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#136931 - 10/06/04 10:27 AM Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


...Or for anyone else who possesses knowledge on the topic.

Do you know if there was a specific way that the Romans trained to use the gladius? I know that they (the Romans) excelled in formations and units, but how did they do in individual combat? Was there possibly a sword art created for the gladius?

I found a treatise online a while back, but it didn't help much. It was in "Ye Olde Speakee", and I would never be able to find it again anyways.

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#136932 - 10/07/04 07:32 AM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


Foolsgold,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Foolsgold:
...Or for anyone else who possesses knowledge on the topic.

Do you know if there was a specific way that the Romans trained to use the gladius?[/QUOTE]


Yes, there was.

[QUOTE]I know that they (the Romans) excelled in formations and units, but how did they do in individual combat? Was there possibly a sword art created for the gladius?[/QUOTE]

There was a system for teaching swordplay to legionary recruits, known as the armatura. According to Roman Army historian Peter Connolly, the training methods of the Army were based on those of the gladiatorial schools (ludii). Much of what we know of their methods come from the descriptions of the late Roman writer, Flavius Renatus Vegetius, who featured them in his book of military reform, Epitoma rei militaris ("The Epitome of Military Science"). Recruits were first given a wooden training sword (rudis) and wickerwork shield, both twice as heavy as the regulation iron gladius and scutum. One may assume that they were weighted somehow--perhaps loaded with lead. Given these, the recruit was taught the proper guard with the sword and shield, with the left (shield)-side forward, in a crouch. The legionary was then instructed how to deliver all kinds of attacks--thrusts and cuts--against a 6-foot-tall wooden stake (the palum). Vegetius emphasized the Roman preference for the thrust, but he also described the use of cuts (someting not often acknowledged by historians), and we know from both his writings, and the descriptions of battles from other contemporary authors, that the Romans used the viscious hamstring cut, which would eventually be referred to by Renaissance-era swordsmen as the "coup de Jarnac". The design of both the original "Mainz"-pattern gladius and the later "Pompeii" type both indicate a dual-purpose weapon anyway, one that was suited to both cut AND thrust. Archeological evidence likewise reveals that the Romans employed cutting attacks when applicable.

The soldiers were well-drilled in the exercise at the palum, which was considered the base for all other training. Eventually, the recruits were given real swords (covered or tipped in leather), and paired off against each other in some sort of free-sparring format.

When it finally came time for actual battle, green troops were led by experienced centurions, who were field officers who had originally served their 25-year term as ordinary legionaries. It was essentially up to the centurions to show the new legionaries the "real deal", in actual combat.

Because of the rigorous, comprehensive, and realistic training that they received, Roman soldiers were described by the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (aka Joseph Ben-Matthias), as thus:

"Their drills are like bloodless battles, and their battles are like bloody drills."

[QUOTE]I found a treatise online a while back, but it didn't help much. It was in "Ye Olde Speakee", and I would never be able to find it again anyways. [/QUOTE]

Whatever you found, it wasn't a Roman manual, since none actually exist. Vegetius described the methods that existed before his day, but no Roman "how to" treatise on swordplay survives. I imagine that what you saw was actually one of the many existing Medieval or Renaissance manuals on swordplay.

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 10-07-2004).]

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#136933 - 10/07/04 09:04 AM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


Cool.

Were there any modifications when fighting without the shield? Perhaps right side forward?

Sounds like a lot of people were probably killed in training.

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#136934 - 10/07/04 10:28 PM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


Foolsgold,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Foolsgold:
Cool.

Were there any modifications when fighting without the shield? Perhaps right side forward?[/QUOTE]


I honestly don't know.

Certainly, it wasn't normal for Roman troops to fight without a shield. Legionaries normally fought as heavy infantry--they were protected by a helmet, body armor such as maille (lorica hamata), scale (lorica squamata), or articulated plate (lorica segmentata), and sometimes also greaves for the legs and an articulated metal guard for the sword arm (manica). In addition, legionaries used a large, rectangular shield--the scutum. Alternatively, legionaries could fight as specialist light infantry, called antesignani, wearing only a helmet, and using a smaller, round shield, called a parma.

[QUOTE]Sounds like a lot of people were probably killed in training.[/QUOTE]

I couldn't really say, bro--though Josephus's "bloodless battles" comment suggests that fatalities during training were generally avoided.

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 10-07-2004).]

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#136935 - 10/08/04 11:32 AM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


Seems they were more dependent on fighting in groups than I thought.

On a tangent, what would a legionaire do against the old trident and net? Seems like they relied on their shields more than their swords, and it seems like a shield would be vulnerable to the weighted net.

Thanks for replying to li'l old me.

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#136936 - 10/08/04 04:06 PM Re: Question for A_M_P
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Armed_Man_Piker

I think a Coup de Jarnac, is any form of attack that is technically (sp) within the rules of the match but is considered somewhat "sneaky" or a "surprise."

The name comes from a Jarnac that used a hamstring manuver in a duel--a perfectly legal move--just not quite "cricket" as the folks at that time saw it.

Again if I recall correctly, the coup can, and in the case of its namesake was, a hamstring cut, but I think that the Coup de Jarnac can be used to describe many techniques.

Could be wrong of course.

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#136937 - 10/08/04 07:18 PM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


Foolsgold,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Foolsgold:
Seems they were more dependent on fighting in groups than I thought.[/QUOTE]

What makes you say that?

[QUOTE]On a tangent, what would a legionaire do against the old trident and net? Seems like they relied on their shields more than their swords, and it seems like a shield would be vulnerable to the weighted net.[/QUOTE]

It's really a moot point, since it would never have happened anyway, but I suppose a legionary would deal with a retiarius (gladiator armed with trident and net) in much the same manner as a secutor or myrmillo would have done so--ie., close the gap so as to be able to use the gladius effectively.

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 10-08-2004).]

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#136938 - 10/08/04 07:30 PM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


cxt,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by cxt:

Armed_Man_Piker

I think a Coup de Jarnac, is any form of attack that is technically (sp) within the rules of the match but is considered somewhat "sneaky" or a "surprise."

The name comes from a Jarnac that used a hamstring manuver in a duel--a perfectly legal move--just not quite "cricket" as the folks at that time saw it.

Again if I recall correctly, the coup can, and in the case of its namesake was, a hamstring cut, but I think that the Coup de Jarnac can be used to describe many techniques.

Could be wrong of course.
[/QUOTE]

Fencing historians universally define the "coup de Jarnac" exclusively as the hamstring cut, for the simple reason that the hamstring cut was the specific coup that Jarnac used to win his fight in 1547 with Chastaigneraie. He was taught the move by an Italian soldier-of-fortune named Captain Caizo, who is thought to have been a student of the great Bolognese maestro, Achille Marozzo.

If you can show me any reference to the expression "coup de Jarnac" referring to some other specific fencing action, then please do so, as I would be genuinely interested in seeing it.

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 10-08-2004).]

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#136939 - 10/11/04 09:49 AM Re: Question for A_M_P
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Armed__Man__Picker


Actually what I saw was on the Discovery Channel.

The guys name escapes me at the momment--but the series he did was to take a group of folks and teach them, equip them and have them (kinda) fight it out.

They did it with stone age men--how to make the weapon and hunt, roman gladatiors, english knights, period duelists etc.

The reason I remember it, was that being a saber fencer myself I have also heard and used the term as a "hamstring"--but the folks in the series were VERY specific as to the meaning of a Coup De Jarnac as being a any blow that was technicially within the rules of the duel--BUT was a seen a "sneaky" or "tricky."

They re-inacted the entire Jarnac duel--and were quite specific as to what the term meant.

Again, I only knew it as a hamstring cut myself.

If I can get a couple of minutes today I'll try and see if I can find the name of the series, the name of the guy and which specific episode it was.

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#136940 - 10/11/04 10:04 PM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thank you, A_M_P and cxt, for the informative replies. I got all I asked for and more.

Top
#136941 - 10/11/04 10:18 PM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


cxt,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by cxt:

Armed__Man__Picker[/QUOTE]


That's Armed_Man_Piker, which is actually just an Elizabethan expression for "Armored Pikeman". [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]


[QUOTE]Actually what I saw was on the Discovery Channel.

The guys name escapes me at the momment--but the series he did was to take a group of folks and teach them, equip them and have them (kinda) fight it out.

They did it with stone age men--how to make the weapon and hunt, roman gladatiors, english knights, period duelists etc.

The reason I remember it, was that being a saber fencer myself I have also heard and used the term as a "hamstring"--but the folks in the series were VERY specific as to the meaning of a Coup De Jarnac as being a any blow that was technicially within the rules of the duel--BUT was a seen a "sneaky" or "tricky."

They re-inacted the entire Jarnac duel--and were quite specific as to what the term meant.

Again, I only knew it as a hamstring cut myself.

If I can get a couple of minutes today I'll try and see if I can find the name of the series, the name of the guy and which specific episode it was.

[/QUOTE]

Don't bother digging for anything.

The name of the series is Conquest, and the host is Peter Woodward, who is the son of actor Edward Woodward, who starred in such classic films and cult favorites as Breaker Morant and The Wicker Man.

I will tell you right now that Mr. Woodward is NOT a reliable source on either swordplay in general, or the Jarnac-Chastaigneraie fight in particular. The guy constantly gets things wrong, rarely cites sources, and in many instances he just seems to make things up. The episode on duelling, in which he covered the Jarnac-Chastaigneraie fight, was particularly problematic.

For starters, Woodward made no distinction between the earlier Judicial Combat (which was legal) and the later Code Duello or duel proper (which was usually illegal, and often punishable by death).

After that, Woodward went into a fairly detailed account concerning the last major judicial combat--that between Jarnac and Chastaigneraie, in 1547. This first main section of the episode was fun to watch, but it was, unfortunately, highly inaccurate on several points.

Woodward began by setting up the basics of why the two Frenchmen fought each other in the first place, etc. He noted that Chastaigneraie was considered to be the better swordsman, and was also supposedly the finest wrestler in France. Because of this, Jarnac naturally sought some outside instruction, from an Italian soldier-of-fortune, one Captain Caizo.

The BS began when Woodward described Caizo as "a combat teacher, like me". I assume that Mr. Woodward is an instructor in stage combat, which is fine, but the difference between a modern stage combat instructor, and a 16th century soldier and fencing teacher, is absolute. How can one compare a guy who choreographs fights for plays and movies to a hardened fighting man who used his weapons in earnest? It just seemed like a pretty dumb thing to say.

Woodward made a few other stupid declarations. He spoke of how Jarnac, being the man challenged, had the choice of weapons--a "thrusting sword" was out of the question, according to Woodward, since Chastaigneraie was the better fencer. I don't really know what Woodword meant by this, especially considering that the weapons ultimately used were cut-and-thrust swords, and there was no restriction to thrusting-play in that combat that I am aware of (indeed, in his classic book, The Sword and the Centuries, Sir Alfred Hutton described the fighters as using both cuts AND thrusts).

As it turned out, Woodward mentioned that the weapons agreed upon were "sword and buckler", and yet the combatants in the episode were shown fighting with larger shields worn on the left arm (ie., targets or rondels). Woodward claimed that Caizo and Jarnac worked out some sort of prearranged routine, that would end with Chastaigneraie cutting to the head, and Jarnac replying by parrying with his "buckler" and then severing the hamstring with a cut to the inside of the opponent's knee (using the front or "true edge" of the sword). Woodward suggested that Caizo and Jarnac worked on this plan over and over, until it became "second nature". The two actors were shown doing a prearranged fight--sort of like a European version of a two-man kata.

The problem with all of that was twofold. Firstly, Woodward made the whole thing sound as if Caizo convinced Jarnac that pulling this thing off was very feasible--Jarnac simply had to "play it safe" until Chastaigneraie finally came in with that head blow, and then parry with the shield and riposte with a hamstring cut to the leg. Who's to say Chastaigneraie would have definitely made a head cut anyway? In the ensuing fight, the actor playing Jarnac cuts one leg first (in the manner described by Woodward above), and then the other. The unpredictability of a real fight makes this whole theory sound rather sketchy, IMHO, and in fact the details are at odds with what Sir Alfred Hutton wrote in The Sword and the Centuries--Hutton said that Jarnac actually set up the hamstring cut not by waiting for Chastaigneraie to deliver a head cut, but instead faked a head cut of his own (prompting Chastaigneraie to raise his shield), and then dropped his blade and cut to the outside of the knee with the back edge of the sword. Hutton wrote:

"Several thrusts and blows are given and parried on both sides, when Jarnac shifts his ground, feints a swashing blow at his enemie's head, and so draws up his shield to defend it, and as it rises dexterously passes his point behind the unfortunate man's left knee, holding his hand in pronation, and with a quick movement snatches it back, bringing the sharp false edge in contact with the lower part of the ham. This slight cut startles Chastaigneraie, but before he has time to move Jarnac repeats it in a much more serious fashion, severing sinews, veins, muscles, and everything down to the very bone. Chastaigneraie falls to the ground..."

Again, this is totally different from what Woodward claimed. Woodward claimed that Jarnac's winning coup was essentially a parry-riposte (parry with the shield and riposte with the sword). Hutton, however, described a feinted head cut, followed by a cut to the hamstring (again, with the back or "false" edge, NOT the "true" edge as shown in Woodward's version of the fight), which in turn was followed by another cut (presumably to the same leg). This would be similar to the modern sports fencing reprise. Note also that a hamstring cut with the back edge, with the sword hand in pronation (knuckles up), could only be done to the outside of the left knee.

Another blunder by Woodward and gang was the fact that he portrayed Jarnac and Chastaigneraie as fighting with sword and target, without armor. Hutton, on the other hand, mentioned that the two men each wore a plate corselet over a mail shirt, a morion, a pair of gauntlets, and a rather large hand buckler (single grip)--NOT a target as shown by Woodward. Most interesting, though, is that Hutton also pointed out that Jarnac requested that both men wear a peculiar "brassard"--a rigid arm guard that does not bend at the elbow--so that, while the men could still use their bucklers (albeit in a purely straight-armed fashion), they could not really grapple effectively (and so Chastaigneraie's superiority as a wrestler was largely nullified). Chastaigneraie agreed to this armor and weapon arrangement. Woodward mentioned NOTHING of any of this.

The most laughable part of the whole Jarnac-Chastaigneraie sequence, however, was the fact that the two fighters were shown wielding single-edged backswords--this in itself is not historically inaccurate, as such swords can be seen from at least the late 15th century onwards--but it appears clear that double-edged swords were in fact used, as a backsword would have been of limited utility (or perhaps no utility at all) in delivering a cut with the back edge (as described by Hutton). Some backswords do have a short false edge, but one would think that Jarnac would then have preferred to make the final cut with the front edge. A double-edged sword, however, would have naturally had a full-length back edge, and thus would have proved more useful for delivering a peculiar cut of that type, with the hand in pronation (knuckles up).

Related to the above, and even funnier (or perhaps sadder), was the fact that the actors were HOLDING THEIR SWORDS BACKWARDS--ie., these were backswords with a cross guard where the front quillon drooped down like a vestigal knuckle bow, and the rear quillon bends up (the swords were examples of the "Scottish backsword" offered by Museum Replicas Limited). The fighters both held their swords with the front quillon facing backwards, and this, in turn, meant that they were "cutting" with the dull back part of the blade, as opposed to with the front edge! I re-wound, slow-moed, paused--watched it over and over, since I couldn't believe that they could make such a bone-headed error! It was pathetic. If they were holding the swords reversed for some sort of safety reason, then that, in turn, reveals a slapdash approach to the choreography--they could have accomplished the same "safety factor" by taking a file to the true edge of the swords beforehand.

The sequence showing la Maupin, the cute French chick fencer, was fun. However, Woodward wasn't even pointing his front foot forward when fencing! Tsk, tsk, tsk...

The final sequence involved two guys in 18th century garb actually fencing with early-style French fleurets (foils) and fencing masks (one guy had a Santelli 3-weapon mask, and the other used a Santelli saber mask). They used the free hand for defense, and there was some sloppy grappling exchanges. Woodward claimed that, had they been using real, sharp swords, their clothing would have been "cut to ribbons", but most smallswords didn't even have cutting edges! The fencer on the Right tagged the fencer on the Left with a nice thrust to the low outside line. Woodward stopped the action, and then said, "Okay, you would be bleeding from there--continue!". Then the fencer on the Left delivered a good thrust that appeared to hit the fencer on the Right in the subclavian notch, but Woodward made a bad call (IMHO), and said that it must have hit the shoulder. The fencer on the Left then delivered another successful thrust to the fencer on the Right--on the ribs--but Woodward apparently didn't see it, and didn't even stop the action. Finally, pressing the attack, the fencer on the Left lunged, but the fencer on the Right parried in #2 and riposted to the torso.

What was amusing was that, throughout the entire episode, Woodward kept talking about the "deadlier" thrust, and here were these two guys sticking each other over and over, and Woodward merely replied, "Okay, you're bleeding here, and you're bleeding there--continue!" LOL, I wish the guy would have made up his mind...

The show is fun, and I wish that it had been on when I was in my teens, but how hard is it to get this stuff right?

So again, Woodward is hardly a reliable source for info on the subject of the "coup de Jarnac". I stand by what I originally stated, unless you can provide some other source that says otherwise.

Peace,

A_M_P




[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 10-11-2004).]

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#136942 - 10/12/04 09:18 AM Re: Question for A_M_P
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
AMP

First, as I stated in my post--the information could well have been wrong.

In fact I think if you'll check I even ended my post with "could always be wrong."

So I was clearly NOT somehow "challenging" your background and info--so you might want to consider cutting me a bit of slack on the general tone of your reply.

2nd, Again, as I already stated, I also fence, and I also know that the Coup de Jarnac is used to mean a hamstring cut.

I was quite clear that the reason I remembered it was that it was defined in a very different manner than I had heard before. Very different than the defination I knew.

Again, I specifically said that.

Again, was not somehow "challenging" your knowloge of the sport.

Just chatting as it were.

Despite its flaws Conquest was a fun show.

Although I seriously doubt the "real" Maupin was as cute as her "stand in" for the show.



[This message has been edited by cxt (edited 10-12-2004).]

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#136943 - 10/12/04 09:32 AM Re: Question for A_M_P
Anonymous
Unregistered


cxt,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by cxt:
AMP

First, as I stated in my post--the information could well have been wrong.

In fact I think if you'll check I even ended my post with "could always be wrong."

So I was clearly NOT somehow "challenging" your background and info--so you might want to consider cutting me a bit of slack on the general tone of your reply.[/QUOTE]


Relax, bro. I did not take your post as a "challenge"--I simply questioned your claim.

[QUOTE]2nd, Again, as I already stated, I also fence, and I also know that the Coup de Jarnac is used to mean a hamstring cut.[/QUOTE]

That's fine.

[QUOTE]I was quite clear that the reason I remembered it was that it was defined in a very different manner than I had heard before. Very different than the defination I knew.[/QUOTE]

It was "different" than the definition you knew because Woodward makes stuff up.

[QUOTE]Again, I specifically said that.

Again, was not somehow "challenging" your knowloge of the sport.

Just chatting as it were.[/QUOTE]


Again, relax. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

It's all good. If you didn't like my "tone", I apologize. I'm just "chatting" too.

[QUOTE]Despite its flaws Conquest was a fun show.[/QUOTE]

Yes, I concur.

[QUOTE]Although I seriously doubt the "real" Maupin was as cute as her "stand in" for the show.[/QUOTE]

Well, that's one of Woodward's truth-bendings I'm willing to live with! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 10-12-2004).]

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