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Old 13th November 2011, 09:36 AM   #1
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Default Tough mark

Trying to identify marks - can't find them in rangers. First looks like famous british crown (Gardner R. – P. 252-254.), but very aproximately. Who dealt with such thing?
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Old 13th November 2011, 12:43 PM   #2
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Welcom to the forum,Denis
Yes, tough one indeed !
Can you post a close up picture of the inscription on the blade?
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Old 13th November 2011, 01:23 PM   #3
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Inscription is not very interesting - the false signature of hetman Ivan Mazepa
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Old 17th November 2011, 10:32 PM   #4
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Hi Denis,

Behind the signature there seems to a date, curiously enough in script: 1665.

Whether this is a real or a 'cabbalistic' date I can't tell.

Jim, could you say more? Your knowledge seems to be the broadest around here.

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Old 17th November 2011, 11:53 PM   #5
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Hi Michael,
Thank you so much for your kind note!

I have looked at this a number of times, and honestly between my glasses and my computer had not noticed a date. The pair of stamped markings are puzzling, and honestly I cannot see any similarity to a crown as Denis has suggested, nor any other particular image.
I do know of course that this appears to be an Ottoman type sabre, and that similar circular cartouches like these appear on some Ottoman blades. It would appear they are possibly arsenal acceptance or proof stamps, but they are not makers marks. A similar cartouche with illegible Arabic characters are seen on a nimcha blade in 17th century Algieria and placed on one side of the blade near the forte (Briggs, 1965).

The signature is as noted, spuriously, but perhaps patriotically placed with the name of Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa (1639-1709, born Jan Mazepa Kolodynski) who was with the cossacks of Left Bank Ukraine (Livorberezzhya) on the east bank of the Dnieper R. The term 'Left Bank' appeared around 1663. Mazepa was Hetman of the Left Bank from 1687-1708.
Apparantly he had fallen out ot favor with Russia, and at Poltava (1709) he sided with Charles XII of Sweden against Russia in fighting for Ukrainian independance. This resulted in a great deal of disdain against him by Russia of course as well as the Russian Orthodox Church and his alienation in Ukrainian history. During the 18th century, those who opposed the Russian government in Ukraine were known as Mazepintsy, or Mazepists. Perhaps this spurious signature alludes to this in a slogan type manner. The date by the same token perhaps 1663 or 1665 to the formation of the Left Bank Cossacks in the Ukraine. It is notable that Mazepa's father died in 1665, but uncertain of how they may apply to inscription on sabre.
As to the Ottoman sabre, Mazepa served as chancellor diplomatically to the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman weapons were also well known among the various Cossack hosts.

These are the only plausible clues I can offer to these features.

Denis, I hope I have somewhat accurately recounted this history, which of course you are much more qualified to describe. I am not familiar with the reference you note R. Gardner, can you say more?

In the attached, the map, in Russian, shows the Left Bank in gold; the coat of arms of Mazepa; illustration of Ivan.
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Old 19th November 2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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Jim very briefly and clearly identified the main stages of “the history of Mazeppa”. I'd add only that the powerful charisma "Cossack Prince" quickly grew beyond Central and Eastern Europe, reaching a truly global scale – for several centuries the most prominent artists of different countries and even continents dedicated Mazepa dozens of works of art (to cite a famous poem of Byron).
Influence of remarkable personality Hetman on politics was so powerful that it eventually formed around a kind of microcosm - "Mazepiana". To this day not subside political and public debate – in Russia the name of Mazepa is associated with political and personal betrayal. In Ukraine Mazepa considered a national hero.
About this saber.
Sample is stored now in Chernihiv Historical Museum. Sword comes from the collection of V. Tarnovsky - the famous collector and patron of the late nineteenth century. Tarnovsky believed, saber was the personal weapon of Mazepa. In 1990 weapon was attributed in the museum catalog, as a Turkish saber of XVIII century. Then for the first time put forward the assumption of Polish origin blade, though without any arguments.
Formally, the inscription on the blade "Іоанн Мазепа 1665" made in the tradition of Кшср- Rzeczpospolita' memorial swords in honest of famous rulers. However a form of writing letters has stylistic feature - a phrase made with Rus cursive, and imitated Hetman signature (such autographies are not found in the blade memorial traditions). Add as well as a simplified technique of it performance – the etching. As for date – 1665, it is now known that this year is due no important political or personal reasons for Mazepa for inscription (Jim even noticed the date of death of the Mazepa’ father!). So the motives which guided the authors' memorial dates are unknown to us - probably was about a hypothetical “date of manufacture” of weapons. For label, we see no compelling reason to doubt its later origin. Apparently "autograph" Mazepa was etched in Ukraine in the second half of the XIX c. to increase the cost of sword as collectibles. The creator of fraud probably was familiar with real signatures of Hetman universals (there are similar elements). Tarnowski was the victim of falsifiers, who are known to often deceived him.
My opinion: The form of the blade is typical of Western arms the second half XVIII-first half XIX c. Mounting of arm in its present form falls on the first half of XIX c. ("Mameluke" style). In Ukraine, saber could appear in the developments of Russian-French wars.
The appearance and content of mysterious signs, in my opinion, points to the Western European origin blade. However, Jim is right, signs do not look like production marks.
The only thing that I found: Gardner R. E. Small Arms Makers. A directory of fabricators of firearms, edged weapons, crossbows and polearms. - N.Y.: Bonanza Books, 1963. - P. 252-254. Esp. pos. 163, also 160-162.
Jim, thanks for your messages. It’s always a pleasure to communicate with you, as you can always offer unexpectedly broad view on the problem and give a new field for thought.
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