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Old 4th July 2017, 07:47 PM   #1
Marcus
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Default Knives from the San Giorgia auction

After a long wait, the pieces I purchased at the San Giorgia auction arrived. The auction photos and original thread is here:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22641

The auctioneers are based in Genoa and they feature a book titled "Il Costello Genovese". I got a copy of the book in the hope that it might include knives similar to the ones I bought. It did not, so I would assume that the three knives that appear to be Italian are not from Genoa.

As Fernado pointed out in the original thread, based on a figure in "Armi Bianche dal Mediebo all'Eta Moderna", this one with the hooked grip is probably from Sicily.
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Old 4th July 2017, 07:49 PM   #2
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Default Hunting knife

One picture shows a British-made “Bowie” knife produced for the American market for comparison.
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Old 4th July 2017, 07:51 PM   #3
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Default The Brigand’s knife

My best guess on the inscription remains:
"DO NOT TRUST ME IF YOU DON'T HAVE HEART"
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Old 4th July 2017, 07:54 PM   #4
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Default Plug bayonet

Unfortunately, the leather scabbard is beyond recovery. Fernando also pointed out in the original thread that Albacete daggers are often misidentified as plug bayonets, as is the case in a current Czerny auction. I provide a comparison picture. I estimate that the proper plug bayonet could be inserted about three inches down the bore of a 70 caliber musket with no more than 1 degree of wobble. You could not put the Albacete as much as an inch down the same bore and there would be at least 4 degrees of wobble.
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Old 5th July 2017, 12:27 AM   #5
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Default plug bayonet handles

I've always wondered about the functionality of these handles in terms of the ability to fit into a musket bore and stay in place well enough to allow the sort of movements necessary to fighting with fixed bayonets. The straight taper is somewhat understandable in that a bayonet can fit guns with bore diameters that may vary a bit from one to another (not to mention gunked up with powder fowling from repeated volley firing). But the design with medial bulge seems to be quite unstable as well, and demanding a very close matchup in diameters to allow it to stay fully and firmly seated, or even to enter the bore to any usable degree.

I've read in the literature that a lot of hunting daggers were hilted "in the style of" plug bayonets; the ones with ornamentation on them, especially featuring game animals, are probably such (as opposed to military-issue things meant to be used as bayonets).

Published in Daehnhardt/Gaier, ESPINGARDARIA PORTUGUESA, ARMURERIE LIEGEOISE (1975) are three magnificent hunting guns of royal provenance with hunting bayonets, all of plug type, photographed in place. However, the decoration on the knives doesn't match the workmanship on the barrels, in fact two of the guns appear to be a set due to identical muzzle design, yet the bayonets are totally different. Furthermore, the guns are all dated from the close of the 18th cent. to the opening of the 19th, when socket bayonets had been in military use for around a century.

Frankly, I'd be a tad nervous having to affix any blade with a tendency to wobble on the end of my gun in case a cornered boar decided to charge. Having some backup in the form of an assistant with a boar-spear sounds like a lot better bet, considering the vagaries of firepower from muzzle-loading flintlocks.
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Old 6th July 2017, 09:11 PM   #6
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Default dagger with hooked handle

Thinking about it some more, the dagger illustrated in "Armi Bianche dal Mediebo all'Eta Moderna"* is not really very similar to my Coltello. It has the grip on the top of what appears to be a single edged blade, while my piece, with a somewhat wide double-edged triangular blade almost reminds me of a Cinquedea, but not so wide.

*This title translates to “White Weapons from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age”. There are not really very many modern weapons covered and I guess “White” refers to White people, since the catalog does not cover Asian or African weapons.
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Old 6th July 2017, 11:47 PM   #7
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Actually, the inscription seems to mean: "I don't have a heart. Do not trust me". It is a warning for an enemy.
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Old 7th July 2017, 01:46 AM   #8
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Default translation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus

*This title translates to “White Weapons from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age”. There are not really very many modern weapons covered and I guess “White” refers to White people, since the catalog does not cover Asian or African weapons.


Marcus, the "white" arms in the title refers not to the ethnicity of their makers or users, not at all. The term "armi bianche" or "armes-blanches" to describe weapons with blades derives from an old usage, the whiteness being compared to shining steel. (the Ottomans called a type of wootz steel "baiaz stamboul" or Istanbul "white", in a similar vein). As opposed to the sooty blackness associated with the powder fouling in the firearms of olden times. In other languages, the term "cold" is used instead -- as "kholodnoye oruzhiye" in Russian, "lengbingqi" in Chinese for the class of edged weapons. So we see a similar usage, "cold steel", in modern English.
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Old 7th July 2017, 03:47 AM   #9
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Is the same in Castilian (Spanish). The term "armas blancas" means weapons made of steel (white=steel) In english "edged weapons" could include any weapon with an edge (like a bronze weapon). Not in Castiglian. But "armas blancas" do include maces or flails, which are not "edged", but also made of steel. Only taxonomies are applied on this matter, as far I can know, criteria based on materials, or criteria based on design or type of use.

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Old 7th July 2017, 12:54 PM   #10
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Definitely Albacete knives are not to be plugged into gun barrels; the only doubt resides in sellers (or others) assumptions, whether being due to ignorance or for commercial reasons.
Whereas hunting bayonets, plug bayonets, bayonetas de taco, bayonetas de caça, are all correlative; whether you used them for hunting or in combat; whether you mount them in your gun when you have to parry a wounded game and you have no time for reloading or for military strategy in battle.
I guess (guess) wobbling was not much of an issue, as grip taper would be made for, or adjusted to, different barrels bore (caliber) opening, in a way to completely stick before meeting its swell; actually narrations exist in that they get so stuck that sometimes it demands for some (even mechanic) strength to take them out the barrel.

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Old 7th July 2017, 01:21 PM   #11
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"armas blancas" in Spain, "armes blanches" in France and "Blankwaffen" in Germany are in my opinion all arms with blades of all materials.
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Old 7th July 2017, 03:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
"armas blancas" in Spain, "armes blanches" in France and "Blankwaffen" in Germany are in my opinion all arms with blades of all materials.
corrado26

As also "armas brancas" in Portugal. I guess you should consider the term in its different acceptations; coloquial, legal and etymologic. Over here they are currently considered as edged weapons, but legally they are all non firearms weapons ... those not only for offense/defense but also for domestic use. On the other hand, the term may (may) have its origin in the 'white' shade steel of sword blades, presumably of Moorish origin and brought to the Peninsula.


.

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Old 8th July 2017, 02:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
As also "armas brancas" in Portugal. I guess you should consider the term in its different acceptations; coloquial, legal and etymologic. Over here they are currently considered as edged weapons, but legally they are all non firearms weapons ... those not only for offense/defense but also for domestic use. On the other hand, the term may (may) have its origin in the 'white' shade steel of sword blades, presumably of Moorish origin and brought to the Peninsula.


.


Actually, it is the old debate about if the popular (or vulgar, as we say in Spanish) use of some word and its associated meaning should consacrate its valiidty and inclusion in the official languaje, substituting the original word-meaning, which was the proper one. It involves also the subject of the corruption of language, due ignorance, external influences (from other languages), or some other cause. The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (Real Academia de la Lengua Española), the ultimate authority on the subject of the Spanish language and of the different meanings of the words, defines "arma blanca" as an "offensive weapon whose blade is made from iron or steel, like the sword":

http://dle.rae.es/?id=3a3iLLv

Now, one of the greatest Spanish authorities on the matter, Dn. Enrique de Leguina, in his Glossary of Voices of Armory (Glosario de Voces de Armería, Librería de Felipe Rodríguez, Madrid, España, 1912), on page 85, defines "armas blancas" also as those made from iron or steel. You can download the book here:


https://archive.org/details/glosariodevocesd00leguuoft

This is also the meaning given to this words by the cultured Spanish-speaking specialists on the matter, stricto senso. Of course, it can have also, lato sensu, on the street, the meaning of any metal weapon not beign fireweapon, or even any weapon beign a non-firingweapon, but apart from beign vague, one of the rules to define a concept, or to formulate a definition, is to enumerate positively what it is, and not what it is not. "Armas blancas" is a very precise and specific concept in Spanish. We have an equivalent for "edged weapons", which is "armas de corte", which includes all edged weapons, even those made from flint or obsidian, but not maces, flails, macanas (those are called "contundent weapons", but are "armas blancas" only if made of iron or steel), etc. If not made from steel or iron, what would be the case to call them "blancas-bianche-white"?

And if this a matter of controvery, alow me to rephrase: "Is the same in Castilian (Spanish). The term "armas blancas" properly means weapons made of steel..."

Fer, "armas" also designated the armour of a knight, including his shield. A knight just made or "armoured" could not had the right to use personal badge-emblem-ensign over his armour and shield, as he had not commited yet any feat. So the term "armas blancas" in Spanish-Castilian originally meant the armour and shield carried without badge-emblem-ensign by knight. Nothing over his armour or shield made of iron and/or steel (which is blanco-white), thus "armas blancas", a knight with "armas blancas". And by extension, a little latter the term was applied to his steel weapons. Please consult Enrique Leguina.

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Old 8th July 2017, 05:41 PM   #14
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Caro Gonzalo

I do have Leguina works, including the one you mention. I am also aware of the white/blancas/brancas arms/armas interpretations in the various contexts, namely those in current dictionaries as also in legal classifications. The portuguese dictionary reads: object of polished steel, which serves to cut or perforate. The portuguese arms law reads: all object or portable instrument provided with a blade or other cutting or perforating surface of length equal or superior to 10 cms. or with a cutting/perforating part, as well as destined to throw blades, arrows or bolts, independently from its dimensons. The bow figures in an article alone but is also included in the white arms legl concept.
Further coloquial interpretations are also aknowledged, like the one you mention being the 'novel' knight without 'arms/insigns' in his shield, a specific concept, notwithstanding other rules like those of the Templars, who never bore heraldic insigns but only the typical cross. The term (white) blanco can extend so far as meaning 'target' in castillian.
But if i may and recuperating the real issue that i have approached, the question is: why is the word 'white' intrinsic to edged weapons. I have previously said that, the term was due to the white of the blade steel and may (may) have been brought over by the Moors. Well, it seems as i was only wrong in one of the premises. I went back consulting a couple sources and the assumption i found is that :

As from the XVIII century, with the development of the pistol, the haquebut and the cannon, the concept 'arm' gained two sub-species: firearms, which used the energy of gunpowder, and the white arms, generaly equiped with a blade, which depended from human arms strength.
It then happens that, the Bluteau dictionary (1720) distinguishes firearms from white arms, the late called as such, he says, "because they were of whitened or silvered steel" (usefull to remember that white comes from the germanic blank, "shining, polished, white", which combines perfectly with the looking of steel)
The expression white arm, therefore, is nothing more than one of the first examples of retronímia (or retroformation, as preferred by some)


Obviously this leaves a gap, in that early kights armour wad also called white arms ... or was it not?

Abrazo


.

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Old 9th July 2017, 06:28 AM   #15
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Maybe there is not a real contradiction. I don't know for sure in which moment the term extended from the blank armour to the offensive weapons in Spanish language. I doubt anyone knows. Or where this term begin to be used. It has been the matter of many controversies. We agree that it is related to the aspect of the polished steel. It could be earlier than the 18th Century, and the time-lapse would be closed. Or, as it is implied in your post, it could be adopter latter. But maybe the advent of the fireweapons, as said in your text, was a decisive element in this change of meaning (armour-to-weapons), but happenig earlier than the 18th Century. The fact is that the term, at less in castilian, was used first to the blank armour of the novel knight, as attested in the literature. The phrase "armado de punta en blanco" ("white armored from top to bottom", though this phrase could be better translated, since is a difficult old expression) is also a phrase designating a knight covered in armour from the head to the feet. Which means a knight with all the complete defensive and offensive weapons, prepared to battle.

As for the legal terminology, sadly too often legislators are not unusually people very ignorant about the correct terminologý applied to weaponry...or other matters...


Un abrazo
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Old 9th July 2017, 06:33 PM   #16
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Default A better reading ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
... We agree that it is related to the aspect of the polished steel. It could be earlier than the 18th Century,...

Absolutey. Is easy to conclude that, in the source i quoted, the person expanding on the white arms concept adopted the date of the dictionary published by Bluteau as being date of the term origin, which is wrong. Bluteau was explaining the term, not creating it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
... But maybe the advent of the fireweapons, as said in your text, was a decisive element in this change of meaning (armour-to-weapons)...

This would have been the cause for the above confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
... The fact is that the term, at less in castilian, was used first to the blank armour of the novel knight, as attested in the literature...

I can't avoid looking at this from a different angle. I take it that, if the novel knight had no symbols in his shield and vests, those were considered 'blank' (for nothing). In this case, having no arms, would mean having no heraldry ensigns, as in escudo de armas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
...The phrase "armado de punta en blanco" ("white armored from top to bottom", though this phrase could be better translated, since is a difficult old expression) is also a phrase designating a knight covered in armour from the head to the feet. Which means a knight with all the complete defensive and offensive weapons, prepared to battle..

Nothing wrong with the translation; only that its meaning ceased being applied to knights and nowadays is attributed to those nobles and peasants well dressed for a cerimony.
Bluteau is very precise: armado de ponto em banco = armado da cabeça até aos pés de armas brancas = Undique armatus. A capite ad calcem armis ... He cites well known Roman personalities like Tito Livio and Tacito using such terminology, which brings the term back to the age of Christ, something i would never realize.
Rafael Bluteau (1638-1734), a religious born in England and died in Lisbon, was a great lexicographer of the portuguese language, and was the author of the monumental Vocabulario Portugues e Latino, a ten tome work (8200 pages).
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Old 10th July 2017, 03:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I can't avoid looking at this from a different angle. I take it that, if the novel knight had no symbols in his shield and vests, those were considered 'blank' (for nothing). In this case, having no arms, would mean having no heraldry ensigns, as in escudo de armas.


It is correct, Fernando. But the term also implies that nothing is over the white steel, no ensigns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Bluteau is very precise: armado de ponto em banco = armado da cabeça até aos pés de armas brancas = Undique armatus. A capite ad calcem armis ... He cites well known Roman personalities like Tito Livio and Tacito using such terminology, which brings the term back to the age of Christ, something i would never realize.
Rafael Bluteau (1638-1734), a religious born in England and died in Lisbon, was a great lexicographer of the portuguese language, and was the author of the monumental Vocabulario Portugues e Latino, a ten tome work (8200 pages).


Very interesting, I didn't know this source. I will see if I can find that work. Thank you for the reference.

Un abrazo
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Old 10th July 2017, 04:03 PM   #18
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Very heavy stuff; if you wish, send me a PM with your email address and i can try and send you a couple tomes each time. Maybe it works.

Abrazo
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Old 10th July 2017, 05:32 PM   #19
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Thank you very much for your undreserved offer, Fer. I´ll send you a PM.

Abrazo
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Old 23rd July 2017, 05:28 PM   #20
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Default Brigands

I would like to invite comments on the portraits/caricatures on the brigand’s dagger (with a 14.5 inch blade, I would almost consider it a short sword). The pictures on the two sides appear to be the same person, so I wonder if they are the owner. Also I wonder about the cartouche with the initials "GGV". Would GGV be the maker or the owner? In the picture with the character standing with musket and sword, what is he holding with his left hand? What are the things spilling out of it?
During the long period of history when the Italian peninsula was a patchwork mosaic of rival city-states and warring kingdoms, conflicts between the states were often settled by troops of mercenaries. It is a thin line between an unemployed mercenary and a brigand. I was interested to learn that in 1860 the viceroy of Naples attempted to raise and army by amalgamating the numerous brigand corps in South Italy to oppose the armies that were supporting Victor Emanuel.
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Old 24th July 2017, 02:37 PM   #21
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Hi Marcus,
The initials GGV would certainly be those of the owner; i don't see makers marks being engraved in such manner ... and in such place. The person depicted my well be a close to real portrait of the said owner; or just a symbolic atempt to portray a famous person of the period, apparently a high ranking officer. There was a preoccupation to make the musket also look real; bayonet, percussion lock and all.
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Old 24th April 2020, 12:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
I would like to invite comments on the portraits/caricatures on the brigand’s dagger (with a 14.5 inch blade, I would almost consider it a short sword). The pictures on the two sides appear to be the same person, so I wonder if they are the owner. Also I wonder about the cartouche with the initials "GGV". Would GGV be the maker or the owner? In the picture with the character standing with musket and sword, what is he holding with his left hand? What are the things spilling out of it?
During the long period of history when the Italian peninsula was a patchwork mosaic of rival city-states and warring kingdoms, conflicts between the states were often settled by troops of mercenaries. It is a thin line between an unemployed mercenary and a brigand. I was interested to learn that in 1860 the viceroy of Naples attempted to raise and army by amalgamating the numerous brigand corps in South Italy to oppose the armies that were supporting Victor Emanuel.


Just a stab in the dark - Giuseppe Garibaldi?
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