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Nathan Quarantillo




Location: Eastern Panhandle WV, USA
Joined: 14 Aug 2009

Posts: 279

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jul, 2010 5:32 pm    Post subject: decoration on everyday swords (late 15th eary-mid16th cent.)         Reply with quote

hello all, I was wondering what amount of decor would be featured on everyday swords in the late 15th through early mid 16th cent. Would most swords exhibit a fair amount of simple decoration or be extremely utilitarian in design? Think something that a mercenary or so might use. pictures of examples would be appreciated.
thanks, Nathan Quarantillo.

"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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Robert S. Haile





Joined: 16 Dec 2007

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jul, 2010 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know much about the decoration of swords in this era, but I can say that I would expect someone with the status of "mercenary" to use a few or no frills utilitarian sword. Just my two cents.
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Christopher H





Joined: 06 Mar 2008

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jul, 2010 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out zweihanders, sometimes used by landsknechts during this time. Many are not 'no frills'.
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Wed 21 Jul, 2010 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mercenaries (Landsknecht and Reislaufer) were among the most flamboyant figures of the period in terms of their dress. But, yes, their weapons were relatively plain. Tassles (fringe) sometimes do appear to have been used under the pommel in the early 16th c. .By the first quarter of the 16th c. you see things like brightly colored cloth sashes used as sword belts (esp. for Katzbalgers). For everyday civilian carry--militia, riding swords and such--art of the period shows everything from incredibly rich decoration to nothing at all, with most falling in the low end of that continuum. Status is the key. The chappe is the focus of most decoration (judging only from the German/Austrian artwork I see, as well as surviving examples) apparently including tooling, metal pins and plates, gilding and possibly even paint. And the swords I see in that artwork almost invariably do have a chappe. It was common at that time for German/Austrian longsword scabbards to have extensive tooled decoration. The most high-status swords I see sometimes have elaborately decorated scabbards with gilt metal mounts.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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