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Old 31st March 2017, 08:37 AM   #1
Cerjak
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Default Ballock Daggers

The first one with triangular section blade
the second with cruciform cross-section blade
Both are in excavated condition with original grips.

Any comment on it will be welcome.
Best
Cerjak
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Old 31st March 2017, 11:57 AM   #2
mariusgmioc
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While not in the best condition, both show very clear signs of age consistent with their period which I would guess to be 16th century.

They are very similar with many of the pieces recovered from the shipwreck of Mary Rose and I would speculate they might have spent some time in salt water (or at least the first one).

I think any museum would want them added to their collections.
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Old 31st March 2017, 04:41 PM   #3
kronckew
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the cruciform one is particularly cool. they are precursors to the scottish dirks.
mine is a bit newer tho, they are still being made of course.
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Old 31st March 2017, 07:02 PM   #4
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Hi krocknew yours is from Tod's Stuff, mine also:
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Old 31st March 2017, 09:04 PM   #5
fernando
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Welcome to the world of replicas .
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Old 1st April 2017, 04:19 AM   #6
Will M
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Having Scottish ancestry I've always been fascinated by these dirks .
The second one, the blade is very similar to an Austrian bayonet blade.
I would be interested in a good quality replica since good originals are quite expensive. They do not appear to be a cutting tool and are designed for the thrust.
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Old 1st April 2017, 05:41 PM   #7
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I have forgot to mention the size.
Dagger with cruciform section blade O.L. 35 cm ; blade L. 23.5 cm
Dagger with triangular section blade O.L. 34 cm ; blade L. 22 cm
There is 2 marks on the cruciforme shaped blade .
any information about these marks would be welcome.

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Old 2nd April 2017, 12:54 AM   #8
Jim McDougall
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As an arms historian, my greatest pleasure is seeing examples which are often in rugged to excavated condition, as these are the ones which give us the look into real time history. These two are classic cases, and after the research I have done on them, I am inclined to agree with Marius on the 16th century period.
The 'ballock' dagger (a term altered to 'kidney' dagger by uncomfortable Victorians) apparently has been around since about 1300. It seems that by around latter 14th they were well known on the Continent and in the British Isles.
In looking into the marks on the blade of the one example, these marks are placed in accord with what seems a standard marking location on knife blades of these times. According to "Knives and Scabbards" (Cowgill; DeNeergaard and Griffiths, London, 1987, p.20)...marks became increasingly common on 14th c knives and by end of century over half knives were marked". It is also noted makers of Cutlers Company were compulsory by the end of the 16th century.

It is interesting that this pair of marks (which I could not find in this reference nor others at this point) seem to be a bell, and rather than a 'T', perhaps a 'tau' cross. These kinds of marks and others with ecclesiastic connotations may be associated with the fact that churches were often responsible for weaponry and materials and blacksmiths and arms furbishers were part of these compounds. While these seem more in league with guild or cutlers type punzones, it is possible they may be in this category which was of course not recorded in such manner, and simply property type marks.
I am not sure how these might be compared, but it seemed worthy of note.

H.L.Peterson ("Daggers and Fighting Knives of the Western World", 1968, p.28, notes that in early years of the 15th century grips were flared into an inverted cone shape ending in a flat butt usually covered by a metal plate.
(as these seem to correspond to). In the early 16th it seems that the basal part of the hilt began to have extended 'arms' parallel to the blade, so these may be latter 15th, though transitions were varied according to regions etc.

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Old 2nd April 2017, 02:02 AM   #9
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I think these are pretty good for relic or excavated condition.
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Old 2nd April 2017, 03:41 AM   #10
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I think this might be it:
In 1095 an Order of Hospitallers of St. Antonite was formed by a French nobleman.
In 1441, an Antonine confraternity was founded in England. Its members wore an amulet of a tau cross with a bell beneath.
It was often key to have a place for a relic, such as the compartment in the pommel as a reliquary.
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Old 2nd April 2017, 06:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I think this might be it:
In 1095 an Order of Hospitallers of St. Antonite was formed by a French nobleman.
In 1441, an Antonine confraternity was founded in England. Its members wore an amulet of a tau cross with a bell beneath.
It was often key to have a place for a relic, such as the compartment in the pommel as a reliquary.


Very, very interesting! Thank you Jim!

The second I saw the marking, I thought that the main mark looks exactly like a Maltese Cross missing one arm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospi..._of_St._Anthony

I think you nailed it!
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Old 2nd April 2017, 08:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I think this might be it:
In 1095 an Order of Hospitallers of St. Antonite was formed by a French nobleman.
In 1441, an Antonine confraternity was founded in England. Its members wore an amulet of a tau cross with a bell beneath.
It was often key to have a place for a relic, such as the compartment in the pommel as a reliquary.

Jim

You have made an outstanding research! the identification of the Tau cross with the belt is a very important discovery. Also the cruciform section of the blade is not so common on ballock dagger.
Again, thank you very much for your interest and the time you have spent.
Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 2nd April 2017, 11:48 PM   #13
Jim McDougall
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Jean Luc and Marius thank you for the very kind words. I got really lucky on this, and it was pretty exciting to find such an esoteric connection and early date for this great example of 'ballock'.
Thank you for adding the illustrations and detail to augment this find, and so our archives will now have this material for future researches.
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Old 5th April 2017, 07:37 AM   #14
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Default Ballock daggers in art

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is probably the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century, It was painted sometime between 1412 and 1416 by the Limbourg brothers for their patron Jean, Duc de Berry. They left it unfinished at their (and the Duc’s) death in 1416. Charles I, Duc de Savoie commissioned Jean Colombe to finish the paintings between 1485-1489
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Old 5th April 2017, 08:04 AM   #15
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the full picture minus the less interesting arched section above, shows a bit more of the missing details, castles, armoured knights, and most important the full picture of the greyhound. (note also the two small paris hiltonesque doggies on the right side of the table.}
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