Apparently Falchions aren't what we thought they are.

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Apparently Falchions aren't what we thought they are.

Postby Arkon » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:27 pm

They aren't heavy-bladed choppers, instead, they have thin, razor-sharp blades and are no heavier than arming swords. Basically, yeah, the blade was wider, but it's much thinner than sword blade.
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Re: Apparently Falchions aren't what we thought they are.

Postby Thaeris » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:48 pm

Matt Easton has made several videos on the subject of falchions which state mostly what you've stated now. MyArmoury also has had many discussions of the subject.

Such a statement should not be construed for the claim that falchions and arming swords handle the same - perhaps the idea of falchions being heavy cleavers came about as broad-bladed swords often tend to have greater moments of inertia than narrower cut-and-thrust weapons. This has a tendency of making the weapon feel heavier in the hand, as the mass distribution is different. That greater MOI is very important in a cutting application, as it's what lets the tool do the work for you: think of the comparison in cuts between a bowie knife and a dagger.

The primary question has always been why falchions are so much more uncommon to find than arming swords. It is now apparent that the falchion was a proper military sidearm of the day, yet their presence is often lacking in the archaeological record. God only knows why this is the case, but there are several possibilities:

(A.) The weapons, on virtue of their fine edge, were fragile in comparison to arming swords, and tended to wear out quickly.
(B.) "Retired" weapons were still useful as tools, and unless the arm was held in high esteem by the estate it belonged to, they were used until there was nothing left to use.
(C.) As an alternate to hypothesis (B.), perhaps they tended to end up as glaive blades after their lives as swords ended.
(D.) Perhaps they were not as popular as we want to believe, as they have less tactical utility than a "normal" sword. They are used against soft targets, and would be far less useful against armored opposition.
(E.) When the qualities of armies improved (their armor included), falchions became less relevant and hypothesis (A.) became amplified in practice when they were used.

I will also state that it's very possible any number of types of falchion existed "back in the day," even the heavy ones. It's probably just like in the case of swords, where we tend to have examples of good ones remaining, as those were the ones worth keeping and maintaining. The riff-raff weapons were used up or recycled - just think about who will care about all the crap Bud-K distributes 50 years from now? People will think about their Albions, Bucks, etc. - the quality products worth keeping and maintaining!

By the way, even the heavy ones wouldn't be chopping through any proper chainmail. :p

...You might hurt someone under their armor more so than a lighter weapon would do, however. Just don't expect your edge to last very long being used like that.
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Re: Apparently Falchions aren't what we thought they are.

Postby codex » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:20 pm

Falchions I think are more for wounding / killing than for fighting / fencing. Swords, proper swords, are very good for defense. Same for sabers and others in the sword family.

I think most of the falchions which are easily recognizable as such come from a bit earlier in the medieval era, kind of like Carolingian to High Medieval. Such as the famous Conyers Flachion of Lewis Carrol / Jabberwocky fame (used, allegedly, to slay the Sockburn Wyrm - and this deed is still the basis of how the property was awarded).

Incidentally, there is kind of a general rule with weapons, including axes, halberds, and so on. The blades tend to be lighter and often much thinner than what we expect for tools. That is because A) it's much easier to cut flesh than wood, and B) you want the weapon as nimble as possible.
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