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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2015 10:19 am    Post subject: Salvator Fabris. Fencing master of the Danish King.         Reply with quote

Salvator Fabris (1544-1617) was an Italian born in Padova (Padua) or perhaps Bologna.

Source material for the following historical information below is this article from 1992 - a Danish translation of an Italian thesis by Giuseppe Migliorato. [Italian original not available on the net].
http://img.kb.dk/tidsskriftdk/pdf/ffo/ffo_199...101025.pdf

Other info about Fabris:
Source: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Salvator_Fabris

The 28th of October 1599 Fabris send a letter from Stade in Bremen to a Danish friend - the nobleman Christian Barnekow - in Copenhagen.

Christian Barnekow (1556-1612) was a adventurous soul, who began traveling around Europe in 1674 as 18 years old. He spend 6 years at the University in Jena, then 6 years at the University in Ingolstadt and was then immatriculated at the Padova University the 5th of January 1588 as a member of the "German Judicial Nation". He stayed there for two years, then going on a journey to Constantinople, the Holy Land and Egypt before returning to his studies in Padova in 1590.
Back in Padova Barnekow became the the celebrated center of the "German Nation" at the University and was elected Consiliarius of the "German Judicial Nation" in August 1590, but resigned his position in December 1590 when he relocated back to Denmark and became a diplomat of the Danish King with further travels to Scotland, England, Poland and Brandenburg.
At this time - 1588-1590 when Barnekow was in Padua - Salvator Fabris was a fencing master and he became a friend and very likely fencing teacher of Barnekow.
The "German Nation" often came into heated conflict with the Padova citizens and we know from an episode in June 1591 (described by Henricus a Palandt of Geldern), that Fabris has great love of the "German Nation" and helped solved conflicts between the students and the local citizens. For instance Salvator Fabris (and also the Danish born dutch Antonius Battus (Bathe) - later the Hof-Medicus for the widow-queen Sophia of Mecklenburg at Nykøbing Falster castle) helped to settle a conflict between German Students and a Padova-soldier in 1591.

In Fabris letter to Barnekow we learn that in 1598 the brothers Johan Frederik of Slesvig-Holsten-Gottorp (1579-1634) the Lutheran-elect of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (from 1596) and Duke Johan Adolf of Slesvig-Holsten-Gottorp (1575-1616) had been immatriculated at the Padova University where Fabris had them as fencing students for some months, until Johan Frederik returned home to Bremen and offering him a job taking Fabris with him.
The two brothers were cousins of the Danish/Norwegian King Christian IV.

Fabris writes to Barnekow to probably indicate he is interested in a possible "upgrade" to the more rich and lively Danish court in Copenhagen. It took until the fall of 1601. He had to finish and give Johan Frederik as a farewell gift his work on fencing "Scientia e Prattica dell'Arme" (= The Science and Practice of Arms).
This book is now located at the Copenhagen Royal Library:
Source: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Scientia_e_Prattic...1868.4040)

The 12th of October 1601 he was hired by Christian IV as "Hofjunker" and personal fencing master, possibly thanks to lobbying by Barnekow and other former Padova students.
Interestingly Christian IV made a law in 1601, that all noblemen of the court (Hof) had to learn rapier fencing - Fabris style off course.
He worked for the Danish king from 1601-1606 and in 1606 an expanded version of his rapier fencing book became the first Danish chalcographic (kobberstik) publication - which makes the book extremely important in Danish bibliographic history. It was printed in Copenhagen and titled: "Lo Schermo, overo Scienza d’Arme" (= On Defense, or the Science of Arms). It has the only known illustration of Fabris as well an illustration of the Danish King.
Source: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Lo_Schermo,_overo_...or_Fabris)
Online viewing: http://www.faegtekunstensvenner.net/SalvatoreFabris/Index.htm

His stay in Denmark probably ended because of a monetary conflict with two others Italians (musicians) at the Danish court and he applied for a short leave and was granted it by the Danish King. He never returned to Denmark though, in spite of his name being cleared in 1608 as the court-case was ruled totally in his favour, but instead taught in Germany(1607), France (1608), before returning to Padova teaching there as before. He died in Padova in 1617.
In 1619 a Danish nobleman Henrik Holck writes, that a certain Hermann was his fencing successor in Padova.

PS: The 1606 book is actually on offer from Ruud's antikvariat in Oslo for the jaw-dropping sum of 10.452 US-Dollars! Well books from 1606 doesn't come cheap.
We learn that is has 190 engravings and the two errata leaflets loosely added to correct mistakes in the original print!
I wonder if this is known generally, since these loose errata's might be rare to still be included with the book?!
Source: http://www.antikvariat.net/get/search.cgi?post


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Tue 08 Dec, 2015 10:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Dec, 2015 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So here to continue with some Danish rapiers after the Christian IV law of 1601 made fencing skills with that weapon obligatory for nobles at court.

Rosenborg Castle has this picture of Christian IV bloodied clothes from the naval battle of Kolberger Heide between Danish and Swedish naval forces in 1644.
Inserted with his clothes is also an interesting out of place rapier (exhibition wise that is):

Source: http://www.historiefaget.dk/uploads/tx_cliopo..._toej..jpg
Bigger picture: http://parkmuseerne.dk/wp-content/uploads/201...-main2.png

My catalog [Royal Arms at Rosenborg (1956)] tells me that this rapier is not one of Christian IV's, but probably belonged to Christian IV's youngest son Ulrik (1611-1633).

On the pommel almost worn away is inscribed VHZSH [= Ulrik Herzog Zu Schleswig Holstein (?)]. All of Christian IV's children had that title.
The hilt is silver plated steel.
Blade inscriptions:
On the fullers 1) IVAN MARTINEZ EN TOLEDO & 2) IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI
On the edges of the ricasso: ESPADERO DEL REI

Blade Description:
Blade straight and double edged with narrow fuller along the whole length.
Total length 109,5 cm
Blade length: 92 cm.
Blade witdh: 4,0 cm
6,2 cm long ricasso of rectangular section, doubly grooved on both sides.
Dating: 1620-1630 [= Typical officers rapier of the 30 Years War].

Interestingly this blade could possibly be made from a family relative (Ivan is the son?) of the Toledo weapon-smith Juan Martinez the Elder of the Garata Zabala family, who was "ESPADERO DEL REI" (Rapier sword-smith of the King) from 1590-1610.
Source: Lech Marek (2014). "Rapiers by Juan Martinez the Elder - The Royal Sword-Smith from Toledo found in Poland".
Link: http://rcin.org.pl/Content/54821/WA308_75173_...Mart_I.pdf
"Ivan Martinez" also had the title ESPADERO DEL REI (so works post-1610 as presumingly you only had 1 person with that honour-title?).

In Poland you have a rapier (figure 4a + 4b in the above article) that has almost exactly the same inscription:
"One of the finest rapiers with a Martinez blade kept in Polish collections is the specimen from the Museum of the Silesian Piasts in Brzeg (Inv. No. H-512) 33 (Fig.4a). It has a characteristic well polished blade with pierced fullers bearing the inscription: IVAN MARTINEZ EN TOLEDO (obverse) (Fig.4b) and IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI NON (reverse) (Fig.1d). Along the double fuller – edges, which terminate with crosses there are groups of dots. On the flat of the blade below the fullers, on each side we can observe the famous crescent moon – the mark of Juan Martinez. Other marks are most probably concealed under the original leather covering of the ricasso."

On the Danish sword: IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI [= I put my trust in you, Lord]
On the Polish sword: IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI NON [ I never put my trust in you, Lord]??
This book gives detail to an even more complete invocation on a sword from Madrid (G:201):
IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI NON CONFVÑA [I put my trust in you, Lord - don't confuse?].
Source: REAL ARMERIA DE MADRID. CATALOGO HISTORICO-DESCRIPTIVO, page 260.
Also info about Ulrik: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulrik_of_Denmark_(1611%E2%80%931633)


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Tue 08 Dec, 2015 1:16 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Håvard Kongsrud




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Dec, 2015 9:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting and entertaining article!
A note on the weapon-smith. Ivan is a variant of the name Juan, so it is probably the same person.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Dec, 2015 9:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Håvard Kongsrud wrote:
Very interesting and entertaining article!
A note on the weapon-smith. Ivan is a variant of the name Juan, so it is probably the same person.


That's actually pretty interesting. So maybe he signed his name "Ivan" for the "Polish marked" - a "slavication".
Could it be then that the sword must be older (as Juan Martinez was active 1590-1610 according to the article cited in my post above) or the "Ivan Martinez" simply is an "Juan Martinez the Younger"?

If the sword is older (for instance ~1610) then it could have belonged to another Ulrik - the Brother of Christian IV!
[He was also Ulrik Duke of Slesvig-Holsten] but lived in 1578-1624.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulrik_of_Denmark_(1578%E2%80%931624)
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Håvard Kongsrud




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Dec, 2015 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
That's actually pretty interesting. So maybe he signed his name "Ivan" for the "Polish marked" - a "slavication".
No "slavication" needed. In the gotic script of the period, the letters 'i' and 'j' were often interchangeable, as were the letters 'u' and 'v', at least in Denmark-Norway. And I guess the same apply in Spain.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Håvard Kongsrud wrote:
Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
That's actually pretty interesting. So maybe he signed his name "Ivan" for the "Polish marked" - a "slavication".
No "slavication" needed. In the gotic script of the period, the letters 'i' and 'j' were often interchangeable, as were the letters 'u' and 'v', at least in Denmark-Norway. And I guess the same apply in Spain.


Off course I/J V/U AN.
So it is with all likelihood the same guy.
So that must mean the sword is from latest 1610. Which Ulrik (brother or son of King Christian IV) owned it is more uncertain. The pommel inscription could have been added later.
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Radovan Geist




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as the inscription is concerned, I believe all tree cited similar examples (in Rosenborg Castle, Brzeg, Madrid) are shorted versions of the Psalm 30:2, which reads "in te Domine speravi non confundar in aeternum in iustitia tua libera me". This could be translated as "In you Lord I hoped / put my trust; let me not be confounded into eternity; in your justice liberate me." To my understanding, at that time it was not rare to use abbreviated / shortened versions of quotes from Bible for inscriptions.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Radovan Geist wrote:
As far as the inscription is concerned, I believe all three cited similar examples (in Rosenborg Castle, Brzeg, Madrid) are shortened versions of the Psalm 30:2, which reads "in te Domine speravi non confundar in aeternum in iustitia tua libera me". This could be translated as "In you Lord I hoped / put my trust; let me not be confounded into eternity; in your justice liberate me." To my understanding, at that time it was not rare to use abbreviated / shortened versions of quotes from Bible for inscriptions.


Thanks for the full quote from Psalm 30:2
Source: http://www.medievalist.net/psalmstxt/ps30.htm
You are correct that abbreviation of bible quotes are very common!
What is interesting is that the sword maker makes variations from sword to sword on the same quote he uses.
IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI should be enough you think?
Maybe he gets paid extra pr. letter and so he inscribes until he runs out of fuller? Laughing Out Loud

This quote seems like its a trademark of Juan Martinez the Elder as it would really be some coincident if both the Polish and Danish owner had wished the same line from the bible from the same sword smith in Spain; unless they were connected somehow - and perhaps part of the same "brotherhood" in arms perhaps?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To find further examples of weapons at the Danish court in the time period Fabris worked there (1601-1606) I have found this painting of a "youngish" Christian IV (he was King from 1588-1648 - Danish record of 60 years).


Source: http://www.danskmoent.dk/harck/fig10.jpg

The site simply gives the information that it was painting under a visit to England in 1606, but I can't find any information to verify this or who the painter is.
EDIT: Have found verification of his visit in 1606, but still not who the painter is.
James I was after all married to Christian IV's sister "Anne of Denmark" (in 1589), so visits to England were family/alliance visits.

In "Abildgaard (2009) - Selected Antique Arms and Armour. The Abildgaard Collection" I found a reference on page 93, that the "Duke of Beaufort Collection" should have a painting of Christian IV with a rapier painted in England in 1603 where he received the "Order of the Garter". Verified it was in 1603.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Knights_and_Ladies_of_the_Garter
NB: Christian's brother Ulrik got the "Order of the Garter" in 1605 !

Haven't been able to find any info on that picture yet, but it must be at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, the current residence of the Duke of Beaufort.
Source: http://theartoftheroom.com/2014/09/badminton-house-revisited/

The rapier shown in the painting above has a hilt which makes it certain it is NOT part of the Rosenborg Castle Collection.
It is possible it is in Tøjhusmuseet instead, but I don't own the book by Finn Askgaard (1988) "Det Kongelige Partikulære Rustkammer II" to be able to verify it.
Christian IV had a lot of highly ornate show-off rapiers, but this one seems fairly plain which is surprising for a King making a state visit, so I wonder if this could be his fencing sword while Fabris was still his fencing master and if Fabris went with him to England to keep up the practice?

So based on how the hilt looks - what is your guess of origin and type?
To me it looks like a typical 1580's rapier (like his father Frederik II's rapier at the Rosenborg Castle collection), but with an added knuckle-guard!
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Radovan Geist




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Dec, 2015 11:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Niels,

Quote:
What is interesting is that the sword maker makes variations from sword to sword on the same quote he uses
.

Indeed, it´s interesting. I think it ultimately boils down to the way these high-end swords were manufactured:
- at more or less the same time, and sold to different owners,
- at more or less the same time, bought by one person, who would send out some words as gifts
- at different times, but the maker was using his trademark designs, including inscription ("The Spanish king liked it, the Danish would surely love it! Happy)
Of course, none of this really explains different lengths of inscriptions and it´s all just a speculation Happy
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Dec, 2015 8:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Radovan Geist wrote:
Hi Niels,

Quote:
What is interesting is that the sword maker makes variations from sword to sword on the same quote he uses
.

Indeed, it´s interesting. I think it ultimately boils down to the way these high-end swords were manufactured:
- at more or less the same time, and sold to different owners,
- at more or less the same time, bought by one person, who would send out some words as gifts
- at different times, but the maker was using his trademark designs, including inscription ("The Spanish king liked it, the Danish would surely love it! Happy)
Of course, none of this really explains different lengths of inscriptions and it´s all just a speculation Happy


What is of further interest is that the Polish and Danish sword-blades looks totally different from each other, so it makes it less likely it's a "batch" to be sold off. Since we don't know the background story of the swords a person buying blades to distribute them later as gifts is totally possible and would explain different types of blades of the buying was of stock-blades and not pre-order?
Nonetheless I would for now go for the "trademark inscription", but I haven't come across swords where the sword-smith varied his own trademark. I could be a case of "aesthetic filling out space" where he made up his mind how long the description could be and still look good, so the Danish sword has the minimum and the Polish and Spanish ones get longer inscriptions?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Among the more flashy rapiers owned by Christian IV in his early years as King is this one believed to be Christian IV coronation ceremony rapier from 1596. (Sadly only have picture of the hilt and not full length).

The hilt is possible made by Goldsmith Didrik Fyring's workshop in Odense.
It has a steel hilt overlain with gold and enriched with polychrome champlevé enamel.
The cypher of Christian IV on one side of the pommel and the Danish coat of arms on the other side and is clearly visible on this image.

Total length: 110.3 cm
Blade length: 94,5 cm
Blade width: 3,4 cm
Length of scabbard:; 96,3 cm
Straight blade and double edged with ~30 cm broad fuller.



 Attachment: 140.07 KB
Christian IV_Rapier 1596.jpeg
Source:
Schepelern, H.D. (1957)
Københavne sværdfegere i tre aarhundreder.
Våbenhistorisk Selskab 1957.

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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2016 1:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On Christian IV coffin at the "Hellige tre kongers kapel" in Roskilde Cathedral this rapier was found in 1886 and reported with an image in Illustreret Tidende (p. 186):
Source: http://img.kb.dk/iti/09/pdf/iti_09_0190.pdf

So it seems to be a Pappenheimer style and could likely have been the Kings carry (practice?) sword in his later years.
Anyone wants to set a date on this style of rapier?

Christian IV's flashy "knighting sword" (DK: Ridderslags sværd) was depicted in Illustreret Tidende, 8th November 1863 (p. 44).
Source: http://img.kb.dk/iti/05/pdf/iti_05_0050.pdf
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