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Old 2nd October 2010, 01:43 PM   #1
Valjhun
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Default Schiavona with double head eagle engraved blade

Hi,

Here is it. Recently on auction from a well known european auction house.

Very beautifull indeed... BUT... a composite piece?

I would guess that those double head eagle engravings in style are from the end of the 18th century at most, when schiavonas were not in use anymore.

There is also an engraving CVI, wich denote Domenico Contarini, Doge from 1659 to 1675. I do not think that blade is from 17th century.

What do you think about thatone?
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Last edited by Valjhun : 2nd October 2010 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 04:00 PM   #2
Dmitry
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Stylistically I would place the hilt to the mid-18th c.
The monogram is probably of Charles VI, the King of the Holy Roman Empire.
This was perhaps a schiavona of a Dalmatian mercenary in the service of the Austrian crown.
A very nice hilt!
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Old 2nd October 2010, 05:14 PM   #3
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Charles ist Karl im Deutsch...
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Old 2nd October 2010, 05:47 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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This really is a beautiful schiavona, and I agree entirely with Dmitry on the 18th century assessment in the hilt style. The CVI is indeed puzzling as it certainly might apply to Charles VI, the Holy Roman Emperor (1685-1740).

The double headed eagle, as noted can well be considered to represent the Habsburgs Holy Roman Empire, and the 'schiavona', which was characteristically associated with the mercenary forces within the Doges Guard, was a type sword which did become used somewhat outside that distinction as a favored heavy cavalry sword. Actually the use of the schiavona did continue as a form into the 19th century, and I have seen examples with inscriptions to Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies (ruled 1830-59). This was of course well after the cessation of the Doge and Venetian Republic in 1797.

This is why showing the marking or inscription in context with the actual weapon is so important in discussion on what the origins might be. In looking at the design and characteristic of the eagle here, it would be tempting to consider that it was a Byzantine eagle, very similar to that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The note suggesting that the CVI represented Domenico Contarini (1585-1675) would suggest possibly that this eagle could signify allegiance to this ecclestiastical body during the Cretan War between the Turks and Venice over Crete 1645-1669.

It is interesting, and almost ironic in a sense, that the double headed eagle was symbolic to this Orthodox organization in Constantinople (the heads representing that city and Rome)....while the double headed eagle was also used by the Seljuk Turks.

Naturally in seeing this schiavona, the period of the sword itself is well set, and the CVI along with the Habsburg eagle compellingly indicate the nature of the simplisticly rendered two headed eagle along with the monarchs cypher. The Contarini course becomes a red herring, and we can see that this 18th century sword has a Habsburg emblem, so now the correct course being set, we can follow to discover which of the junior branches of the House of Habsburg might have used Slovenian mercenaries during the reign of Charles VI (ended 1740).
This is historical detection, and exactly what the study of these weapons is all about, whether of a single weapon, or development of a type or style.

Nicely done Dmitry, thank you so much for the very astute assessment, and Valjhun for posting this fascinating sword!

Attached Byzantine eagle of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

A latter 18th century hilt schiavona

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 2nd October 2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valjhun
Charles ist Karl im Deutsch...



and Carlos in Spanish, Carolus in Latin......adding to the mix that monarchs often carried alternate names and titles for thier concurrent rule over other principalities etc. .....maddening when you're thinking that these were different rulers when actually one in the same
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Old 2nd October 2010, 06:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valjhun
Charles ist Karl im Deutsch...


Karl im Deutsch est Carolus in lingua latina.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 03:22 PM   #7
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Brilliant as ever Jim. Thanks. Thank you too, Dmitry...

But you make me sad , now I realise that I've never seen a better Schiavona in my life and I would certinly made a higher bid at the time... It just seemd too good to be true.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 03:45 PM   #8
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Dont be sad Valjhun! The best thing is that you shared it here and we got to learn from it.
Whenever you miss something in auction or sale, remember, these things always come back around. They are just visiting, and always hopefully with caring hosts

All the best,
Jim
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Old 3rd October 2010, 06:58 PM   #9
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Hi there,

Valjuhn,

Here is some good news for you.

Though this is not exactly my field of expertise, as everbody will know by now, an expert friend on edged weapons told me that this piece is absolutely o.k. and preserved in original all contemporary condition. It is a rare schiavona of the latest Austrian type featuring the older Italian style pommel, ca. 1732-40. As I can judge myself, the engraving is characteristic of the style of those years.

Your type of piece is illustrated in the famos basic work Armi Bianche Italiane, which I do not own though.

So I really think there is no doubt about it being a fine piece.

Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 3rd October 2010 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 4th October 2010, 12:52 PM   #10
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Absolutely excellent Michael!!! and while you modestly insist your expertise does not include edged weapons, the truth is that your knowledge of arms and armour in these periods is so comprehensive, it would be impossible to consider that your working knowledge does not include them. While not keyed on specifics, ancillary material you have is the same as applies to all types of weaponry of the times.

Your assessment of the style of the marking engraving is gained from awareness of similar weapons markings of the period noted so there is an example of what I mean.

I had not checked in 'Armi Bianche' on this, though I do have that incredible volume buried here in the bookmobile (my wife cringed when she saw this being loaded . It is truly a vital reference in studying edged weapons as these Italian weapons had such vast influence on so many forms. As can be seen here, the schiavona even entered the Austrian service, as apparantly it did in other instances outside its well known associations with Venice, and Dalmatian forces there.
Seeing this example has been great in expanding our knowledge and perspective on these beautiful swords.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 4th October 2010, 01:02 PM   #11
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Thank you so much for consenting, Jim!

Best as always,
Michael
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:10 PM   #12
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I forgot to add that the screw attachment of the guard to the pommel is an unusual feature for schiavonas. It would need to be looked at with close scrutiny.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:14 PM   #13
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Exactly, Dmitry,

It is not found on schiavonas earlier than the 18th century; please cf. the same screw attachment in contemporary both Austrian and Prussian Pallasche.

Best,
Michael
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