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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2019 8:13 pm    Post subject: Late Continental Example of a Lobed Pommel in Art         Reply with quote

We all know that "Viking-style" pommels persisted, albeit rarely, later in the Middle Ages.This fact is attested by the Cawood sword, the Korsoygaden sword, not to mention Scottish funerary art. However, my impression was that this tendency was confined more to the "fringes" of Europe, areas where Viking influence had lasted longer, like North Yorkshire, Norway and Scotland.

I was therefore surprised to discover a carving from France that clearly shows a Viking influenced pommel well into the High Middle Ages. The carving in question is at Rheims and Armour in Art places it circa 1220 AD. The fact the knights are in full mail armour with coifs and no helmets mean it is unlikely to date before 1200. If the carving depicts the martyring of Thomas Becket, then the carving cannot possibly be older than 1171 AD, as Becket died on December 29th, 1170.

Short of arguing the pommel is meant to be a deliberate anachronism, which I think unlikely given that the rest of the knights' equipment is up to date, we have a very rare instance suggesting Viking-style pommels might still be in use in the first decades of 13th century France.



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Mark Lewis





Joined: 19 Apr 2014

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Nov, 2019 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The scupture depicts the martyrdom of St. Nicaise (Nicasius), who was a bishop of Reims. I think the sculpture is generally dated to the 1220s; the present cathedral was rebuilt in the 13th century after the earlier cathedral burned in 1210. Nicaise was martyred by the Vandals... An anachronistic, "Viking" sword might signify that the warriors depicted are barbarians, but unless there is more evidence for the use of such iconography, I don't think this is very likely.
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