Beautifully Preserved Oakeshott Type XVa Medieval Sword Nov 22, 2014 8:17:59 GMT
Post by Jack Loomes on Nov 22, 2014 8:17:59 GMT
Editor's Note: This is a beautiful cruciform sword, superbly preserved. This sword is also one of many that highlights the sometimes problematic nature of Oakeshott's medieval sword typology; in this particular instance, this sword demonstrates that Oakeshott Type XVIII and subtypes XVIIIa, XVIIIb & XVIIIc should have been included in the Type XV family. The difference between the blade type XV & XVa and XVIII, XVIIIa, XVIIIb & XVIIIb is in many cases so minimal there really does not need to exist two numeric designations for this class. To clarify there simply are not many if any Medieval Swords with a perfectly triangular profile as Oakeshott eludes Type XV should nominally be (nor does the Type XV blade form of Antiquity and the Classical World posses many such specimens), so type XV is effectively XVIII of a less pronounced nature.
For those of you not well acquainted with Oakeshott's medieval sword typology, Oakeshott proposes that there is fundamental difference between the XV and XVIII class by way of the difference of their blades. The Type XV family has a closer to triangular blade profile, whereas the XVIII has a slightly more obelisk-like blade profile with a flaring at the tip. The problem is that XVs without this flaring at all are virtually non-existent. This creates a logical paradox in the typology.
I admire Oakeshott's writings and do not think that these kinds of errors which exist in his work necessarily invalidate his conclusions. I do on the other hand feel that Oakeshott's failings are the result of his having been an outsider with no formal training in history or archaeology, and that if he had been properly trained in either of these fields, he would have been less prone to making such mistakes, and that the peer review process which is a fundamental part of the humanities and sciences, being something he was not intimately acquainted with the importance of, would have enabled Oakeshott to resolve these kind of errors of logic before printing.
Ewart Oakeshott was an illustrator by training. Though his books are worthwhile contributions to the study of the sword, indeed his typology of medieval swords is the one we use here on Sword-Site - however his books are a paradoxical mixture of usefulness and purpose blended with jarring logical errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical trangressions.
Please note that the text below is provided as translated by Google from the original German.
Lot No. 2313
Lean piercing blade with double-sided, strong midrib. Ridged guard, the ends of the blade inclined towards. Good added grip with leather cover over cord wrapping. Laterally doubly ridged disc pommel with both sides deepened hub. Length 89.5 cm. [Presumably this measurement refers to the blade]
Shapely, knightly sword, which is stylistically in close affinity to the Fund known group of Castillon.
Condition: II-III Limit: 8000 EURO Sold Thursday, October 27, 2011
For more information on Oakeshott's Type XV swords see this extract from his Records of the Medieval Sword: www.sword-site.com/thread/166/oakeshott-type-records-medieval-sword
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