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Fabris

Pennsic XXXVII - Quote of the War

OK, so I've been short on time since coming back, and I really will try to post more on what was an excellent Pennsic for me.

For now, though, here was the best line I heard from Pennsic (sorry, epiccoterie, I think this takes the cake ^_^).

"Rapier melees are like a bunch of monkeys trying to screw a coconut."

Needless to say, I laughed a very long time...and happen to think that this is a pretty accurate statement, too. ^_^

Anyway, to protect the source of the comment, I'll leave it up to him to fess up to it or not.

Cheers!

Comments

I think its funny and I love rapier melees.
LMAO! it is so true!
If you're doing it wrong, that makes sense. Sigh.

Rapier melee is about as ridiculous as knights who fight on foot.
(laugh) I never said I didn't LIKE screwing coconuts, or watching it, for that matter! (friendly chuckle)

Knights who fight on foot? (scratches head) happened pretty much in every major engagement from the early middle 14th century until the knight was eclipsed... Especially the English Knight.

To say nothing of combat a'plaisance (spelling wrong) Combats with tournament poleaxes were certainly not done on horseback.

Knightly combat was most assuredly not limited to engagements on horses. Even use of the Lance was a popular form of foot combat.

Now, mind you, I have seen plenty of ridiculous combat, regardless of what tool is being used. (chuckle)
Sure it happened, but a Knight was a mounted warrior first and foremost, and given the option, would be more likely to fight on Horseback than on foot.
Lots of ridiculous combat that is true. But why do rapier melees try to copy armored ones? Rapier melee should be fought in a bar or a street, maybe a castle. But never a field or woods.
Why not on a field or in the woods? Late period unarmored forces never med anywhere but in a bar, or the street? There were laws against carrying a rapier into battle. Such laws would not exist had people not carried their rapiers into battle. You can find all kinds of examples of rapiers worn by military men, and not just in their civilian dress.

Of course, we need to understand what a rapier actually is in period, and that for most cultures, it was just another type of sword. It was capable of cutting and thrusting, and it wasn't always obscenely long.

As guns took the field more commonly, armor became less and less useful. A thrusting sword suddenly finds practicality in such a situation.

Every castle has a field. A letter can be rush through the woods to get to the queen in time to prevent a scandal. Duels were not always one on one.

The rapier is *not* just a civilian weapon. That's an unfortunate myth we've had thrust upon us (pun intended) for a very long time. Scottish Border Reavers, for example, were often armed with rapier-style weapons. They certainly fought in groups, against other groups who were likely similarly armed.

The Spanish infantry armed themselves with sword and buckler, and in the late period, those swords often look very similar to the weapons you see on our field - complex grips and guards, moderate length blades with the ability to cut or thrust, etc.
Well, actually, those "rapier" style weapons were really just arming swords with fancy hilts (that is what a sidesword is, too, after all) (And, why do you think there are so many period fancy hilts that survived that have blades that were changed out to more robust blades—retrofitted for war: re-optimized for the CUT). The few civilian style weapons that did make the field were worn for status/rank as best as the record shows.

And, of course, swords were never used on the field as the exclusive, or even main weapon of choice, in any time period. There were ALWAYS combined arms.

So, there, IX's point is valid: maybe a small street fight, thugs, or a bar fight, but not war/battle.

So, to me, unless we're allowed the full use of our swords (i.e., real cuts at the minimum), and really: appropriate combined arms, too, then SCA Rapier Melees can never be seen as even marginally accurate or realistic: just a big game of point tag.

Monkeys—Coconuts.

Fun Game? Sure, for a ton of folks, and more power to 'em, but not so much for me—they just doesn't make any sense.
First, I like this discussion, so please don't assume a negative tone here.

An arming sword with a fancy hilt may as well be what a rapier is, give or take some blade dimensions. Rapiers were not all thin, thrust-only swords. Take a sword blade - strong on point and edge, good for a thrust. Put it on a swept hilt. Most people would call it a rapier. Many countries called it just a sword. An Arming sword and a rapier were all just swords (Espada in the Spansh, or Spada for the Italians. Italians sometimes called swords by slight variations in name - Spada de Filo, Spada de Costa for example) in several countries.

We know the rapier was carried into battle. It's an absolute fact. Weather it was intelligent to do so may be up for debate, but we know it was carried, and can presume that it was used.

It wasn't just some tool for thugs or brawlers. I find that stereotype to be somewhat obnoxious, actually. The Rapier was the weapon of a gentlemen, not a thug. It was the weapon of an educated noble who's duty it was to go to war for the crown. It was not the weapon of a fop, it was not an impractical weapon, and it was not the weapon of lower class thugs. Several knights carried, used, and wrote of the use of the rapier as a knightly weapon. Again, I refer to Salvadore Fabris. Sir Francis Drake is another example, as is Sir Walter Raleigh. These men were all knights, and in the case of Raleigh and Drake, they likely used a rapier in battle at one time or another in the name of their crown.



I inadvertently took out a passage above.

Salvador Fabris was the head of his Chivalric Order - the Order of the Seven Hearts. He was one of the most respected swordsmen of his time, employed by landed nobility to train them in the art of defense. He was internationally renowned, a knight, and an enthusiast of the weapon we are discussing.
Meh, I hate email/written coversations—very difficult to get the point across that makes perfect sense in one's head.

My point was that the "Rapier" was a civilian sidearm first and foremost, meant mainly for Self-defense and the duel, should it need be used at all, outside the salle.

Also, don't forget that it's quite clear that Fabris and others like him taught the whole plethora of war weapons, not just the "rapier."
Quite correct. That being said, Fabris' major work was devoted to the rapier. As was Carranza, Narvaez, Capo Ferro, and many others. One could make the argument that even George Silver, who decried the rapier as a weapon, was teaching people an art that would be used with the very weapons we use in our own SCA rapier combat - approximately 40 inches of blade, give or take, sharp on point and edge.

All gentlemen were expected to be familiar with weapons both mounted and on foot, including the rapier.

Generally speaking, most rapier melee groups I have seen do not have strategy, however this is changing. Commanders aren't as easy to come by.
True enough. I remember watching some old footage of heavy melee that Fern had put together. It was funny stuff. We are following a similar progression of tactics, etc. We don't have the same variety of weapons, nor can we come corp a corp, so some things are naturally limited. That being said, the longer we play, the better the game gets.