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Old 31st December 2004, 09:12 AM   #28
wolviex's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Poland, Krakow
Posts: 418

Dear Friends!
My Internet is crashed, I'm completly out of free time, so (Radu!) please forgive me my absence. In short I'll try to give you all some answers.

Jim: thank you for your help about Rembrand's Polish rider. With my bookshelf packed because of removal, and because of Christmas time in Poland, it's hard to get for me any book. This isn't Lisowczyk, that's for sure, cause when this painting was made (1655 y.) this formation was disbanded from 20 years. But Lisowczyk riders looks very similiar, because it's light cavalryman anyway. The first western articles about this painting claimed that it isn't Polish rider but Christian knight and glorifications of knighthood. You're right, and prof. Zygulski proved it, this man is sitting on horse in Polish mannere, so there is no doubt (except for armament and other things) this is Polish rider. There is no doubt this was painted on real, living model of Polish nobleman. There is no sign of so many Polish armament amongst other sumptous accesorries in Rembrand's property-room, so probably this man carried it with himself. It's Oginski's portrait? - very interesting, I'll check it, because it's not the first try of identify this man. He was Rembrand's son, then someone different, now it's Oginski - we'll see

Radu: mustaches where important but not always, and I would call it stereotype! Fashion in Poland was changing rapidly. The Polish nobleman (szlachcic) without mustaches is shaven on western fashion. It was common that noblemen returning from west, east or where ever, were bringing new fashion styles with them - AND SOMETIMES THEY WERE RETURNING WITHOUT MUSTACHES, SHOCKING EVERY RESPECTABLE NOBLEMAN

Rivkin: uhh ohh, you're hardly to convince. I'll make desperate attempt to convince you.
You're absolutly right about similarity of Polish sabres from 16th century to eastern ones. You're also right it's not so easy to say "because this was that and that" and the modern sabre is pure Polish influence. But...

1. Everything lays in details. Poland in 16 and 17th century was a country of many crossing influences. Polish sabre is nothing more but product resultant of western and eastern edged weapons. So the Hungarian-Polish sabres are similiar to persian sword, thumbring were much earlier made with valonese swords, knuckleguard isn't Polish invention too, it was known many, many years earlier. But all of this crossed in Poland, and here was improved. The handle was inclined, on eastern and western weapons it was straight. The blade was curved delicate not strong like in Turkish sabres, the knuckleguard was curved on specific angle. This all was Polish improvement. The changes in shapes, styles - notice how many new styles of sabres were introduced in Poland only during 17th century! In eastern world from centuries we have got the same forms, the same shapes. Shamshir looked in 16th century similiar to that from 18th century in general. How something so permament could rapidly at the end of 17th century inspire whole Europe, then World?

2. Poland in 17th century was one of the most important countries, not only in eastern-european politics, it's obvious, just look at historical map, and realize how huge this country was in 16 and 17th cent.! Importance of Poland depended also in trade. Not only. Take a look at Polish fashion influences, Swedish noblemen were wearing on Polish mannere! Russians were speaking in Polish in high societies, etc. And the Fashion is not only clothes but in those times weaponry too!

3. "Modern sabre" was introduced to Europe at the end of 17th and beginning of 18th century. It becames rapidly popular weapon, which push out rapiers, swords to the background. Why then? Wasn't it the same time, where perfect weapon - Polish Hussar sabre was introduced (here is more about this weapon ) and when great Polish victory at Vienna occured? It's obvious that winner's weapon is much more desired!

It not exclude influence of east, but generally indicated great role of eastern Europe on rapidly development of "modern" sabres in Europe!
4. Blades for Polish sabres were made not only in Solingen but also in Passau, Genoa, they were imported from Persia etc., but in Poland they're produced too. But all of them were made on special orders, that's why blades from genoa visible on Hungurian-Polish sabres appears only on Polish armament in 16/17th century, not in whole Europe. Anyway for me it's natural, if someone produce great stuff I'll buy it, no matter it's Polish, German or Persian.

5. If you're still not convinced I have last argument which is not substantial argument. Influence of Polish sabre on develompent of European sabre is so called historical true. It was affirmed many years ago, before the war. There is even an interesting diagram of development and mutually influences of Western, Eastern and Polish sabres, made by our expert Stanislaw Meyer (available below!) where you can clearly see how it happened. Even if you find some errors (i.e. in dating) I think generally it's ok. Anyway it's quoting even today by authorities, and no one has negate this, so it's so called historical true.
If you're still not convinced because you've different theory of development of modern sabres, share it with us. It's your turn to, maybe, change the history!

Best regards and HAPPY NEW YEAR

Bigger diagram is here
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