Dread Lord Kaolian wrote:
Has any knight in the history of British knighthood actually been trained to use two longswords? Seems to me they'd be using weapon and shield.
Nope, beacuse 2 longswords would be stupid. With just one longsword and a shorter parrying blade of some sort, you can still manouver under and inside your attack lines with your off hand. Having 2 blades of equil length means you were more likely to get caught on your own blade than do any real damage. Unmounted 2 swords wasn't commen, but you did see them from time to time. Mounted, you almost never see them.
Hmmm... Historically, I think you are correct. Interestingly enough, the "best" live steel fighters that I know all use 2 weapons (both long swords of some kind). However, I think alot of this is the quality of the armor in relation to the weapons being used (we're not actually trying to kill eachother). Historically, during early periods in armor development, you have a strong prediliction towards shields and 1h weapons. Mostly because if you didn't have a big object to parry with, you stood a good chance of getting hit somewhere where your armor didn't protect you (and early armors really didn't help against more then glancing blows and cuts and scratches from the environment).
As metalworking got better, the weapons themselves became more viable for parrying. You start seeing two weapons styles using main-gaunche style weapons, and larger hilts even in "normal" weapons so they can be used for parrying. Also, the armor got better at protecting from more types of blows. Ultimately, when you get to the late mideval period, and are looking at the classic "knight in armor", "normal" weapons were more or less useless against the armor. You start seeing a rise in axe style weapons (specifically the 2h poleax which was designed for knights to fight eachother with). You also see larger weapons being deployed, specifically to attempt to penetrate/dent the armor worn by the other guy.
So historically, 2 long swords was just impractical. If you were in an era where the armor was strong enough to justify losing a shield so you could equip the other weapon, then a long sword was probably not going to do more then bother someone if you hit them with it. You'd be better off going with a 2h weapon instead. However, there's nothing technically wrong with the style. The weapons don't "get in the way" of eachother. If you are fighting for points instead of killing eachother, then it's actually a very viable method (and as I pointed out at the beginning of this post, it's exactly the configuration the best steel fighters use today in tourneys). The primary advantage over the traditional 2 weapon style is that you can attack at distance from either side. I can tell you from experience that it's almost impossible to get inside the reach of someone who knows what they are doing and is wielding 2 long swords. You will get hit. Probably several times.