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Boris R.





Joined: 15 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Jan, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: A few questions about the most beautiful sword ever made         Reply with quote

Right, so here is the supposedly-emperor's Sigismund sword and scabbard that is for half a millenia held in York Minster



Was it really the emperor's sword? How it ended up in York? The dragons on the scabbard, are they really representing 'Societas Draconistarum'? What about the bluing and gilding of the blade, was this common practice in early 15. century?
Did anyone notice how similar it is to the Albions' Brescia Spadona?

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
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Theo Squires





Joined: 23 Jul 2012

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PostPosted: Fri 03 Jan, 2014 11:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's an interesting sword. While I know nothing about it, I can see that the coat of arms on it isn't Sigismund's coat of arms, which seems a bit odd, although I don't know what the common practice was with imperial heraldry on swords. It may still be his sword, you'll have to wait and see what the experts think. Sigismund was King of Hungary and founder of the Order of the Dragon, so the scabbard makes sense.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

2 things that strike me right away with this sword is the waste in the grip. which would be right in the center of the palm of your hand, and secondly, maybe its just from the photograph, but is that pummel a little oddly shaped?

I know there's a better chance of this sword being of ceremonial use not actual use, so it may just be more show than how it could actually function. I've never seen anything like it before - but this forum always manages to teach me something new.
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Phil D.




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a different view of the sword...


 Attachment: 61.9 KB
[ Download ]

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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 11:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe the blueing of the blade was done later, in 19th century?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's very likely the decoration was added sometime after the sword was received by York Minster. Swords were common gifts of one dignitary to another. The position of the decorative ferrule on the grip is irrelevant to hand position as it was probably added later, when the sword wasn't expected to be used.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Peter Lyon
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Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can help a bit with this, as I had the chance to handle this sword a few years ago in the presence of the curator of the mayor's residence in York, and accompanied by Keith Matthews, the curator of edged weapons of the York City Museum (so I listened VERY carefully to his thoughts).

I don't know anything about the stories associating it with Sigismund, but can give you a few other details.

This sword is of the style of about 1440, but is massive and very heavy. It is a true two hander and weighs 3.8kg with the blade being at least 9mm thick at the shoulders. I assumed it is purely for show, but Keith thought it was a usable sword and could have been used in tournaments or combat, though there is no sign of damage to it from being used.

Over the centuries it has been embellished and altered by various mayors, so the current appearance might not have a lot to do with how it looked in the 15th century. The grip covering is possibly a lot later, to me it looks like could be Victorian even. The etching on the blade does not need to be contemporary either (I get a 16th century vibe off it, but could be totally wrong) - there is wear on the ridge of the blade, it is pretty smooth there, but the rest of the etch is crisp, and I can see "Sigis..." as part of the inscription. The pommel I think is original but could have been altered - it has a lot of facetting on it, though the surface finish and russetting looks consistant, so I think it was all done at once, whether that was the 15th century or later. The scabbard could also have been altered a lot during its lifetime. It is just very hard to know.

If you have any other questions about it I will help as much as I can.

Still hammering away
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Boris R.





Joined: 15 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter - wow 3.8kg? Without scabbard? And still usable?
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
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Peter Lyon
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Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Jan, 2014 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When the curator of a major weapons collection says it is usable, I have to listen. Even though I thought the exact opposite at the time, and felt it was made specifically as a presentation showpiece. Even though it is very heavy, even for a two hander, I liked the feel of it and it is very well balanced.
Still hammering away
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