Buckler

From Academic Kids

A buckler (French bouclier 'shield', from old French bocle, boucle 'boss') is a small shield gripped in the fist -- it was generally used in hand-to-hand combat during the Middle Ages, as its size made it poor protection against missile weapons (e.g., arrows) but useful in deflecting the blow of an opponent's sword or mace. There are two major forms of surviving and medievally documented bucklers. The first is a simple round shield with the fist positioned directly behind the boss with a variety of shapes of face and depths of rim. These could also have projections from the top and bottom as in Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbücher or serrated rings around the boss as in one example in the Wallace Collection. The second major form is a corrugated rectangle as suggested by Achille Marrozzo in his Opera Nova.

MS I.33 (around 1300) contains an early description of a system of combat with buckler and sword.


Uses

The buckler had a variety of roles when it came to swordplay, but three principal means come to the fore. Each use recognizes the shield's small size and maneuverability when dealing with light blades. Of particular note is the circular bulge in the center of the shield.[1] (http://www.columbia.edu/~ns189/armour/images/buckler.jpg)

1. As a deflector-The buckler's lightness and curved center made it excellent for deflecting the thrusts of rapiers and other light fencing blades. Such a deflection would leave the attacker open for a rapid counter-attack.

2. As a blinder-The light blades used in conjunction with the buckler depended on rapid movements, which meant than a single second was an important advantage. The wielder of the buckler could certainly used the metal disc to shield his sword-hand's position from view, keeping his opponent from guessing his next strike.

3. As a 'metal fist'-The name buckler is actually derived from old french meaning 'metal fist' and it lives up to its name! A buckler is very useful for simply punching one's opponent is the face when both blades are locked.

See also


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