Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sources for Recreating a Deed of Arms at the Barriers

Here are the sources I used to design the deed of arms scheduled for January 12, 2008.

The basic rules for the effect of blows are a simulation designed to give an approximation of the effect of steel weapons on real armor, based on my reading of historical accounts. Here and here are some explanations. It is the basic combat system now used by the Company of St. Michael

Because the deed of arms would be fought indoors, combat at the barriers seemed most suitable, since the area where the fighting would happen could be tightly controlled.

The weapons chosen were designed to be fairly typical of barriers combats, based on these accounts, as well as contemporary illustrations of such combats which showed single-handed swords being used without shields. The decision not to use shields was reinforced by experience at past recreations of barriers combats. Because the barriers make low attacks difficult or impossible depending on the specific rules, sword and shield at the barriers tends to not be very interesting for the combatants or spectators.

One weapons form used at a significant number of barriers combats, thrown spear followed by sword, was omitted. Prudent recreation of that form requires significant separation of the combatants and spectators and I didn’t know if that would be practical at that site.

While many barriers combats ended after a specified number of blows were struck on one side or another, at Noseroy the combat could go on as long as the judges wished. The simplicity of this option was appealing.

The method of recording the combats and some specific rules for eliminating potential prize winners for specific faults were based on the Tiptofte rules.

Barriers combats were popular roughly from 1500 to about 1600, and became increasingly stylized and artificial over time. I was more interested in its earliest form, so I omitted later rules that barred blows from “the girdle downward”.

The speeches and ceremony were based on this and this.

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