm far too likely to drag on about a subject in ways that will bore man, beast or duck to tears. So my only solution is to dive headlong into this post, and get over that phobia, once and for all, And explain exactly what all the research work is all about.

 Sometime around the end of 2011, maybe 2012, I was sitting reading a web forum, looking at the various comments about arms and armour. And the discussion turned to falchions. They were heavy, axe like cleavers, according to the other person on that discussion. But even then I'd looked at one or two of the falchions that have survived, and knew that they were neither heavy, nor particularly "axe like", that phrase set alarm bells jingling in the back of my head, as the sort of oversimplification of a subject that I would disagree with. So I ended up in an argument. on the Internet.

Mistake #1: On the internet, never get into arguments with random strangers. You never know where it will end up... 

 And as the person was absolutely adamant that they were heavy choppers, I ended up having to decide to do a little bit of research into them, and find out about them. Hey, I could make a page about them. There’s only half a dozen or so, aren't there?

Mistake #2: Never dive headlong into the rabbit-hole without checking how deep it goes down…

 How wrong I was. Today, as I'm writing this, the work I'm slowly compiling has gown far beyond any naïve ideas of a “page about falchions”. It rapidly became clear that you cannot properly study them in isolation, you must also look at the associated single-edged arms. And from there, well, then it becomes clear there’s no clear codified documentation about them, and what is published is in fact rather contradictory to the reality. And of course, all of that had to be added. The web-page became plans for submitting a paper to the Park Lane Arms Fair. The Park Lane Arms Fair paper became academic papers for peer-review, and the data became a book. The book went from a study of falchions, to a study of falchions and messers. Falchions and messers became the Single-Edged Asymmetric Edged Weapons of Western Europe.

 The only problem with that is, proper research on the subject shows that it has been woefully under-researched, which pushes the quality of the work upwards further still – There’s no point in doing a job halfway, is there? And then, as the research progresses, you discover that there is research but in a language you don’t know. When you start having to learn new languages for the research, you know its getting silly. And it also means the title has to be changed again, as the focus moves one step further, shifting East, to medieval Bohemia, modern-day Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Moravia, where there is a hoard of information which has never been published.

 And that’s where we are today, Single-Edged Asymmetric Edged Weapons of Central and Western Europe. 

Mistake #3: In computing, developers call it “Feature Creep” – adding more and more features to a product. And I should have known better…

 It is those three mistakes, together, which have seen me reach the place I am today.

 To paraphrase the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious history collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.” Well, I don't think I can push it to a much further target than that I've set myself now. So its time to start writing. As I write this, the typology I proposed has reached print, published in the Catalogue for "Das Schwert: Gestalt Und Gedanke", the exhibition hosted by the Deutsches Klingenmuseum, Solingen. And I expect that means there are people out there who wonder what on earth it was all about.  So that's the next thing to do.
 
 But that's also something for another post. For now, lets get this out there, before the phobia of the blank page makes me hit delete. 

Wednesday, 24th February, 2016