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Old 30th July 2014, 09:37 AM   #1
ulfberth
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Default a sail guard left hand dagger

A sail guard left hand dagger

Total length 48 CM , the blade 36 CM.
The fuller of the blade has the IHS mark on both sides.
I place this one in the third part of the 16th century.
The origin could be north Italian or even Spanish or Portuguese
comments are as always welcome

Kind regards

Dirk
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Old 4th September 2015, 05:01 AM   #2
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I am surprised no one commented on this one.

What does the IHS mean?
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Old 4th September 2015, 06:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSinTX
I am surprised no one commented on this one.
You could see This old post
What does the IHS mean?

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18165
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Old 4th September 2015, 11:48 AM   #4
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Shame on me, ulfberth; i let this one go without even admiring such excelent example .
Take my guess as it being Spanish; above all, because of that motif on the sail guard that seems to be intended to depict the famous shell (scallop) symbol of Santiago (Saint James).
I am only surprised that such unique quality dagger has no maker's mark (symbol) on the ricasso.

.
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Old 4th September 2015, 11:53 AM   #5
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Hi Casey,

below a rather complete explanation:

What IHS really means – Jesus
The name “Jesus”, in Greek, is written ιησους which is transliterated as “ihsous” and pronounced iēsous. This is the Holy Name as it was written in the Gospels.
However, in Hebrew, the name “Jesus” is written ישוע which is transliterated as “yeshu‘a” and pronounced yeshūa.
Finally, in Latin, the Holy Name is written Iesus which gives us the English “Jesus”, since the “j” often replaces the “i” at the beginning of a word (as well as between vowels).

Chi (x) and Rho (p), CHRist
The insignia “IHS” comes from the Latinized version of the Greek ιησους, [UPDATE: In Greek capitals this would be ΙΗΣΟΥΣ or IHSOUS in Latin letters] taking the first three letters in capitals IHS(ous). Much as the popular “chi-rho” symbol (pictured right, X – P) comes from the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, χριστος (Christos) – XPistos.
This is the true meaning of IHS, it is the first three letters of the Greek spelling of the Holy Name of Jesus. The insignia is nothing more (and nothing less) than the symbol of the Holy Name.
Iesus Hominum Salvator – Jesus the Savior of men
It is popular legend that the IHS stands for the Latin phrase Iesus Hominum Salvator, “Jesus the Savior of (all) Men”. While this is a fine devotion, it is not historically accurate.
The IHS symbol was so popular that it is not uncommon to find the Latin Iesus misspelled as IHeSus (with the “H” added, though in Greek this “h” is equivalent to the Latin “e”).
In fact, the first known use of the IHS abbreviation comes in the 8th century: “DN IHS CHS REX REGNANTIUM”, the first three words being abbreviated from “DomiNus IHeSus CHristuS” – “The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of Kings”. For a further explanation of the history of the IHS, see the Catholic Encyclopedia article [here] and [here].
Still, although historically inaccurate, there is certainly nothing wrong with seeing in this insignia a testimony to the truth that there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Most certainly, Jesus alone is the Savior and without his grace we can neither attain nor even desire everlasting life.
In Hoc Signo vinces – In this sign, you will conquer
After three nails were added under the insignia (together with a cross above), some noticed that the inscription now contained a “V” below the IHS – so that we see IHSV. (see image on the side) In this form it was adopted by St. Ignatius as the symbol of the Jesuits.
IHSV was interpreted to mean In Hoc Signo Vinces, “In this sign, you shall conquer”. It was taken as a reference to the victory which Constantine won against Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. Before the battle, the future Emperor saw a sign in the sky (probably the Greek chi-rho X-P, the symbol of “Christ”) and heard the words εν τουτω νικα, which is Greek for “In this [sign], you shall conquer”. The phrase was translated into Latin and it was noticed that the first letters of each word added up to IHSV – thus was born the legend that IHS stood for Constantine’s vision and the Christianization of Rome.
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Old 4th September 2015, 12:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Shame on me, ulfberth; i let this one go without even admiring such excelent example .
Take my guess as it being Spanish; above all, because of that motif on the sail guard that seems to be intended to depict the famous shell (scallop) symbol of Santiago (Saint James).
I am only surprised that such unique quality dagger has no maker's mark (symbol) on the ricasso.

.


Thank Fernando,

Indeed it has no stamps on the ricasso, but it has a stamp of a sea horse about 15mm bellow the fuller.

kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 4th September 2015, 01:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Hi Casey,

below a rather complete explanation:

What IHS really means – Jesus
The name “Jesus”, in Greek, is written ιησους which is transliterated as “ihsous” and pronounced iēsous. This is the Holy Name as it was written in the Gospels.
However, in Hebrew, the name “Jesus” is written ישוע which is transliterated as “yeshu‘a” and pronounced yeshūa.
Finally, in Latin, the Holy Name is written Iesus which gives us the English “Jesus”, since the “j” often replaces the “i” at the beginning of a word (as well as between vowels).

Chi (x) and Rho (p), CHRist
The insignia “IHS” comes from the Latinized version of the Greek ιησους, [UPDATE: In Greek capitals this would be ΙΗΣΟΥΣ or IHSOUS in Latin letters] taking the first three letters in capitals IHS(ous). Much as the popular “chi-rho” symbol (pictured right, X – P) comes from the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, χριστος (Christos) – XPistos.
This is the true meaning of IHS, it is the first three letters of the Greek spelling of the Holy Name of Jesus. The insignia is nothing more (and nothing less) than the symbol of the Holy Name.
Iesus Hominum Salvator – Jesus the Savior of men
It is popular legend that the IHS stands for the Latin phrase Iesus Hominum Salvator, “Jesus the Savior of (all) Men”. While this is a fine devotion, it is not historically accurate.
The IHS symbol was so popular that it is not uncommon to find the Latin Iesus misspelled as IHeSus (with the “H” added, though in Greek this “h” is equivalent to the Latin “e”).
In fact, the first known use of the IHS abbreviation comes in the 8th century: “DN IHS CHS REX REGNANTIUM”, the first three words being abbreviated from “DomiNus IHeSus CHristuS” – “The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of Kings”. For a further explanation of the history of the IHS, see the Catholic Encyclopedia article [here] and [here].
Still, although historically inaccurate, there is certainly nothing wrong with seeing in this insignia a testimony to the truth that there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Most certainly, Jesus alone is the Savior and without his grace we can neither attain nor even desire everlasting life.
In Hoc Signo vinces – In this sign, you will conquer
After three nails were added under the insignia (together with a cross above), some noticed that the inscription now contained a “V” below the IHS – so that we see IHSV. (see image on the side) In this form it was adopted by St. Ignatius as the symbol of the Jesuits.
IHSV was interpreted to mean In Hoc Signo Vinces, “In this sign, you shall conquer”. It was taken as a reference to the victory which Constantine won against Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. Before the battle, the future Emperor saw a sign in the sky (probably the Greek chi-rho X-P, the symbol of “Christ”) and heard the words εν τουτω νικα, which is Greek for “In this [sign], you shall conquer”. The phrase was translated into Latin and it was noticed that the first letters of each word added up to IHSV – thus was born the legend that IHS stood for Constantine’s vision and the Christianization of Rome.




This is an absolutely superb rendition of the actual interpretation of this abbreviation used so often in inscriptions and invocations on blades!
Outstanding work Ulfberth, and thank you for placing this, not to mention sharing this excellent dagger.
The 'seahorse' mark, was this not some sort of Italian motif or device?
It seems it may have had something to do with Venice, but need to find those notes.
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Old 4th September 2015, 01:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Thank Fernando,

Indeed it has no stamps on the ricasso, but it has a stamp of a sea horse about 15mm bellow the fuller.

kind regards

Ulfberth

Can we have a close up picture ?
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Old 4th September 2015, 02:09 PM   #9
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Thanks Jim

Here is one Fernando, but if you want a more clear pic you will have to ask Casey now

kind regards

u
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Old 5th September 2015, 03:58 AM   #10
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I also don't remember seeing this beauty! Glad Fernando posted on it, bringing it back to life! A superb example. I've seen swords with the so-called 'crab-claw' construction for catching an opponent's blade, but never on a parrying dagger before. Makes sense. So...is it a main gauche?
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Old 5th September 2015, 11:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... So...is it a main gauche?

For the French, yes. Daga de mano izquierda for the Spanish, agada de mão esquerda for the Portuguese.
As this one has its guard in the form of a sail, the Spaniards would call it daga de vela de mano izquierda .
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Old 23rd September 2015, 04:02 AM   #12
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Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on this piece. It really is great. I took some additional pictures this afternoon. Feel free to discuss. As you can see from the guard, it appears the blade was likely replaced during it's working life.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 04:04 AM   #13
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Blade mark.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 05:55 PM   #14
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Ah ... now we have to distinct provenances; and may i guess the blade might have been shortened from a sword (rapier?) one, both due to its unusual (?) tapering and mainly due to the advanced position of the makers mark .
A mark that doesn't appear to be Spanish; none of the Toledo smith marks in the Palomar chart seem to have such symbol and those are usually puntched inside an estucheon. Didn't find it in Wallace Collection book, either. Maybe Italian ?
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Old 23rd September 2015, 06:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Ah ... now we have to distinct provenances; and may i guess the blade might have been shortened from a sword (rapier?) one, both due to its unusual (?) tapering and mainly due to the advanced position of the makers mark .
A mark that doesn't appear to be Spanish; none of the Toledo smith marks in the Palomar chart seem to have such symbol and those are usually puntched inside an estucheon. Didn't find it in Wallace Collection book, either. Maybe Italian ?


Hi Fernando,

as you, Jim also suggested this and the dagger certainly looks Italian.
The hilt reminds of the style of the Italian crab claw hilts as does the sail guard.
Furthermore, this dagger was found in untouched condition together with a similar dagger which is almost certainly Italian, it bears a + mark on its ricasso which I found in the book "waffen des abendlandes" on page 40 its described as Italian 16th C collection Dal Pozzo Mailand.
Note that the rings on the grip are the same style to.
I hope Casey is able to post some pictures of this example to.

kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 23rd September 2015, 06:24 PM   #16
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You are right ulfberth, i skipped that previous opinion because i was much influenced by the shell shape engraving on the guard, as i also previously noted.
And ... what do you say about the blade having been longer and that of a sword ?
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Old 23rd September 2015, 06:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
You are right ulfberth, i skipped that previous opinion because i was much influenced by the shell shape engraving on the guard, as i also previously noted.
And ... what do you say about the blade having been longer and that of a sword ?


At first that was my thought to, however since the fuller is rather short I don't rule out the possibility that it could be the blade of a dagger, but you are right it could just as well be a re-used rapier blade.
You gave me something to think about with the shell shape on the guard this shell shape also comes back in the form of 16th C Italian pommels.
All this does not have to be unusual at all since many rapiers and swords used by the Spanish were often of Italian origin.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 08:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Furthermore, this dagger was found in untouched condition together with a similar dagger which is almost certainly Italian, it bears a + mark on its ricasso

I hope Casey is able to post some pictures of this example to.

kind regards

Ulfberth


Yes, perhaps the best thing about this dagger is that it has a sibling which contains it's original blade. Either made by the same smith or no doubt from the same shop. Amazing to be found together after so many years.

Here is the only picture that I had a chance to resize. It may be a few days for the rest.
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Old 24th September 2015, 08:02 AM   #19
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Thanks for posting the pictures Casey !
These are two exceptional daggers indeed, the dagger on the left has the face of a bearded man and hat on the sail guard.
Here I found a drawing from Michaels Katzbalger thread, were the man in the middle has the same kind of hat.
Hans Sebald Nurnburg circa 1540
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Old 26th September 2015, 03:49 AM   #20
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2nd dagger.
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Old 26th September 2015, 03:51 AM   #21
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.
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Old 27th September 2015, 04:15 PM   #22
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with the permission of Casey, here is a picture of the last dagger in the condition how it was found before cleaning.

kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 27th September 2015, 05:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
with the permission of Casey, here is a picture of the last dagger in the condition how it was found before cleaning.

kind regards

Ulfberth



Salaams ulfberth, I was quite surprised to learn that Florentine Technique
is the art of wielding two weapons at once, one in each hand. It is a style developed by the Italians in the city of Florence, hence the name. Some people prefer to call this method "Two-Swords" or even simply "Two-Weapons".

Florentine exists in multiple ways with multiple weapons. The two most common methods are the Sword and Dagger method and the Dual-Sword method. I also note that the dagger was also worn on its own on occasions when it was not practical to wear a rapier...

Sword and Dagger is the original style of Florentine fighting. Your dominant hand holds a quick sword and your off hand holds a large specially designed dagger. These large daggers would often have hidden blade trappers making them much more effective than they seemed. The French called this dagger a main gauche, which literally means "left hand". This method is very difficult to master, but amazingly powerful.

Below...The sketch is described more or less as getting the technique wrong! The photo is of a modern tournament showing a block and the close up of the dagger is a clear picture of the blade entrapment device ...

I note that: Though it required more coordination that most other fighting styles, particularly with the off-hand, when practiced well, Florentine could be a devastating technique. It combined a versatile defense with furious offense, but like all styles of fighting without a shield, it was particularly vulnerable to archery. For this reason, some Florentine fighters chose to wear a buckler or a back shield.
On a large field, Florentine fighters typically served as skirmishers and flankers, as they could have been quickly shot down by archers when in a line.
Does anyone have any artwork showing the Sail guard in action ?
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Old 28th September 2015, 09:45 AM   #24
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Salaams Ibrahiim,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insight !

It seems that the different styles of fencing is as intriguing as the weapons they used , and learning more about the one leads to better understanding of the other, as is the case with many things in life.

Kind regards

Ulfberth
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Old 29th September 2015, 11:55 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Salaams Ibrahiim,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insight !

It seems that the different styles of fencing is as intriguing as the weapons they used , and learning more about the one leads to better understanding of the other, as is the case with many things in life.

Kind regards

Ulfberth




Thank You Ulfberth ~ You have started a great thread... I hope it runs on and on...
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 29th September 2015, 04:00 PM   #26
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Default The sail guard left hand dagger

Hi ulfberth,
It seems as you don't mind having this thread hijacked with further considerations on the subject.
Perhaps the following text, roughly translated from a Spaniard's post, would fix some possible failures on what has been considered so far.

http://mundomilitaria.es/foro/index.php?topic=11902.0


"These daggers were popularly known as Vizcaínas, due to the origin of a great number of them been forged with steel of Vizcaia. Together with the Roperas (rapiers) were carried those known as dagas de mano izquierda (left hand daggers) or, better saying, dagas de detener (parrying daggers), which was the name they received in Spain, once the ‘left hand’ term was a galicism provenant from the French denomination for this type of weapons, ‘main gauche’. The proliferation of renaissance fencing manuals concerning the development of combat with double weapons, took sword smith masters to design various types of daggers for such type of fencing. Therefore the appearance of the uniquely Spanish (Españolisimas) sail guard daggers, which were and are a symbol of parrying daggers; also other designs were developed, like trident daggers and rompe-puntas (sword breakers)
The left hand dagger had its origin in the XVI century, when the ‘double arms’ fencing appeared, that is, the combined use of the sword and left hand dagger for the parrying of the adversary blows and, being the case, take advantage of some mistake from his defense and penetrate in his body.
However its real expansion was known as from the first third of the XVII century, having been created in Spain its own version of this type of daggers combined with its companion sword, when pieces were made with the finest decorations.
The origin of its name is based on its hand guard, similar to a latin sail. This addition meant a notable advance in the protection of the hand, once until then these daggers only counted with a cross guard similar to their larger sisters for the parrying of the adversary blows, as well as to avoid the hand slide to the blade when stabbing.
Cncerning quality, they were celebrated in all Europe, not only those from Toledo, but also those from Vizcaia and Guipuzcoa".

If you don't mind, i will also include pictures of my own sail guard dagger.
Remember that, during the discussed period, Portugal was under Spanish domination, so not surprising that swords and daggers were alike in both nations.

Also some clips on the art of fighting with these weapons may be useful ... skiping the language difference:

.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyU5ndSTWxc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPLyHzaI-4I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1ovV5shSBk


.
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Old 29th September 2015, 04:32 PM   #27
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Here are a few Spanish daggers ... There are a lot more at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/265923552973872432/ ....In this case I will show a few 17th to 19th Century variants with the full sail hilt...The trick when fencing was,amongst other things, to have each weapon on a different plain so as to avoid having both swept aside with an opponents sweep stroke...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 29th September 2015, 05:23 PM   #28
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A picture at last of a duel using the left hand Sail Dagger...
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Old 2nd October 2015, 09:18 AM   #29
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Salaams to all ~ John Pettie RA painted the above masterpiece between an Englishman and a foreigner. He was famous for his paintings of the English Civil Wars and the Jacobite Rebellion thus is shown in a wonderful web page freebook directly accessible on

https://archive.org/stream/johnpett...e/n213/mode/2up

at about page 90 and the artwork a couple of pages after...In addition some amazing artwork on people of the period and some swashbuckling paintings of Scottish warriors in battle dress...He is further noted for superb atmosheric pictures of Duels. See Below..The Time of Day and Commencement of the Quarrel.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 10:11 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi ulfberth,
It seems as you don't mind having this thread hijacked with further considerations on the subject.
Perhaps the following text, roughly translated from a Spaniard's post, would fix some possible failures on what has been considered so far.

http://mundomilitaria.es/foro/index.php?topic=11902.0


"These daggers were popularly known as Vizcaínas, due to the origin of a great number of them been forged with steel of Vizcaia. Together with the Roperas (rapiers) were carried those known as dagas de mano izquierda (left hand daggers) or, better saying, dagas de detener (parrying daggers), which was the name they received in Spain, once the ‘left hand’ term was a galicism provenant from the French denomination for this type of weapons, ‘main gauche’. The proliferation of renaissance fencing manuals concerning the development of combat with double weapons, took sword smith masters to design various types of daggers for such type of fencing. Therefore the appearance of the uniquely Spanish (Españolisimas) sail guard daggers, which were and are a symbol of parrying daggers; also other designs were developed, like trident daggers and rompe-puntas (sword breakers)
The left hand dagger had its origin in the XVI century, when the ‘double arms’ fencing appeared, that is, the combined use of the sword and left hand dagger for the parrying of the adversary blows and, being the case, take advantage of some mistake from his defense and penetrate in his body.
However its real expansion was known as from the first third of the XVII century, having been created in Spain its own version of this type of daggers combined with its companion sword, when pieces were made with the finest decorations.
The origin of its name is based on its hand guard, similar to a latin sail. This addition meant a notable advance in the protection of the hand, once until then these daggers only counted with a cross guard similar to their larger sisters for the parrying of the adversary blows, as well as to avoid the hand slide to the blade when stabbing.
Cncerning quality, they were celebrated in all Europe, not only those from Toledo, but also those from Vizcaia and Guipuzcoa".

If you don't mind, i will also include pictures of my own sail guard dagger.
Remember that, during the discussed period, Portugal was under Spanish domination, so not surprising that swords and daggers were alike in both nations.

Also some clips on the art of fighting with these weapons may be useful ... skiping the language difference:

.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyU5ndSTWxc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPLyHzaI-4I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1ovV5shSBk


.

Hi Fernando,

thank you for the additional information on the subject and btw nice dagger you got there
I do believe the two daggers are 16th C and were made before the more classic Spanish design.

Kind regards

Ulfberth
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