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Old 23rd March 2017, 09:38 PM   #42
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Originally Posted by fernando
Thank you Jim; tenacity is not yet my middle name ... but i am working on it .
Yes, Beraiz is very determinate in that the term Bilbo originates in the city of Bilbao; actually the city name is spelt Bilbo in the local Basque (Euskera) language.
He is also consistent with other sources in that such naming of the sword is of British attribution, since there was intense trade between the Basques and the British Islands, being a fact that such sword hilt in local terminology was more connected to its shape, namely Bivalve, Conchas (shells), Venera (scallop) and even Medio caracolillo (half snail). Eventually this type of guard was also produced by Portuguese smiths, but note, there was a significant number of 'Biscainho' ( from Biscaia province, capital Bilbao) armourers labouring in Portugal by that time, as recorded.
But while this local terminology came with the later appearing of the typical guard/hilt, the Bilbo term was already in use with the British for the whole sword, such as mentioned by Shkespeare in his work.
Still the Bilbo sword/hilt should not be connected with the Bilbo shackle; besides Beraiz, we must also consider Oxford dictionaries in that such idea is a mith as, for one, such shackle alias was already in use before Shakespeare. Actually some make a point to use the plural form for the shackle version, that is Bilboes.
Concerning the steel used by Toledan masters for their blades, it is of course beyond any doubt that they favoured that from Mondragon but, it is my impression that, the Bilbo term if ever used in such context would be that of relating the steel provenance, that not calling it as such.

Interesting reference about Shakespeare who does in fact mention the shakles, however, that can be viewed at which focusses on two derivitives of the word in two different settings. One is a sword the other shackles;

Quote" “The mutinies in the bilboes” are sailors or soldiers convicted of mutiny and punished by being attached to “A long iron bar, furnished with sliding shackles to confine the ankles of prisoners, and a lock by which to fix one end of the bar to the floor or ground”. Good quality spanish iron prevented any thoughts of escape, but was pliable enough to be shaped into shackles. Hamlet mentioning the word may also suggest that his thoughts are already turning towards his duel with Laertes, which may well have been conducted with bilbo-swords."Unquote.
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