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Old 31st May 2020, 12:35 PM   #31
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
I think the only reason that the "colonial" thought is still being tossed around is #1-the fancier types owned by private citizens, gentlemen, aristocrats, etc and #2-the confusion with the so-named colonial Spanish cup-hilt rapiers from the New World. These, as you know, are plainer than their European cousins, lack many of the design nuances such as the bowl rim, possess plainer grips (usually horn) and quillons and have specific characteristics marking them as from the New World (such as the mushroom-shaped pommels). In retrospect, yours does not have many of these features, so I agree that this is as you pointed out, a military version of it's richer cousin, but you can see why there were comparisons. Sometimes when one sees a piece that stands out and is not of the typical pattern (and your Goliath blade does that!!), one might assume it is from 'other ports'...

Duly noted Mark; notwithstanding different perspectives, or different angles in which the (Spanish version)colonial atribution is viewed. A highly regarded Spanish dealer, when describing some (Colonial) sword i bought him, said:

Title:
Cup sword. Spain, colonies, around 1700.
Description:

Iron garnish, consisting of a sober cup with a rim, straight quillons, knuckle guard and pommel. Very wide wooden grip, lined in stingray skin. The status of "colonial" is determined by various aspects, one of which is the silver elements that compose it: ferrules, decorative rivets on the cup bowl, trim on the quillons and hoop, decorated nails and longitudinal bars on the grip. We also highlight the simulated recasso in gilted brass (photo 4). Straight blade, with with two fullers in its first third. The engraving of the legend "DON'T DRAW ME OUT WITHOUT RASON - DON'T SHEATH ME WITHOUT HONOR" is insinuated, although due to wear it is illegible.


Isn't this a somehow different aspproach ? I don't need to upload the sword in question; you will imagine how "not plain" it is by the above description .

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... never stated how much i love this piece!

Thank you so much .
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Old 31st May 2020, 01:31 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
So what do the letters I A H I stand for?...

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Well, that would be the one million dollar question. Probably those of the smith; i wish someone would know !...

... Or could it be the person that did all those engravings ?
I take it as highly probable that the inscriptions were applied here in a special procedure.
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Old 31st May 2020, 04:37 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Duly noted Mark; notwithstanding different perspectives, or different angles in which the (Spanish version)colonial atribution is viewed. A highly regarded Spanish dealer, when describing some (Colonial) sword i bought him, said:

Title:
Cup sword. Spain, colonies, around 1700.
Description:

Iron garnish, consisting of a sober cup with a rim, straight quillons, knuckle guard and pommel. Very wide wooden grip, lined in stingray skin. The status of "colonial" is determined by various aspects, one of which is the silver elements that compose it: ferrules, decorative rivets on the cup bowl, trim on the quillons and hoop, decorated nails and longitudinal bars on the grip. We also highlight the simulated recasso in gilted brass (photo 4). Straight blade, with with two fullers in its first third. The engraving of the legend "DON'T DRAW ME OUT WITHOUT RASON - DON'T SHEATH ME WITHOUT HONOR" is insinuated, although due to wear it is illegible.


Isn't this a somehow different aspproach ? I don't need to upload the sword in question; you will imagine how "not plain" it is by the above description .


Thank you so much .




Always interesting rebuttal Fernando, certainly adds dimension to the discussion by bringing out different perspectives !

I very much like the assessment of 'colonial' which Mark's wonderfully worded description presents. The term 'colonial' ,which is agreeably a most ephemeral description of the character of certain weapons in typed groups, is truly often misunderstood.

It is most typically (in my experience) associated with Spanish colonial swords and weapons in the New World (the Americas), however it is easy to presume that Portuguese colonies would experience some degree of the same application.

The simplicity often associated with colonial weapons of course may be aligned with Peninsular production weapons which were made in the form of higher end weapons but intended for rank and file. It should be remembered that in most cases, highly 'worked' and embellished weapons were privately commissioned by officers; while the 'armory' or munitions grade examples were typically produced in multiple numbers and purchased by unit commanders to be issued to troops.

Those weapons which fall into the 'netherworld' between may be with regard to the oft cases of officers who used 'fighting swords' on campaign. While certainly ego, tradition and status might compel many officers to carry thier elegant dress weapons (many officers did not engage and simply used these to signal or direct with according authority).

With 'colonial' examples, these (especially in Mexico) were often locally made examples using blades imported, heirloom or otherwise acquired with various components, emulating the much admired swords of Spanish officers there.
I have seen almost bizarre combinations of various forms which were entirely not congruent to their host forms, such as the bilbo or cup hilt, where the cup and cross guard (obviously redundant) were both present.

There are also examples of 'colonial' examples become, in a word' nearly garish in their interpretation of the beautifully worked higher end examples.
The example described by Fernando may be in this category (though it is not pictured) in degree. The blade is quite likely one of the 'Spanish motto' blades produced in Solingen in the 18th century specifically for export to Spain's colonies. I have seen countless examples of these blades on swords in that context which have been remounted well into the 19th c.

With regard to the use of religious devices and symbology, I think it is important to note that many of these military orders were with deep religious connection, so use of invocations and devotional devices is hardly unusual.
With groups of letters which appear to have no familiar meaning or seem disconnected, in my understanding these are often most likely 'acrostics' (that is the first letters of phrases, mottos etc) which are meant to be recognized by those so initiated.
I have a cuphilt with a curious assembly of such letters, which is presumably associated with a fraternal/ secret ? organization of years before, and an acrostic as described.

Many swords have these kinds of acrostic situations engraved in blades, which was a traditional convention from medieval times carried forth very much in Italy (I believe Caino blades were known for this).

While the brevity of this group of course could suggest initials, that seems less likely than the possibility otherwise to me. Often the decoration and associations on blades were controversial, so makers may have been less likely to 'sign' work due to possible repercussions. They did not necessarily hold to the convictions of the client.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 1st June 2020 at 03:43 AM.
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Old 1st June 2020, 12:52 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... The example described by Fernando may be in this category (though it is not pictured) in degree. The blade is quite likely one of the 'Spanish motto' blades produced in Solingen in the 18th century specifically for export to Spain's colonies. I have seen countless examples of these blades on swords in that context which have been remounted well into the 19th c...

C'mon Jim, is that what you infer from the description ? I am so frustrated that it wasn't clear enough and gave a wrong interpretation ... 19th. century ?. See PICTURES HERE .
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Old 1st June 2020, 03:58 PM   #35
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C'mon Fernando, it was more my 'interpretation' than your description. I already had in mind the examples I had seen which did often closely respond to those you described, at least in my mind.

Thank you for the link to that discussion of 2011, and while an attractive example of 'Caribbean' form cuphilts, it varies from the standards of the Continental examples of the form.
As I explained then, the 'skin' used on the grip I believe to be 'galuchat', a faux rayskin developed by a leather worker in the court of Louis XV around 1760s. This was seeds embedded in untreated horse skin to give the hide appearance of the rayskin, and dyed accordingly.


In kind, I do hope the rest of my missive was somewhat decipherable in describing my views on this subject.

Interesting that while my descriptions of Caribbean/colonial cuphilts lent toward dramatic austerity, this one is nicely done with the grip material as well as turned quillon terminals. On your example the terminals are simply bulbous, but unworked. This observation is just that, and not meant to classify or categorize yours or any other cuphilt example. For me, the entire genre is fascinating regardless of these factors!

I took the liberty of extracting a photo from the thread you linked and cuphilt described for the benefit of readers for visual comparison to what we are referring to. The box is of the galuchat material, again for comparison.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall : 1st June 2020 at 04:10 PM. Reason: asdd pictures
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Old 1st June 2020, 04:14 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you for the link to that discussion of 2011, and while an attractive example of 'Caribbean' form cuphilts, it hardly meets the standards of the Continental examples of the form...

Hardly the point, dear Jim; which was (in my atempt) to oppose to the idea that 'Colonial' (tricky term) swords aren't necessarily plain in their construction, as has been put; wooden grips, plain cup bowl and all that. But make no big issue of the subject; we were probably transmitting in different frequencies .

PS
Too late i saw that you have added a couple more paragraphs to your previous entry .


.

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Old 1st June 2020, 06:16 PM   #37
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'well there ya go' , as they say in these parts
Exactly, but of course we are often on different frequencies saying basically the same thing.
In my comments toward colonial 'styling' or lack thereof, I used the words 'simplicity OFTEN associated with colonial weapons'.

It does seem that words so often can carry so many meanings beyond what was intended, which is why my entries are 'often' so complex, as I try to qualify and explain my comments.

While it does seem we are deviating from the OP, actually, these observations are key to properly classifying these swords (or reliably attempting to).
There are no 'cut and dry' solutions, as 'colonial' weapons may have been put together in rural or remote locations without the supply, artisans and materials available to makers in Continental or Peninsular cities.

By the same token, many swords may have been put together in locations equally remote on the Continent etc. as well.

Again, it is important to remember that while officers and gentry would privately commission appropriately high end swords, the 'munitions' or 'issue' weapons would have been produced in accord with skills of the maker as well as the costs involved. Many units, especially cavalry, were elite, and deemed extensions of the officers themselves so well appointed, while many units were simply 'field forces' whose weapons need by sturdy but not necessarily stylish.
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Old 1st June 2020, 11:26 PM   #38
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Excellent arguments, gentlemen. All very important points either way. It really doesn't matter, though, as this piece is hardly a put-together or blacksmith rendition. The 'could be' might never be fully answered, but this sword is so magnificent, who cares at this point! I have never looked down on colonial pieces (NOT saying this is one) as they are an important and integral part of the big historical picture.

Going back to the screw-tang, did we ever determine when this practice was started? Obviously, screws have been around since the Middle Ages and many components of armor possess said attachments. I know Scottish basket hilts with 'screw' pommels started appearing in the last quarter of the 18th century. Many of the Dutch pieces circa 1700 had the off-set screw/nut attachment for the knucklebow.
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Old 2nd June 2020, 03:01 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
...Going back to the screw-tang, did we ever determine when this practice was started?
Bladesmiths of my acquaintance have always warned that threaded tangs were failures waiting to happen, sharply cut threads being a failure point just as is the small deliberately placed cut along the sealed edge of a bag of crisps. In Fernando's picture of the threaded tang above, I note that the threads are very rounded and I wonder if the sharp taper is also of some special function.

I will present a British sword dated to within a few decades of 1600 that employs a threaded tang in these forums soon - once pictures are prepared.
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Old 2nd June 2020, 02:42 PM   #40
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Thank you, Lee. I'd love to see pictures of this early example of a threaded tang for reference. Didn't know for sure how long the practice of threading was going on for-
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Old 3rd June 2020, 12:23 PM   #41
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Very nice sword Fernando.

I believe these swords were the Spanish (Portugal) current infantry soldier swords between 1660-1710. Kept longer in the Americas. In a similar function to infantry Waloon types in northern countries. The introduction of the Borbon dinasty probably eliminated them. The first picture is of a soldier of the Guardia Chamberga (1669-1676).

It is possible to identify an evolution for the hilts differentiated from the blades. Similar hilts have different blades, sometimes in flamigerous shape. And similar blades appear with different hilts.

They often have brass pieces of horn or exotic wood grips, something not common in the European counterparts of that period. I think it is not possible to distinguish between naval and colonial weapons (the so-called Caribbean rapiers), because the troops could be moved around, and the navy was often the source of weapons for the colonies.

Some of them have survived with a coat of thick black paint, possibly made with coal and hooves, for rust resistance. Some are even tinned with that aim. This was convenient both for the navy and Caribbean coasts.

Lamina 79 from the Naval Album of Marquis de la Victoria, represents the armament carried by the crew of a Spanish man of war of around c1725s-1735s. There are no cup hilts there, but possibly it is a late period for that.

https://docplayer.es/42280723-Anali...enal-naval.html

PS. I have just found out that the guard print is a 1828 copy of the uniforms in a previous one of 1670. I am searching for the original.

PS2. The original is page 30 of
https://archive.org/stream/teatrode...ge/n29/mode/1up

But I do not see cuphilts there.
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Old 3rd June 2020, 04:32 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midelburgo
Very nice sword Fernando.

I believe these swords were the Spanish (Portugal) current infantry soldier swords between 1660-1710. Kept longer in the Americas. In a similar function to infantry Waloon types in northern countries. The introduction of the Borbon dinasty probably eliminated them. The first picture is of a soldier of the Guardia Chamberga (1669-1676).

It is possible to identify an evolution for the hilts differentiated from the blades. Similar hilts have different blades, sometimes in flamigerous shape. And similar blades appear with different hilts.

They often have brass pieces of horn or exotic wood grips, something not common in the European counterparts of that period. I think it is not possible to distinguish between naval and colonial weapons (the so-called Caribbean rapiers), because the troops could be moved around, and the navy was often the source of weapons for the colonies.

Some of them have survived with a coat of thick black paint, possibly made with coal and hooves, for rust resistance. Some are even tinned with that aim. This was convenient both for the navy and Caribbean coasts.

Lamina 79 from the Naval Album of Marquis de la Victoria, represents the armament carried by the crew of a Spanish man of war of around c1725s-1735s. There are no cup hilts there, but possibly it is a late period for that.

https://docplayer.es/42280723-Anali...enal-naval.html



Thank you for this well placed and nicely supported overview as we examine the character and forms of potentially 'colonial' sword forms. As has been pointed out, while those 'mounted' in colonial context MAY have somewhat more austere components, if indeed fashioned by blacksmiths or metal workers in these 'New World' regions.

It must be remembered that there were not any great number of armorers or skilled sword slippers (as termed in 17th-18thc) in colonial settings. While occasionally they did exist in the larger cities and metropolitan areas, most locations were relatively remote and such work was typically in effect, the work of field armorers and blacksmiths.

Also, in the 'colonies', many presume that the military presence in many locations suggested predominance of current types of arms and armor.
Actually, from the earliest exploration times, most individuals were not necesarily 'military', in fact private and with commercial or personal interests such as syndicated investors, and adventurers. These individuals were of course privately outfitted and armed themselves often with heirloom,surplus and otherwise collected items.

This is why many weapons and forms long obsolete in Continental and Peninsular context remained in use for not only generations, but centuries, in the New World. As these arms became damaged or otherwise unserviceable, their components were of course recycled and put to use as possible in newly fabricated weaponry.

There were no facilities for the fancy wire wrap, Turks heads, and other other finer touches of the beautifully produced weaponry of the European world.
Materials that were available were of course, soft yellow metals (which also did not rust) and various animal hides ( the galuchat described earlier simulated rayskin using horse hide etc and seeds).

The blades, unless broken, were the most durable and available components for these colonial makers, in fact the well known 'Spanish motto' dragoon blades were exported from Solingen to them in large volume.
I have personal knowledge of this from one well known collector who had acquired a large bundle of them (featured in "Spanish Military Arms in Colonial America 1700-1821"). Also I knew individuals who had found a bundle of Solingen produced rapier blades on a Spanish shipwreck off a Central American coast.

Also as noted previously, japanning (black paint) and russeting (using a browning method) were commonly practiced on these arms to withstand the damp tropical climates in the new world. This made these weapons MOST serviceable aboard vessels as well.
This fact was a notable factor in the support of the Scottish basket hilt finding its place as a maritime sword in degree, as thier hilts were typically treated in this fashion due to the damp Scottish climate.


Naturally, the long use of many sword types entirely, or thier components brought together many otherwise notably incongruent pairings. For example broadsword blades on saber hilts, broad arming sword blades on cup hilts etc.
In these often unusually contrived weapons, it is surprising to see such things as crossguard quillons mounted UNDER a cup guard ( entirely vestigial and redundant).
I have (somewhere) a colonial cut down Spanish motto blade, mounted with a brass briquet hilt, and a three bar saber guard. This is no logical reason for this 'frankenstein' , however in very rural regions in Mexico, the use of components in this manner to create a sword for unknown purpose well illustrates the conventions of many more extreme 'colonial' circumstrances (though an obvious exaggeration).
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Old 4th June 2020, 01:27 AM   #43
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"In these often unusually contrived weapons, it is surprising to see such things as crossguard quillons mounted UNDER a cup guard ( entirely vestigial and redundant)."

Not to take away from 'Nando's thread, but the tie-in with colonial weapons and the information being presented here is great! Jim, you mention this contrived assemblage on swords and I have personally seen several 'Frankenstein-type' Spanish swords with this exact pattern listed in a catalog as "pirate"! interesting that others have come across these. Also, thank you for that term I have been long searching for. "Russeting" is the process whereby swords are primered with a brown paint or substance to retard rusting. You might recall that old 1660's hanger I had with VOC connections that had a 'browned' blade for sea service.

Anyway, back to this amazing cup hilt!
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Old 4th June 2020, 03:12 AM   #44
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Thank you Mark!
Actually we are not digressing from the outstanding cuphilt Fernando has posted in the OP, but discussing various avenues toward classification and identifying it. Often a great deal of related material and comparisons, regardless of even tenuous observations, clues can be found in most unusual places!

Interesting about the contrived examples I mentioned with the odd crossguard UNDER the cup being cataloged as 'pirate'
I have one of these which was found with this seemingly cliche' classification as well (need to find pics of it).
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Old 8th June 2020, 09:03 AM   #45
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For the identity of the German blade maker, possibly numbers 49 and 88 of this catalogue are relevant.

https://www.yumpu.com/es/document/r...ta-de-andalucia

He could be Enrique Coel - Köhl.

As for quillions under the cup, they are a distinctive characteristic of Mexican revolutionary swords with archaistic and rustic aspect.

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Old 9th June 2020, 10:54 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midelburgo
For the identity of the German blade maker, possibly numbers 49 and 88 of this catalogue are relevant.

https://www.yumpu.com/es/document/r...ta-de-andalucia

He could be Enrique Coel - Köhl...

I wouldn't take as so solid the determination of a blade smith by judging on this type of symbols.
The crucified Christ, with or without the cross, the MIN SENAL motto, the mention EN ALEMANIA, whether by Coel - Köhl - Col not, are allusive motives that were used by several smiths, famous and not, originators of the said symbols us just replicators.
Take a look at theses few swords shown in a exhibition of Portuguese/Spanish ornamental art held in 1882 in the Academy of Beaux Arts.
In some cases is the symbol/motto that figures, in others figures the smith names ... or his marks.


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Old 9th June 2020, 04:28 PM   #47
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Red face Whatever it is worth ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
...In Fernando's picture of the threaded tang above, I note that the threads are very rounded and I wonder if the sharp taper is also of some special function...

I realize threaded tangs are one thing and actual screws are another. But based on their affinity i recalled these images of (very) early screws, once posted here by deceased Michael (Matchlock). The tapered examples are naturally what triggered my thoughts.


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Old 9th June 2020, 05:23 PM   #48
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I would take Enrique Coel as a sort of Runkel, 80-100 years in advance, and along 80 years. However it is possible to group the graphics and caligraphies. For example, the blades in the 1728 model come in two flavours, although that only shows that they shared the model the engraver used.
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Old 21st June 2020, 05:51 PM   #49
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Jim, regarding your note above in post 35:

The technique of making imitation shagreen (from Persian shagri or wild donkey hide) as you detail it, originated in Iran long before the 18th century. The skill was probably learned by Europeans who were posted there at about that time, as were other artistic techniques (and vice versa.)

Regarding the cuphilt shown, the skin is absolutely from a ray, it is not galuchat. Incidentally, shagri reputedly only came from the back of a wild donkey, thus it was quite rare. In addition to its attractive texture, it was originally prized for its toughness.
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Old 21st June 2020, 08:12 PM   #50
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Hi Oliver,
Thank you so much for the clarification, I could not tell the difference of course but suggested the galuchat possibility more in consideration of the possible colonial context. When I first learned of the faux ray skin some time ago, it was it seems described in Caribbean settings, in turn of course from European.
It is not only interesting but expected that this technique would have come from the east , and popularized in Europe.
Good to hear from you!!! and thank you again for the response
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Old 23rd June 2020, 02:57 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix

What’s the meaning of the ”double” patriarchal cross? Seems this cross originated in Byzance and spread to countries like Hungary, Russia and Lithuania. .


Both Hungary and Lithuania are Catholic countries and I do not know enough to express my opinion.
But Russia is Orthodox, and Russian cross has 3 crossbeams: the upper two are just like the one on Fernando’s sword, but the third one is positioned much lower and is slanted.
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Old 23rd June 2020, 04:43 PM   #52
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It is clear that there are a few versions of 'multi' beam crosses. I realize that this or that version may be attributed to the wrong creed. I am no cross wizard either, but am glad i found that the cross on my sword is a determined one and the reason for its presence has a solid historic basis. I confess that, after browsing the Net on this cross issue, i craked my riddle as per post #30 (thanks to a Victrix lead) and since then have been done with whatever crosses.
Here are details of the threaed tang and rather faded cross on the other sword i know of same context.


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