[Fwd: [Ansteorra-rapier] Rapier Melee practice]

gtaylor gtaylor at lonestar.jpl.utsa.edu
Fri Sep 7 07:44:56 PDT 2001

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 09:29:38 -0500
From: "Mr Leonard Zimmermann" <zimmerml at cnrf.nola.navy.mil>
To: <ansteorra-rapier-admin at ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Ansteorra-rapier] Rapier Melee practice
Sender: ansteorra-rapier-owner at ansteorra.org
Precedence: bulk

To all those who have decided to take this topic from the silly to a more serious discussion let me throw in what little my two cents might be worth.

Rapier in melee is, I agree, a bit ambiguous. I have found little to directly support the use of that particular weapon as a weapon of war (although it could be greatly argued exactly what a Rapier is, mind you).  Although, Ld. Carlos, you did mention some paintings in Spain? Any chance you could find out which paintings those were? There's just not enough Renaissance artwork in US for folks to really make comparisons on, unless it's in a book and often those reproductions are difficult to examine closely. So, as always, share the wealth!

It could be noted that melees are well documented in the context of the duel, however. Usually with a relatively small force on either side (I don't remember seeing anything more then about 6 to a side, but my memory could easily be failing me) and there is some evidence to suggest that they may have been fought more as individual duels all on the same field where it might have been very bad form to "gang up" on any other individual. Which throws most SCA melee tactics out the window. It also suggests that having two standards of acceptable conduct for "honor" on the field is somehow different between tourney and melee. (And no, I won't go into the definition of honor since that would take a treatise far longer than this has already gotten and I still wouldn't acceptably define it. They couldn't do it in period, I seriously doubt I could do better.)

So Rapier and War doesn't seem to go together in period, unless we find compulsive documentation to the contrary. But I have one more question. Who says that sword in your hand is a Rapier? Why not a side sword or any other number of weapons which would have been used in war? After all the only REAL difference between armored and unarmored combat is simply a safety convention... no "hacking, well that and, of course, no hard armor that is presumed to be worn. So by that view it could be possible that "rapier" melees are not really so silly after all. (Except that everyone says they are all fighting with a rapier, which could bring it back to being silly again. ;))

Finally, though, since when has periodicity ever really entered into the argument where the SCA is involved? What is or isn't important to one person's recreation is, more often then not, completely different from the person next to them. So you're stuck dealing with what you think is important to be "period" is not what everyone else thinks is important, and vice-versa. It's one bing compromise, and not always for the better, in my opinion. Then again, in my opinion there should only be one all-encompassing peerage order for all activities in the SCA, the Knighthood, so you can see how whacked and radical my two cents are. I'd be SHOT in a Knight circle just for mentioning that (probably with a 9mm non-period pistol, of course)! ;)

Honos Servio,
Lionardo Acquistapace, Axemoor, Meridies (ex-Bjornsborg)
(mka Lenny Zimmermann, New Orleans, LA)


More information about the Ansteorra-rapier mailing list