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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Jun, 2009 1:07 pm    Post subject: How to place a date on a schiavona?         Reply with quote

I already started a separate thread looking for books on schiavona information, but I wanted to start a separate one more focused on dating this particular weapon style.

I've always loved this type of weapon. Its one of the more distinctive styles, and is by far my favorite type of basket hilt. The form first saw widespread use in the 16th century, and lasted well into the 18th and even somewhat into the 19th century. But I've always had trouble identifying the ages of various forms.

For example, the Oakeshott Type 1 schiavona is often accepted as an earlier version of the style.

(From Nathan's excellent Schiavona spotlight article on this site)

Yet here is an auction that has a Type I, and the seller claims it is an 18th century sword:

http://content.liveauctioneers.com/item/6178560

Now, the bronze pommel is a clue that it is later period, as many of the earlier ones are steel, and some of the earlier ones are also not of the distinctive "katzenkopfknauf" shape. Other than the pommel, though, I don't know how that conclusion was made (particularly since some swords are composite of multiple antique schiavone).

Often times people assume that a Type 2b is most likely going to be from the 18th century, due to its more complex design.


Despite that, I've been finding quite a number that date from the middle of the 17th century, such as this one here found in the myArmoury albums:

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/4600.html

So, aside from blade inscriptions, what traits should one look for when attempting to figure out the age of a schiavona?

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,156

PostPosted: Sat 27 Jun, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmm. I've always believed that bronze pommels were distinctive to the 17th and 18th century schiavone, and that most steel pommels were earlier. Yet here's an auction for a piece that the seller claims is 18th century, and it clearly has a steel pommel:

http://content.liveauctioneers.com/item/6178558

Both this and the previous one are being auctioned by Czerny's.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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Reading list: 43 books

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wanted to bump this up to the top. I know there are plenty of schiavona lovers out there, so I was hoping someone has some knowledge about this. Happy
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Sabine Benning





Joined: 03 Jun 2007

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 5:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Bill,

nice topic.

A quick information:

The schiavona from the first link you give, is surley 17th century. The description in italian language contains, that there is a wolf-mark and the inscription "SAHAGON". This is a typical blade from 17th century, probably made in Solingen Germany, where they used a wolf mark and in succession of the popular spanish blades (in 17th century) inscriptions appearing spanish. You often find "Sahagum" also (a malapropism of Sahagon). In the description is written "lupo di Passau" (wolf of Passavia), but that is not correct. Wolf-marks often were copied, and nowadays also often alloted to Passavia with levity.

.... Of course, the blade could be older than the hilt, but I don't think so.

kind regards
Sabine

S.Benn
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Sabine Benning





Joined: 03 Jun 2007

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Bill,

another hint:

The deployment of hilt is more helpful to find out the age of a schiavona than the pommel. Pommels and other parts are often exchanged. The most edge weapons were "opened". Is it the correct english term? When it is disassembled. ( I saw a lot of schiavone with a various kinds of pommels.). You wrote about pommels of bronze. But the "Katzenkopfknauf"-pommels of schiavona when they are not made from steel, are made by brass.

But similar to other hilted weapons there was in the beginning only a partly developed hilt. So the showed type 2 b with so-called "three ladders" is for sure a later type.Not 16th century, and barely early 17th century. It is furthermore the climax of hilt -development for schiavona. While the type 1 showed in your postings is correct discribed from the beginning of schiavona. Some from 16th century are more rudimental. To them the highest age in general is allocated.

But in 17th century you find nearly all varities of schiavona-hilts, including the Type 1. They did not stop to produce this type and applied along the older hilts, which were intact. Like they did it with blades.

In 18th century many hilts were flashy decorated, you will recognize. (The schiavona also become an edge weapon for parades.)

In my opinion is it necessary to guess the "age" of a schiavona by the hilt but in common with the overall impression.

Therefrom I agree with you, Bill. The schiavona is a fascinating weapon with threehundert years tradition. It is one of my favorites also.

So excuse my bad english and have a nice remaining week-end,
kind regards

Sabine

S.Benn
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,156

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2009 9:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Sabine! That is very helpful information. And your English is excellent, so there is no need to apologize!
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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