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Michal F





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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 7:36 pm    Post subject: authentic XIVth century east-european sword?         Reply with quote

Hello All! I am very curious about Your opinions on this most probably medieval sword (photos attached).


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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 9:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a fake. I don't know of any extant genuine medieval swords that have a fuller that begins part way down the blade like this one. That's not to say that there are none, but it is exceedingly rare so the fuller automatically makes the sword highly suspicious. The proportions of the sword, especially the grip in comparison with the rest of the blade, are wrong; the sword has a massively big long sword grip, and yet the blade is clearly a single-handed sword. Further, the blade seems like it's a poorly made Type X style blade, but these were never used on long swords (and Type X blades would be extremely out of date by the 14th century in all parts of Europe). Lastly, design work on the pommel, while not unheard of, is comparatively rare on genuine antiques and makes the sword suspicious; modern people are far more likely to want to decorate a pommel in this way than medieval people.

Taken as a whole, I cannot possibly imagine that this sword is an authentic sword from either Eastern or Western Europe.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you know of a good reason that it's "probably Medieval"?

The two most unusual things to me at first glance are:

1. It's a very long grip for a blade that short.

2. I've never seen a round Medieval European tang before. Round tangs are unusual on swords - one runs into a problem with the tang turning in the grip core.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am strongly inclined towards skepticism regarding the sword's age. I've never seen an original with a cylindrical tang like that. That's not a big deal in itself; I haven't seen a lot of things. Still, in practical terms, I can't help but think that it wouldn't take long before the wooden portion of the hilt started turning around that tang, not unlike a roll of paper towels. The termination of the fuller so far from the cross also strikes me as very odd. It's not easy to tell from the picture, but the blade seems unnaturally beefy to me, and as someone already pointed out, it's an awfully short blade for that long of a hilt. The pommel also looks like it's been machined. I definitely don't see the signs of advanced age (patina on the pommel, for instance) that I would expect on an old sword, and it appears that there are bits of wood (I'm assuming that's wood) protruding from between the pommel and tang, as though the pommel had to be shimmed to keep it in place.

I could be dead wrong, so please don't take my word for anything, but I think that's someone's shop class project that got left out in the rain for a few days. At best, a Victorian decorative reproduction.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides


Last edited by Sam Barris on Thu 14 Jul, 2016 4:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2016 4:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd have to echo everything they said. The design would be exceedingly strange for the proposed date, the proportions are off in every way possible, the craftsmanship is crude and inconsistent, the patina doesn't look its alleged age, and if the tang isn't welded on I'll be very surprised.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2016 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That tang is a classic 'rat tail' tang, cylindrical with almost no taper, that could not possibly hold up in combat. Nothing says 'modern' like a 'rat tail' tang.
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2016 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Everything about this sword points to fake. The fuller termination, the rat tail tang, the pommel, blade length to grip length ratio.... In my opinion this is a rather ugly sword and clearly not original. Is someone trying to pass this off as legitimate...?
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Mark Griffin




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 1:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll just comment to say it couldn't be more wrong if it was wearing a t-shirt saying 'I was made very recently, buyer beware.'
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Michal F





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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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Thank You for all opinions, except for Tim Lison's and Mark Griffin's, which were as silly and worth as little as your knowledge about the subject. Rather than repeating other opinions and making childish comments I would take any source (Internet at least) and read something about the matter you would like to discuss. Then maybe you would know that there were tangs in that length, for additional two or 3 fingers, making possible to use sword in two-handed fashion, with one hand partially on the pommel. Some of these tangs were square in shape, wooden grip had to be made in 4 parts, like here. Tang looks suspicious because it was visibly broken and could have been welded to the blade, which unusual fuller could have been made recently by person who wanted to "clean" the item, or even (OMG) remove the inscription, which parts are noticeable by anyone, who looked on the sword "in real". My last suggestion, for all discussants: there were never two identical swords made, and not many are still existing at all. Please don't make judgements only by the look on two pictures (LOL). Specialists from Royal Museum in krakow looked at it and told me, that it can be original, but modified in the meantime. Blade is medieval for sure, with fuller made mechanically probably during cleaning. Thank You.
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Michal F





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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

more pictures on the matter pointed


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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What does not make sense to me is why someone would bother to grind a new fuller during cleaning. It would be strange enough to deepen an already existing fuller because you're damaging a historical artifact, but creating one where it doesn't belong, i.e. beginning part way down the blade, seems inexplicable.

On what basis are you certain that the blade is medieval?


Last edited by Craig Peters on Mon 11 Jul, 2016 8:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal F wrote:
Thank You for all opinions, except for Tim Lison's and Mark Griffin's, which were as silly and worth as little as your knowledge about the subject. Rather than repeating other opinions and making childish comments I would take any source (Internet at least) and read something about the matter you would like to discuss. Then maybe you would know that there were tangs in that length, for additional two or 3 fingers, making possible to use sword in two-handed fashion, with one hand partially on the pommel. Some of these tangs were square in shape, wooden grip had to be made in 4 parts, like here. Tang looks suspicious because it was visibly broken and could have been welded to the blade, which unusual fuller could have been made recently by person who wanted to "clean" the item, or even (OMG) remove the inscription, which parts are noticeable by anyone, who looked on the sword "in real". My last suggestion, for all discussants: there were never two identical swords made, and not many are still existing at all. Please don't make judgements only by the look on two pictures (LOL). Specialists from Royal Museum in krakow looked at it and told me, that it can be original, but modified in the meantime. Blade is medieval for sure, with fuller made mechanically probably during cleaning. Thank You.


Michal,
You've asked for opinions and received them; don't belittle them or call them childish. Insulting behavior won't be tolerated here. Disagree if you wish, but be civil.

I have been to a number of museums, have handled a few antiques, and have an extensive library on arms and armour. The XIVth century is an area of focus for me. I would be shocked if this sword were more than 150 years old. It might be Victorian, but I would be surprised if it's medieval. The tang's largely rounded cross-section would make a stable grip difficult to achieve, as the grip would want to rotate around the tang as others have pointed out. True Medieval weapons, even low grade ones, exhibit a subtleness of shape, proportion, and form that this sword lacks almost entirely. Grinding a fuller in after the fact would be quite odd and unnecessary. Inscriptions (somewhat rare in the 14th century) would typically be in a fuller/groove. A lenticular blade cross-section with no fuller (if it were ground in later) would be highly odd for that period. If the fuller is original, it should extend to the guard and probably under the guard. So if the groove was ground in later, the cross-section of the blade is highly atypical for the era. If the groove is original, the groove itself is highly atypical. So the blade is highly atypical either way. Yes, there was variety in the era, but enough has been published to show what norms are and what outliers are. Things that lie far outside norms are suspect. This lies far outside norms.

Quote:
Please don't make judgements only by the look on two pictures (LOL).


You originally posted only two pictures and asked people to judge them. Why are you surprised that they complied with your wishes? Happy

Happy

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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal F wrote:
Specialists from Royal Museum in krakow looked at it and told me, that it can be original, but modified in the meantime..


Do you have names of the curators at the Royal Museum (I assume you are speaking of the Wawel royal collection?) who you know are specialists in identifying the authenticity of medieval European swords? I would be very curious to contact them with photos of your weapon to confirm the rather unorthodox assessment that almost anything about this sword is medieval.

- Gregory
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It could be a composite creation and some part of it might be "original" as in older than late 19th Century... but whichever part that might be - the pommel? part of the broken tang? - it certainly is not the crossguard, at least. It's just way too chunky, in exactly that Fischer-Price sort of way that a lot of overbuilt modern SLOs exhibit. And it also seems to be welded to the tang, which is something I've never seen or heard of in a Medieval sword. The sword also shows a very rough finish all over beneath the light and very uneven patina, indicative of either rough filing or power tools and either way, IMO, too sloppy to be pre-industrial work - metal was expensive back then and labour relatively cheap, see, they didn't waste the material on sub-par half-finished work like this.

I could be wrong! But that's my honest opinion, no slight intended. I just hope you haven't spent money on this.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal- I'm sorry if my first post offended you. It was not my intent.

Clearly, many people share the same opinions of this sword as I do, so I will add something new, that no one else has mentioned. Do you have have the measurements of the distal taper of the blade? How about it's weight, PoB, and CoP. It would help to determine if this object is truly a medieval sword as supposed, or if it is something else. A sword in the 14th century would have been made with one purpose; to be used as a weapon. If it wouldn't function as a sword should, it's likely a decorative piece. To me (of course, not an expert...) the elements of this sword would make for very awkward handling characteristics, the long tang, heavy pommel, extremely heavy cross, and short blade just don't seem like they would be functional at all as a sword. Perhaps sheding light on the handling characteristics of this sword for us might change our collective mind about it.

Where did you come upon these photos? Is this an object you own?
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Don Stanko




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With regards to the fuller, there is a medieval sword at the Cleveland Museum of Art that has a fuller that starts just after the cross guard. It has been published extensively, to include Records of the Medieval Sword. It is a type XIIIb, page 112, catalog #XIIIb.3. This is a very unusual feature, an opinion voiced by Oakeshott himself.

However, this is not an endorsement for the sword's authenticity, it is not a 14th century sword. I agree completely with Chad and the other forum members. I trust the opinions of the members of this community, even more than my own. I think their judgement is sound in this case.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal, I'm sure I'm going to annoy you now, but I am genuinely curious, did you make this sword yourself?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 8:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's hard to see for certain, but in the first photo it looks as though there is a central ridge that extends from the new fuller to the point. If there really is such a ridge, it's another indication that this sword was made relatively recently. Central ridges do not belong on Type X blades; there might be one or two genuine antique medieval swords that have them, I do not know for certain, but a central ridge is basically unheard of for swords of this type. Modern makers, particularly those not making swords in the last couple of decades, often start with a blade that has a central ridge and then modify the blade so that it has a fuller, and make it look roughly lenticular in shape, instead of making a truly lenticular blade.
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J.L.A. Sereno




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find it strange that the pommel's engraving is so misaligned from the tang. Not just that, but the flatness of the pommel's plane which meets the grip is also extremely skewed. The pommel appears itself to be very asymmetric, which is curious given the obvious pains taken to engrave its design. One would think the craftsman would take more care in centering the weight of the pommel rather than carving that design onto it. This doesn't look skewed because of excavation or mishandling since the tang sits flush with the pommel.

I agree that this is likley a "fake." Not necessarily contemporary, because the pitting looks quite deep, but perhaps Victorian?

Other suspicious things in the photographs include the extremely flat and polished crossguard (in contrast with the rest of the piece), and simply the overall beefiness of the thing. Of course we don't have it in hand and it could actually feel like a proper sword. Those are just the things I tend to see in terms of its construction.

Omnia in bonum
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JG Elmslie
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2016 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd just like to add my weight behind the fact that sword is not original.

I've handled, oh, a good few hundred medieval swords now, from the 10th to the 16th centuries, from all over Europe, and I've studied more in publications and academic papers than I can even begin to list.. That's not a medieval sword.

the fuller position on the blade is a great big flashing neon warning sign of its origins. I see no indication of a difference in patina between fuller and blade flats to indicate that this was recently added, even if such a process were likely to be done. That any restorer would grind in fullers to an unfullered blade, frankly, strikes me as nonsense on par with the notorious Blankenshield conspiracy theory on the Armour Archives that all armour had rolled edges, and the curators were snipping them off...
While the photography is, if you'll excuse my bluntness, crap, I'm not seeing any indication there of significant age. the patina there is no different to carbon steel blades I have in my workshop from the 1930's to 50's. It does not have the sort of depth of patina I'd expect of an original - even around the tang hole where the sort of cack-handed restorer who might grind a fuller in would struggle to reach into the corners..

the entire pommel - the technique of decoration, and the artistic style of decoration used on it, even the tone of the metal itself looks to be a modern zinc brass. the round drilled slot, likewise. Again, there is nothing of the sort of patina I'd expect of an original.

the tang cross-section is nothing more than a wallhangar with no resemblance to originals. If by some freak of chance the blade is antique, then there is no way in hell that the tang is original too - and by association, we must conclude the hilt furniture attached to it is equally suspect.

the details of the cross are ropey as hell, I'm seeing the sort of striations I'd expect off a slack belt sander without a platen, running something like a 80-120 grit belt. It is in no way medieval.

blade, cross, tang, pommel. None of those components are medieval or display the characteristic details I'd expect from even a rudimentary replica. I am exceptionally sceptical that any of the historians at Wawel would consider this to be an original, in any shape or form, unless their field of research was absolutely unrelated to medieval arms.

Quite simply, this item is as bent as a €6 note.

At my most charitable, I'd say you have a lovely example of a mid-20th century, low-quality replica, probably from between the end of WW2 and 1980.

I understand you may wish to lash out angrily at those like Mark and Tim who were rather blunt - especially if you paid anything more than a tenner for this thing. However, their comments were absolutely spot on. Even a cursory review of photographs shows nothing even remotely indicative of a medieval sword of any date, yet alone one of 14th century origin.
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