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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2010 4:19 pm    Post subject: New Reiver Sword         Reply with quote

I just received a sword/rapier I commissioned from Craig Johnson last fall and wanted to share it with you all. The genesis of the commssion was to fill in a gap in my collection of weapons from the Border Reiever period, say, c. 1580-1590. I have several examples of broad swords but nothing that might be said to come from a slightly better social class than a "foot loon" or a mounted member of a riding family.

When I say Arms and Armors 'Elizabethan Rapier', I felt I was on the right track except for the blade, so I asked Craig to mate the ornate hilt with a more substantial blade as could have been used by a mounted family 'headman' or family member from the upper crust. As I wanted some Continental influence, I requested the inscription on the blade which could be either Spanish or German, but definitely a Catholic influence. As you can see, I am very please with the outcome of this project as the ornate nature of the sword/rapier and the early period look is very asthetically pleasing.

As for the dagger, it was practically a "do you want fries with thaht burger" moment! Craig suggested adding the dagger and I suggested some modifications to more closely match some daggers excavated in the Jamestowne fort area in the past several years, notibly the drooping, semi-circular quillons. So, a matching dagger got added to the mix. Merry Christmas to me, Merry Christmas to me, etc., etc. Since I am a Russian Orthodox Christian, please remember we are Old Calendrist (no stinkin' reformed, accurate Catholic calendar for us!), Thursday is our Nativity, so the "Merry Christmas" is certainly appropriate!

Enjoy another example of Craig's fine work!



 Attachment: 53.17 KB
Elizabethan Hilt.jpg


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Chris Lampe




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2010 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you have any shots of the whole sword?

That's another amazing A&A custom. Congratulations!
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful pair! I've always admired the Elizabethan rapier hilt. It really captures that style in a way that's not really seen in many modern reproductions.

I have an antique schiavona that has the exact same inscription on the blade. Happy

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--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2010 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome!!!!
A&A does some incredible custom work.... but then their "production" stuff is great too!

I wish I could wish you a Merry Christmas in Russian or Greek... so, here goes...

Merry Christmas in Russian or Greek!!!! Laughing Out Loud

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jan, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is stellar. I've not seen their standard model in person. These photos of yours makes it look amazing. Congrats.
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Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 9:11 am    Post subject: Re: New Reiver Sword         Reply with quote

Wow! That is a truly beautiful sword. The blade looks great on that hilt!

GG Osborne wrote:
As I wanted some Continental influence, I requested the inscription on the blade which could be either Spanish or German, but definitely a Catholic influence.


I am very curious about the inscription you chose. I have always thought of "Soli Deo Gloria" in its association with the "five solas" that were the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformers. The Latin phrase comes from Paul's benediction in the book of Romans (occurs in Titus and Jude as well), and was in common use among Christians. Bach even signed each of his musical composition with his initials and the abreviation S.D.G.

But I was curious as to why you consider this to be of "definite Catholic influence" when it is so closely associated with the Protestant Reformation. Not trying to open up a religious debate, mind you -- just interested to learn more from a historical perspective on the use of that motto by Catholics of this period.

Thanks,
Chris

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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes! Gorgeous. I second the motion for a full length shot! This one is too pretty not to see it all....
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Justin H. Nez




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I vote for a full review with lots of pictures!

Very nice set there.

Merry Christmas to you definitely! For us today is Dia de los Reyes Magos.

"Nothing in fencing is really difficult, it just takes work." - Aldo Nadi
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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Chris,

As far as the inscription is concerned, basically the reason it would be equated with Catholic usage - in my opinion, at least - is the Latin language. Reformers, notably Luther and Calvin in particular, were tremendous advocates of rendering religion in the ligua franca - note Luther's translation of the Bible from Latin into German and Wycliffe's translation of the Vulgate into English. The use of vernacular was a defining characteristic of nearly all Reformers due to their evangelistic nature but their emphasis on "sola scriptura" as the basis for church polity and practice as opposed to the magisterium and doctrinal basis of Catholicism or Papism as it was more commonly thought of in this period by the Protestants. Just the use of Latin or Latinism period would have been thought of as "Papist" and consequently anathema to Protestants. Also, the motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was Soli Majorum Golia Deo - For the Greater Glooryt of God. Remember: friars and Jesuits were under automatic penalty of High Treason in England just for being in the country, so using anything like their motto would have made you suspect as a Recusant at best and a traitor and plotter at the worst.

Note: Never ask someone with graduate degrees in theology to answer a question on religion! Big Grin

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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, Chris, one other thing... I had just rewatched for about the 100th time the Kenneth Branagh version of Henry V with its stirring anthem "Non Nobis Domini, Sed Nomini, Tuo De Gloria" (Not to us, O Lord, but to thy Name be the Glory) and I was in a Latin kind of mood!
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Brian Kent





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am in awe! That is a great set. I didn't know A&A did custom work like that!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jan, 2010 10:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian Kent wrote:
I am in awe! That is a great set. I didn't know A&A did custom work like that!


It's not really that custom. It's a standard hilt with a different blade mated to it. They do customized standard models all the time and also do fully custom work as well.

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jan, 2010 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GG Osborne wrote:
Dear Chris,

As far as the inscription is concerned, basically the reason it would be equated with Catholic usage - in my opinion, at least - is the Latin language. Reformers, notably Luther and Calvin in particular, were tremendous advocates of rendering religion in the ligua franca - note Luther's translation of the Bible from Latin into German and Wycliffe's translation of the Vulgate into English. The use of vernacular was a defining characteristic of nearly all Reformers due to their evangelistic nature but their emphasis on "sola scriptura" as the basis for church polity and practice as opposed to the magisterium and doctrinal basis of Catholicism or Papism as it was more commonly thought of in this period by the Protestants. Just the use of Latin or Latinism period would have been thought of as "Papist" and consequently anathema to Protestants. Also, the motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was Soli Majorum Golia Deo - For the Greater Glooryt of God. Remember: friars and Jesuits were under automatic penalty of High Treason in England just for being in the country, so using anything like their motto would have made you suspect as a Recusant at best and a traitor and plotter at the worst.

Note: Never ask someone with graduate degrees in theology to answer a question on religion! Big Grin


I agree, but "sola fides", "sola scriptura" and other protestant "solas" are also on latin...

Edit: I forgot to say, beauuutiful sword... Wink
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jan, 2010 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful sword! I like it a lot. Nice pairing of hilt and blade imo.

As far as the inscription is concerned, basically the reason it would be equated with Catholic usage - in my opinion, at least - is the Latin language.

Sorry but no, will have to disagree with you there............ I have examined quite a few 17th c blades and to a lesser extent 16th c blades and latin mottos were also commonly used by Protestants on their blades - including in the ECW and later Williamite war. I have no opinion on the motto itself as a cultural statement, but to say a latin sword motto is more indicative of a Catholic owner ..... well, no. Latin inscriptions are common into the 20th century on British Swords.

Nice sword! Rather than a reiver sword I see that as a March Warden kind of sword! tr
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jan, 2010 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, guys, points well taken regarding the inscription; however, I think you may be glossing over the point I was trying to make. And that point is this: In my experince, the Latin inscription means that the blade was manufactured in a country or region of a country where the predominant religious practice was Catholic. A secular Latin insciption I have seen on English blades, but have never seen a religious Latin inscription on a blade of proven English manufacture after about the middle of Elizabeth I's reign. I don't think any good English Protestant would have squabbled about using a well-tempered, superior blade with an inscription that called to mind "Papism", but I don't think that these inscriptions would have had much of a manufacturing vogue in England. Many of the Protestant blades I have seen with a German Providence have cryptic talisman markings such as "1441" and "1531" along with half-moons, Stars, etc.

For a very good historical perspective on the paranoia in England regarding the perceived Catholic threat, let me recommend Lady Antonia Fraser's fine volumes "Cromwell" and "Charles II: The Restoration Period." "Cromwell" is especially replete with quotations showing the mindset of 17th C Great Britain towards Catholicism in general. Not that GB ever had a problem building alliances with France or Spain politically depending on the advantage to be gained, but the pope and his legions of fanactical Inquisitorial menions (their perspective, not mine!) was another matter entirely. Look up the schannagins surrounding Titus Oates and how he managed to create enough hysteria to blame the Duke of York (later James II) for starting the Great London Fire!

Also, I agree it is a March Warden or Headman blade, not the typical reiver.

Thanks everyone for the kind comments!

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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jan, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not trying to criticise, lovely sword, I am very jealous. I love A&A's work! but this is a sword forum and its my $0.02 that your theory on latin sword inscriptions is just incorrect. I have seen and own and have pics of Hounslow swords, parliamentarian swords, as well as German blades hilted in England, with inscriptions such as "Inti Domini" "In hoc Signo Vinces" "Inter Arma Silent Leges" etc. As a POF, I think we can say that non latin verbal sword inscriptions and non latin motto inscriptions are actually rather rare for the period of late 16th c. 17th c. And for my backup - look at effigies of the period as well. There are many effigies and markers in period (17th c wars of religion, War of the Covenanters for example) where grave inscriptions are in latin for protestants as well as catholics. .... James I was the one who pushed to generate an English language bible.... Yet a lot of official business of his reign was still recorded in latin, as well as his coinage!

I am not saying that during Cromwell's reign there weren't some extreme attitudes on display, but history is never so black/white. well rarely so. tr

1680s Passau blade, with English hilt, from Warwick armoury
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jan, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lovely sword GG. I've always liked that hilt by A&A and it looks even better with a stouter blade. I can't comment on the inscription due to my ignorance on the subject, but it looks cool. Wink
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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