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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,432

PostPosted: Thu 05 Oct, 2017 3:29 am    Post subject: how old is the messer/ nageled swords and knives         Reply with quote

pretty self explanatory really, i'm under the imp[ression that theres no way in hell knives and sword with the nagel were around in the 13th century?

but when do they first begin to appear?
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Oct, 2017 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: how old is the messer/ nageled swords and knives         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
pretty self explanatory really, i'm under the imp[ression that theres no way in hell knives and sword with the nagel were around in the 13th century?

but when do they first begin to appear?


Earliest evidence I've found is early 15th century, possibly very late 14th C.
There are earlier messer-like construction techniques, in the form of a number of long, almost leaf-bladed knives found in both Switzerland and the Czech republic (and I suspect probably also in Austria, but I've yet to find any archaeological examples there), which have the characteristics of a messer, without the nagel projecting. They may well be fractionally earlier still, the last quarter of the 14th C, and almost start to blur the origins into those of Baselards at that point.

One of the biggest difficulties of stidy is that the messer does appear to appear in a fully developed form, both in archaeological terms, and in depictions in art. I suspect that some of the conventional datings for surviving messer are inaccurate, particularly those which display relatively complex crossguards which appear in the art record far earlier than conventional dating would suggest. (which tends to say that style are 40-50 years younger).

That said, in my research work on single-edged arms, I do tend to describe the infamous 13th C Maciejowski Bible weapons as "proto-messers" - If a messer is considered to be a weapon constructed with contemporary knife-making features - as in the case of some of the later 16th C north German examples with relatively complex hilts with side ring instead of a nagel - we see the use of internal whittle tangs appear, contemporary to their resurgence in civilian cutlery.Those 13th C examples which are depicted in exceptional detail are not slab/scale-sided construction with rivet pins, but what appears to be a bolster and whittle tang - exactly like the contemporary knives of that period. Hence I feel that they are potentially a precursor to the messer as we consider it.
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