Tag Archives: MEDIEVAL

KNIGHT FIGHT: PAUL FRIEDEL

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I have started watching a new History Channel show called Knight Fight, which depicts a group of men in armor pounding the crud out of each other. The weapons they use are blunt yet represent real historical weapons such as swords and axes. The armor they wore was thick and provided decent protection yet was also modeled after historical armor. In the latest episode of the season, I was introduced to this man, Paul Friedel, who was fun to watch fight in the ring. He is six feet seven inches tall (5 inches taller than me) and he is incredibly strong in a contest of brute strength. The armor he wears is modeled after medieval Russian armor and he usually wields a five foot long battle axe. In the final round of the episode, Paul fought with rhomphaia (pictured above) and he was a beast with that blade. In addition to striking his opponent with that sword, Paul used his armored hands to punch his foe repeatedly in the head. This left his opponent dazed and mostly on the ground. I was VERY impressed with Paul’s performance and I wish him the best of luck in the battles to come. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from him for one of the characters in my spin-off fantasy series. The character I am thinking of will be a giant of a man who is inhumanly strong, wields a large weapon, and fights with great ferocity.

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A HERO’S BLADES

In my spin-off fantasy series, one of the main characters will be armed with these two weapons. One is the Viking bearded battle axe and the other is the Scottish dirk dagger. The bearded axe originated as a common woodcutting axe before being modified for war. Not only can the axe chop into an enemy, but the beard on the blade is designed to hook into the opponent’s flesh or tripping an opponent’s leg in battle. The Scottish dirk was a common dagger in the Scottish Highlands around the 1800s and was later adopted by the Japanese navy. I have chosen to include these two weapons in a main character’s arsenal because they symbolize two sides of my heritage: Vikings and Highlanders.

DAISHO SWORD PAIR

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Even though most of the kingdoms in my fantasy world are based on medieval Europe, there is one kingdom that is based on feudal Japan. As a result, they have similar armor and weapons as samurai. Among these weapons are the katana long sword and the wakizashi short sword. When these two blades are used at the same time, they become what is known as the Daisho Sword Pair. The long katana is used for offense while the short wakizashi is used for defense. When these two swords are used simultaneously, they become a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. In my spin-off fantasy trilogy, one of the main characters will come from this Japan-like kingdom and will carry a Daisho Sword Pair wherever they go. In the heat of battle, this character will become a demon with a blade.

TWO-HANDED FALCHION

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I discovered a rather frightening weapon from the medieval period. It is a two-handed variation of the falchion sword with teeth at the tip that is designed to bite into an enemy’s armor while chopping. I first discovered this weapon while watching the film Ironclad and I initially thought it was a made up weapon for the sake of creativity. Now, I find out that this was a real weapon and a terrifying one. This blade is shaped like a sword yet has the weight of an axe with each blow. If this blade’s wielder is big and strong enough that it can be a completely scary weapon on the battlefield. I am thinking of including this variant of the falchion in my spin-off fantasy trilogy and it will even have a funny ironic nickname.

BODKIN ARROWS

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There have been many different variants of arrows throughout history. Some arrows were barbed, which means they go in clean yet come out messy. Some arrows were meant for hunting and were sharp enough to pierce skin and bone. However, my personal favorite arrow would be the bodkin arrow. The reason for this is because the bodkin arrow was specifically made to puncture plate armor. For years, the bodkin arrow was the ideal anti-plate armor solution until guns were invented. In my spin-off fantasy series, my archer character will mainly carry bodkin arrows around.

HORN AND SINEW BOW

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The bow has been the weapon of choice for heroes such as Robin Hood and Green Arrow. I discovered a unique kind of bow that is made from horn and sinew. The horn gives the bow greater flexibility while the sinew holds the bow together better when it dries. The design and shape of this bow is cool, sexy, and sleek. I am thinking of making this bow the weapon of choice for one of the main characters in my spin-off fantasy series. This character will be completely useless with any form of combat except archery. At the start of the story, this character would be a skilled hunter and archer, but has never killed a person or participated in a single battle. With this in mind, their character growth will revolve around them starting out as a greenhorn before evolving into a battle-hardened survivor.

ROBERT THE BRUCE

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One of my all-time favorite medieval figures would be my ancestor Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. Everyone of my mother’s side of the family is a descendant of Robert the Bruce. Because of our blood ties to this king, my uncle’s first name was Robert and his middle name Bruce. Also, I call Robert the Bruce “Ancestor Robert” like I would address one of my aunts or uncles. Apart from his legitimate heirs, Ancestor Robert also had five illegitimate children, which is where we likely trace our descent. If we were descended from Ancestor Robert’s legitimate bloodline, everyone in Scotland would have heard of us.

Before he became King of Scots, Ancestor Robert was the Earl of Carrick and had a long-lasting rivalry with John Comyn, who had a claim to the Scottish throne that was as strong as his. When William Wallace rebelled against England, Ancestor Robert initially joined him, but would occasionally switch sides depending on which side benefited his claim to the Scottish throne more. After William Wallace was executed, Ancestor Robert briefly submitted to English rule before instigating another revolt.

To quell any further opposition, Ancestor Robert murdered his rival John Comyn in a church. For this, the Pope excommunicated Ancestor Robert until he was absolved by the Bishop of Glasgow. With his rival dead and his excommunication reversed, nothing stood in Ancestor Robert’s way to claim the Scottish crown for himself. Sadly, even though the crown gave Ancestor Robert all the legitimacy he could ever want, his position was far from secure.

Shortly after being crowned, Ancestor Robert suffered multiple defeats at the hands of both the English and rogue Scottish factions. It was not until the Battle of Loudoun Hill that Ancestor Robert completely turned the war around. After Loudoun Hill, Ancestor Robert won battle after battle against both the English and his enemies in Scotland. During this period, Ancestor Robert adopted some of the unorthodox military tactics that William Wallace invented and utilized them to devastating effect. With each victory, Ancestor Robert’s power and hold over Scotland grew.

The battle that would decide the outcome of the war took place in Bannockburn. At the start of the battle, Ancestor Robert dueled against an English knight. The duel ended with Ancestor Robert cleaving the knight’s skull open. He hit his foe so hard that the shaft of his battle axe splintered. Even though the English greatly outnumbered his own forces, Ancestor Robert not only crushed the English armies, but also destroyed England’s hold over Scotland for good.

With the decimated English forces in full retreat, Ancestor Robert’s own battle-hardened armies were free to engage in other campaigns. While Ancestor Robert campaigned in Ireland, he sent his deadliest general the Black Douglas to direct multiple raids across Northern England in order to discourage any future invasions. Ultimately, Ancestor Robert won the war and secured Scotland’s independence when the Pope acknowledged his status as king. Shortly afterward, Ancestor Robert made a peace agreement with Edward III, who surrendered all claim to Scotland. The last two years of Ancestor Robert’s reign were arguably the most peaceful years of his reign. He ruled as King of Scots for twenty-three years and spent most of that time at war.

Generations later, Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudors, died without an heir. This resulted in Ancestor Robert’s descendant, James VI, to inherit the thrones of both Scotland and England. Ancestor Robert won Scotland’s independence and his descendants took the English throne as well. On the other hand, Edward I and his Plantagenet bloodline withered and died out. Due to those factors, Ancestor Robert got the last laugh against the English.

To pay homage to my ancestor and reconnect with my roots, I will be modeling the main character of my spin-off fantasy trilogy after Ancestor Robert