Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Nothern Mexico
I have not read this thread when I posted a reply in the thread about the rapier of the 17th Century. In general I concurr with Fernando about the supposed stamps of the Maestro Espadero del Rey. I don´t believe that some symbols have deep esoteric meaning, nor I believe the Spaniards or Portuguese, very practical people, have special inclination in this sense, different from the deep religiosity of protestant Europe. I think it is only one of the many stereotypes made about the different nations in the world.
Putting non-catholic esoteric stamps on the Spanish blades, on the other side, was dangerous and too public. Don´t forget the Inquisition, which was burning prople by hundreds. Maybe the moor and jew converts dared, but not the Spaniards or Portuguese, though some Spaniards accused the Portuguese of beign jews most of them!! The jewish followers of the Cábala were few and all of them emigrated or were expelled from Spain. A kind of esoterism was common in the whole medieval occidental Europe, as you can see in the symbols from cathedrals, churches and chapels from Germany to England, asociated with the guilds of craftsmen. Maybe it can be reflected in the choosing of certain stamps on the sword blades, but not signaling a real involment in those beliefs. Maybe reminiscences from the old religions and the cultural influence of judaism and islam, which is greater than the European historians recognize, but not real involvement in deep beliefs.
Don´t forget that not only in Toledo were great swordsmiths. In Valencia, some towns in Viscaya and even in Madrid, Granada and Sevilla, the two last beign the inheritors of the moor craftsmanship, produced great swords. In fact, the core of the initial Fábrica de Armas Blancas de Toledo was made with swordsmiths from Valencia, since in Toledo, as Fernando said, the craftmanship was dying, and few toledan espaderos remained and were incorporated. Unfortunately, the history of those non-toledan swordsmiths is less known.