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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Thu 30 May, 2019 11:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword here, from Marko Aleksić's Mediaeval Swords from Southeastern Europe: Material from 12th to 15th Century, has a pommel where the maker did not even bother to keep the "button" close to center. Nor, for that matter, did he seem to put much effort in finishing the right side of the pommel, either. Perhaps it was part of an order that needed to be ready extremely quickly? The pommel style, to my knowledge, is not found in Oakeshott's typology. Presumably, it would be a variant of a cat's head or Type Z pommel.

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Cat's Head Sword.jpg

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Mikko Kuusirati

Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Fri 31 May, 2019 1:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I'd describe that pommel as a squarish type K. Very characteristic of swords of this overall style.

PS. There's a sword in the same style with a more carefully made but otherwise very similar pommel in Records of the Medieval Sword, Unclassified #6 on page 234; Oakeshott labels it "a modified K". It also features a large triangular peen block. On the other hand, Unclassified #7, on the same page, has a pommel that's also similar but with a crenellated top, and he suggests it might be a prototypical forerunner of the type Z "katzenkopf".

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D. S. Smith

Location: Central CA
Joined: 02 Oct 2011

Posts: 231

PostPosted: Sat 08 Jun, 2019 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Here's a great example of a sword whose proportions offend many modern people's sense of aesthetics, again from the Musée de l'Armée. Despite being a two-handed sword from the length of its grip, the width of its cross looks better suited to a long sword. And, instead of having a broad blade in proportion to the hilt, the blade is narrow with a broad fuller. Clearly, this weapon will have surprisingly lively handling for its size, but few modern people would want to commission a reproduction of this sword "as is".

Image from Vikverir.

I've got to say, I would kill to have a sword with that same blade. I'm not a big fan of the hilt, I prefer them a little less thin and long in the grip, but that blade.... YES PLEASE!!! Laughing Out Loud Big Grin

Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
In the halls of Valhalla!
Where the brave may live forever!
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Johannes Zenker

Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 139

PostPosted: Sun 09 Jun, 2019 8:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is really a great thread, but what I am currently most curious about is how clean and polished historical pieces when they left the shop.

There is ample discussion on many different outlets on how polished a sword would have been, how even the grind would have been, if there were visible tool marks or scratches, uneven seams or if everything would have been pristinely cleaned up before it left the shop.

My personal assumption would be that it completely depends on why the piece was made and for whom. The Langmesser/Jagdschwert of Kaiser Maximilian may very well have been absolutely pristine and without any flaws (
A generic piece for a Landsknecht, on the other hand, churned out quickly during the 30 Years War, may very well have been left rather rough, dings, scratches and all, as long as it was structurally sound.

I would like to verify or falsify these assumptions, but accessing originals that are in good enough shape isn't all that easy and pictures often won't quite do the job.

Unfortunately, identifying imperfections that were actually present upon leaving the shop as opposed to being the result of damage or rough treatment during its time of use is in many cases probably very difficult if nor impossible - especially on corroded pieces.

I'm curious, for instance, whether the scratch marks seen on this Katzbalger blade here are manufacturing marks:

Whole piece can be found here:
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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Mon 10 Jun, 2019 2:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


My understanding is that Fricker Historische Waffen is fairly notorious for selling fraudulent antique swords.Therefore, I don't think the sword in question you have posted is a good one for trying to evaluate the degree of finish.

One sword that might be examined more closely is the Reichsschwert, also known as the Sword of St. Maurice of Vienna. The fact that it was the coronation sword of the Holy Roman Emperors means that it might have been executed with a far more exacting degree of skill than the average medieval sword. Still, details left on the blade will give clues as to what would be acceptable even on a sword meant for a very prestigious purpose.

The best photos that I'm aware of depicting the blade can be seen in this thread:
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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Mon 10 Jun, 2019 2:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since most of us are less familiar with Eastern medieval weapons, I thought I'd include a photo of a sword from Georgia. It's full length is 102.2 cm. The hilt is 14.3 cm. In its current condition, the weight of this sword is 969 grams. Tsurtsumia argues that the based upon the cross style, this sword is most likely from the end of the 11th century, and the beginning of the 12th century- quite possibly coinciding with the rule of Georgian hero, David IV "the Builder".

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