Here is one I have wondered for a long time. I understand that dual wielding is considered to be impractical and hard (impossible?) to defend with. However, considering all the clever weapons that exist and different fighting styles, is it really that unlikely someone could master the technique enough for it to be viable in combat with no more risk than other disciplines? What if a buckler was strapped to your arm for blocking or something? I'm trying to show that I am going at this practically
It’s unfortunate the damage we do in trying to undo the damage done by Hollywood. We make the pendulum swing the other way, and it swings too far. Dual wielding isn’t really all that hard, and it is far from impossible, in fact it was done with some regularity.
You could consider many of the items typically paired with rapier as forms of dual wielding, such as the cloak,
and of course, for an actual two weapon combination, the dagger.
These combinations show up frequently in period fighting manuals, and the cloak was likely particularly common. We have many surviving rapier and dagger combinations to this day as well.
( Dresden, Germany, ca. early 17th century, housed at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Rüstkammer, Dresden)
If you’re looking for something a little more dramatic however, something called a case of swords existed in the renaissance, and appears in numerous fighting manuals.
The case of swords is a pair of rapiers with asymmetrical hilts which are designed to fit into a single scabbard.
Then, when drawn, they separate and you now have two swords to fight with.
( Italy, ca. 1550, housed at the Musée de l’Armée)
Similar things show up outside of Europe as well.
( China, Qing Dynasty, ca. 18th-19th century, housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
So, in short, dual wielding is practical and was done historically. Typically the weapon in the off hand acted as a parrying devise while the weapon in the main hand acted as a normal sword, but the option of using both for either was still there. I hope this clears things up!
A beautiful Kilij with silver fittings and an ivory grip,
- OaL: 36.6 in/92.9 cm
- Blade Length: 31 in/78.7 cm
- Weight: 2.1 lbs/966 g
Cairo, Egypt, ca. 16th century, housed at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.
A fantastically blued and gilt field armor in the anima style made for King Henry VIII, the last armor made for him before his death in 1547,
- Height: 72.5 in/184.2 cm
- Width: 33 in/83.8 cm
- Depth: 14.5 in/36.8 cm
- Weight: 50.5 lbs/22.9 kg
Brescia, Italy, ca. 1544, housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Thus concludes every extant armor owned by Henry VIII that I could find.
A beautiful Complex-Hilted Longsword, South German, ca. 1520, from Hermann Historica.
Wheel-lock pistol from Augsburg, Germany, circa 1570.
from Hermann Historica
A beautiful and rare linstock, Italian, 16th century.
from Czerny’s International Auction House