Trivia for the Day

One of the common defensive tools used from 1100 AD to about 1600 AD was a small shield (anywhere from six inches in diametre for the smaller varieties, up to about 18 inches across for the biggest ones) held in the left hand and used to deflect, parry and bind your opponents weapon, or weapon arm.

It was probably more common than the larger versions popularized by Hollywood — particularly amongst the folks more likely to engage in individual scuffles, rather than mass combat.

In fact, this little shield became quite the favourite among young rowdies out for a bit of pub-crawling, brawling, wenching, duelling and generally giving the local gardai an excuse to bust heads.

They would carry this shield — called a buckler — suspended by a leather cord from the frog of their side-swords, and as it dragged and rubbed on their clothing during movement it would make a swashing sound.

Voila! Swashbucklers.

This has been your LawDog Files Trivia for the Day.


Read this. Now.
The Peshawar Lancers

7 thoughts on “Trivia for the Day”

  1. I love fighting with sword and buckler, especially against people who expect a weapon with longer reach to make it easy. The Buckler makes getting inside someone's guard much easier, or my favourite tactic, bind with the sword, and hit them in the face with the buckler. Even better than a Glaswegian Kiss.

  2. Thanks. I've wondered what the difference was between buckler and shield.

  3. I've also heard that someone looking for a fight would "swash" his sword around to bang it on his buckler. Sounds like a stupid thing to do, but I was never one to look for a fight–too often, they come looking for you…

  4. So, what caused the Buckler to be replaced by the Main Gauche?

  5. I have one, common in the Middle East a long time ago (actually recently, but pre-Enfield and Martini Henry and AK). The swords here don't have cross guards, the entire defense is taken up by the targ (same shield, different name).

    You can see pictoglyphs in wadis with guys fighting with a targ and saif (sword in Arabic).

    The old ones are often scared up quite a bit from blocking cuts. Thrusts were not a big attack ploy. Good blog.

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