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Old November 9, 2001, 02:35 PM   #1
Correia
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Question for you sword buffs. What kind of swords did the Portugese use?

I've got a question for you guys who seem to be very knowledgable about edged weapons and their history.

I understand that the Portugese explorers used a form of rapier. And they used them very well in duels against samurai.

Does anybody make a replica of the Portugese style rapier? Anybody have any links?

The reason I ask this is because for some reason I would like to get a sword and put it up on the wall of the office. I'm of Portugese ancestory (Terceira in the Azores) and I thought that a rapier would be kind of neat. My wife is Scandinavian and I figured I could get a Viking style sword to go with it. You know, to teach the kids family history and stuff.
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Old November 9, 2001, 03:17 PM   #2
Gunter
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Quote:
originally posted by correia
I understand that the Portugese explorers used a form of rapier. And they used them very well in duels against samurai.
Only if they had their rapier out at the beginning of the fight...
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Old November 9, 2001, 03:31 PM   #3
Gunter
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Most gun or knife shops over here in Austria carry replica swords, and some even copy those from hollywierd films.

Try www.messerkoenig.at or email knifeprince@mehl.org who could probably help you with some links.
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Old November 9, 2001, 05:10 PM   #4
Joe Demko
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Try Museum Replicas and Del Tin Armory. Also guys, please let's not start the "The Invincible Samurai Were The Greatest Swordsmen of All Time and the Katana Was The Greatest Sword" thread; just answer the question the man asked.
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Old November 9, 2001, 10:23 PM   #5
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Old November 12, 2001, 04:21 PM   #6
CWL
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Go to the library and look up two of the best sword books in English, one written by Sir Richard Burton and the other written by Stone (can't remember his first name). These'll give you info on swords, what type was carried when, and be who. I would believe that the rapiers were of Spanish influence since their dueling styles were popular into the early 19th Century.

By the way, rapiers were "gentlemen's" swords and not carried by everyone. It was an officer's weapon, and not the "grunt's" sidearm. The European sailor/fighting man carried something shorter (rapiers tended to be 3' and longer) and with a more usable cutting edge. Actually, Europeans preferred to shoot their enemies with canon and muskets.

By the way, in 16th Cent. SE Asia, Japanese sailors carrying swords were not allowed to step foot in port towns. Such was their nasty reputation for fighting.
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Old November 12, 2001, 07:04 PM   #7
Matt Wallis
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For sword info, definitwely check out www.swordforum.com.

Great stuff on all types of swords, Western and Asian (but generally without the hype!).

Regards,
Matt Wallis
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Old November 14, 2001, 11:43 AM   #8
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I think what the Portuguese used in the duels in question were swept-hilt rapiers, with a dagger in the Espada y Daga style. The speed advantage with that combination would give any bushi a run for his koban.

(Koban ... long oval gold coins used as currency way back in the day)

Oh as for Japanese sailors being banned from port with swords? They weren't exactly sailors. They were ronin from the provinces at first ... then samurai from defeated Armies of the West after the battle of Sekigahara fled the country rather than submit to the Tokugawas. Looooooong tradition of piracy after that.

The nasty rep for brawls probably comes from the "kirisute gomen" (literally "License to Cut and Trash") that was a samurai perk way back in the day. So much for early Japanese tourism.
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Old November 14, 2001, 02:54 PM   #9
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Thank you gentlemen. I now have some good places to look.
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Old November 15, 2001, 09:27 AM   #10
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Probably a rapier or a broadsword. The broadsword was simply a heavier version of the rapier (about 1/2 again as wide as the rapier) more suited to military use. The rapier was lighter & quicker, but the broadsword was more suited to sustained use. I'd think, given the backgrounds of European explorers, there would have been a mix of the two weapons.
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Old November 15, 2001, 07:05 PM   #11
Matt Wallis
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Rapiers were used all over Europe from about the late 16th century to the early 18th century. Some places were, of course slower to adopt them, and some places hung on to them longer. They started out in various forms, some better suited to cutting than others, but by their hey-day the rapier was pretty much a thrusting only weapon. Eventually it evolved (I use that term loosely) into the smallsword and then the dueling sword from which we eventually got the epee. (caveat: this is a very generalized summary) Militarily they eventually went to various forms of hangers or sabers.

As far as duels between Samurai and any Westerner, I have never heard of a verifyable one (which isn't saying much) nor has anyone I have ever talked to (which is saying a bit more). Pretty much all you ever get is the old, "My Grandpa once knew a guy who said he saw a fencer and a Japanese swordsman fight and..." with the outcome dependent on the biases of the person telling the story. Now, _supposedly_ John Clements (of the Historical Armed Combat Association) has references to documented accounts of such duels in his upcoming book, but I haven't seen it yet.

To answer your question more directly I'd say any swept hilt rapier of the 17th century would probably do you just fine. I know they were used in Italy, France, Spain and (eventually) England and I'd assume the same is true for Portugal.

Regards,
Matt Wallis

PS. Danger Dave, I was wondering what you were referring to as a "broadsword"? People have varying definitions fo the term.
M.
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Old November 20, 2001, 02:16 PM   #12
Don Gwinn
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Speaking of HACA, if you put that term into Google and ask about swords, you can find someone who can tell you the answer.

Also, the guy you want to talk to at either http://www.bladeforums.com or http://www.knifeforums.com goes by the name of "Snickersnee." If he doesn't know, he can find someone who does.
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Old November 20, 2001, 04:25 PM   #13
Danger Dave
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Far and away not the best example, but the only one I could find on the internet that wasn't a Scottish basket-hilt broadsword:

http://www.antiqueswords.com/gn137.htm

Notice the width of the blade compared to a rapier. Sometimes they had rapier-style basket or swept hilts, often they were simpler.

Broadsword is a term so misused, it's hard to find a good example. Nobody's put "Arms & Armour" on the internet...
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Old November 25, 2001, 03:45 PM   #14
Matt Wallis
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Danger Dave,

Really cool broadsword. In fact, I've heard that what you showed, and the highland baskethilt are the only swords that were actually called "broadswords" in their own time. Most people apply the term to older medieval swords which I've heard was not something that they started doing until victorian times.

Neat stuff.

Matt
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