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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Apostle Paul & Swords Reply to topic
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject: Apostle Paul & Swords         Reply with quote

Hello,

I'm not quite sure if this goes here but if not I'm sure it'll be corrected swiftly (and thanks in advance of that eventuality!).

Browsing my usual news sites today, I saw an editorial with an interesting picture. The article itself isn't relevant to this forum, but the picture caught my attention due to a rather interesting blade sitting by the subject of the portrait. Can anybody tell me more about this painting?



I'm seeing a globular or pear-shaped pommel, a fairly broad grip with (possibly?) tassels at mid-point and below pommel, and then a straight guard with cusps in the center of the blade. Overall the package reminds me of Valiant Armoury's interpretation of the Angus Trim Warsword.

(If the picture doesn't show because it's in my cache, let me know and I'll re-upload)
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Robert MacPherson
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Location: Jeffersonville USA
Joined: 27 Feb 2008

Posts: 141

PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It was painted by Rembrandt in 1621. The original is in the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart. http://www.artbible.info/art/large/460.html

One of St Paul's attributes is a sword. He uses one to cut the ear off of a Roman soldier at Gethsemane. I don't know enough about swords to know if this one is contemporary with Rembrandt or whether he has painted Paul with something out of date to suggest antiquity.

You can find a detailed image here http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...Prison.jpg

Mac

Robert MacPherson
http://www.lightlink.com/armory/
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert MacPherson wrote:
It was painted by Rembrandt in 1621. The original is in the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart. http://www.artbible.info/art/large/460.html

One of St Paul's attributes is a sword. He uses one to cut the ear off of a Roman soldier at Gethsemane. I don't know enough about swords to know if this one is contemporary with Rembrandt or whether he has painted Paul with something out of date to suggest antiquity.

You can find a detailed image here http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...Prison.jpg

Mac


Actually, St. Paul is usually painted with a sword because he was beheaded with a sword. St. Peter cut off the ear of a High Priest's servant.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mac, thanks for the great image! That has a far better picture of the sword Happy Rembrandt is ~17th century, so the sword is a bit dated for that period.

I can't quite ascertain whether it's in a scabbard with risers that follow the lines of its fullers or if it's a bare blade, unfortunately, but you can much more clearly tell that the hilt is corded or tooled leather with two tassels. It does appear to be anachronistic; perhaps it's a 13th or 14th century blade re-hilted in a later style.

How common would double tassels be on such a piece like this? And why one in the middle of the hilt, rather than at both ends?
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Robert MacPherson
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Location: Jeffersonville USA
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Luka.

It looks like I have run Sts. Peter and Paul together in my head in addition to misidentifying Malchus as a Roman. I need to check my facts before I post.....

Mac

Robert MacPherson
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2015 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think it's too anachronistic, actually. The painting looks like it's a depiction of a post-Oakeshott blade (the reflection on the distal hexagonal portion makes me think it is a naked blade) with an in-cut ricasso, multiple fullers and a hexagonal cross section, and to my uninformed mind, the only time period where that would fit in or exist would likely be 16th century into--in some places--early 17th century Europe. Maybe it is deliberately given an older feel, and could be based off a more decorated battlefield example or a downsized parade sword?
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Apr, 2015 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dunno if it's correct analogy, but at least in Poland, large two handed swords like that seemed to be largely used as insignia of officers, particularly infantry.

http://rotapiesza-pl.lorica.superhost.pl/zrodla/heraldic.jpg


Here's higher resolution of St. Paul picture:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...Prison.jpg
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Apr, 2015 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a Richtschwert appropriate to the period of the painting.
-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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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Apr, 2015 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A slightly earlier image with multiple examples of exactly this kind of hilt: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=26886&highlight=
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

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PostPosted: Wed 01 Apr, 2015 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert MacPherson wrote:
It was painted by Rembrandt in 1621. The original is in the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart. http://www.artbible.info/art/large/460.html

One of St Paul's attributes is a sword. He uses one to cut the ear off of a Roman soldier at Gethsemane. I don't know enough about swords to know if this one is contemporary with Rembrandt or whether he has painted Paul with something out of date to suggest antiquity.

You can find a detailed image here http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...Prison.jpg

Mac


I just want to add that Paul couldn't have cut anyone's ear off at Gethsemane as he first became an apostle after Jesus had been crucified and risen; so at this point in time he is still Saul of Tarsus.
He meets the risen Christ on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus and then becomes the missionary Paulus among the heathens.
As he was a Roman Citizen (showing he really was a man of a certain status in society) he had the right to be executed in a humane way and thus was decapitated by a sword, instead of being crucified as a traitor/rebel towards Rome OR as a common criminal being thrown to wild animals.

The info for the Rembrandt-image-link points to “his“ Letter to the Ephesians (which is actually very likely not written by Paul, but “Pseudo-Paul“) where he calls “God's Word“ (Greek “Logos“ meaning in this context Christ) for the “Sword of the Spirit“.
So these two sword connections is perhaps the foundation for it's inclusion in the picture. As the picture show Paul in prison, it is most likely that is refers to his death by the sword.
If the sword type is an executioner sword then kudos to Rembrandt for attention to detail (though time period off course is way off).
But hard to see on the picture, since we can't see the tip of the blade, but in Denmark you have this executioner sword by Iohannes Wundes from Solingen apparently active around 1620's, so he would be the same time as Rembrandt if he made this picture as 21 (then ~1627).
So the sword in the Rembrandt picture looks to me as being quite wide towards the tip, which is typical for these kind of executioner swords. The Rembrandt one though seems to have a much longer hilt than the Danish one.

Iohannes Wundes executioner sword from Nationalmuseet, Denmark:
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DMR/168126#additional-info
[The blade-tip was later made more pointy, than in the original shape -> unknown of the black protective “pillow“ is original, but I doubt it]
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