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Author Topic:   European dagger
fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-16-2002 12:50     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone at this forum care for european pieces?
I have a 14" blade dagger (?), ethnografic looking, but i can not figure out what type it belongs to ... even if it is all original.
Would some pictures be of any use ?
Thanks

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Conogre
Senior Member
posted 11-16-2002 13:05     Click Here to See the Profile for Conogre   Click Here to Email Conogre     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does a bear ......oh, sorry. Of course we'd be interested....when it comes to ethnic pieces, one can never see too many or learn too much about them.

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not2sharp
Senior Member
posted 11-16-2002 13:48     Click Here to See the Profile for not2sharp   Click Here to Email not2sharp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes a bear does, and a picture would help.

n2s

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justin
Senior Member
posted 11-16-2002 17:20     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I personally LOVE European stuff.The only reason I dont have more than my one lonely sgian duhbs is becuase of my small wallet,and I would love to see pics.

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zelbone
Senior Member
posted 11-16-2002 19:41     Click Here to See the Profile for zelbone   Click Here to Email zelbone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fernando, I see you are from Portugal. I wouldn't mind seeing some examples of indigenous Portuguese knives as well.

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fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 07:56     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Zelbone, the dagger i asked Leee to post as european, may be the only portuguese ethnic piece i owe, and you'll see is a doubtfull one.
But i have a nice spanish navaja, XIII-XIX century, found in an area of portuguese castles, just across the river from spain.
If of any interest, i can ask Lee to post pictures, as i can come with further info on it.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 09:28     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I for one would indeed be interested in seeing them both, the dagger and the Navaja. As Conogre said... well, there's never enough.

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Lee Jones
EEWRS Staff
posted 11-17-2002 16:00     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Received from Fernando:

1

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justin
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 16:02     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Odd,but I like it.

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not2sharp
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 16:12     Click Here to See the Profile for not2sharp   Click Here to Email not2sharp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like a put together piece. The handle may have been some kind of measuring instrument, and the blade taken from an old sword. An interesting piece by any measure.

n2s

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Conogre
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 16:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Conogre   Click Here to Email Conogre     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You didn't say how big it is, but honestly it looks like a version of the knives that were used to fight in the two handed style, with a rapier in the other...a main gauche'?
Somehow it doesn't strike me as put together at all.

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fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 18:17     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The blade is 14" long.
I've already been through the gauge hypotesis, like the gunners had, to measure the canon bore, but this one has no metric sense, and the traces should be on the blade ... looks more like marks, ot just the punctions the maker had at hand, to embelish the work ... for it may be the second grip cover this piece already had, as if the previous one was damadged ... ivory, or the like.
On the other hand, blade seems to have been originaly made for the present purpose, as it has the propper reduction of all angles at becoming the grip section, if you know what i mean.
The close picture i took from the blade section, shows the hand forging efects, giving it a genuine look ( you guys know a lot more than me about this ), and a little "scratch" that could be a letter "L", or just imagination.
It is surely not a main gauche, with such features. The brass ferule is to soft to assume that purpose ... and the blade is not heavy enough for that endurance.
I just don't know.

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not2sharp
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 18:29     Click Here to See the Profile for not2sharp   Click Here to Email not2sharp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
fernando,

1) Are both sides of the handle marked in the same way?

2) Is the color and texture of the exposed tang the same as the color on the blade ricaso?

n2s

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fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-17-2002 18:50     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
1- nice question. the opposite side is marked with same punctures, but with a different sequence.

2 - sorry for my ignorance, i forgot the translation for the terms tang and ricaso ... but the blade has all the same texture and color.
... If you put the question another way ...

[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 11-19-2002).]

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not2sharp
Senior Member
posted 11-18-2002 01:17     Click Here to See the Profile for not2sharp   Click Here to Email not2sharp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fernando,

The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle; in this case sandwiched inbetween the brass pieces.

The ricaso is the part of the blade closest to the handle.

What I wanted to do was to compare the color and texture of these surfaces to see if we could tell whether both surfaces had been exposed to the elements for the same period of time. If the knife had been purposed made then the surfaces would be similar. But, if it had been a sword which at a later date had been cut down, the surface of tang would have been exposed for a much shorter period of time.

n2s

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 11-18-2002 05:59     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too believe it to ber a put-together piece, made of salvaged parts. The blade seems to come from a broken sword that was re-ground to its actual shape, as the grind marks and the uneven "central ridge" seem to indicate. The brass handle seem indeed to have been taken from some kind of brass ruler or something similar, but I definitley don't discard the possibility of tese marks being indeed some kind of decoration.

In my opinion, and that's only speculation, it's something done or "in the field", by or for somebody who wanted to get a dagger out of a salvaged broken sword blade, maybe his own.

It's more of a shortsword than a dagger, if you ask me, and it's meant for business. With that blade profile and that size it would made a lousy utility knife...

A bit long for your usual a left hand dagger, but don't be quick to rule this possibility off. I can't know how sturdy the guard is, but it seems perfectly capable of taking the the kind of punishment a left hand dagger is supposed to be able to sustain from an enemies' rapier or one-handed "broadsword" (i.e of the likes of a scottish baskethilt sword).

I must say it's a nice not-so-little bugger, but being as it is of no really definite style, I'm not really comfortable dating it. From the very late 16th c. onwards, could be form any period. Daggers and knives have been around for a long time, with many styles going through some revival periods...

Just a last thing: the exposed parts of the tang are not coverd by the sheath and are in contact with the hands through the working life of the dagger. So differences of corrosion can be a bit tricky to interpret. And even worse if it's indeed a re-worked broken blade, because then it's probable that extensive grinding and even maybe some forging (to the tang, specially) was involved, so the corrosion pattern wouldn't be reliable.

Marc
"Living and trying to learn"

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fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-18-2002 17:07     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
completely agree with all mark's briliant aproach points, except for the left hand sword part; the guards in these devices were allways sturdy and of abnormal dimensions, for reasons of purpose ... and never of soft brass.
actualy and as Marc concluded, the operation of fixing the present brass grip cover, grinded all previous traces from the blade tang.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 11-18-2002 18:23     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the kind words Fernando. But I'm afraid I have to disagree about the sturdiness of the guards of left hand daggers...

Spanish, 17th c. From the Army Museum in the Castle of Montju´ch, in Barcelona.


I have to say that the quillions in those, though very thin, were almost all of steel, though probably unhardened (for ease of working). There's one with the whole hilt clearly made of brass...

but I'm a bit weary of it, as it could be a somewhat later (18th c.) work, so I don't think it really can be used to support my affirmation about brass being used.
In fact, my point is that the guard in your particular example (short, downturned and not exactly thin), is "good enough" for use as a left hand dagger, given the kindif we assume that it was indeed a work done "in the fly". Again, the kind of punishment they were supposed to sustain was not THAT heavy, specially from the 17th century onwards when rapier blades started to slowly become lighter.

Anyway, it's a moot point. The piece you have there looks dangerous enough by itself, I wouldn't want to have to face it from the wrong side...


Marc
"living and trying to learn"

[This message has been edited by Marc (edited 11-18-2002).]

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justin
Senior Member
posted 11-18-2002 18:31     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lets not get in the supreme katana mode again,I think most of you are still underestimating what it takes to even cut through aluminum,much less brass and steel,and not to mention that a rapier blade would be even less effective at cutting metal than a katana would be.I think that guard would be more than sufficient against most light cutting swords,a broad,basket hilt,falchion ect would be a different story.

[This message has been edited by justin (edited 11-18-2002).]

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fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-19-2002 17:19     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
no,no, gentlemen.
look at the proportions of all hereshown left hand dagger pictures.
the guard and specialy the quilion are of outstanding dimensions.
this part was the main thing, rather than the blade.
you don't get to neutralize the oponent's sword blow with a reduced guard,and a small arch quillion narrower than your forearm.
it must be something, but not that.
i'm more inclined to the field adaptation version for some kind of defense (?.) weapon

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Andrew
EEWRS Staff
posted 11-19-2002 18:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Andrew   Click Here to Email Andrew     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm inclined to agree with Fernando about this one. Notwithstanding the fact that it just doesn't have the massive hilt/guard assembly and long quillions of a main gauche, the proportions appear all wrong for it to be a left-handed second sword. I vote for its likely use as a side arm. Could it be called into service as a second weapon? Certainly. However, my feeling is that someone who was skilled and comfortable fighting with two weapons would have a more purpose-specific sword for his left hand.

Just my gut reaction.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 11-19-2002 20:28     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Well, "Massive" is not whay I would call the guards on the exemplars I posted. "Delicate" would be more it. But that's just an opinion.
In fact it's only a tangencial discussion, because I agree with you in that probably this particular example wasn't intended to be used as a left-hand dagger. Indeed, my vote goes, too, to a recycled side-arm.

But the point I tred to make, and I'm afraid I haven't managed to express it properly, is that purely from the point of view of the sturdiness of the guard, this item can't be ruled off as a left-hand dagger. When these were used in combat, parrying was done with the blade, not with the guard, and then, sometimes, the enemy's blade was let slide down to the point where the guard meets the ricasso and it was then when the quillions came into play to help to control it. What I mean with this is that this dagger's brass quillions would be sturdy enough to do the job. Probably a bit short, but sturdy enough.

Again, I don't think, either, that it's a left hand dagger, but that's because of different reasons than the sturdiness, or lack thereof, of its quillions (for example the general configuration, the length of the blade, and, I would agree here, too, thought to a lesser extent, the shortness of the quillions...). I loved the discussion, though.
Just for the record, the downward curved guard it's, too, a typical configuration for left-hand daggers.
The fun about this is that the term "left hand daggers" covers a really wide spectra of side-arms that presented a lot of regional variations throughout all the territory they covered (i.e the whole Europe) and through the whole period they were in use as such (more than 200 years). Is a term as generic as "rapier".

Marc
"Living and trying to learn"

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VANDOO
Senior Member
posted 11-19-2002 22:57     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IT KIND OF STRIKES ME AS A DIRK (ANOTHER LARGE CATCH-ALL CLASSIFICATION ) THE SIZE AND SHAPE IS A LOT LIKE MANY OF THE VARIOUS MILITARY DIRKS CARRIED BY MANY A NAVY OR ARMY AROUND THE WORLD. I HAVEN'T SEEN A NAVEL DIRK WITH A HANDLE AND GAURD LIKE THAT BUT CONSIDERING THE DAMMAGE CANNONS CAUSE TO OTHER SHIPS IT WOULD BE EASY TO HAVE DAMMAGED WEAPONS THAT WERE PEACED TOGETHER FROM WHAT WAS AVALABLE ON BOARD. WHOEVER FIXED IT UP DID A GOOD JOB, A VERY NICE ITEM

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Andrew
EEWRS Staff
posted 11-19-2002 23:28     Click Here to See the Profile for Andrew   Click Here to Email Andrew     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm with you now, Marc. "Massive" was the wrong word. I should have written "large".

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fernando
Senior Member
posted 11-20-2002 15:24     Click Here to See the Profile for fernando   Click Here to Email fernando     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
i should tell you mark, i'm worried for the quillion curve having been quoted twice, as a definition point.
i have to confess i inverted the quillion myself. it looked bizarre to me, as all swords i remember seeing had it in the other direction, and actualy this part was a bit loose tho the tang, as its low profile puncture fixation was not efective.
so i took it out through the blade, inverted it, and punctured back.
i now it was foolish ... after i did it.
one thing is that the odd marks this quillion has in both ends of same face, are now showing to the blade side.
i will ask Lee to post one more picture i had taken, but deleted as no good. you will notice these particular marks ... various M in one end, and various X, made with crossed V double punctures, on the other end.
this is intriguiging, and in some way vanishes the idea that the figures on the grip would be code numerals... I means 1 in roman numerals, and II mean 2.

1

[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 11-21-2002).]

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 11-21-2002 07:30     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not as a definition point, but as an additional argument. One of many. One must be careful. Isolating a single feature and building a theory upon it, ignoring the rest of the context is just lousy scholarship.

This is the main point, in fact: sweeping statements regarding typology of the items we're discussing in this forum are very hard to justify beyond some very few basic facts. Almost all the rest is subject to variation. That's why I think this is one of the reasons I find this passion of us so fascinating, almost every piece is a new challenge...
This is a perfect example. If the guard is so easy to change, there's no way to know what was its original position. By turning up the guard, Fernando might be doing exactly the same that a former owner could have done at some point in the past.
Or maybe not.
We know the majority of curved guards point downward.
But not all.
So, we can't know for sure. We work what we have and try to do our best. We learn in the process. And the piece keeps its mysterious fascination.

Can't really add much more to what I said in my fist post. Maybe the brass was not directly scraped form any kind of instrument, but decorated this way. I don't know. This doesn't change the fact that it seems to be a recycled piece.

Marc
"Living and trying to learn"

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