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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    How hard, or how uncommon was it for smiths to diversify their skills. Did medieval societies need one person to make swords, one person to make other types of weapons, one person to make armor, and one other person to make arrowheads? Or could one person do all that?

    Wikipedia has a blacksmith make basically anything out of iron, but how feasible was this historically? Personally I don't know what kind of training is involved in these things.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    G, while your rapier-centric viewpoint is good for a counterpoint (but usually just a laugh), this bit clearly illustrates why you need to take some Wednesdays off and go to Sidesword Focus.

    A buckler doesn't necessarily need to lengthwise constrain your opponent's sword (in the way that another sword does) in order to give you strike openings, that's you thinking in rapier/rapier combat exclusively. In misura stretta a buckler can neutralize nearly any of the mandretti, forcing your opponent to take a dui tempi to get an actual strike on you from that side.

    Only at misura larga is the off-hand useless in that respect.

    When I get back this weekend I'll show you.
    I could say the same about your sidesword-centric viewpoint Also, I've been at Sidesword Focus every Wednesday for the last 3 months, while you've run off to Uni.

    Yes my posts are rapier-centric as it is the weapon i have the most theoretical and practical experience with. I still maintain that the long rapier defeats all shorter weapons.

    You have a good point with Bucker, it can constrain the sword effectively. My point was just that a sword does it better.

    I would however note your use of Misura Stretta, yes you can neutralized any cutting, but a good rapier fighter (and i'm speaking of someone like Devon or Clint, not me ) has several good opportunities to kill you before you get there, and even if you do get to Stretta, unless you can constrain both the swords effectively (ie without any finding at all on their part) you will die in the tempo it takes for you do regain control.

    This is possible with sidesword and bucker, or rapier and dagger. But its really frakking hard.

    DM

    EDIT: your going to be back this weekend? when?
    Last edited by Hawkfrost000; 2012-10-02 at 12:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    Wikipedia has a blacksmith make basically anything out of iron, but how feasible was this historically? Personally I don't know what kind of training is involved in these things.
    The really, really short version: Basic blacksmithing was largely diversified, but that means stuff like horseshoes, cookware, etc. Weapons tended to require more specialization, with swords needing a bit more than small weapon heads and such. This has a notable time component - in the early iron age, blacksmiths were likely working in comparatively small groups, with a wide skill base, but by the later medieval period the whole image of the "lone blacksmith" somewhere is completely and utterly ridiculous, with guilds and such being predominant.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The really, really short version: Basic blacksmithing was largely diversified, but that means stuff like horseshoes, cookware, etc. Weapons tended to require more specialization, with swords needing a bit more than small weapon heads and such. This has a notable time component - in the early iron age, blacksmiths were likely working in comparatively small groups, with a wide skill base, but by the later medieval period the whole image of the "lone blacksmith" somewhere is completely and utterly ridiculous, with guilds and such being predominant.
    I should double check this, but I believe that an armorer would have to master all the basics of blacksmithing before being able to make good swords. So an armorer should be able to make some basic useful tools that any competent blacksmith should be able to make. Not necessarily as well as a blacksmith that specializes in such tools, but still something useful. A fairly general blacksmith, could probably make a sword as well -- the blacksmiths I've met can usually make a utility knife, and what's a sword but a big knife. ;-)

    As the term armorer seems to be fairly common, I again suspect that most specialized on the broader category of "weapons", although some were probably known for making a particular weapon. (I've seen pictures of spear-heads with the same maker's marks as musket barrels).

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    How hard, or how uncommon was it for smiths to diversify their skills. Did medieval societies need one person to make swords, one person to make other types of weapons, one person to make armor, and one other person to make arrowheads? Or could one person do all that?

    Wikipedia has a blacksmith make basically anything out of iron, but how feasible was this historically? Personally I don't know what kind of training is involved in these things.
    Towards the end of the Medieval in Europe (although I'm not the one to give more detailed dates) swords were pretty much usually made by few people, often from completely different places.

    One guy was preparing the billet for the blade, blade maker was making blades out of it, someone else was mounting the sword with proper pommel and hilt.

    Blades were exported far away to be mounted locally as early as in 9th century.

    Similarly, at some point people who were making mail rings usually didn't put the mail together from them.

    Smith with good skills and understanding of metals, and solid equipment could certainly make pretty much everything, but he usually wasn't - it was quite apparently much better to specialize somehow.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    I've heard that a proper sword is not just a sharp metal thing but required some complicated process with the blunt side (?) being softer than the cutting edge and whatnot.

    On the other hand, knives and other non-combat cutting tools could be just sharpened metal. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    I've heard that a proper sword is not just a sharp metal thing but required some complicated process with the blunt side (?) being softer than the cutting edge and whatnot.

    On the other hand, knives and other non-combat cutting tools could be just sharpened metal. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    That would depend on the quality of the knife or sword in question. Many high quality blades, knife or sword, have a softer, more flexible flat to a harder, more rigid edge - this helps to absorb impacts better while ensuring a strong cutting edge. Obviously, the specifics vary throughout the world, but design principles of this type are relatively common.

    That said, you're going to find more swords made with proper design principles than you are knives, because most knives are everyday tools, not weapons of war. Unless we're talking a genuine fighting dagger, all a knife really needs to do is cut things, not absorb impacts or keep a rigid tip (that's nice, mind, but not essential). Your village smith is going to know how to make knives, because everyone needs them, regardless of whether he's a skill bladesmith or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Towards the end of the Medieval in Europe (although I'm not the one to give more detailed dates) swords were pretty much usually made by few people, often from completely different places.
    I can verify that this isn't a uniquely European phenomenon. The Japanese definitely did it as well, with the construction of blades, sheaths, hilts and guards all being different areas of expertise (even sharpening a blade was a unique skill set, I believe, though that's no surprise considering how ritualized the Japanese could get about these things). I'm not sure whether you saw a similar breakdown of skills in other parts of Asia, but I wouldn't be surprised.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Macab View Post
    By constrain i mean to force your opponent to take an action that will give you an opportunity to strike, this action is often predictable or controlled by the constraining weapon.
    Whereas I mean "physically bind the opponent's weapon or displace it in a fashion that leaves them unable to attack and/or defend effectively."

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Macab View Post
    A dagger is about 1/10th as long as a sword, requiring you to be in closer and thus be closer to harm, it is also far harder to effectively constrain your opponent with than a full length sword.
    Why would the dagger require you to be closer? It's used farther back than the sword. The whole point is that you can use it effectively at ranges the sword is less useful at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Macab View Post
    A buckler is hard to use to control the sword, it can certainly deflect a thrust, but that often simply moves the point of impact from one hurty bit to another one.
    Having seen the buckler used for disarms against weapons much heavier than the rapier, I find this doubtful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Macab View Post
    As an avid user of the off hand in rapier combat i can firmly state that the offhand is not only limited by its tiny reach, how slow it is compared to a sword, and its inability to constrain on its own, but its also your hand a piece of meat and bone, and it gets hurt accordingly.
    Emphasis mine. What? Hands grasp things, I'm not sure you can constrain an opponent more effectively than by grabbing his weapon and potentially levering it out of his hand. If you expect to actually block a blade head on with your hand, you can get away with doing it gloved or bare-handed, you should probably be wearing a gauntlet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Macab View Post
    Nothing constrains better than a sword, two swords constrain almost twice as well with proper training. I don't mean to say that two swords is always better, but someone with proper training and understanding of how two swords work and how one sword works will have an advantage over an opponent only using one sword.
    Plenty of things constrain better than a sword, by virtue of making it physically difficult to move the sword. It's possible there's a difference in the doctrine of late European dueling swords, but unless you're physically attacking with both blades at once, there's nothing you can do with two swords that you can't do with one by just keeping it on the center line and making good use of footwork.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2012-10-02 at 08:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    I can verify that this isn't a uniquely European phenomenon. The Japanese definitely did it as well, with the construction of blades, sheaths, hilts and guards all being different areas of expertise (even sharpening a blade was a unique skill set, I believe, though that's no surprise considering how ritualized the Japanese could get about these things).
    Sharpening always takes forever if you include the grinding after the blade left the forge. I think I've seen some bladesmiths says making blades is 4 hours at the forge followed by 10 days of making steel dust.
    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    How hard, or how uncommon was it for smiths to diversify their skills. Did medieval societies need one person to make swords, one person to make other types of weapons, one person to make armor, and one other person to make arrowheads? Or could one person do all that?
    I think the market that you are supplying is a major factor in this. If you produce military equipment on contract for a local lord, you won't be making one sword or spearhead, but dozens of them and probably never have to make anything else.
    If you're in some backwater town where your forge is the only one in the area, you would be much more likely to make pots, horseshoes, nails, and replacement parts for broken doorhinges or barrel bands.

    And it also depends on how well connected to trade the town is. If you can get quality parts in two days from the next town, it's more likely that you do that instead of having the smith do a single doorhinge. But if it would take two weeks to get it and you had to pay for the transportation costs as well, then you would go to your local smith and ask if he can make you something that does the job.
    Generally speaking, the more rare and expensive an item is and the bigger the settlement, the more likely it would be to find expert specialists. For cheap items where quality isn't of great importance or getting the item from the next specialist isn't economical, you probably have an allround craftsman.
    Last edited by Yora; 2012-10-02 at 08:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    That would depend on the quality of the knife or sword in question. Many high quality blades, knife or sword, have a softer, more flexible flat to a harder, more rigid edge - this helps to absorb impacts better while ensuring a strong cutting edge. Obviously, the specifics vary throughout the world, but design principles of this type are relatively common.

    Pretty much any competently made sword will be like that, from the simple reason that thin edges will behave differently during heat threat than ares where there's a lot of material.

    "Quality' here would be understanding, controlling and using this process, among others.


    I've heard that a proper sword is not just a sharp metal thing but required some complicated process with the blunt side (?) being softer than the cutting edge and whatnot.

    On the other hand, knives and other non-combat cutting tools could be just sharpened metal. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Sword was definitely "just sharp metal thing", but the whole point it's that this is nothing simple or crude by any means.

    There were clunkers, and there were fantastic swords out there, but generally sword was a bit of metal that was very carefully shaped and treated for specific function. Even replicating them today, with electrical grinding tools, computer operated furnaces etc. is not easy.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    for blacksmiths and specialization it depended on a lot of factors. For the most part any competant blacksmith could make a useable sword and any more specialized swordsmith was still capable of making other things at the forge. In cities and large towns, you would see a specialized swordsmith, armorer, and so on. In smaller towns and villages, there might only be one or two blacksmiths in the town and as such they would do metalwork of all types.

    If you think about it this makes sense on a buisness level. If there is nobody else working metal you work on having a generalized skill set and being fairly good at making items of all types. If there are lots of other smiths you would want to specialize and become very good at a specific item, so that you can garuntee that people will come buy that item from you and not from other smiths.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Pretty much any competently made sword will be like that, from the simple reason that thin edges will behave differently during heat threat than ares where there's a lot of material.

    "Quality' here would be understanding, controlling and using this process, among others.
    Absolutely. Most smiths probably would have been able to make a long, sharp piece of metal — exactly how much carbon to get into the metal and how to do it, how to concentrate arsenic compounds in the edges to harden them, how to fuse pieces of steel precisely to strengthen the spine, etc. etc. blah blah blah, would have been a less common skill set.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Towards the end of the Medieval in Europe (although I'm not the one to give more detailed dates) swords were pretty much usually made by few people, often from completely different places.

    One guy was preparing the billet for the blade, blade maker was making blades out of it, someone else was mounting the sword with proper pommel and hilt.

    Blades were exported far away to be mounted locally as early as in 9th century.

    Similarly, at some point people who were making mail rings usually didn't put the mail together from them.

    Smith with good skills and understanding of metals, and solid equipment could certainly make pretty much everything, but he usually wasn't - it was quite apparently much better to specialize somehow.
    To build upon what Spiryt said:

    Craft guilds (to be distinguished from merchant guilds, religious guilds, fencing guilds and other types of guilds) were fairly specialized and tended to get more so over time. They were also sort of grouped into clusters of related industries. So for example, dyers, carders, shearers and weavers of wool were grouped together, as were those for linen, fustian, cotton and other textiles. This was done on the basis of subcontracting, kind of as a way to get around strict guild rules limiting the size of each workshop, and still allowing skilled individual craftsmanship to be used in making each item, while at the same time allowing for an economy of scale.

    There was also very much a hierarchy of the skill level and wealth (and power) of the different crafts. Some crafts were over others, even within the same 'cluster'. Certain towns tended to be known for certain industries as well. Milan, Brescia, Augsburg, and later Innsbruck, were all major centers of armor production in the Medieval world. Probably half the armor in Europe was made in those first three towns, up to around 1500 AD. But it is important to note: an armorer did not make swords.

    By the late Medieval period (14th Century onward) in Central Europe sword making seems to have been overseen by the messerschmidt or cutler, who designed the sword and in turn subcontracted out to ironmongers who made the iron or steel billets, bladesmiths, handle makers, sword polishers and so on. Interestingly, the messerschmidt is also one of thoese crafts which seems to be closely associated with the fencing guilds. The famous fencing master and fechtbuch author Joachim Meyer was a messerschmidt, as were several of the masters of the federfechter fencing guild.

    I'm not sure how it worked in places like England or France but they imported a lot of their swords and almost all of their armor from Central Europe or Italy. For that matter as far back as the Viking age wootz crucible steel (what people mistakenly call 'damascus' steel) was being imported for swordmaking into Scandinavia and northern Germany from all the way in what is now India and Sri Lanka, as far back as the 8th Century. At the same time the arabs were importing Frankish and Norse blades by the 9th Century at the latest. We have written records of it from the 10th Century.

    This is a cutler or a swordsmith from the Balthasar Behem Codex (1505, Krakow)
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...em_Codex01.jpg

    This messerschmidt from an almshouse in Nuremberg (also 16th Century) had a dual career of 'cutler' and landskencht (mercenary) that is also supposed to be him outside the window.

    http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.d...17b-21-r/large

    Whereas any swordsmith or cutler should be able to make a horse-shoe, nails, or an iron knife, an iron pot and so on, the reverse was not necessarily true; i.e. a blacksmith could not necessarily make a sword at all. Making a sword requires a bit more skill (and could earn you more money).

    A lot of 'common' weapons were made with fairly simple iron blades compared to a sword, but sometimes these as well were made by specialists. We have Viking era axe and spear -heads which have steel edges forge-welded (or even pattern welded) onto them, and we know that in the later Medieval period the Swiss were using steel blades on their halberds.


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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Macab View Post
    This is possible with sidesword and bucker, or rapier and dagger. But its really frakking hard.

    DM

    EDIT: your going to be back this weekend? when?
    Almost every rapier manual published or produced includes techniquqes for rapier with dagger, which was the most popular way to actually use the weapon. Most also show techniques for rapier with cloak, buckler, and the off-hand. The latter sometimes augmented by mail-lined gloves.

    Case of rapier is comparatively rare but was also used.

    G
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Almost every rapier manual published or produced includes techniquqes for rapier with dagger, which was the most popular way to actually use the weapon. Most also show techniques for rapier with cloak, buckler, and the off-hand. The latter sometimes augmented by mail-lined gloves.

    Case of rapier is comparatively rare but was also used.

    G
    This is true, in the segment of my post that you quoted i was referring to the practice of constraint at Misura Stretta (or narrow measure). It is harder to survive such constraint when your opponent is using two swords, as you must deal with two full length striking and controlling weapons.

    It is possible to attain this effect with any number of weapons, but it is hard to do so with the effectiveness of two swords. That is what that sentence refers too.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    But it is important to note: an armorer did not make swords.
    Armorer is a generic term for someone who makes weapons (and/or armor). It's not limited to those who only manufacture armor. Could you please elaborate on this comment, and explain why it would be inappropriate to call someone who makes swords an armorer (as swords are clearly arms)?
    Last edited by fusilier; 2012-10-09 at 12:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    A real mail shirt may weigh as little as 12-13 lbs actually. I think 20 kgs is probably past the upper range even for cap-a-pied mail protection including leggings, full arms, coif and so on, though there is no doubt it would be much harder to swim in all that..
    In the player's handbook (assuming we are talking 3.5), we have this:

    Chain Shirt: A chain shirt protects your torso while leaving your limbs free and mobile. It includes a layer of quilted fabric worn underneath to prevent chafing and to cushion the impact of blows. A chain shirt comes with a steel cap.

    so a thick padding, a coat of chains, and a heavy metal cap...

    if we are talking chainmail armor, it would include the above, plus a leather skirt or chainmail leggings, gloves or vambraces. heavy boots. all of which needs padding... which sucks up moisture and gets even heavier... i think the penalties for swimming in full chainmail is a tad low. and i cant imagine the smell of moldy and rusty chainmail after a long, wet swampy adventure...
    Last edited by LordErebus12; 2012-10-09 at 01:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by LordErebus12 View Post
    and i cant imagine the smell of moldy and rusty chainmail after a long, wet swampy adventure...
    Don't forget to add the smell of unwashed adventurer.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Armorer is a generic term for someone who makes weapons (and/or armor). It's not limited to those who only manufacture armor. Could you please elaborate on this comment, and explain why it would be inappropriate to call someone who makes swords an armorer (as swords are clearly arms)?
    I can site scores of examples of individuals whose job it was to make armor, and scores of examples of individuals whose job it was to make swords, bows, guns, halberds or other weapons. I don't know of any examples from Medieval Europe of people who made both armor and weapons.

    In the regions I'm familiar with (Italy and the German-speaking part of Europe) the terms used were not in English, so I'm not sure about the etymology of 'arms'. In Germany they distinguished between plate makers and mail makers, in Milan they further distinguished between specialists of various parts of the harness. But none of those people made swords.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    For example if you look here:

    http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.d...p?do=page&mo=8

    at a list of craftsmen from Nuremberg across about 3 or 4 centuries, you'll see there are 2 terms they correlate with 'armourer': Harnischmacher (Harness maker, harness being a late Medieval euphemism for armor), and Plattner, plate maker. There is also Harnischpolierer, a harness polisher.

    Like this guy Bernhard platner who died in 1423



    ...or this guy 'Gorg' who died in 1414



    There are also several terms for mail makers: "Kettenhemdmacher" like this guy Seycz han who died in 1473, "Panzerhemdenmacher" (I know panzer means armor), and Salwirt or Salwürker.

    http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.d...-317-10-r/data

    If you click on any of those links you will see portraits of the individuals doing their jobs. I haven't looked at all of these but I never saw any of the armorers making anything other than armor.

    The cutlers, on the other hand, seem to be making all kinds of bladed weapons, like this guy making swords and daggers.

    http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/75-Amb-2-279-14-r

    ...who interestingly enough has the Lion of St. Mark above him.


    I find these images fascinating as they give us a little insight into the lives of these people.

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    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2012-10-09 at 09:48 AM.
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  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    "Panzerhemdenmacher" google translates into "armoured shirt maker", which frankly could either mean mail or padded shirts.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    It seems like most of the information being presented on the manufacture of arms and armor is from the renaissance period 1400s - early 1500s, and specifically of centers of manufacture. Was the level of specialization as great in earlier time periods? Were there smiths who liked to control the process from beginning to end?

    Some of my studies of later periods (1500s - 1600s) would indicate that a particular "smith" could produce a variety of weapons, and not simply specialize in one particular kind. This makes me wonder if they were perhaps organized in a hierarchical way, so that while different individuals/shops were turning out specific pieces and weapons, they all fell under the auspices of a head smith who marked everything with his mark.

    The first reference to a Spanish royal gunsmith, was somebody who was responsible for organizing the production of guns via contractors in a particular region (he was referred to as an "armero").

    On the other hand, even in gunmaking, there seems to have been a lot of specialization, with gunstocks, barrels, and locks being produced by different people (but I'm not sure who was responsible for the finally assembly -- I suspect the lock maker). However, just because a the gunmaker didn't make the barrel, doesn't mean that the barrel maker only made barrels.

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    I don't know a lot about this, but would it be fair to assume that in larger centers of production, you'd get more specialized smiths on account of simply having more people? Presumably if you could afford get someone making a specific thing and nothing else, they'd get really good at that one thing, which would be more efficient.
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  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    We get more records from the 1400's and 1500's for the simple reason that there are a lot more records from that period - both because paper (and interestingly enough, iron and steel) seem to disintegrate rapidly after about 500 years... and because they had a lot more records in that period.

    That said we do also have records (and blades) from earlier in the Medieval period and we know there was quite a bit of craft guild specialization already by the 12th Century, in fact it may have been a big part of what contributed to the so called 'early renaissance'

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaiss...e_12th_century

    Complexity of production did increase over time though without a doubt, even as the economy itself diversified and took advantage of more technological innovations and so on, and by the 15th century you also have journeymen's associations which are kind of the precursors of unions, as well as fencing guilds and konstafler societies and so forth.

    Also Fusilier I think things were indeed different in some places like Spain where you had pseudo-State like institutions. Even in the republic / city-state of Venice you had the Arsenal which was a centrally controlled factory of immense scale.

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

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  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Also Fusilier I think things were indeed different in some places like Spain where you had pseudo-State like institutions. Even in the republic / city-state of Venice you had the Arsenal which was a centrally controlled factory of immense scale.

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

    G
    The Arsenal seems to have been a very centralized military production center, from an early date (making just about everything as far as I can tell), and the Spanish, in the 16th century at least, seem to have been employing a more centralized approach as well.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    The Arsenal seems to have been a very centralized military production center, from an early date (making just about everything as far as I can tell), and the Spanish, in the 16th century at least, seem to have been employing a more centralized approach as well.
    Yes, I agree, though in the case of Venice thy also relied heavily on the guild system with its corresponding specialization; I learned recently from a new academic book on guilds that Venice had more craft guilds than any other city in Italy.

    So you seem to have in some cases both specialization and huge government enterprises making arms. I think later on nd in other places, like Austria and probably parts of Spain and France, guilds diminihed in importance within some of the Royal workshops, or the guild rules changed so that for example you could buy your way in rather than having to go through apprenticeship and journeyman 'waltz'. I gather ths may have had something to do with the decline of sword production in Toledo. On the other hand sometimes guilds were re introduced or re strengthened by the Monarchies as France apparently did in the 17th and 18th Centuries to compete with Venice in the lacemaking and glass industries.

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  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    I did some studying of the details of Venetian arsenal, but it was a while ago and I don't have the details in front of me. As I recall, the Arsenal both worked within and outside of the guilds of Venice. Basically, the Arsenal wasn't really designed as full time employment. Instead, if accepted, a master could work whenever he felt like it (in theory; in practice the Arsenal wasn't open all the time) -- usually when he didn't have other work available in the private industry. As long as a master showed up in the morning, he was payed for the day, which I think worked something as a pension for the elderly. While belonging to an external guild, the masters inside the Arsenal were organized into specific guilds as well, which sometimes acted a bit more like modern unions -- which isn't too surprising as the conditions in the Arsenal shared some aspects with an industrial era factory.

    It was actually quite a fascinating organization, and now I want to go and study its organization again.

  27. - Top - End - #147
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    There are a lot of smaller examples of that all around Europe, most of the towns had big water mills and other industrial complexes which were shared by different guilds.

    The Arsenal was a huge complex, they may not have been building everything all the time (except when they had foreign or domestic contracts), but some things, namely ships, were I think constantly under construction. Venice maintained a fleet of the amazing size of 3,000 "ships", and I know galleys in particular tended to have a fairly short lifespan. I think at it's height the Arsenal was able to finish almost a galley a day? If I remember correctly.

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  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    There are a lot of smaller examples of that all around Europe, most of the towns had big water mills and other industrial complexes which were shared by different guilds.

    The Arsenal was a huge complex, they may not have been building everything all the time (except when they had foreign or domestic contracts), but some things, namely ships, were I think constantly under construction. Venice maintained a fleet of the amazing size of 3,000 "ships", and I know galleys in particular tended to have a fairly short lifespan. I think at it's height the Arsenal was able to finish almost a galley a day? If I remember correctly.

    G
    I'll have to double check the 3,000 ships (my suspicion is that includes the "merchant marine" and the navy, and possibly a lot of small supporting vessels). When the Arsenal was running full out, it apparently could produce one completely armed galley a day -- but I think this is more of an assembly, as pre-cut parts and weapons were kept on hand. Still very impressive. Not that it was something that was done all the time, but that was part of the flexibility of the Arsenal -- in an emergency they could draft shipwrights into the complex.

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  29. - Top - End - #149
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    How defenceless were peasants and citizens in ancient times? You see them being totally helpless against enemies in a lot of things--but in some cases, you'd think they'd be rather tough. The question is, how much was common across Europe.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    That's not really answerable...

    So many different 'peasants' and 'citizens' in different places and times, some of them very warlike from whatever reason, some of them savagely punished for having any weapon.

    Other than that it depends against what would someone be 'defenseless'.
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