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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 23 Nov, 2017 8:35 pm    Post subject: Scent Stopper Pommels in the 14th Century         Reply with quote

How common were scent stopper pommels (Type T and T4) on 14th century swords?

I used to have the impression they were reasonably common. Now I am less sure. Reviewing Records , of the main 14th century types of blades that might have scent stopper pommels, the two main candidates for swords with pommels of this type are XVII.6 and XVII.9. The length of the grip and overall proportions of XVII.6 give me the impression it's much more likely to belong to the latter part of Oakeshott's dating, circa 1400-1425 AD. Similarly, the presence of the ricasso on XVII.9 suggests an early 15th century date to me.

That leaves three other candidates in Records, XV.13, XX.1 and Multiple Miscellaneous 12. I am inclined to think XV.13 is from post 1400 from the style and appearance. XX.1 is only dated to the 14th century on account of its inlay. The helm and shield are similar to those of the early 14th century, yet they could also be stylized depictions of shields and helms like those of the Bodmer 78 Historia destructionis Troiae of circa 1370 AD. Either way, the style and feel of the blade and hilt furnishings overall seem more consistent with XX.2 and XX.3, neither of which Oakeshott dates as being prior to 1420 AD. The evidence is at best inconclusive. As for MM 12, Oakeshott gives no date. Of all the XVII swords with scent stoppers, this seems to be the best candidate as a 14th century sword in terms of appearance and form, but it's hard to say for sure.

Beyond Records, how much evidence is there for swords that can be reasonably firmly dated to the 14th century with either T or T4 pommels? Can we make any estimations to how common it would have been to see swords in the 14th century with these pommels, as opposed to wheel pommels and the Sempach-type T variants?
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov, 2017 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you may be on to something... The only physical specimen with a reasonably reliable dating that I could turn up is the civic sword of Dublin, which was supposedly owned by Henry IV before he became king in 1399, and later donated the sword.



Examples in art seem hard to come by until about 1410 or so... Falchions with T pommels appear in the Bodleian Marco Polo manuscript, which is c. 1400, and the second image is from a French edition of Terence's comedies dated 1400-07.


http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84521984/f167.item.zoom
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have found a few other potential candidates. I think the effigy of Sir Burchard von Steinberg, dated to 1376, shows a scent stopper pommel. It can be found here: http://effigiesandbrasses.com/829/2937/ . Also, if you click to zoom in on this effigy:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tsalyers/1496407557/ it looks as though it depicts a scent stopper pommel. The image is of Hugh de Courtenay, the second Earl of Devon who died in 1377 AD. Another possible candidate is that of Johann II Stein, dated to 1383 AD: http://www.inschriften.net/typo3temp/pics/di-...851d84.jpg

These are among the earliest examples I have found, assuming they are scent stopper pommels. That being so, there does not seem to be good evidence that the pommel exists much before say circa 1370 AD. In the context of 14th century manuscript art, effigies, and reliably datable swords, it seems like type H1, I, J, K, pommels predominate, with the occasional Type T1 and T2 pommel, and relatively few T1 and T4 pommels.
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Fisher Lobdell




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Nov, 2017 11:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I found this one off a quick Google search.
https://www.academieduello.com/news-blog/swords-from-the-lubeck-museum/ I'm looking for 14th century examples of scent stoppers as well, glad we could find that they were at least not unheard of and I hope we can track down more examples soon. (Their probably all tucked away in museums marked 15th century Laughing Out Loud)

1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Absence of evidence is not necessarily the evedence of
Absence. Ewart Oakeshotte.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 30 Nov, 2017 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fisher,

This could well be an early example of a scent stopper pommel on a 14th century sword. You'll notice the pommel has a sort of thick, "block-y" appearance which is consistent with some of the 14th century effigies that appear to show scent stoppers. The cross guard seems a little unusual to me, but probably not unheard of. I wish there was a better photo of the sword's blade.
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Fri 01 Dec, 2017 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But what, if any, independent evidence is there to date that sword specifically to the 14th century? As it happens, that particular sword was featured in Peter Johnsson's exhibit and catalogue The Sword: Form and Thought where he suggested a dating to the "second half of the15th century".

There is a sword in Turku, Finland with a very similar hilt, in particular it shares the unusual crossguard. This sword has a very short blade - so short that I would guess that it was originally of dimensions closer to those of the Lubeck sword, but then broken and resharpened. The Turku Museum describes this sword as dating to the 15th century.

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JG Elmslie
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PostPosted: Fri 01 Dec, 2017 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
featured in Peter Johnsson's exhibit and catalogue


just to nit-pick, but I'm pretty certain Peter would be the first to protest such a description. The Das Schwert exhibition can be credited to far more than just Peter; Dr Barbara Grotkamp-Schepers, Dr Isobel Immel, and Dr Sixt Wetzler, working every day at the Klingenmuseum were also instrumental in the exhibition.

that aside, for the Turku and Lubeck swords, I would absolutely concur with the 15th C dating of both examples.

Now turning to the subject at hand, there is one early scent-stopper pommel which comes to mind. A falchion of type F1 blade profile (broad, cleaver-shaped, in the style of the Cluny and Conyers.) was auctioned in 2015 by Galerie Fischer, Lutzern. In an excavated state, it was the opinion of dr Stefan Mader that it was original. If correct, it is a remarkable example in that it has a something between a Form T3 or form V3 pommel. Given the dating of Type f1 falchions to the 13th C origins of the falchion, C.1225, and falling out of favour in the first quarter of the 14th C replaced by the clip-pointed type F2 and F3 falchions, it gives a thought-provoking question into the dating of both the falchion, and that pommel style. as there is no known evidence against the artefact being a composite, we must, with caution, conclude that it is an extant example which suggests either a working life replacement of the pommel, or possibly an exceptionally late example of the Type F1 blade profile and an exceptionally early example of a scent-stopped pommel.
I will admit, I am not entirely convinced. I've seen too many fakes and am inclined to scepticism on anything I cant read the report of showing where it was dug out of the ground, and the two parts really do not co-exist enough for my comfort. Its like finding a Ford Model T with a CDplayer...
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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Sat 02 Dec, 2017 4:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:
just to nit-pick, but I'm pretty certain Peter would be the first to protest such a description. The Das Schwert exhibition can be credited to far more than just Peter; Dr Barbara Grotkamp-Schepers, Dr Isobel Immel, and Dr Sixt Wetzler, working every day at the Klingenmuseum were also instrumental in the exhibition.

You're quite right JG... I was trying to be concise, and Peter is best known by reputation in the forum, but by no means would I intend to minimize the contributions of the other curators. Sixt in particular was extremely gracious to me when I had difficulties purchasing the catalogue from overseas. Blush
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2018 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What kind of pommel is this one? It looks like it's a scent stopper, but the poor resolution makes it difficult to be certain. Does anyone know if there's a better quality image of this manuscript? It's from the Morgan M.769 Weltchronik

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Mark Lewis





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PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2018 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This looks like an early depiction of a fairly squat form of a type T pommel... in the Tarlati polyptych by the Sienese artist Pietro Lorenzetti, dated 1320.

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