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Old 14th September 2012, 07:15 AM   #1
satsujinken
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Default Viribus Unitis (Austro-hungarian Sword)

Hello all

this is my second new thread here. Just want to share a unique story about this sword, which is now in my possession

according to Chladne Zbrane v Habsburske Monarchii - (Edged Weapons of Habsburg Monarchy), page 107, this sword is a sword of Austrian Higher Officials model 1878 :

details (from books above) :
Single edged sword, straight blade with fuller on both sides
wooden grip with mother-of-pearl handles
brass hilt with monogram FJI (Emperor Francis Joseph 1) and with slogan VIRIBUS UNITIS on lower ferrule
Lion's head shaped pommel. Bar Basket in form of snake with sprigs
Counterguard with Austrian Coat of Arms on outer side
Black leather scabbard with brass mouthpiece
Blade is solingen made, and from carbon steel, with chromium plating

now this is how I acquired the sword. It is in good condition. Unfortunately without original sheath, so previous owner made new one using leather

anyhow, the sword is now in much better condition as I have restored it perhaps into 80% of its former glory (restoration is still on the way)

hope you like it, any comments are welcome

Donny
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Old 14th September 2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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according to the previous owner, this sword was found in heap of junks dated from pre 1945 era, and already found without sheath

he made replacement sheath from leather and it's been hanging on the wall for the last 20 - 30 years before I laid my eyes on it

oh I forgot to mention that I am wondering how on earth did this sword, which belongs to another era ended up in Indonesia - so far away from Austria
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Old 14th September 2012, 02:10 PM   #3
fernando
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Default VIRIBUS UNITIS

Hi Donny. Welcome to the forum .
Nice sword.
Did you explore the term VIRIBUS UNITIS?

http://croatian-treasure.com/viribus.html

Would the inscription in your sword be connected to this ship?
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Old 14th September 2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi Donny. Welcome to the forum .
Nice sword.
Did you explore the term VIRIBUS UNITIS?

http://croatian-treasure.com/viribus.html

Would the inscription in your sword be connected to this ship?

Interesting...of course the article also states The "Viribus Unitis" was also the motto of Franz Joseph I, so it might also be related to his court in some way.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Joseph_I_of_Austria
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Old 14th September 2012, 04:56 PM   #5
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Actually, if you look on the flip side of this ferrule, it looks like the initials F.J. 1 are embossed there.
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Old 14th September 2012, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Interesting...of course the article also states The "Viribus Unitis" was also the motto of Franz Joseph I ...

Good catch David.
Obviously the ship was named after Franz Joseph's motto.
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Old 14th September 2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Actually, if you look on the flip side of this ferrule, it looks like the initials F.J. 1 are embossed there.

So says Donny in his first post .
Maybe officer's swords of the period had both Emperor's initials and motto .
... or officers of the ship's garrison ?
Something not 'so hard' to confirm !
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Old 14th September 2012, 10:35 PM   #8
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Viribus Unitis was an official motto of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: United Forces.
The same meaning as their two-headed egle.
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Old 15th September 2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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I thought this was Franz Joseph's personal motto
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Old 17th September 2012, 01:51 AM   #10
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I just wanted to note how delightful it is to see a weapon posted by someone along with details of thier own research and observations!!!!
Absolutely brilliant ! Well done Donny, thank you so much!
This prompted good return and informative exchange on the item by others. Good stuff guys.
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Old 17th September 2012, 04:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
So says Donny in his first post .
Maybe officer's swords of the period had both Emperor's initials and motto .
... or officers of the ship's garrison ?
Something not 'so hard' to confirm !


Hi Fernando

in the book I mentioned above, there are many swords, which is more elaborate than mine and all bearing the same emblem of double headed eagle and FJI monogram.

At first I believe that this sword is navy formal dress sword - based on the ship with the same name (VIRIBUS UNITIS) but the book said otherwise, and only stated that this is formal dress sword for higher officials, with no specific mention to navy or army.

the only problem is the Empire is no longer exist and relics are scattered worldwide, so information is very limited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I just wanted to note how delightful it is to see a weapon posted by someone along with details of thier own research and observations!!!!
Absolutely brilliant ! Well done Donny, thank you so much!
This prompted good return and informative exchange on the item by others. Good stuff guys.


thank you, Jim
I try my best to understand my collection and gather information for educational purposes, even though the resources here is limited - in light that this piece of history may not be forgotten and perhaps can be studied properly

and I am still wondering how on earth this piece of history from empire no longer exist stranded here in Indonesia, so far away from Austria
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Old 17th September 2012, 02:42 PM   #12
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Donny, that is exactly to attitude and approach that I sincerely wish was more prevalent in the world of arms collecting! The weapons are the sentinels of the history they have seen, and altogether too many simply match the weapon to a picture in a book, classify it, and hang it on the wall.
Well done!

As to how it ended up in Indonesia, there are many possibilities, but without sound provenance only speculations can be offered. Naturally with the profound trade internationally which focused on the East Indies, there are many situations involving diplomatic and trade relations, and probably circumstances which would align with the period of the sword. Then of course, an item might have simply been brought back by someone who had contact with another and acquired the sword as an item of interest or curiosity.
There are countless cases of items turning up in completely incongruent circumstances vast distances away, but the global nature of trade routes, travel and networking is by far not a modern phenomenon.
Whatever the case, it is a wonderful sword, and again, thank you for sharing it here.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 17th September 2012, 03:13 PM   #13
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This is an Austro-Hungarian civil servants' parade or court sword. Swords like this are frequently encountered on the market. The original scabbard had two gilt brass fittings, the top locked had a button on the front, to be worn on a shoulder sling.
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Old 18th September 2012, 08:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry
This is an Austro-Hungarian civil servants' parade or court sword. Swords like this are frequently encountered on the market. The original scabbard had two gilt brass fittings, the top locked had a button on the front, to be worn on a shoulder sling.


this is another enlightenment ... thank you Dmitry

is there any information on where I can purchase the scabbard ?? as mine is losing its scabbard
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Old 19th September 2012, 03:47 AM   #15
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I would advise to just leave it the way it is. It would be difficult to find a period scabbard that would fit your blade.

This company can make you a new scabbard. To do a good job, I'd assume they would probably need to have your sword sent to them.
http://www.crisp-and-sons.com/aboutus.htm
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Old 19th September 2012, 05:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry
I would advise to just leave it the way it is. It would be difficult to find a period scabbard that would fit your blade.

This company can make you a new scabbard. To do a good job, I'd assume they would probably need to have your sword sent to them.
http://www.crisp-and-sons.com/aboutus.htm


thanks, Dmitry

really appreciate the information, but I am afraid that it's gonna cost me too much to send the sword to them
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