Falchions and Lange Messers

Falchions and Lange Messers

The origins of the historical development of medieval Lange Messer („Long Knife“) as a single-edge weapon are still not entirely clear - according to current theories, they evolved from ca. 7th century AD from early medieval knives and/or single-edge weapons - saxes, scramasaxes, langsaxes. Lange Messers, which resemble a common knife in the shape of the blade and the scales on the handle, are best documented in archaeological and iconographic sources from the late medieval and early modern periods (ca. 14th-16th centuries). The period of the High Middle Ages is poorer in archaeological sources in this respect, leaving only not always reliable iconographic sources. The Lange Messer was originally a civilian weapon of almost folk character and could be found even among the lowest social classes. Their overall length ranged from 20-40 cm and they differed from knives mainly by the presence of a specific guard: nail-like protrusion (Nagel) on the side of the blade that corresponded to the back of the hand when the handle was grasped. The so-called single-handed Lange Messers reached a total length of 80-100 cm and in some cases were equipped with a sword-like guard in addition to the nail-like protrusion. The last and relatively least represented group were the so-called Kriegsmesser („War Knife“), commonly equipped with a sword-like guard and a hilt for both hands; total lenght of the wepon reached the dimensions of long swords.

 

 

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