Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Kiyv, Ukraine
Jim very briefly and clearly identified the main stages of “the history of Mazeppa”. I'd add only that the powerful charisma "Cossack Prince" quickly grew beyond Central and Eastern Europe, reaching a truly global scale – for several centuries the most prominent artists of different countries and even continents dedicated Mazepa dozens of works of art (to cite a famous poem of Byron).
Influence of remarkable personality Hetman on politics was so powerful that it eventually formed around a kind of microcosm - "Mazepiana". To this day not subside political and public debate – in Russia the name of Mazepa is associated with political and personal betrayal. In Ukraine Mazepa considered a national hero.
About this saber.
Sample is stored now in Chernihiv Historical Museum. Sword comes from the collection of V. Tarnovsky - the famous collector and patron of the late nineteenth century. Tarnovsky believed, saber was the personal weapon of Mazepa. In 1990 weapon was attributed in the museum catalog, as a Turkish saber of XVIII century. Then for the first time put forward the assumption of Polish origin blade, though without any arguments.
Formally, the inscription on the blade "Іоанн Мазепа 1665" made in the tradition of Кшср- Rzeczpospolita' memorial swords in honest of famous rulers. However a form of writing letters has stylistic feature - a phrase made with Rus cursive, and imitated Hetman signature (such autographies are not found in the blade memorial traditions). Add as well as a simplified technique of it performance – the etching. As for date – 1665, it is now known that this year is due no important political or personal reasons for Mazepa for inscription (Jim even noticed the date of death of the Mazepa’ father!). So the motives which guided the authors' memorial dates are unknown to us - probably was about a hypothetical “date of manufacture” of weapons. For label, we see no compelling reason to doubt its later origin. Apparently "autograph" Mazepa was etched in Ukraine in the second half of the XIX c. to increase the cost of sword as collectibles. The creator of fraud probably was familiar with real signatures of Hetman universals (there are similar elements). Tarnowski was the victim of falsifiers, who are known to often deceived him.
My opinion: The form of the blade is typical of Western arms the second half XVIII-first half XIX c. Mounting of arm in its present form falls on the first half of XIX c. ("Mameluke" style). In Ukraine, saber could appear in the developments of Russian-French wars.
The appearance and content of mysterious signs, in my opinion, points to the Western European origin blade. However, Jim is right, signs do not look like production marks.
The only thing that I found: Gardner R. E. Small Arms Makers. A directory of fabricators of firearms, edged weapons, crossbows and polearms. - N.Y.: Bonanza Books, 1963. - P. 252-254. Esp. pos. 163, also 160-162.
Jim, thanks for your messages. It’s always a pleasure to communicate with you, as you can always offer unexpectedly broad view on the problem and give a new field for thought.