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Old 28th November 2020, 03:19 PM   #1
cornelistromp
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Default katzbalger/landsknecht's sword found in river Meuse 1973

recently received this special katzbalger.

The sword was found in 1973 in the river meuse near roermond.
was in the Visser-collection, hereafter the famous San Diego, California Collection and now ( luckily) back in the Netherlands.
The length of the sword is 117 cm, the blade 93 cm and the grip 19 cm. The pommel is onion-shaped and decorated with woven bands and has the characteristic for the 16th century flower-shaped brass blade-button on the pommel.
With a grip of 19cm it can be handled with two hands, so it is slightly larger than a one-and-a-half-hander. its a big 1 1/2 hander or a small two hander.
a katzbalger is very rare in itself, but this one in particular , it has a cross-guard shaped like a snake, which twists and bites its own tail, here the characteristic katzbalger hilt is formed.
The snake biting its own tail is a common motif in the 16th century. The time of the Renaissance, a time when the tail-eater was frequently depicted in paintings and on and around sculptures and statues. This made it even more a symbol for rebirth (= literally renaissance). And stands for eternal repetitive life.

the Landsknecht's sword can be dated somewhere between 1520-1530.
I know a second copy of this hilt shape, without snake, I have to look up the details.
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 29th November 2020 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 28th November 2020, 03:38 PM   #2
fernando
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Great sword.
Thanks much for sharing .
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Old 28th November 2020, 10:59 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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Pretty fascinating sword, and as mentioned, the snake biting its tail is a well known allegorical symbol of the 16th century. I always think of the 'ouroboros' serpent (tail eating) from alchemical lore and included in the dogma of the Gnostics, where loosely the meaning, 'the all is one' etc. are associated.

In these times where artists like Albrecht Durer and Hans Holbein heavily used allegorical themes in their works, and magic, occult and other esoteric themes were prevalent, it is interesting to see this kind of symbolism in the motif on weapons.

The katzbalger was developed in 16th century and used through 17th, intended as an arming sword for pikemen, archers and crossbowmen. The guards were typically the well known 'S' guard or the 'figure 8' as in this one.

With its being found in the river Meuse, near Roermond, in Netherlands, and as noted, the estimated period of the sword c. 1520s-30s it is notable that this area was involved in the Hanseatic League with of course heavy trade traffic. It seems reasonable that the sword may well have seen use in the Italian wars and ended up in these regions.

With the allegorical theme it is tempting to wonder if the groups or orders that likely existed in these contexts involving trade or quasi military organization might have some connection to this kind of theme.

Perhaps that it is larger than the usual arming katzbalger, yet of course smaller than the zweihander so well known with Landsknechts, suggests either intended use for combatants in between or may have had some bearing sword type potential.

Attached the Ouroboros of alchemical association.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall : 29th November 2020 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 30th November 2020, 09:23 PM   #4
ulfberth
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Congratulations with your rare sword Jasper!
Indeed a katzbalger in itself is already very rare, but a two hander-hand and a half katzbalger is... extremely rare, very very few of these around.
kind regards
Ulfberth
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Old 30th November 2020, 10:05 PM   #5
cornelistromp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
Congratulations with your rare sword Jasper!
Indeed a katzbalger in itself is already very rare, but a two hander-hand and a half katzbalger is... extremely rare, very very few of these around.
kind regards
Ulfberth


thank you and as we discussed the last time we met, I definitely love rust.

kind regards
Jasper
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Old 1st December 2020, 09:19 AM   #6
ulfberth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
thank you and as we discussed the last time we met, I definitely love rust.

kind regards
Jasper



I thought this would be something for you, it has everything you like.
Its in as found condition, its your favorite type and on top of that found in the river Meuse, what more could a man want!
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Old 14th January 2021, 10:09 PM   #7
Forja Fontenla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
recently received this special katzbalger.

The sword was found in 1973 in the river meuse near roermond.
was in the Visser-collection, hereafter the famous San Diego, California Collection and now ( luckily) back in the Netherlands.
The length of the sword is 117 cm, the blade 93 cm and the grip 19 cm. The pommel is onion-shaped and decorated with woven bands and has the characteristic for the 16th century flower-shaped brass blade-button on the pommel.
With a grip of 19cm it can be handled with two hands, so it is slightly larger than a one-and-a-half-hander. its a big 1 1/2 hander or a small two hander.
a katzbalger is very rare in itself, but this one in particular , it has a cross-guard shaped like a snake, which twists and bites its own tail, here the characteristic katzbalger hilt is formed.
The snake biting its own tail is a common motif in the 16th century. The time of the Renaissance, a time when the tail-eater was frequently depicted in paintings and on and around sculptures and statues. This made it even more a symbol for rebirth (= literally renaissance). And stands for eternal repetitive life.

the Landsknecht's sword can be dated somewhere between 1520-1530.
I know a second copy of this hilt shape, without snake, I have to look up the details.

What a beautiful piece!
You have no idea of their weight?
Eduardo
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