We take a look at a recently completed messer crafted along the lines of some of the pieces illustrated in Talhoffer's 1459 manual. It is a great example of this style of sword. The blade has a straight back edge and impressive taper along the spine. This gives the blade a very fast action and allows the mass to rest easily in the hand for forceful cuts. As one can see from the illustration below Talhoffer imagined this weapons as being quite effective.
Talhoffer's depiction of similar messer in action. c. 1459
Straight backed messers were probably not as common as the clipped point style of blade, but they did appear often enough that we see them in several manuals. Below we have two broader bladed pieces we did a while ago with this style of messer blade.
Messers with straight blade backs.
The Messer was one of the primary side arms of the 15th century, being popular with the general populace as well as some of the upper class of the period. Several fight masters of the period included sections on the use of the sword and we see it depicted in many art works of the day. The largest sizes of this style of weapon were two handed Kriegsmessers.
Pair of messers done with clipped points
Similar messer with broader blade and two fullers.
Here is a small version of a messer we did more in the size seen worn on belts in Brueghel paintings.
Talhoffer's messers here are noted by their sharply pointed blades and the detailing on the blades. We did not inscribe the blade here but one could be etched or struck to match. The grip is walnut treated with tung oil for a solid grasp and makes this weapon easy to maneuver. The nagel and but plates have a deep crease through their center with an organic quality.
Here is the subject of our video
OL: 33.75" BL: 27.1" GW: 5.75"
Wt: 2.8 lbs 1295 grams
It feels really great in the hand and is a piece we like a lot, so have a watch and let us know what you think.
Also don't forget as this image indicates one should
get four messers for your belt!
Nathan Clough, Ph.D.is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.
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