Friday, July 30, 2010

Proper Measure for a Sword Part II

Did a little number crunching & manuscript gazing and here are some numbers I came up with. I picked a few guard positions and plays out of the Getty, the Florius, the Pissani-Dossi and Vadi and measured the length of the sword shown. I then measured (as accurately as possible) the body of the figure. The final step was coming up with the ratio between sword length and body height - sword length divided by body length. This was not very scientific, but it works for me.

Fiore Getty ratio = 0.66
Fiore Florius ratio = 0.66
Fiore PD ratio = 0.74
Vadi ratio = 0.66

The average ratio comes to 0.68.

Of note is that it is the Pissani-Dossi that shows the greastest ratio, not Vadi, which I expected given Vadi's instructions for sword length - ground to armpit. On me (6' tall) that creates a sword which is 54" overall, creating a ratio of 0.75 - so that fits.

Again, I am 6' or 72" tall. If the average ratio, based on the illustrations is 0.68 then my "ideal" sword would be:

72" x 0.68 = 48.96"

Let's look at some of the swords I've used for training:

A&A Fectherspiel - 48.5" overall
A&A Spada di Zogho - 46.5" overall
Albion Liechtenauer - 47.5" overall
Tinker Longsword - 47" overall
Purpleheart waster - 48" overall

I just found it interesting that, contrary to some assertations given in the SFI thread, many of the reproduction trainers available today are proportionally correct for a person of "average" modern height.

NOTE: I know that the illustrations are not exact and it is a mistake to take them as photographs, but they are not drawn by complete amateurs either. Given that several samples from the guards and plays yielded extremely similar (i.e. more consistent than I can draw) sword & figure lengths, it is also a mistake to discount the illustrations (and the illustrators).


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