MS I.33: Why is your sword between my arms? (4r)

People often wonder how this curious picture arises:

image

The common speculation that I’ve heard is that it has something to do with Nucken (Nodding). I don’t think that’s the case. Consider this passage,

Here the priest should beware that he doesn’t delay with the sword, lest the delay produces an action, which is called grappling, but he must immediately reform the bind, for the sake of caution.

As I mentioned yesterday, grapping is one of the actions that someone can do following a counter-bind.

So what’s happening here is two simultaneous actions:

  • The scholar on the left has stepped forward and begun the wrap his left arm around the priest’s arms.
  • The priest has performed a mutation in order to establish his own over-bind.

The net result is you have the scholar’s sword on the bottom, the priest’s sword on top of that, and then the scholar’s buckler on top of both.

Seeing this, the priest pulls his arm back (note the bent elbow), slicing both arms of the scholar. Wrenching up as he does this, he twists the scholar’s arms together like a rope, allowing him to finish the illustration with a shield-strike.

So in conclusion, what you are seeing is the counter to a grapple. The priest should have never been in this situation, but now that he is this is the way to get out of it.

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