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Old 21st April 2012, 06:11 PM   #1
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Default Medieval European Daggers and short Swords

Part I

A short history and description of different dagger types.

Medieval daggers are somewhat neglected in the weapons literature, perhaps because they have an assasin' s image and nearly all Museum examples are of poor condition, and not much research was done about this subject since the publishing of Bashford Deans 'Catalogue of European Daggers' in 1929. An exception in the contemporary literature is the book of Hugo Schneider, Waffen im Schweizerischen Landesmuseum, published in 1980. This book contains many medieval daggers, some of them datable, based on their find circumstances. However, all are in excavated condition. Therefore I want to bring to light some good examples in not excavated condition, sold at auction in the last years, or from Museums and private collections.

I want to start with a short history of the dagger, which is one of the earliest weapons after the club and the spear. The dagger developed from the spear by adding a grip to a spear blade. First made of horn or bone, than of flintstone, finally of copper, bronze and iron. During the copper period the blade length of the dagger increased, finally the sword was developed from the dagger, and superseded it as a warriors weapon. After the migration period the dagger was replaced more and more by the short Sax in Central Europe, which itself came out of use during the tenth century. The following ab. three centuries, the dagger was not found amoung the weapons of a knight. The reasons for these changes is unknown.

In the second half of the 13th century, the dagger appeared again, developed from the knife, which was used through all times. These daggers therefore had a single edged blade, usable for cutting and stabbing. With the development of better armour, cutting with a dagger was useless, and a blade section better suitable for stabbing was needed. Therefore the triangular section of the single edged blades were reinforced and often a back edge was added. Also a new blade section appeared. The new daggers had blades of flat diamond or roof-shaped section, broad at the hilt and acutely tapering. Later examples may have a square or complex section.

Two main types of daggers were developed. The first type had a blade with a tang. The short guard, the grip and a pommel were added and fixed by riveting the tang, according to sword hilts. In early or simple examples the hilt and grip are made completely of wood, without metal parts. I call it Type I
Different sub types can be discriminated.

Type 1a
It resembles closely the shape of a sword, only smaller, but some examples have single edged blades. It was in use during the 14th and first half of the 15th century.

Type 1b
It has a pommel in the form of an antenna or a circular ring. It was in use during the second half of the 14th and early 15th century.

Type 1c
It has a grip thickened at the guard like ballocks, the pommel is often only a simple cap on the grip. Sometimes the hilt and grip are made of wood without metal parts.It is called ballock dagger and was widely used all over Europe during the 13th -16th century.

Type 1d
It has horizontally assembled circular or polygonal disks as guard and pommel. It is therefore called rondel dagger and was used all over Europe in the 14th, 15th, and early 16th century.

Type 1e
It has only a rudimentary guard, the pommel is formed of two large disks assembled in the form of ears. It is therefor called ear dagger. It was mainly used in Spain an Italy in the second half of the 14th and first half of the 16th century. A few examples may date earlier.

Type 1f
It has a sort bar as guard and pommel, both curved towards the blade. Most often the guard has reinforced and elevated ends. The blade is very broad at the hilt and of strong flattened diamond section, strongly tapering to the tip. Some blades have a roof shaped section, one side is quite flat, like a diamond section blade, cut in halves. The blade has most often a short fuller on its upper third. This type is most often, but wrongly called 'Schweizerdolch'. What we call today Switzerland was a part of the German Empire in the 13th and 14th century. The type was used all around today South Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Not even Hugo Schneider, the author of the book 'Der Schweizerdolch', called it like this. It is also often dated to the second half of the 15th and first half of the 16th century, which is clearly too late. The type was used during the second half of the 13th and the whole 14th century.

Type 1g
It is very similar in shape to type 1f, the only difference is that ths guard is curved towards the grip, not towards the blade, and the blade is less broad at the hilt. It was in use during the 14th, 15th and 16th century. The later examples called with right by Hugo Sschneider as 'Schweizerdolch', the earlier examples widely used in Germany and surely originating there. In earlier examples the hilt could be made completely of wood.


Type II

The second type of dagger, called Baselard, has a blade with guard, tang and pommel forged in one piece. The guard and pommel are most often forged at right angles to the tang, but also different shapes were usual. The sandwich grip is made of horn or wood and is always fixed onto the tang, guard and pommel with rivets. The blade section is most often of flattened diamond section, but also single edged blades were used. Although the name Baselard points to the town of Basel, it is very unlikely that it derived from there. The type was used in today Italy,Switzerland, Austria, Bohemia and Germany during the 13th , 14th and early 15th century.
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Old 21st April 2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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All the following Daggers were sold at Auktion.

Rondel Daggers, second half of the 15th century.

Sorry, the first is the same as in Matchlocks thread, but my thread was already prepared some weeks ago.
But with the discussions about daggers in the other threads, its now the right time to publish it.

Best
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Old 21st April 2012, 06:25 PM   #3
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Antenna Dagger c.1400

Unfortunately I have only found an excavated example, but nevertheless interesting.
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Old 21st April 2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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Ballock Dagger c.1500
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Old 21st April 2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Baselard , North Italy or South Germany,14th century.
The rivets stamped with Maltese Crosses.
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Old 21st April 2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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Dagger, South Germany,14th century, wrongly called 'Schweizerdolch'.
Also the two nails, which fix the grip, are most often wrongly called rivets, rivetting is a completely other method of fixing something as with a nail!
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Old 21st April 2012, 06:47 PM   #7
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Ear Dagger, Italy, first quarter 16th century
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Old 21st April 2012, 07:13 PM   #8
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type 1A?
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Old 21st April 2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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Dagger in the shape of a Sword, first half 15th century, from the castillon find.
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Old 21st April 2012, 07:23 PM   #10
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yes nice one I handled it during the last London Park Lane A&Af 2012, I believe the dagger, or with 63cm length perhaps a short sword? no it is not, has gone from German to English property.
Sir Guy Francis laking first mentioned the term Guillon dagger in a record of european armour and arms through seven centuries.

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Old 21st April 2012, 07:33 PM   #11
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Sorry, you are right, surely a short sword an no dagger. What is the blade length of yours in the previous post?

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Old 21st April 2012, 07:38 PM   #12
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Good job, Gentlemen,


But in order to get our forum even more qualified and 'academically' acknowledged, I strongly plead for providing exact references of all images published. Wherever this is not possible, please leave a note stating that you tried.

I am afraid it is, among others, this certain 'lack of seriosity' which museum people generally acknowledged as academic have come to use as a lever against what we seem to be in the eyes of most of them: amateur weapons enthusiasts (German: Waffennarren, meaning 'gaga about arms') - by best.
Not one single product of media, be it in print or aired, can be expected to be taken seriously without doubtless and exact reference. I do not wish us to fall behind this standard at the beginning of the 21st century.

After all, the last thing I would like to experience would be any accuse of copyright violation or anything like this ... after all, we have learned that internet publication is not an extralegal space.

Again, it will add all the more to our common purpose: full academic seriosity and wide-spread acceptation.

I would really like to see our moderators commenting on this subject.


Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 21st April 2012 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 21st April 2012, 07:40 PM   #13
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I need to find where I've stored it away, however, despite being dredged up from a Dutch river complete as the picture (of course w/o the roping), I suspect that the blade is later than pommel and guard.
Nevertheless, daggers with wheelpommels and crossguards are very rare.

oh Michael it is somewhere in my house.

best,
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Old 21st April 2012, 07:45 PM   #14
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Blade sections like this were in use in the 14th and 15th century, therefore the blade and the hilt can well belong together. I date the complete dagger or short sword? to the second half of the 14th century.

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Old 22nd April 2012, 07:58 AM   #15
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Iconographic sources paintings

1 Painting Austrian collection 1448 Ballock Dagger?
2 Painting Austrian collection 1457 Rondel Dagger
3 Painting Austrian collection c. 1425 Rondel Dagger
4 Fresco Church Slovakia c.1310 Ballock Dagger
5 Painting Church Czech Rep. c. 1360 Type 1f
6 Fresco Como Italy c.1350 Baselard
7 Heidelberger Liederhandschrift c. 1330 Type 1f?
8 Nat. Libr. Netherlands c.1480 Rondel Dagger
9 Painting Santa Croce Italy 1490 Ear Dagger
10 Vatican Library 1348 Baselard
11 Library Yale University 1410 Baselard
12 Painting Austrian collection 1446 Rondel Dagger
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Old 22nd April 2012, 11:17 AM   #16
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Iconographic sources effigies.

I Theoderich v. Lichtenhain+1368 Type 1g
II Albrecht v. Hohenlohe +1338 Type 1g
III Heinr. Beyer v. Boppard +1355 Type 1g
IV Heinr. v. Seinsheim +1345 Type 1g
V Herzog v. Sachsen c. 1340 Baselard
VI Konrad Kolbe v. Boppard +1393 Ballock Dagger
VII Konrad v. Neumarkt +1296 Ballock Dagger
VIII Rezzo v. Bächlingen +1360 Type 1g
IX Weikard Frosch +1375 Rondel Dagger?
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Old 22nd April 2012, 03:53 PM   #17
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Hi Michl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Good job, Gentlemen,
But in order to get our forum even more qualified and 'academically' acknowledged, I strongly plead for providing exact references of all images published. Wherever this is not possible, please leave a note stating that you tried.
I am afraid it is, among others, this certain 'lack of seriosity' which museum people generally acknowledged as academic have come to use as a lever against what we seem to be in the eyes of most of them: amateur weapons enthusiasts (German: Waffennarren, meaning 'gaga about arms') - by best.
Not one single product of media, be it in print or aired, can be expected to be taken seriously without doubtless and exact reference. I do not wish us to fall behind this standard at the beginning of the 21st century.
After all, the last thing I would like to experience would be any accuse of copyright violation or anything like this ... after all, we have learned that internet publication is not an extralegal space.
Again, it will add all the more to our common purpose: full academic seriosity and wide-spread acceptation.
I would really like to see our moderators commenting on this subject.



Maybe this is not what you expect to be commented, but i would start by recalling the following forum rule included in the copyright violation section:

Posting or uploading pictures or other attachments copyrighted by a person other than yourself, without the owner’s explicit permission, is expressly forbidden by Vikingsword, when done for commercial use. However, such materials may be used to a limited extent under the doctrine of fair use for purposes of academic discussion or research. In such situations it is recommended that attribution, citations or credit be provided.

It is praise-worthy, the gesture of prompting/encouraging members with a greater 'luggage' to support their approaches and posted images with technical data, source quotations and bibliography.
On the other hand, let us always bear in mind that, although we have the previlege to be frequented by rather intelectual and academic members, we are also proud to have in our vast list, individuals with the same enthusiasm for our common passion, with the culture and knowledge of the common man.
Let us not raise the hurdle too much as to make them loose their enthusiasm in participating.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 04:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi Michl.




Maybe this is not what you expect to be commented, but i would start by recalling the following forum rule included in the copyright violation section:

Posting or uploading pictures or other attachments copyrighted by a person other than yourself, without the owner’s explicit permission, is expressly forbidden by Vikingsword, when done for commercial use. However, such materials may be used to a limited extent under the doctrine of fair use for purposes of academic discussion or research. In such situations it is recommended that attribution, citations or credit be provided.

It is praise-worthy, the gesture of prompting/encouraging members with a greater 'luggage' to support their approaches and posted images with technical data, source quotations and bibliography.
On the other hand, let us always bear in mind that, although we have the previlege to be frequented by rather intelectual and academic members, we are also proud to have in our vast list, individuals with the same enthusiasm for our common passion, with the culture and knowledge of the common man.
Let us not raise the hurdle too much as to make them loose their enthusiasm in participating.


I will have to agree with Fernando here .

This is a place where both the Academic and the Enthusiast are welcomed and encouraged to post .

In my years of experience with forums of our sort the rigid call for 'academic and sourced information' only has caused at least one forum I am aware of to become a moribund wasteland .

I would not have this happen here .
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Old 22nd April 2012, 06:10 PM   #19
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Withdrawn.

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Old 22nd April 2012, 06:30 PM   #20
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Wrong path, Swordfish.
It will be a sign of wisdom that such is not followed any further.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 06:43 PM   #21
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I agree
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Old 23rd April 2012, 07:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I will have to agree with Fernando here .

This is a place where both the Academic and the Enthusiast are welcomed and encouraged to post .

In my years of experience with forums of our sort the rigid call for 'academic and sourced information' only has caused at least one forum I am aware of to become a moribund wasteland .

I would not have this happen here .



Hi 'Nando,

Of course I can see your point of view; and: agreed.

I just felt I had to address the subject.

Best,
Michl
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Old 23rd April 2012, 07:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
Ear Dagger, Italy, first quarter 16th century


What is the location for this dagger, if known? Any additional info? Thanks.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 08:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry
What is the location for this dagger, if known? Any additional info? Thanks.


It was sold at auction in Italy last year, its present whereabouts is unknown to me.
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Old 27th May 2012, 10:34 AM   #25
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Default Two early South German daggers

Both of type 1f with short and strong blades, very broad at the hilt, strongly tapering to the tips and with short fullers in their upper thirds.
The first has a guard without elevated and reinforced tips, the pommel cap and the guard are only slightly arched towards the blade. The blade is of flattened diamond section. The grip is made of bright burl-wood. This dagger is a very early one, dating to the second half of the 13th century or early 14th century.

The second dagger has a roof-shaped blade, the front side with a midrib and a copper inlaid mark. The back side is quite flat. The pommel-cap and the guard are strongly curved towards the blade. The guard has elevated and reinforced tips of the usual form. The tang is riveted over the pommel-cap with a tall tang button. It dates to the 14th century.

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Old 29th May 2012, 03:24 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
Both of type 1f with short and strong blades, very broad at the hilt, strongly tapering to the tips and with short fullers in their upper thirds.
The first has a guard without elevated and reinforced tips, the pommel cap and the guard are only slightly arched towards the blade. The blade is of flattened diamond section. The grip is made of bright burl-wood. This dagger is a very early one, dating to the second half of the 13th century or early 14th century.

The second dagger has a roof-shaped blade, the front side with a midrib and a copper inlaid mark. The back side is quite flat. The pommel-cap and the guard are strongly curved towards the blade. The guard has elevated and reinforced tips of the usual form. The tang is riveted over the pommel-cap with a tall tang button. It dates to the 14th century.

Best


Beautiful swiss-daggers, thanks
the four-leaf clover beaten in a square of latten in Dagger 2, is very unusual for a blade mark! Do you think it is a later addition ?

Best,
Jasper
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:47 PM   #27
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The shape of the mark is similar to the mark on No. 382 on the scan from Hugo Schneider's book, but rotated 45 degrees. It is brobably inlaid in copper to highlighten it,this is rarely seen but not unusual. I know other medieval items, also South German or Swiss with marks inlaid in latten. One such item I will show later in a chapter about short swords.
It is clearly a cutler's mark and I have no indication that it was added later.

Please note that the book scans are from the chapter 'Dolche und Dolchmesser des Hochmittelalters', not from the chapter 'Schweizerdolche':

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Old 30th May 2012, 08:44 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
The shape of the mark is similar to the mark on No. 382 on the scan from Hugo Schneider's book, but rotated 45 degrees. It is brobably inlaid in copper to highlighten it,this is rarely seen but not unusual. I know other medieval items, also South German or Swiss with marks inlaid in latten. One such item I will show later in a chapter about short swords.
It is clearly a cutler's mark and I have no indication that it was added later.

Please note that the book scans are from the chapter 'Dolche und Dolchmesser des Hochmittelalters', not from the chapter 'Schweizerdolche':

Best


are those marks also struck in softer metal , latten/ copper similar to dagger no2 ?
or struck in the iron (blade) similar to no 382 and the mark is afterwards filled with latten/copper?

best,
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Old 31st May 2012, 01:08 PM   #29
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Sorry, I have used a wrong description.
The marks I know are not inlaid in copper or latten, but struck in the copper/latten, which was before inlaid in the metal of the blade according to dagger No.2

Attached an other mark struck in latten on a Swiss short sword late 15th century.

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Last edited by Swordfish : 31st May 2012 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 1st June 2012, 10:39 AM   #30
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thank you,this is very interesting!

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