Eleventh Month
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Passage Hand
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Year 10,171 Contasta Ar


Gorean Weapons - Swords



This is my narrative and relevant references from the Books about Swords.
It is not meant to be anything other than the facts of the matter.
Arrive at your own conclusions.

I wish you well,
Fogaban


 


Short Sword
To The Index

The purpose of the sword is not to fence, not to match blades, and not to exhibit skill, nor is its purpose to reach the enemy, nor even to cut him. Its purpose is to kill him.[1]

There are a few reasons why the short blade is preferred. First it can clear the sheath a fraction of a second before a longer blade. Another advantage is that it can be moved with greater swiftness than a longer blade. The primary advantage is that it allows the warrior to work close to his man. The brief reach of the blade tends to be more than compensated for by the rapidity with which it might be wielded and the ease with which it might work beneath the guard of a longer weapon. If the swordsman with a longer weapon cannot finish the fight in the first thrust or two he is a dead man.[2]

As the shield is the basic defensive armament, the short stabbing sword is the basic offensive weapon most commonly used. It is double edged and approximately 18 to 22 inches in length.[3] The steel is wine-tempered[4] and honed so sharp that it will cut a piece of silk dropped upon it.[5] The blade, being of steel, is kept oiled to prevent rust.[6] Gorean men usually sharpen their own swords, trusting the edge to no one but themselves.[7]

The gladius is often used with shield, or buckler but, of course, may be used without shield or buckler, though Gorean infantry commonly combines it with the shield, and the arena fighter with the buckler.[8]

Some swords have richly jeweled hilts and engraved blades while others are plain and unfigured.[9] The hilts of at least some swords are wrapped with leather bindings.[10] The swords of tarnsmen have wrist straps attached to prevent loss in flight.[11] It might also be noted that some hilts conceal hidden compartments.[12]

Swords too, weigh heavily in ceremony. A warrior's sword is pledged to his city.[13] There is also such a thing as sword loyalty[14] or a sword pledge,[15] which is a bond sworn to a leader. Swords are used in a Warrior's salute.[16] Swords have been used in connection with oaths.[17] The swords of some have tiny inscriptions on the blade, for instance the Taurentians, the private guards of Ubars, of Ubaras.[18] And, in ritual disgrace, one's sword is broken.[19]

Swords are carried in leather sheaths.[20] Most of these sheaths are not moisture proof, as this would entail either too close a fit for the blade or an impeding flap.[21] However, some of the Caste of Assassins use a lined sheath thus allowing a silent draw of the blade.[22]

In usual fashion the scabbard strap is simply slung over the left shoulder. In combat the scabbard can be quickly discarded so that it is neither in the way or becomes a handle for the enemy. Then too, minimizing slippage, the belt is sometimes worn over the right shoulder and across the body.[23] Of course these belts can also be buckled around the waist.[24]

Finally, it should be noted that one seldom sheaths an unclean sword. In the field, leaves, grass or the hair and clothing of the fallen are used. Some carry a soft cloth for just such a purpose. When the blade is clean and dry, it is often given a thin coating of oil, which protects against rust, and perhaps makes it easier to draw from the scabbard once again.[25] However, when a blade is heavily oiled, it enters and withdraws from flesh more easily.[26]



 


Long Sword - Saber
To The Index

The saber is almost unknown on Gor.[27] Among the warriors of Gor generally, it is regarded as being too long and clumsy a weapon for close, sharp combat or effective from the back of a tarn or tharlarion.[28]

However, these long swords are not completely unknown as those of Torvaldsland prefer a longer sword than those of the south.[29] Too, there is mentioned the Alar sword, a long, heavy, double-edged weapon, referred to as a spatha among their wagons,[30] even though they also make use of a short stabbing sword known as the sacramasax.[31]


 


Curved Sword - Scimitar
To The Index

The wickedly curved[32] and razor-sharp[33] scimitars are known primarily in the Tahari. This blade, as the short sword, is also kept so sharp as to part silk dropped upon it.[34] One description mentions it as being a great, long, curved sword.[35] And in another place as being a longer weapon, a two-handed scimitar which is carried in a saddle sheath. The two-handed scimitarus being useful for reaching other riders on tharlarion.[36]


 


Curved Sword - Pani
To The Index

There are also the set of two curved swords used by the Pani.[37] These swords, one short, one long, each have large, slightly curved hilts, wrapped in silk, and curved blades. The long sword has a tasseled hilt.[38] But then, the shorter one is shown to also have a tasseled hilt.[39] They are carried in the sash or belt with the blades uppermost.[40] In houses and barracks, the longer swords are stored in racks but the companion sword is kept at one's side.[41]

The two shorter and lighter of the two swords is called the Companion sword and the longer, heavier one, the Field sword, which is wielded with two hands.[42]

These swords are a masterpiece of craftsmanship,[43] composed of matched steels, with successive temperings, layerings, and edgings, usually the product of several smiths, takes weeks to bring to its perfection.[44] Such a blade, lifted, can divide silk.[45] In fact they are even balanced to match the user's own hand.[46]


 


Beheading Sword
To The Index

I suppose in a category by itself is the beheading sword which is large and weighty.[47]








Footnote References


[1]
"And what is the purpose of the sword?" I asked.
"It is to kill," he said.
"Yes," I said.
There was something much like that in the codes. The purpose of the sword is not to fence, not to match blades, and not to exhibit skill, nor is its purpose to reach the enemy, nor even to cut him. Its purpose is to kill him.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 307


[2]
I liked the blade which seemed so simple and efficient compared to the manifold variations in sword steel that were possible. I supposed one of the reasons for the short blade was that it could clear the sheath a fraction of a second before a longer blade. Another advantage was that it could be moved with greater swiftness than a longer blade. The primary advantage I supposed was that it allowed the Gorean warrior to work close to his man. The brief reach of the blade tended to be more than compensated for by the rapidity with which it might be wielded and the ease with which it might work beneath the guard of a longer weapon. If the swordsman with a longer weapon could not finish the fight in the first thrust or two he was a dead man.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 174


[3]
The sword was the gladius, double-edged, some eighteen inches of steel,
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 103

It was well vicious, double-edged and about twenty to twenty-two inches in length.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 23


[4]
I had again my sword, that wine-tempered blade of fine, double-edged Gorean steel
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 68


[5]
the blade of a Koroban short sword, with the edge that would divide silk dropped upon it
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 25


[6]
the oil with which I protected the blade of my sword from rust
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 56

I examined the blade and the light coat of oil that protected it.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 174


[7]
He then fetched a bit of oil and a sharpening stone from his things and, returning to his place, removed his sword from its scabbard. He then, slowly, patiently, with great care, addressed himself to the blade. Gorean men usually sharpen their own swords. They tend to trust the edge on the weapon to no one but themselves.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 459


[8]
The gladius is often used with shield, or buckler. The Pani swords, like the rapier, the foil, and saber, are designed for both defense and offense. The gladius too, of course, may function in both modalities, without shield and buckler, though Gorean infantry commonly combines it with the shield, and the arena fighter with the buckler.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 573 - 574


[9]
I wore at my side a jeweled sword. . .no longer the sword I had worn. . .that old sword. . .plain pommel and unfigured blade
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 213

It did not have the jeweled hilt or the figured blade of my admiral's sword
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 296


[10]
I bit at the leather binding on the handle of the sword I carried. I tore loose a strip of it and, with this cordage, improvised a wrist sling.
Guardsmen of Gor     Book 16     Page 135


[11]
his sword dangling from its wrist strap, commonly used by tarnsmen in flight
Captive of Gor     Book 7     Page 259


[12]
The pommels of some swords are made, too, in such a way as to unscrew, revealing such a compartment.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 211


[13]
"Is it to that city that you pledge your life, your honor, and your sword?" asked my father."
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 63


[14]
Sword loyalty is a bond of fidelity sworn to the Ubar.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 114


[15]
"It is true," said Tajima. "He has never pledged his sword. He owns no lord."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 104


[16]
And so I bowed, and lifted my sword, in a warrior's salute.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 337

Seremides, at the foot of the ramp, lifted his sword in salute to Lord Okimoto.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 172

Cineas then lifted his sword to the stranger, in a salute, which salute was returned by the stranger.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 508

"Those with him," said Tajima "seem to be crying out. Banners are lifted. Swords are raised in salute."
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 514


[17]
"Are you aware," I asked, "that against you, on his sword and on the medallion of Ar, Marlenus swore the oath of disownment?"
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 12


[18]
"A fine weapon," said Alan. "It is muchly oiled." "One must be ready," said Bruno of Torcadino. "Can you read?"
"Ahh," said Alan, softly, awed, holding the sword to the light. "I suspected this."
I gathered that there was some tiny inscription on the blade.
"The Taurentians," whispered Alan.
"Once," said Bruno of Torcadino.
"The palace guard, of the Central Cylinder of Ar," said Alan, "the private guards of Ubars, of Ubaras."
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Page 279


[19]
The Taurentians had been disbanded, disgraced and exiled from the city. Only the day before their purple cloaks and helmets had been taken from them before the great gate; their swords had been broken
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 392


[20]
I drew my sword, lifting it easily from the sheath. It cleared the leather as easily and swiftly as a larl might have bared its fangs.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 174


[21]
Most Gorean scabbards are not moisture proof, as this would entail either too close a fit for the blade or an impeding flap.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 13


[22]
He slipped the sheath from his left shoulder, and, grasping it, drew his blade, easily, casually. It made no sound, as the sheath was lined. This is not uncommon with the sheath of an Assassin's weapon, this permitting the weapon's noiseless departure. It does, slightly, slow the draw.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 103


[23]
I slung the scabbard strap over my left shoulder, in the Gorean fashion. In this way the scabbard, the blade once drawn, may be discarded, with its strap, which accouterments, otherwise, might constitute an encumbrance in combat. On marches, incidentally, and in certain other contexts, the strap, which is adjustable, is usually put over the right shoulder. This minimizes slippage in common and recurrent motion.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 13

The shoulder belt, if over one's shoulder, may be instantly discarded. This may prove an important wisdom in a perilous situation. A scabbard, hooked to a buckled waist belt, or slung across the body, might be seized in combat, discommoding its wearer, perhaps pulling him off balance, or into the blade of a waiting knife. But the belt on the shoulder is easily shed. If one is in a territory thought safe, of course, the scabbard belt is not unoften slung across the body, looped from the right shoulder to the left hip, if the swordsman is right-handed, and, naturally enough, looped from the left shoulder to the right hip, if the swordsman is left-handed. Both modalities facilitate the swift, across-the-body draw. This arrangement provides a convenient, secure carry.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 433

The sheath was at my left hip and the sheath strap ran across my body from my right shoulder to the left hip. That is common on tarnback, and when an engagement is not imminent.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 42 - 43


[24]
I buckled on my sword.
Priest-Kings of Gor     Book 3     Page 48


[25]
One seldom sheaths an unclean sword, and, one supposes, one would be reluctant to return such a blade to a clean sash, as well. In the field, leaves, and grass, may be used. Some use the hair and clothing of the fallen. Others carry a soft cloth for such a purpose. When the blade is clean and dry, it is often given a thin coating of oil, which protects against rust, and, some believe, facilitates the flight from the scabbard.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Pages 511 - 512


[26]
A second judge regarded the weapon of Bruno of Torcadino, uneasily. It was short, double-bladed, light, and heavily oiled. It is common to oil swords, lightly, to protect them from rust. When a blade is heavily oiled it seems clear that something may be in mind which goes beyond simple maintenance. An oiled blade enters and withdraws from flesh more easily. This is an advantage in First Blood contests, where a light touch may be sufficient for a win. The oiled blade is also easier to pull free should the blade be jammed between ribs. This can be an advantage in Last Blood contests, particularly if more than one contestant is involved. The third judge held up a small hollow bar, on a cord, and took a light hammer in his hand.
Quarry of Gor     Book 35     Pages 276 - 277


[27]
the saber, incidentally, which would be somewhat more effective from kaiilaback, is almost unknown on Gor
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 123


[28]
The saber, incidentally, is not only unpopular among the Wagon Peoples but among the warriors of Gor generally; it is regarded as being too long and clumsy a weapon for the close, sharp combat so dear to the heart of the warrior of the cities; further it is not of much use from the saddle of a tarn or tharlarion.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 124

the saber, which might be used with some efficacy from, say, horseback is of little use from either kaiilaback or tarnback.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 282


[29]
"What do you expect to do with that paring knife?" asked Bjarni of Thorstein Camp, looking at me puzzled. He thought me mad. "Your long sword," I told him, "is doubtless quite useful in thrusting over the balwarks of ships
. . .
the arc of your stroke is wider then mine, and your blade heavier."
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 148 - 149

a scabbard of oiled, black leather; in this scabbard was a sword, a sword of Torvaldsland, a long sword,
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 172


[30]
Besides the ax, Alars are fond of the Alar sword, a long, heavy, double-edged weapon.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 45

It was a long, cutting sword, of the sort called a spatha among the wagons.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 66


[31]
He also carried among his things the short, stabbing sword, similar to the gladius, and doubtless related to it, called by his people the sacramasax.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 66


[32]
I observed the scimitar. It was a wickedly curved blade.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 120


[33]
with the razor-sharp scimitars of the Tahari
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 123


[34]
Silk, dropped upon the scimitar of the Tahari, divided, falls free, floating, to the floor.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 60


[35]
Gron, bare chested, stood beside him, resting the point of a great, long, curved sword on the tiles at his feet.
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 118


[36]
In a saddle sheath, remaining there, was a longer weapon, a two-handed scimitar, the two-handed scimitarus, useful for reaching other riders on tharlarion.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 90


[37]
Beside him, one on each side, lay two swords, one short, one long, each with a large, slightly curved hilt, wrapped in silk, and a curved blade. The longer of the two swords was not unlike that carried by Tajima, thrust in his belt, edge uppermost.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 192

Some, crossed in the streets, had proved more than capable of defending themselves, with their unusual softly curved blades, one long, one short.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 19


[38]
I did note that his sword, the long sword, with its beautifully curved blade, and its tasseled hilt, suitable for a two-handed grasp, was bloodied.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 337

One of the long, curved swords, with the large hilt, was placed in the hands of Pertinax, at which he looked, apprehensively. A colored cord dangled from the hilt, which terminated in a tufted blue tassel.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 198

The Pani, silently, swiftly, their long-hilted, tasseled swords grasped in two hands,
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 166

Two of the Pani, at the height of the gangplank, had instantly removed the longer of their two swords from their sash, and, two hands fixed on the long, tasseled handle,
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 492


[39]
"Do you call Izo, of the guard of the shogun, a liar?" asked the warrior, his hand on the tasseled hilt of his companion sword.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 455


[40]
In his belt, blades uppermost, were the two swords, the companion sword and the longer blade.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 353

"I feared this," said Lord Nishida, winding his sash about his widely sleeved robe, and thrusting two swords, both curved, a longer and a shorter, within the sash.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 254


[41]
The Pani had largely placed their long swords in racks near the edge of the feasting area, but none who bore them had surrendered the companion sword. That blade is to remain at hand. A similar practice I would learn often obtains in houses and barracks amongst the Pani, a practice in which the long sword is often set to one side, stored or racked, in a hall or vestibule, but the companion sword is kept at one's side, even near the sleeping mats and blocks. To be sure, if danger is felt to be imminent, both weapons are likely to be kept in the vicinity of the warrior.
Swordsmen of Gor     Book 29     Page 417

It was the shorter blade, the companion blade. The warriors of the Pani are seldom far from this tool. The field sword may be kept in its rack, in the hall, but the companion blade is commonly at hand. The Pani warrior often sleeps with it so.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 41


[42]
"Very well," said Lord Yamada. "Companion sword."
I had expected that to be the choice, rather than the larger, longer, heavier field sword, usually wielded with two hands.
The graceful companion sword is shorter, and lighter.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 578

The magician was indeed approaching. But now, gripped in two hands, he carried a different sword, the heavier, longer of the two swords often carried by a warrior, the field sword.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 457


[43]
A fine companion sword, with its balance and edge, is a masterpiece of the smith's craft.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 574


[44]
Indeed, a superb Pani sword, composed of matched steels, with its successive temperings, layerings, and edgings, usually the product of several smiths, which takes weeks to bring to its perfection, is booty of no small price.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 345


[45]
Tajima, securing a companion sword from one of the fallen bandits, severed the bonds on my wrists. They parted easily, almost falling away from the blade. Such a blade, lifted, can divide silk.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 357


[46]
Yasushi handed his field sword to Tajima and regained his own weapon.
"It is ill-balanced," said Arashi.
"Not for the hand for which it was formed," said Yasushi.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 359


[47]
Behind three of us, Tajima, Pertinax, and myself, stood an Ashigaru, armed with a large, weighty beheading sword.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 480




















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