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Old 27th January 2018, 01:28 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default Early Hungarian Sabre

Hi Guys

I am trying to find out more about this sword for a friend who collects Austro-Hungarian Edged weapons, but at 82 refuses to go on the internet. The dealer who sold him the sword in 1983 described it as “The sword is 36 ½” with 31 ¾” blade. It is a Mameluke hilted sabre or shamshir with a curved blade with two fullers. At the forte of the blade there is an ornate standing figure of a sword carrying hussar about 3 ½” in height above which is the inscription “RINIERE AUTMO HUMGARIA”. This inscription is in script and it is possible that I have misread on or two of the letters. Above this inscription is an engraved figure of a lion (passant). All the foregoing are on both sides of the blade.

The hilt consists of an iron crossguard of Mameluke form and two piece horn grip covered with leather. The scabbard is wood covered with hand tooled leather and has two suspension loops. There is some splitting of the leather about 3” from the bottom end. The remainder of the sword and scabbard is in good untouched condition.”

My apologies for the quality of the pictures but this is the best we have.

What I am hoping is that someone may specialise in this area and be able to tell me more about this sword, particularly some indication of age.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Old 27th January 2018, 10:39 AM   #2
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The blade is highly likely Hungarian, but the entire sword is not , IMHO.
It strikes me as coming from one of the Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire, and I would bet on Iraq.
Hungarian blades and their local imitations were hugely popular in that part of the world.
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Old 27th January 2018, 11:42 AM   #3
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VINCER AUT MO HUNGARIA; roughly translated from Latin as 'Victory for My Hungary'.
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Old 27th January 2018, 12:11 PM   #4
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Looks like an Arab Saif with a Hungarian ”trophy” blade to me. These links may be of interest:

http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sh...Hungarian-blade

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/18147/lot/7/

It’s not impossible that the sword could have been used in the Balkans.

Not sure what the lion passant symbol is doing there as typically the Habsburg eagle was used on these blades. A lion is a heraldic symbol of the Kingdom of Bohemia, but was also the symbol of Sultan Baybars founder of the Mamluk state. I can’t see any details in the pictures of the blade.
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Old 27th January 2018, 03:32 PM   #5
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Old 27th January 2018, 07:09 PM   #6
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Very similar swords have been discussed here on the forum previously. Please see: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=hungaria where I can now see the lion motif.
and: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12450
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Old 28th January 2018, 04:20 AM   #7
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Default Hugarian Sabre

Hi Guys

Thanks for the information and in particular the links to previous posts. I will print these out for Alex so he can read them and make his own conclusion with regard to this sword. Thanks again

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Old 28th January 2018, 06:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
VINCER AUT MO HUNGARIA; roughly translated from Latin as 'Victory for My Hungary'.


Say, wouldn't your English version be VICTORIA HUNGARIAE MEAE?

A Polish saber in my collection is inscribed VINCERE AUT MORI and I've seen others with the same inscription including the country name ...POLONIA. Conquer or die for Poland, in such case.
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Old 28th January 2018, 09:36 AM   #9
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Latin was very popular in Hungary and Poland as these are Roman Catholic countries where it’s often still used in church service. In addition, Hungary was part of the Roman Empire when it was first part of the Province of Illyricum and later Pannonia. So you can find remains from this time in Hungary which has an absolutely fascinating history. It’s believed that Marcus Aurelius wrote at least part of his book Meditations in Aquincum (near Budapest) when fighting barbarians in the area.

Latin in these countries also had a renewed following in the classicist revival in the 19thC. Vincere aut mori (to win or die) was another motto common on Hungarian but also Polish sabre blades. Sabres had an almost cult like following in Poland where many of them are also engraved with different patriotic texts. Yes Polonia is Latin for Poland.
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Old 28th January 2018, 11:27 AM   #10
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I agree with Victrix and would suggest that the motto is abbreviated for:
VINCERE AUT MORI PRO HUNGARIA - Conquer or Die for Hungary.
Neil
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Old 28th January 2018, 11:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Say, wouldn't your English version be VICTORIA HUNGARIAE MEAE?

A Polish saber in my collection is inscribed VINCERE AUT MORI and I've seen others with the same inscription including the country name ...POLONIA. Conquer or die for Poland, in such case.

Well, i was selling this "at cost price"; only caring to figure out the inscription contents, including misspellings and mistranslations.
The wording in the blade, as quoted, was brought from a source in that the interpreter, showing a 19th c. Arabian shamshir mounted with a Hungarian blade from the 1700s, gave it such translation, mentioning that it was a rough one ... maybe then too rough though.
In any case the construction of the phrase in both blades appears to have been both condensed and expanded, as arranged by the smith to give it a nationalist touch, as an approach to "Win or die for Hungary".

Actually the motto VINCERE AUT MORI, more preciously expressed as AUT VINCERE AUT MORI, would be a pledge familiar to VICTORIA AUT MORS (Victory or death) a motto seen in Heraldry.
I wounder whether these Latin mottos were a product of 'contemporary' fashion that not originated in early days, like by Romans.

And by the way, in my lingo we write Polonia and Hungria.


.
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Old 28th January 2018, 11:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilUK
I agree with Victrix and would suggest that the motto is abbreviated for:
VINCERE AUT MORI PRO HUNGARIA - Conquer or Die for Hungary.
Neil

Just as said, Neil. It took me some time to put up my post !
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Old 28th January 2018, 12:50 PM   #13
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To me, this looks clearly like a Solingen blade... possibly engraved in Hungary. Pretty much the same "Hungarian" blade (made in Solingen) like the one in the Arabian Shamshir in the Ethnographic section:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17415

As far as I know there were NO blade making centers in Hungary and ALL the "Hungarian" blades were made in Solingen or other places in Germany and Austria. As far as I know... but that doesn't stretch too far.

Does anybody know of any proof there were blade making centers in Hungary?

Does anybody know of a Hungarian swordsmith?
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Old 28th January 2018, 03:28 PM   #14
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I think the production of swordblades in Europe until the 19thC was concentrated to a relatively small number of centres since the iron age and possibly even earlier. It was ardous and expensive to transport rocks and minerals over long distances. Metallurgic knowledge was kept a closely guarded secret. Trades were tightly controlled monopolies by law. Swordblades and weapons were easily imported to Hungary via river Danube from Passau, across land from Styria, and across the Adriatic from Northern Italy to Dalmatia. There were cutlers and furbishers locally to finish the goods to domestic uses and tastes.

Hungary (within its current borders at least) is a relatively flat country and open to invasions. It was devastated in the Ottoman wars with a noticeable effect on demographics. Buda was conquered by the Ottomans twice in 1526 and 1529 and occupied in 1541 which completely changed the demographics of the city. It was taken from the Ottomans only in 1686 by the Holy League and the rest of Hungary regained its independence only in 1718. It took a long time to recover from the devastation of war and parts of the country had to be resettled with foreign settlers from Western Europe.

Last edited by Victrix : 28th January 2018 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 28th January 2018, 05:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Latin was very popular in Hungary and Poland as these are Roman Catholic countries where it’s often still used in church service.

Latin in these countries also had a renewed following in the classicist revival in the 19thC.


The popular use of religious/patriotic slogans in Latin on sword blades predates the 19th cent. revival. You see this going all the way back into the 17th cent.

As has been pointed out in previous posts, the blade in question was not necessarily made in either Poland or Hungary. And it's been mentioned that manufacture of sword blades for the mass market tended to be centered in a few areas, with export sales to other regions and countries. Solingen was of course a major location, and it was in a region that was heavily affected by the struggles and after-effects of the Protestant Reformation. As you may recall, Martin Luther and contemporaries emphasized contemporary, local idiom (German) in preference to Latin for religious tracts and the conduct of church services.

Terje Norheim, in the article "A Euro-Japanese Sword in the National Museum in Copenhagen" ( Vaabenhistoriske Aarboger XVI ) discusses the badly written Latin inscriptions on a saber blade thought to be of Dutch or German manufacture, 17th cent.
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Old 28th January 2018, 05:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando

Actually the motto VINCERE AUT MORI, more preciously expressed as AUT VINCERE AUT MORI,




.


Thanks, Fernando, for clarifying with the complete phrase.
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Old 28th January 2018, 06:31 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
The popular use of religious/patriotic slogans in Latin on sword blades predates the 19th cent. revival. You see this going all the way back into the 17th cent.

As has been pointed out in previous posts, the blade in question was not necessarily made in either Poland or Hungary. And it's been mentioned that manufacture of sword blades for the mass market tended to be centered in a few areas, with export sales to other regions and countries. Solingen was of course a major location, and it was in a region that was heavily affected by the struggles and after-effects of the Protestant Reformation. As you may recall, Martin Luther and contemporaries emphasized contemporary, local idiom (German) in preference to Latin for religious tracts and the conduct of church services.

Terje Norheim, in the article "A Euro-Japanese Sword in the National Museum in Copenhagen" ( Vaabenhistoriske Aarboger XVI ) discusses the badly written Latin inscriptions on a saber blade thought to be of Dutch or German manufacture, 17th cent.


Not sure that I understand your point/points?
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Old 28th January 2018, 08:29 PM   #18
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I think the lion is actually meant to be 'couchant' or possibly 'dormant' (lying or sleeping). Either way it is a heraldic device that represents peaceful intent, but ferocity and power if that intent is thwarted. Sometimes it is said to represent almost the opposite i.e. the ability of the device holder to calm such power and ferocity by some form of saintliness. I would guess in this case it is the former. It does not need to represent any particular institution or family, altho' of course, it could do.
Best wishes
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Old 28th January 2018, 11:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
To me, this looks clearly like a Solingen blade... possibly engraved in Hungary. Pretty much the same "Hungarian" blade (made in Solingen) like the one in the Arabian Shamshir in the Ethnographic section:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17415

As far as I know there were NO blade making centers in Hungary and ALL the "Hungarian" blades were made in Solingen or other places in Germany and Austria. As far as I know... but that doesn't stretch too far.

Does anybody know of any proof there were blade making centers in Hungary?

Does anybody know of a Hungarian swordsmith?


Just because we don’t know of Hungarian swordsmiths doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. In my previous post I tried to explain that Hungary probably doesn’t have a competitive advantage in blade production compared to other locations rich in iron ore and steel etc so perhaps smarter to import sword blades. Also I tried to explain how Hungary was misfortunate to be ravaged by near constant warfare for not decades but CENTURIES. Most of Hungary was occupied by the Ottomans and virtually ceased to exist. It’s quite difficult to maintain manufacturing traditions under these circumstances. It seems there were swordsmiths in Hungary but unlikely these could rival peers in Solingen, Passau, Toledo, Damascus, etc: http://www.nemzetijelkepek.hu/onkor...alinka_en.shtml as an example
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Old 29th January 2018, 09:43 PM   #20
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Yes, there were swordsmiths in Hungary, but were they producing their own blades or were simply making the swords with foreign blades?!

So I reformulate my question:

Does anybody know about the existence in the 16-19 centuries of Hungarian BLADEsmiths?!
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Old 30th January 2018, 10:58 AM   #21
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That there are descriptions out there referencing XVI century Hungarian blades mounted with Ottoman hilts later in the XVIII century, it is a fact. Whether such descriptions are deceiving, may be another fact.
Marius you have a PM.
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Old 30th January 2018, 02:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
That there are descriptions out there referencing XVI century Hungarian blades mounted with Ottoman hilts later in the XVIII century, it is a fact. Whether such descriptions are deceiving, may be another fact.
Marius you have a PM.


Yes, I know but...

"Hungarian" blades were called "Hungarian" because either were imported by the Ottomans from Hungary, or because they were engraved & sometimes mounted in Hungary.

It is somehow similar to how wootz has become known as "Damascus steel" but there is no single evidence that a even a single wootz blade was entirely made in Damascus... and almost all of them came from Persia with a few comming from India.

Has anybody seen a blade punched with a Hungarian smith's mark?!

Is there any evidence that a Hungarian smith mark ever existed?!
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Old 30th January 2018, 05:58 PM   #23
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In this particular case I would call it Hungarian only because it’s written ”Hungaria” on it. I don’t think it was made in Hungary or even intended to be used there. I never saw such a blade mounted on a Hungarian sabre used locally and would love to see one. Also when I see very patriotic things I think of nationalism which was arguably predominantly a 19thC thing (the Revolutions of 1848, German unification, etc) spilling into the 20thC. My impression is that people in the 17thC didn’t think in terms of nation states but fought for their God/king/commander/city/comrades/family/money. So when I see blades with very nationalistic slogans I think of 19thC. I would’t be surprised if these blades were produced in Solingen and marketed as ”Hungarian” to peoples who admired the fighting abilities of the Hungarian hussar and wanted to buy whatever equipment they were believed to have used.

We had a similar discussion about Portuguese swords, I believe. Is a sword produced in Spain and then bought and used in Portugal a Portuguese sword? Is a sword made in Solingen in Spanish style and then bought and used in Spain a Spanish sword?
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Old 30th January 2018, 07:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
... Is a sword produced in Spain and then bought and used in Portugal a Portuguese sword? Is a sword made in Solingen in Spanish style and then bought and used in Spain a Spanish sword?

Isn't a sword which blade was produced in Spain with a Portuguese motto, to be bought and mounted with a Portuguese hilt, a Portuguese sword ? Isn't a sword which blade was forged in Solingen with a Spanish motto, to be bought and mounted with a Spanish hilt, a Spanish sword ?
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