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Old 5th February 2010, 02:01 PM   #1
BerberDagger
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Default dussage german sword

Hello,
Recently I'm studying about german dussage Sword ... I would ask the forum members if they know books or internet site where can I find information?

Thanks to all
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Old 8th February 2010, 03:33 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Hi Berber,
Interesting question, and its good to have you here on this side

As in many terms out of the old literature, this is one of those broadly used terms that seems to have come out of Hungarian/Bohemian regions (possibly from the Czech word 'tesak') for a heavy curved blade weapon in abiut the 16th century. In Germany the peasantry often fashioned these out of a single piece of iron and simply placed an opening in the end to serve as a handle. ("Schools and Masters of Fencing" Egerton Castle, p.229; p.77, fig. 51).

The term became applied to heavy curved weapons with basket type guards used in Northern Europe, until the misnomer 'Sinclair Sabre" took over after the ill fated Scottish expedition. The term dusack, tesak, dusagge referred to these swords of 15-18th c. wherever the 'collectors' sinclair sabre tag was not used.

Most of the standard references, as you have undoubtedly discovered, are notably vague on the term or the swords it is thought to refer to.

Here are two well known examples of the 'Sinclair Sabre' (dusagge/tessack)

At the top of the page use the 'search' feature under 'dusagge' and you will find discussions with some great detail from a few years ago.

Hope this helps,
Jim
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Old 9th February 2010, 10:29 PM   #3
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Just to add to Jim's splendid post, the word "Tesák" has many variations among central-east European languages (IIRC "tasak" in Polish etc.; in Czech and Slovak the word literary means a "fang"; AFAIK Hungarians seem to have a distinct word for it, which I sadly don't remember). Essentially it denotes a single edged "messer like " weapon. The term may also loosely apply to falchions , hangers and the like. When a modern Czech/Slovak historian or smith describes a falchion (sword hilt) rather than a more "messerish" (knife like riveted hilt with a nagel) weapon he/she simply uses the phrase Tesák Mečový - i.e. a Sword-Tesák . The Tesák weapons of the 15th and early 16th centuries are basically the same thing as Germanic messers , though there may be some slight "stylistic" differences.

Hope I didn't confuse the matter more than needed
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Old 10th February 2010, 01:29 AM   #4
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Thank you so much Samik for the very kind words!!!
Also, thank you for adding the linguistic insight, which actually helps very much, and transliterations always cause confusion......while sound and well informed explanations tend to resolve that, as you have here.

All the very best,
Jim
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Old 10th February 2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Also, thank you for adding the linguistic insight, which actually helps very much, and transliterations always cause confusion......
Jim


Indeed and the confusion was also quite apparent even among the western martial art practitioners back in the "early days" when messer was mixed up with a falchion and so on; not to mentioned the Eastern European perspective which confuses up things further! I suspect the similarity between Dussage and Tesák may come from the fact that one of the fencing guilds (MarxBruders or FreiFecheters?) had an establishment in Prague and mutual influences might have had occurred. A great deal of influence seem to also come from the German side as well. For example the archaism in Czech for the phrase "to fence" is "fechtit" and "fechtovať" in Slovak (you get the idea). The modern word for fencing in Slovak and Czech on the other hand is "šerm" which iirc comes from Italian scherma.

Regards ,
Samuel
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Old 11th February 2010, 12:49 AM   #6
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There are a good selection of pics of most every type of curve bladed sword including messers, dussacks and sinclair sabers in this album http://www.myarmoury.com/albums/thumbnails.php?album=40
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Old 11th February 2010, 01:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samik
Indeed and the confusion was also quite apparent even among the western martial art practitioners back in the "early days" when messer was mixed up with a falchion and so on; not to mentioned the Eastern European perspective which confuses up things further! I suspect the similarity between Dussage and Tesák may come from the fact that one of the fencing guilds (MarxBruders or FreiFecheters?) had an establishment in Prague and mutual influences might have had occurred. A great deal of influence seem to also come from the German side as well. For example the archaism in Czech for the phrase "to fence" is "fechtit" and "fechtovať" in Slovak (you get the idea). The modern word for fencing in Slovak and Czech on the other hand is "šerm" which iirc comes from Italian scherma.

Regards ,
Samuel



Absolutely outstanding additions Samuel, and beautifully explained, which adds even more perspective.
Often when relying on contemporary narratives or accounts in historical literature these kinds of transliterations and interpolations can really play havoc in our research.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 11th February 2010, 07:30 PM   #8
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hello,

here is one out of my collection 1570-1580, I will post some better pics later.

there is a lot of literature:
Seitz blankwaffen, puype Visser collection part 3, puype van mauritz naar munster.

regards
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Old 12th February 2010, 04:00 AM   #9
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You've got a thumb ring on yours, i'm jealous, mine don't have them ( I own the two posted above ) and I love thumb rings. After my first encounter with them on a Wallon style cavalry broadsword ( c. 1650 ) I owned a number of years back I was sold on the feel in the hand of them. There is a security on the backside or drawthrough protion of a cut that comes with them that seems to make for a smoother cut in my personal expirience ( there also seems to be less wobble at the wrist after the blade comes free from the target when cutting with one ).
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Old 12th February 2010, 05:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Senefelder
You've got a thumb ring on yours, i'm jealous, mine don't have them ( I own the two posted above ) and I love thumb rings. After my first encounter with them on a Wallon style cavalry broadsword ( c. 1650 ) I owned a number of years back I was sold on the feel in the hand of them. There is a security on the backside or drawthrough protion of a cut that comes with them that seems to make for a smoother cut in my personal expirience ( there also seems to be less wobble at the wrist after the blade comes free from the target when cutting with one ).


Hi, yes you are absolutely right, it gives a lot more stability to the swordhand. specially on hilts where the forefinger can not go over the guard to the ricasso of the blade to give additional stability. ( swords/rapiers with a plate-filled ringguard and all kind basket hilt types)

regards from Holland
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Old 15th February 2010, 09:36 AM   #11
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The term is obscure indeed. Jim, I have to argue with your definition as "heavy". I don't think they were heavier - considering the combat use - than their period couterparts. Mind that the simple form of the peasant dussack is just a short steel blade without additional fittings, though its knuckle bow and sometimes broader-than-usual blade give it a little more weight comparing to a "regular" bare blade.
I have two examples, will post photos later on.
Some written info can be found in:

Sach, Chladne Zbrane, p.30 (Czech text).

Muller/Kolling/Platow, Europaische Hieb-Und StichWaffen, pp.36, 76, 428 (German text).

Wagner, Cut & Thrust Weapons, pp. 34-6 (vaguely, English text).
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Old 23rd February 2010, 11:49 PM   #12
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Here are the photos:
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Old 24th February 2010, 12:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadaxe
The term is obscure indeed. Jim, I have to argue with your definition as "heavy". I don't think they were heavier - considering the combat use - than their period couterparts. Mind that the simple form of the peasant dussack is just a short steel blade without additional fittings, though its knuckle bow and sometimes broader-than-usual blade give it a little more weight comparing to a "regular" bare blade.
I have two examples, will post photos later on.
Some written info can be found in:

Sach, Chladne Zbrane, p.30 (Czech text).

Muller/Kolling/Platow, Europaische Hieb-Und StichWaffen, pp.36, 76, 428 (German text).

Wagner, Cut & Thrust Weapons, pp. 34-6 (vaguely, English text).



Broadaxe, Im sorry I missed your post here! Extremely well put, and thank you for the references. I agree with your excellent presentation, and it does appear the term 'heavy' would not apply to these short sabres. Your illustration of the two forms together is brilliant!!! Thank you so much.

All the very best,
Jim
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Old 24th February 2010, 03:37 AM   #14
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Broadaxe, wow, just wow. What excellent examples. The second lower piece is the virtual stereotypical dussack pictured in period manuals of fence. This is what WMA usually visualizes when the term dussack is mentioned.
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Old 24th February 2010, 08:27 AM   #15
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Thank you guys. I was going to post the stats - the most important info (at least, for myself) and almost forgot:
The longer, "Sinclair" saber is 75 cm long, 1.150kg and feeling lighter, due to excellent balance of 6cm down the blade.
The shorter, "pure form" dussack is 60cm long, ~0.720kg, pob is 10cm. Supposedly the grip was wrapped by cloth or leather, maybe some more material on the back of the tang to make it more substantial.

There was a long debate in another forum, regarding the nature of the dussack. Some people tend to believe there were no "live" dussacks, just the wooden/leather sport or pratice weapon, as portrayed so vividly in Joachim Meyer's fencing manual. I think the reason is that the dussack was so simple and cheap, it was neglected by the years and underrated by western collectors of the 18th-19th centuries, so you cannot see them in museums. But, they do exist and there are several specimens in collections over central and eastern Europe. I saw one (identical construction, straight blade) in Bratislava, Slovakia.
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