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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: 5819
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: 5819
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.

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