Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   messer, kiegsmesser, grosses messer, langes messer (

cornelistromp 12th February 2012 08:06 AM

messer, kiegsmesser, grosses messer, langes messer
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a messer can be a tool, also inside Houses, or a weapon, In principle, with an asymmetric grip and without a pommel, Instead, you often find a cap that covers the upper part of the handle. The blade is in first place suitable for cutting, but also generally can be used for thrusting.
it has generally a straight single-edged blade with a flat cross-section , but may also be curved. CF Seitz Balnkwaffen I.

There is a theory that knife-cutlers and swordsmiths had to stay within their own field and each keep a close eye on violations.
this implies that these large knives with a wide tang en riveted gripplates (technically speaking a knife) were made by knife cutlers.

I found a nice summary on wikipedia;
Messer (German for "knife", also großes Messer "great knife", Hiebmesser "cutting knife", Kriegsmesser "war knife", etc.) during the German Late Middle Ages and Renaissance (14th to 16th centuries) was a term for the class of single-edged bladed weapons, deriving from the medieval falchion and preceding the modern sabre.[1]

Its hilt included a straight cross-guard and Nagel (a nail-like–Nagel literally means 'nail'–protrusion that juts out from the right side of the cross-guard away from the flat of the blade) to protect the wielder's hands. Quite notable in its construction was the attachment of blade to the hilt via a slab tang sandwiched between two wooden grip plates that were pegged into place. Also of note is that many pommels were 'drawn out' or curved to one side of the hilt (edge side), a feature known as a "hat-shaped pommel". Extant examples seem to have an overall length of 30 inches with a 24.5 in (62 cm) blade, and a weight between 2–2.5 lb (0.91–1.1 kg).

The Messer was part of the curriculum of several fencing manuals in the 14th and 15th centuries, including Lecküchner, Codex Wallerstein and Albrecht Dürer.[2]

Although often confused with the Kriegsmesser ("War Knife"), it has to be clearly distinguished from the Grossmesser, being more than 1500 mm long and shaped more like a scimitar, originating as the Hungarian version of the German Zweihänder. Kriegsmessers were used by professional soldiers, typically Landsknechts. An example of this, also called a "Long Knife", is preserved in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna.

1.^ Vesey, A.; B. Norman (1980). The rapier and small-sword, 1460-1820. Arms and Armour Press. pp. 68–71. ISBN 9780405130892.
2.^ Anglo, Sydney; B. Norman (2000). The martial arts of Renaissance Europe. Yale University Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN 9780300083521.

attached pictures of messers, from my collection.

cornelistromp 12th February 2012 08:31 AM

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messers in art.

cornelistromp 12th February 2012 09:51 AM

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cornelistromp 12th February 2012 09:55 AM

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some additional.

Matchlock 12th February 2012 12:47 PM

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Very good compilation, Jasper, thank you! ;)

I'd like to add some more period artwork depicting messer and a hand-and-a-half sword from one of many Late Medieval Acts of the Saints, this particular one dated 1513.


cornelistromp 12th February 2012 05:09 PM

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thanks michael very nice coloured drawings.

cornelistromp 12th February 2012 05:13 PM

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some xtra.

cornelistromp 12th February 2012 05:21 PM

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some xtra

cornelistromp 13th February 2012 06:35 PM

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a small messer.

Matchlock 10th March 2012 11:22 AM

Please see

cornelistromp 10th March 2012 04:41 PM

Originally Posted by Matchlock

Hi Michael,

a very Nice one thank you, the style looks like a combination of the 3 posted in #1.


Matchlock 10th March 2012 05:00 PM

I know it does! ;)


Matchlock 20th March 2012 02:35 PM

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The Emperor Maximilian's famous jester, Kunz von der Rosen (+1519) with his Grosses Messer, portraryed by Daniel Hopfer in 1493; and another portrait of von der Rosen.


cornelistromp 15th June 2012 07:04 AM

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messer in Cluny paris,the leftmost in the picture.


broadaxe 20th June 2012 01:11 PM

Lat one isn't a messer, it's a hand-and-a-half saber in the swiss tradition. Hilt construction is of the sword type. Very famous, but not in Cluny, in Musee de l'armee.

Matchlock 20th June 2012 01:31 PM

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Thanks, Broadaxe,

For pointing this out!

I attach some more close ups of this unusual piece.


cornelistromp 20th June 2012 06:25 PM

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Originally Posted by broadaxe
Lat one isn't a messer, it's a hand-and-a-half saber in the swiss tradition. Hilt construction is of the sword type. Very famous, but not in Cluny, in Musee de l'armee.

it is also no saber!
saber; follow the definition of Heribert Seitz Blankwaffen p183.
the word saber has a magyaric origin szablya , Servian and russian sablja , french and english sabre, spanish sable italian sciabla . The saber is a weapon that is worn on the side, with long curved blade and asymmetrical, often slightly forward bent handle/grip.
the curvature of the saber offers an extension of the cutting edge and is for a combined blow and cutting function created.

The weapon under discussion has no curved blade and is therefor according to the definition of Seitz but also others fe JP Puype no saber!

further is the hilt construction also not of a sword type, because each sword has a pommel.This is necessary in order to be a sword and not another weapon.

It is a further development of the Falchion type and forerunner of the Messer.

In the swiss tradition? can you please explain what you mean with this?
Do you know Swiss art with this weapon depicted or similar Swiss weapons?

Indeed, the weapon is located in the musée lármee, my apologies.

Matchlock 24th June 2012 08:30 PM

A Grosses Messer Saber, ca. 1540
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This piece could by identical to the one in post #4.
The blade is struck with a pi mark.

Sold Hermann Historica, Oct. 20, 2005.


cornelistromp 12th October 2012 07:23 AM

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Dorotheum 12 June lot 33, with thanks to Michael.

fernando 12th October 2012 10:33 AM

And where is Michael, Jasper ... do tou happen to know ?
A couple weeks since he has last been around :confused:

fernando 12th October 2012 04:26 PM

Your PM box is full, Jasper.

cornelistromp 20th January 2013 09:22 AM

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recently I came across this sword, found in a canal in the Netherlands
transitional type of sword to Messer, the long handle gives plenty of counter weight and takes over the function of the pommel. The handle has the construction of a sword handle so without plates and rivets.
a great advantage above a sword of this type is that the handle offers plenty of room for two-handed techniques.
the blade is doubled edged, thin making it more of a cutting sword.
with a cross of which the bottomricassopart forms the end of the grip also seen on some Katzbalger and cinqueda swords, to date late 15th century.

broadaxe 20th January 2013 09:58 AM

Very strange, highly interesting! Do you have close-up photos of the hilt, and stats of the sword? I would like to see how the grip has been put together. There are circular grooves that show marks of binding cord or reinforcing ring/ferrule.

cornelistromp 21st January 2013 08:53 AM

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the dimension unfortunately I have not measured, but best I can reproduce on experience;
griplength 20-22cm and 105-110cm allover.
the canalures of the ricassoblok are also cut in the grip, fm there are petaled flowers punched in the grip as decoration.
In the middle of the grip was still a piece of the original rope available.
The iron plate ring at the end of the grip was gone.
furthermore there is a molded pommel plate and the tang is peened.

this is the first time I have encountered a sword with this type of construction. First I thought that this was an early sword Oakeshott type XIV 1300-1320 where later in 1500, in his second/third life a new grip was added. However after inspection in hands, my opinion is that the sword has been designed this way, most probably around 1500. The blade is probably dated, next to the sun/cross are gothic digits engaved.
Iam working on it, it is not easy, Hope Michael will be back with us soon.

cornelistromp 28th January 2013 02:44 PM

I have the actual dimensions;
allover 108cm
blade 86cm
original cross 20cm/2cm is missing
grip 20cm
ricasso + steel part of grip 2cm

cornelistromp 13th January 2014 02:24 PM

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Matchlock 13th January 2014 03:08 PM

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Another, with a straight but shortened blade, was also sold Bonhams on Nov 30, 2011.


cornelistromp 26th January 2014 09:39 AM

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The following excavated water find, actually is not a messer because it has a pommel and no riveted grip.
but due to the single edged blade there are similarities with the KriegsMesser.
this type can be seen as the precursor of the extremely rare two handed Katzbalger, with 8-shaped guard and similar mushroom shaped pommel.

proabaly from practical considerations the very long parryrods were bent to become less wide in a eight shaped figure, making them more manageable in close combat,while the balance is maintained

landsknecht sword late 15th Century
lenght 114CM
crosswidth 32CM

cornelistromp 16th October 2014 09:24 AM

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KHM Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna, Austria NR 173 CIRCA 1490

cornelistromp 30th January 2015 04:10 PM

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