Originally Posted by fernando
Your interesting entry enticed me to spell out some digressing, Jim, if i may ...
... in that is noticeable (to me) that even the most authorized authors do not reject the "long shot" number. One notices this when they (some) are writing a book or a catalogue and are contextually compelled to have an explanation for an item; a similar behaviour may be also noticed when they are lecturing on a subject and one asks them a question for which they don't the answer; their image (ego) prohibites them to assume they don't have the right response at hand so, no probem, they make up one, plausible or not. And we, common ignaros, accept it as if it were provided by the Gods.
It takes a lot of good willing to concur with Sir James Mann on the assumption that the senseless letterings in the A599 rapier are possibly a corruption of EL VEYO/EN TOLEDO. As is surpring that he misspelled EL VIEJO, a term constantly shown out there, as repeatedly mentioned in the Palomares Nomina, for one, as opposed to EL MOZO, to remind that, there were father and son working on the blade smith's business.
On the other hand, one thing also noticeable is that, in Midelburgo's blade the term EM ALEMANHA is surprisingly (?) one that shows the engraver was well sure of its Portuguese spelling. You don't have EM (in) and the nasal consonant ALEMANHA in any other language ... that i know of.
It would be nice that Midelburgo presents us with further detailed photos, like close ups of hilt and guard.
Actually I am inclined to agree that in course with human nature, even the most highly regarded academics and scholarly writers will on occasion, posit a dismissive explanation for certain elements which defy the larger context of the topic at hand. This indeed may be considered pertaining to personal ego, or perhaps an effort to preserve the integrity of the rest of the text at hand , and most probably both.
I have always highly respected the venerable sages of the literature that has become the backbone of our corpus of knowledge within our community of students of arms, but do not consider every aspect of their observations as Gospel any more than others who regularly challenge many of their entries.
The references from the writing of the late Sir James Mann regarding these inscriptions were primarily a point of reference acknowledging the proclivity of misspelling and improper structure by German workers adding them to these blades. I have been under the impression that the blades destined for both Spain and Portugal originated in large degree in Solingen in the 17th century, which seems the period of this sword.
Returning to the unusual character of this hilt, it seems a hybrid of the rapier guard system of 'cup hilts' of Spanish/Italian style of mid 17th, but with exposure of inner guard arms as with a small sword. This is combined with the unusually small bilobate shells in the manner of the so called Pappenheimer hilts of these times associated with North Europe, but of course without the piercing.
The cup hilt 'feel' is accentuated with the apparent guardopolvo within.
I would only express opinion on possibilities for the probable geographic provenance of this sword as North Europe, Low Countries, based on the interesting combining of varied hilt styles as seen in these pictures. With regard to period it seems that mid to perhaps later 17th c. would be reasonable. The pommel shape of the early 17th was of course simply estimated by the styles noted in Mr. Norman's references. Pommels were not only often mix and match, but reused over long periods as swords were refurbished. Naturally many styling influences transcended the boundaries of specific classifications.