Messers and weapon restrictions

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Messers and weapon restrictions

Postby Neil Grant » 29 Jul 2018 15:40

I've been told by several people that Messer (and grossemesser) are "technically knives, not swords" and thus either

1) exempt from legal or social prohibitions on carrying swords

and / or

2) were not covered by the restrictions of the "swordsmith's guild" and could thus be made by any blacksmith.

However, I think this is just a "reenactorism" for the following reasons

1) Most medieval restrictions about carrying weapons talk about "arms" generally, not swords specifically. Admittedly, the examples I'm familiar with are mostly from England, where messers are uncommon anyway, but as I understand the medieval process, it is more likely to follow clear intent rather than arbitrary category distinctions.

2) I'm not aware of such a thing as a "swordsmith's guild" existing in England; the closest approximation is the Worshipful company of Cutlers, who so far as I understand it covered all knives and swords.

I'm less familiar with the German evidence, but what I now seems to suggest a similar position.

Is anyone aware of evidence for Messers not being considered "weapons" or being exempt from guild rules?
Neil Grant
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Re: Messers and weapon restrictions

Postby Luka » 30 Jul 2018 20:18

I agree it is most likely modern thinking transfered to medieval times. Medieval laws about carrying arms generaly applied to exaclty that, carrying, not owning, and medieval twon guard wouldn't give a f+++ck if your 3 foot weapon is a knife or a sword if you were looking for trouble with it.
Luka
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