View Single Post
Old 22nd March 2020, 02:04 PM   #20
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
Jim McDougall's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,760

Originally Posted by Helleri
These marks seem to be serif and somewhat random or unpredictable in their form. I wonder if this was meant to act in a similar fashion the cattle brand marks which were designed to ward against being modified. In the case of cattle branding it was an anti theft thing. In the case of blade making perhaps it's an anti counterfeit thing? Or perhaps they are compound alchemical symbols to denote alloy?

Helleri, while we have not found a match to the distinctive marking on Evgeny's remarkable sword, it has been a great discussion here and some intriguing ideas.
As someone who has been nearly obsessively interested in markings on swords for more years than I can estimate, I wanted to say I like your thinking on this. In mentioning 'cattle brand marks' ....some years ago I was involved in studying markings found on Sudanese 'kaskara' of the 19thc. +

The idea of their perhaps being linked to cattle brands (various tribes were cattle herders) came to mind, and I found resources on this practice in some degree. While unable to find any direct connection documented, the similarities were compelling in many cases.

Even more fascinating were notes that some 'cattle brands' could be plausibly related to certain Egyptian heiroglyphics, which are of course of great antiquity.

As Victrix has noted, symbols have often become the markings used by tribes or persons as visual identifiers since ancient times. I recall fascinating works by Iaroslav Lebedynsky on the 'tamgas' of the tribes of the Steppes, as well as the brilliant work by Helmut Nickel, describing these.
These markings, sometimes derived from devices used on standards carried by tribes as identifiers in battle (precursors of flags and guidons) eventually became developed into the charges and devices used in heraldry, in these cases particularly Polish and other East European.

The purposes of these markings on many examples of weaponry through many contexts is of course speculative, and even more subjective are the possibilities of sources they might be drawn from. However investigations in comparing instances and examples can often present pretty compelling and amazing plausibility.

In accord with examples shown in Wagner (1967) and others, it seems this wonderful sword is most likely East European by its character. It would be fantastic to find a corroborating match to this deeply stamped marking, and as always, .....the search goes on!
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote