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Old 12th January 2023, 07:25 PM   #31
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With regards to the little hole in the upper quadrant of the pommel in some schiavonas mentioned by Jim, it seems to have been used to tie the tip of the end of the basket hilt to the pommel with some wire. I believe Ewart Oakeshott mentions in his books that he believes the holes were later additions by Victorian collectors. But in the case of Jim’s schiavona the hole in the pommel looks very old and has the same patina as the rest so looks original or at least period. I suggest the basket hilt was attached to the pommel to give extra strength and keep it straight. In a melee it might be tempting to use the basket hilt opportunistically as a knuckleduster which could cause the basket hilt to twist/rotate around the axis and eventually break. Tying it to the pommel would give some extra strength by making it less likely to twist and break.
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Old 12th January 2023, 08:46 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Victrix View Post
With regards to the little hole in the upper quadrant of the pommel in some schiavonas mentioned by Jim, it seems to have been used to tie the tip of the end of the basket hilt to the pommel with some wire. I believe Ewart Oakeshott mentions in his books that he believes the holes were later additions by Victorian collectors. But in the case of Jim’s schiavona the hole in the pommel looks very old and has the same patina as the rest so looks original or at least period. I suggest the basket hilt was attached to the pommel to give extra strength and keep it straight. In a melee it might be tempting to use the basket hilt opportunistically as a knuckleduster which could cause the basket hilt to twist/rotate around the axis and eventually break. Tying it to the pommel would give some extra strength by making it less likely to twist and break.

Victrix thank you for these insightful entries! That is interesting about what Oakeshott said, do you recall which of his books this was in? He was always so informative in these kinds of minutiae which are seldom if ever noted in the other references.
I would never have imagined that kind of support use, almost a hilt 'lanyard'.
The use of the hilt in a 'knuckle duster' manner had not occurred to me, but makes sense in close quarter entanglement.

I am curious about why Victorians would add this hole, surely to add authenticity to represent this curious old tradition. This seems to fall into the category that has haunted me for years, the notched blade tips on 18th c Austrian swords.
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Old 14th January 2023, 04:52 AM   #33
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Default The Schiavona

Hi Guys, and thankyou Victrix for that great picture.

I have now started working on an extensive article on the Schiavona for the Heritage Arms Magazine Barrels and Blades. At present I have the following references noted and available:

AKEHURST, Richard Antique Weapons - for Pleasure and Investment Pp 8,
ALEKSIC Marko Mediaeval Swords from South-eastern Europe Pp 7, 9, 20-22, 98, 192-194
Article: A Venetian excellence: the Schiavona
BECK Carl Waffensammlung Schiavona, Italian/Venetian, 2nd Half Of The 18th Century
BINK Jean The Schiavona
BLAIR, Claude The James A. De Rothschild Collection At Waddesdon Manor - Arms, Armour and Base-Metalwork Pp 78, 79, 80,
BLAIR-C-European & American Arms c1100-1850 Pp 3, 10, 16, 52, 84, Plate 176, 219 Schiavona Dagger
BOCCIA L.G., COELHO E.T., EDITRICE B. Armi Bianche Italiane Pp 23, Plates 765 – 770, Pp 386-387, 421-422
Boris V Schiavona – the sword of warrior Slovenes
Bozzolan Millo The Schiavona Sword, A Balkan Weapon, But Probably Born In Belluno
Boz Milo A Slave Sword For The Serenissima
DEMMIN Auguste An Illustrated History of Arms & Armour Pp 379, 388, 432, 564
DUFTY Arthur Richard European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London pp 23, 34, Plate 44-45
Ehretsmann Martin The Skeleton Guard & the Fishnet Guard
FFOULKES C J The Armouries of the Tower of London Vol 2Pp 287, 288
FFOULKES Charles Armour & Weapons Pp 101, 102
FFOULKES Charles European Arms and Armour in the University of Oxford Pp 34, 35
FLIEGEL, Stephen N. ARMS AND ARMOR THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART Pp 116, 168, 169, 178
FORD-Roger-weapon a visual history of arms and armor Pp 106
FORRER R European Sword Pommels Pp 38
GARCIA Andrew F The Collector' Course on Medieval Arms & Armour Pp 33, 261, 243, 264, 265, 266, 269, 298-299, 309, 343, 331,
HELD Robert Art, Arms and Armour An International Anthology Pp 59, 64, 71
HUTTON, Alfred, F.S.A. The Sword and the Centuries Plate 288,
LAKING Sir Guy Francis A Record of European Armour & Arms Vol 1 Fig 232, Pp IX, XXIV, 193
LAKING Sir Guy Francis A Record of European Armour & Arms Vol 2 302,
LAKING Sir Guy Francis A Record of European Armour & Arms Vol 4 Pp 325 - 328,
LAKING Sir Guy Francis A Record of European Armour & Arms Vol 5 Pp 318, 322, 342, 345, 370
MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd Pp 66, 67, Plate 181-183, Pp 384, 432, 440
MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd MÜLLER 66, 384, 432
Overseas Regiment (Schiavoni)
NORDSTROM Lena White Arms of the Royal Armoury Pp 322
OAKESHOTT, Ewart European Weapons and Armour Plate 15 Pp 182-191
PIREK, Michal Schiavonas: Venetian swords in Bratislava castle's collection
PUYPE J.P. WIEKART A.A. Van Maurits naar munster Pp 96
PUYPE Jan Piet The Visser Collection Volume 1 Part 3 Pp 130, 132,
Robinson Nathan Spotlight: The Schiavona and its Influences
SACH, Jan & KRAUS,Valtr Illustriertes Lexikon der Hieb- und Stichwaffen Schiavona 72/75, 116-119/138-142, 253
SEITZ Heribert - Blankwaffen 1 schiavoni 170, 171
SEITZ Heribert – Blankwaffen 2 schiavona 32, 108, 113, 117, 122- 126
SERCER Marija Shiavona references
Shiavona Ross Arms
SOUTHWICK Leslie The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons Pp 25, 152 Schiavona, 269, 271, 34, 415-418 Schiavoni, 271, 34
STONE-G-C-Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms & Armour Pp 181, 544, 595,
TARASSUK Leonid & BLAIR Claude The Complete Encyclopaedia of Arms & Weapons Pp 416
The Perfect Sword Slave
The Schiavona Sword-A 17th century Croatian Masterpiece
Veneto History The Slave Sword, Everything You Don't Find In Wiki
WAGNER Eduard Cut and Thrust Weapons Pp 29, 99, 172, 173
WAGNER, Eduard SWORDS AND DAGGERS Hamlyn Pp 35, 75,
WILKINSON Frederick Swords & Daggers Schiavona pp 24; 78, 79
WILKINSON-LATHAM R.J. Pictorial History of Swords & Bayonets Pp 8, 39
WILKINSON-LATHAM Robert Swords in Colour Including other Edged Weapons Pp Schiavona, 19, 25, 26.
WITHERS Harvey J S The World Encyclopedia of Swords and Sabres Pp 48, 167, 169, 246, 249, 250
WITHERS, Harvey J.S. World Swords 1400 – 1945 Pp 27, 28, 29,

I was wondering if anyone either has or can recommend some additional references I might consult.

The plan at this stage is to focus mostly on the hilt construction and pommel variations. As with Scottish Basket Hilts, blades are not much use for dating purposes as they were often imported or family blades reused.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 14th January 2023, 01:25 PM   #34
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Hi Cathey,

yes : Ubojite Ostrice

best regards
Jasper
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Old 14th January 2023, 11:31 PM   #35
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Default Schiavona Reference

Hi Jasper,

I havn't been able to locate a copy of this book for sale. Would you be able to scan the pages for me that relate to Schiavona's or photograph them as flat as possible so I can convert to PDF and translate them.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 15th January 2023, 03:57 AM   #36
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Default Back to the hole in the pommel

Hi Guys,

I have just reread Oakeshott and thing his reference to the hole in the pommel has been misunderstood. He dose suggest that what ever fixed the hilt to the pommel via this hole is often replaced.

This is what he actually says in OAKESHOTT, Ewart European Weapons and Armour Plate 15 Pp 182-191

“In a few cases, there is a small hole pierced in the upper dexter part of the pommel, to which the little curl at the top of the knuckle-guard element of the basket is fastened. Surviving examples, if they are fastened at all, have a little piece of wire to do the job; these are mostly modern replacements, but there can be little doubt that in their original state, wire was used.”

Cheer Cathey
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Old 15th January 2023, 11:03 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
Victrix thank you for these insightful entries! That is interesting about what Oakeshott said, do you recall which of his books this was in? He was always so informative in these kinds of minutiae which are seldom if ever noted in the other references.
I would never have imagined that kind of support use, almost a hilt 'lanyard'.
The use of the hilt in a 'knuckle duster' manner had not occurred to me, but makes sense in close quarter entanglement.

I am curious about why Victorians would add this hole, surely to add authenticity to represent this curious old tradition. This seems to fall into the category that has haunted me for years, the notched blade tips on 18th c Austrian swords.
Jim, I believe it would be unlikely that Victorian collectors drilled holes in the Schiavona pommels to tie with the basket hilt, as I see no practical purpose for this. I can’t find the source where I read this weak theory. I thought it was Ewart Oakeshott’s “European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution“ but although he mentions the holes he does not suggest what their purpose was. I have looked through my books in vain but haven’t been able to find where I read this. Anyway the hole in your schiavona’s pommel looks quite old which would disprove allegations that Victorian collectors drilled the holes.

Another suggestion has been that the hole was used to secure a string to tie around the wrist like a lanyard, but the holes seem too small in diameter for this purpose and there are so many other places on the hilt where a lanyard could be secured.

When holding my lattice basket hilt Schiavona the entire hand is enclosed behind steel bars and if pinned against an opponent it would be natural to use the hilt to strike if very close. The problem is that the basket hilt is secured to the sword only at the cross so there would be risk that the basket hilt got twisted in which case it would be damaged/weakened. Especially if the basket hilt was struck against hard objects like a breastplate, chainmail or a helmet. Securing the tip of the basket hilt to the pommel would keep the former straight and add some strength to the structure (assuming the wire is strong enough). This is just a theory. Otherwise it’s difficult to imagine what the purpose for the hole in the pommel would be.
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Old 15th January 2023, 11:16 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
Hi Guys, and thankyou Victrix for that great picture.

I have now started working on an extensive article on the Schiavona for the Heritage Arms Magazine Barrels and Blades. At present I have the following references noted…
Cathey that’s an impressive bibliography you have compiled.

I believe the men in the picture are supposed to be so-called Uskoks. You can read about them here (fascinating read!): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uskoks

There seem to be some translation errors in your list of bibliography translating Slav into slave (fast Google error?). I propose replacing slave with Slavic or Slavonian. I understand the word is related to “slovo” which is Slavic for “word” (i.e. share the same language). Hence Slovenia, Slovakia, Slavonia, etc.

Boz Milo A Slave Sword For The Serenissima
The Perfect Sword Slave
Veneto History The Slave Sword, Everything You Don't Find In Wiki
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Old 15th January 2023, 04:20 PM   #39
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The guard, at least, of the silver-mounted schiavona shown in #13 above, can be identified as Boka Kotorska work from Crna Gora (Montenegro.) Compare the silver-inlaid motifs and technique with that on the barrel of a type of musket, the Dzeferdar, likewise produced there:
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Old 15th January 2023, 07:48 PM   #40
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Default Schiavona notes, passim

Cathey,
This thread is such a great reference resource, and I wanted to add some of the notes I had in my files ( my apologies for the haphazard character ). While far from the standard of the research you and Rex maintain, I hope perhaps there might be bits and references which might be useful.

In the reference from Konipsky and Moudry, on Hapsburg swords, note the KOSARICE pommel, which is an unusual exception to the distinctive 'cats head' pommels on the schiavona.

Despite the way it looks, there is a modicum of organization in the corpus of notes and files of MANY years of eclectic research, and adventure

Best regards
Jim
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Old 6th February 2023, 09:59 PM   #41
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This is mine. Needs a bit of a clean up. No markings on the blade, which is 38" long. Surprisingly handy for such a hefty weapon if you finger the blade at the ricasso.
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Old 7th February 2023, 06:14 AM   #42
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Default Schiavona Pommel Variety

Thankyou Jim for those notes most helpful, and thankyou Triarii for sharing your example.

At this stage my article is in its infancy, and I have started by comparing and tracking pommels. Attached is what I have found so far having examined 132 examples. I have only illustrated individual examples of different styles, not all 132. What I have found thus far is that brass decorated pommel first appeared on examples dating after 1600, and only become more common in the late 17th to early 18th centuries. The plain functional iron pommel with a simple circular protrusion appears to have continued in use for the life of the Schiavona pattern. Perhaps the Iron pommel can be associated with soldiers rather than officers, which would account for the number of them appearing in comparison to the more decorative brass versions.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 7th February 2023, 10:11 AM   #43
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Hello Cathey. In case you wish to have a look to my ex- "PROTO" Schiavona variant ...
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Old 7th February 2023, 03:25 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix View Post
Jim, I believe it would be unlikely that Victorian collectors drilled holes in the Schiavona pommels to tie with the basket hilt, as I see no practical purpose for this. I can’t find the source where I read this weak theory. I thought it was Ewart Oakeshott’s “European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution“ but although he mentions the holes he does not suggest what their purpose was. I have looked through my books in vain but haven’t been able to find where I read this. Anyway the hole in your schiavona’s pommel looks quite old which would disprove allegations that Victorian collectors drilled the holes.

Another suggestion has been that the hole was used to secure a string to tie around the wrist like a lanyard, but the holes seem too small in diameter for this purpose and there are so many other places on the hilt where a lanyard could be secured.

When holding my lattice basket hilt Schiavona the entire hand is enclosed behind steel bars and if pinned against an opponent it would be natural to use the hilt to strike if very close. The problem is that the basket hilt is secured to the sword only at the cross so there would be risk that the basket hilt got twisted in which case it would be damaged/weakened. Especially if the basket hilt was struck against hard objects like a breastplate, chainmail or a helmet. Securing the tip of the basket hilt to the pommel would keep the former straight and add some strength to the structure (assuming the wire is strong enough). This is just a theory. Otherwise it’s difficult to imagine what the purpose for the hole in the pommel would be.
From the number of basket hilted swords I've seen where the guard bars aren't connected to the pommel (they just touch or sit in a shallow groove) and they have become displaced, either to one side or more often pushed downwards below the pommel, I think you're right. From practical experience with decent reenactment hilted swords, other battle and non-battle damage is just as likely.
As to a sword knot, I think it is too small and unlikely, though some contemporary accounts like Vernon's 'Young Horseman' (1644) do refer to a 'riband or the like' or 'a string' for this purpose.
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Old 7th February 2023, 06:58 PM   #45
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Default Schiavona or Baskethilt?

I picked up this sword at an auction over the weekend. It was described as a Southern German or Austrian (or Styrian) baskethilt broadsword. Looks somewhat like a schiavona to me...
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Old 8th February 2023, 03:50 PM   #46
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I have received a number of messages regarding this sword. The doubled-edged blade has a long central fuller and is 42" and the overall length of the sword is 48 inches. There are a number of characters inside the fullers on both sides that are tough to make out. I attached a rough rendering of the symbol on both sides of the blade and two more pix. Sure would like to know who made it!
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Old 8th February 2023, 06:53 PM   #47
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as sent to you by pm, this type is frequently found in the Dutch soil, and can be dated in the last quarter of the 16th century. see excavated basket hilts and such a sword from the Visser collection, sold by Bonhams in 2007.

In the fuller is written IN VALENCIA, same as a Dutch example of a basket hilt sword in my collection. Unfortunately it is not possible to say who made it.

see all pics attached.

best,
Jasper
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Old 8th February 2023, 07:56 PM   #48
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Default Excellent information!

This information and photos are very helpful - Thanks!!! I wonder if the image I attached of the armorers mark that looks like and eye with three crosses on either side may help identify the maker?
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Old 9th February 2023, 05:01 AM   #49
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Default Dutch Sword

Thanks Jasper - Very helpful!
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Old 11th February 2023, 01:38 PM   #50
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The schiavona is nr 1 on my list of swords to pursue, so this thread is incredibly helpful, thanks for sharing all this research!

EDIT: This thread (about my own personal favorite example) is worth checking out as it has some gorgeous examples. If I can one day find one similar to that one it would be the centerpiece of my collection perhaps for the rest of my life. The collection of the guy who bought it is impressive, to say the least:





Still bummed. }|:oP

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Old 30th March 2023, 07:55 AM   #51
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Default Schiavona Article

Hi Guys

My article for the Heritage Arms Society is getting closer to being completed; however, it has now expanded to over 17 pages and growing rapidly. I have found 135 examples including a number or strange variations, plus 4 Schiavone’s locally to examine, one with its original scabbard. Fernado’s proto example and those that have also now surfaced will need to be treated as variations I think rather than entirely new categories. I have come across some papers by Gianrodolfo Rotasso that have proved very enlightening. He has made a reference “the wonderful cage which in the following centuries will develop into various types, it is in fact due to the great master Andrea Ferrara”. However he does not go on to elaborate as to why he has credited Andrea Ferrara with the development of this hilt. Perhaps he has covered this in a publication I am yet to track down.

I am now in the process of re-reading my reference material to draw some conclusions and try and fit them into the paper in a way that makes sense, this is proving challenging.

If anyone has any additional material regarding the Schiavona written by Gianrodolfo Rotasso I would greatly appreciate access to a copy.

At present my paper is structured as follows:
Schiavonesca and the Emergence of the Cats Head Pommel
The Schiavona (also referred to as Schiavone, Schiavoni or Stratiotenschwert by some German authors)
Manufacturing centre Belluno Italy
Two categories of Schiavona
My approach to Guard development and dating
The Leather Hat
The Scabbard
The impact of the 30-year war
Schiavona Sword Blades
Schiavona Pommel Design Variety
Proto Schiavona’s?
The Skeleton Guard
The Fishnet (or Trellis) Guard
The Schiavona Rapier
Variations
Conclusion.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 30th March 2023, 11:21 PM   #52
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My article for the Heritage Arms Society is getting closer to being completed...
I wish you luck with the writing, I have been fortunately able to publish a few pieces and know how difficult it can be!

I hadn't heard of Gianrodolfo Rotasso's work before, or this claim about Andrea Ferrara, but found it mentioned here:

Quote:
Il più noto tra i maestri spadari è però il già citato Andrea Ferara da Fonzaso, attivo nella seconda metà del Cinquecento. Le sue spade con l’elegantissimo fornimento “a tre vie” fecero epoca e da questo fornimento Ferara elaborò anche la gabbia del primo tipo di Schiavona.
Do you have a copy of Lionello Boccia's article entitled "Les épées des Esclavons: entre Venise et Illyrie", in Genava 43 (1995)?

Best,
Mark
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Old 31st March 2023, 01:33 AM   #53
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Default Lionello Boccia article

Hi Mark

I have a large book by Lionello Boccia but not the article you mentioned. I don’t suppose you have a copy you could send me? I would be happy to share my article with you when it is finally finished.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 31st March 2023, 11:54 AM   #54
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I have read it but do not have a copy, unfortunately. I found it in one of the university libraries in my region. I'll scan it for you at my next opportunity, but this could be a few months... I don't know if that will be quick enough for your timeline.
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Old 31st March 2023, 02:00 PM   #55
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Default Odd example

I came across this rather ugly (IMHO) example and felt I should draw it to your attention in case it was of interest. It is currently up for auction.
This is the description translated roughly from German:
Lattice basket Schiavona, Italy around 1700, double-edged, slender blade, blade with patina and with slight traces of corrosion, openwork in the upper part, iron, somewhat loosened, cut basket hilt, with straight cross-guard, wooden grip. about 100cm
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Old 31st March 2023, 11:39 PM   #56
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Default Lionello Boccia article

Hi Mark, thanks for your offer, I don't mind how long it takes as I have not been able to track down a copy.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 1st April 2023, 01:09 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
Lattice basket Schiavona, Italy around 1700, double-edged, slender blade, blade with patina and with slight traces of corrosion, openwork in the upper part, iron, somewhat loosened, cut basket hilt, with straight cross-guard, wooden grip. about 100cm
Does the first picture show a pommel with a hole to receive a knuckle bow? If so, a composite piece?
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Old 1st April 2023, 02:03 AM   #58
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Default Strange Schiavona for auction

Hi urbanspaceman

Yes I did see this one, the blade is nice and early Italian I think, but the hilt is very odd to me. Looks like it has been played with.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 1st April 2023, 10:44 AM   #59
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Default compo corretto

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Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
Hi urbanspaceman

Yes I did see this one, the blade is nice and early Italian I think, but the hilt is very odd to me. Looks like it has been played with.

Cheers Cathey
A composite piece... yes. It is certainly a mess, but would still work.
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Old 1st April 2023, 02:09 PM   #60
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Default lenght of handle

Keith, the length of the handle appears to be longer than average. The blade seems slender. Which to me gives the impression that this was a stabbing weapon. A long time ago I remember reading that these were primarily thrusting weapons but looking at all the examples of blades on this thread and on the forum, it seems that there were possibly several schools of thought associated with this hilt.

Cathy, these may be questions bordering on my being simple minded, did the average length of the handle change over time? Did the balance of the blade shift as well? Am I correct in thinking that many of these were cut and thrust weapons? In your research for the article did you find that they became more thrust orientated as the hilt became more intricate? Or did they continue to be manufactured for a diversity of fencing styles?
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