Friday, 13 September 2013

Claymore!


Albion Claymore
A post is slowly coming on Northern Ireland and some more assumptions and myths about armour. In the meantime watch this great film of my friend and once fencing teacher Lyell Drummond using his claymore. While many of the extant claymores are described as bearing swords, longswords or two handed swords are frequently referenced in 16th century sources, especially in relation to household troops. They are also widely represented on tomb slabs, it would seem that from at least the 16th century onwards they were widely used among highland warriors.
 The "Book of True Highlanders" gives wards for the claymore that roughly corresponding to the four main wards found in the German and Italian system of longsword fighting. Namely Tag, pflug, alber and Ochs. Nicely remembered in this mnemonic "the day is above the ox who pulls the plough while the fool rests in the shade.......
Alber,tag,ochs,pflug

 Lyell told me that the depressed quillons are particularly useful in trapping and generally fouling the opponent's blade. Originals had thin flexible blades more suited to cutting than mainland European longswords suggesting that they were used more for cutting though armours in use in the highlands at that time would generally resist cuts quite well. Claymores were both longer than longswords and shorter than two handed swords found on the continent., I think the claymore in the film is slightly shorter than most originals but it is nice to see a longsword bout that doesn't degenerate into a fist fight or wrestling match for once.


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