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Old 3rd April 2012, 08:30 PM   #31
J.G.Elmslie
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ahh. I'm not certain what the status of the Hermann-Historica example was, I was told by Carl Koppeschaar that it failed to sell after the previous auction, but I'm uncertain of any developments since.

---

Regarding examples #1, and particularly # 2 and #3 of the photographic samples, I cant help but feel sceptical for one reason: Similarity of proportion.

(Just to quickly explain, I used to work as a 3d artist, creating digital 3d modelling work, and its given me a particular focus in terms of observing proportion and dimension, and I spot details like that quite easily.)

Those three falchions are far too close in proportional simiarity for comfort to me. Something about #2 and #3 in particular jar my eye, because they are too similar. Comparing the invalides and delft falchions, they're clearly very similar, but only a few seconds viewing will let you see the significant proportional differences between them, the tang shape, the false edge, the curvature to the tip, and the pommels are very different.
that's a difference I'm not feeling when viewing #2 and #3. and my gut instinct is telling me there's something very wrong with them. There are too many co-incidences there for comfort. on its own, I would say one or the other was authentic. Together, no. something's not quite right there with one, or both.
If they were simply proportionally similar in one aspect, I would'nt feel there's a problem with them. but the proportions match, to within pretty close tolerances, in each area, the grip length, the pommel diameters, the false edge bevel, the blade at the tang transition, the cross shape, the cross arms length, the cross arms width... again and again, there's repeated matches there, and that making my mind flag up warnings, something's just not right there.

I'm hope I'm wrong. I hope that a fantastic and fully-documented provenance exists for each one of these, since they have clearly been stored in well-conserved conditions. these have not been dredged from rivers like the cluny, thorpe, or hamburg falchions. I'd love to trace their origins.



if I take the photographs and overlay them, you can probably see the similarities quite clearly - so I've done exactly that. I'm not sure it'll make sense, but then I dont know if I am making any sense with these.

Any further information on that pair you're able to give would be of a great deal of interest.

---

Regarding the Milan example, I'll ensure I can distribute a reference image and some data, and will get back to you on that - I think I'm still unable to send PMs so far.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 09:17 PM   #32
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Edit: Since I'm still on probation in case I'm secretly a med-ads-spamming bot, I cant edit the post I had made yet, so I'll have to add to it...

I'd just like to emphasise that I'm certainly not doubting the work and effort that's gone into your study, and I can only hope my own conclusions whenever I finally finish studying all the examples even begins to come close... I suspect it'll be a waffling, longwinded mess.


I really do worry that I've wandered in here, and might cause upset by having expressed an opinion on the three photographed examples. If that is the case, I sincerely apologise, and hope that the scepticism is read with the sincere respect I hold that you've produced such a study.

I just wish it were easier to get carbon-dating, metalurgical analysis, isotope flouresence, and all those other wonderful technologies that cost far, far too much, or worse involve destructive tests, and with them get absolutely certain answers over so many items which have doubts.


And I would'nt expect any less of a critical eye of anything I wrote - I hope when that day comes, the work is picked at under a magnifying glass!


JGE.
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Old 4th April 2012, 07:51 AM   #33
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Additional pic, from Felix Fabri journal to the Levant, 1480 (2000 print, though...). The image shows pilgrims pay a token to the guardians of the Holy Sepulcher. Those, by tradition are muslems - to this very day; they appear to have European style flachions, probably to stand as 'ethnic' scimitars. The chief guardian holds a large wooden club, a bow and the set of keys. The pilgrim in the red cape holds a pilgrim's staff, recognized by its length and two balls along its grip.
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Old 4th April 2012, 12:33 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.G.Elmslie
ahh. I'm not certain what the status of the Hermann-Historica example was, I was told by Carl Koppeschaar that it failed to sell after the previous auction, but I'm uncertain of any developments since.

---

Regarding examples #1, and particularly # 2 and #3 of the photographic samples, I cant help but feel sceptical for one reason: Similarity of proportion.

(Just to quickly explain, I used to work as a 3d artist, creating digital 3d modelling work, and its given me a particular focus in terms of observing proportion and dimension, and I spot details like that quite easily.)

Those three falchions are far too close in proportional simiarity for comfort to me. Something about #2 and #3 in particular jar my eye, because they are too similar. Comparing the invalides and delft falchions, they're clearly very similar, but only a few seconds viewing will let you see the significant proportional differences between them, the tang shape, the false edge, the curvature to the tip, and the pommels are very different.
that's a difference I'm not feeling when viewing #2 and #3. and my gut instinct is telling me there's something very wrong with them. There are too many co-incidences there for comfort. on its own, I would say one or the other was authentic. Together, no. something's not quite right there with one, or both.
If they were simply proportionally similar in one aspect, I would'nt feel there's a problem with them. but the proportions match, to within pretty close tolerances, in each area, the grip length, the pommel diameters, the false edge bevel, the blade at the tang transition, the cross shape, the cross arms length, the cross arms width... again and again, there's repeated matches there, and that making my mind flag up warnings, something's just not right there.

I'm hope I'm wrong. I hope that a fantastic and fully-documented provenance exists for each one of these, since they have clearly been stored in well-conserved conditions. these have not been dredged from rivers like the cluny, thorpe, or hamburg falchions. I'd love to trace their origins.



if I take the photographs and overlay them, you can probably see the similarities quite clearly - so I've done exactly that. I'm not sure it'll make sense, but then I dont know if I am making any sense with these.

Any further information on that pair you're able to give would be of a great deal of interest.

---

Regarding the Milan example, I'll ensure I can distribute a reference image and some data, and will get back to you on that - I think I'm still unable to send PMs so far.



Good point!
the similarities in proportion of #2 and # 3 are at mildly noteworthy, this is an understatement.
The proportions are quite similar, would the actual dimensions also be that consistent?
I am curious about the provenance of both of them.
certainly more than a few last years, from the existence of 600 years of these swords, must be found

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Old 4th April 2012, 01:51 PM   #35
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I'm absolutely in agreement, that the actual dimensions do need to be catalogued carefully, its part of what I've been doing with the existing examples that I've been studying.

The thing that they show clearly is a huge range of dimensions - the cluny falchion is pretty small, the milan and conyers much larger. Thorpe is noticably longer than the Castillon hoard example, and so on.

I've attached an image of some of the ones I've got data on, and one or two which are estimates based photographs (those are marked with an asterisk)
In all cases, the primary cutting edge is that facing downwards.

Each one of these falchions should, when I'm finished, have a full data sheet with distal profiles, and full photography.

(Though I'm actually tempted for my work to also do shaded line drawings, having recently been astounded by the linework in Viollet le Duc's "Dictionnaire raisonné du mobilier français de l'époque carlovingienne à la renaissance" - the clarity of line is, in my opinion, far better in those 140-year old illustrations than the photography in many modern books, and its the sort of standard of presentation I'd like to aspire to. )

Here's the pic:


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Old 4th April 2012, 03:19 PM   #36
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The similarities are indeed remakable and are a reason to be cautious. But it is not surprising for me, as I wrote in my article: `All three were of very similar shapes and dimensions, and originated from the same source.´If the source is an old armoury, it would not be surprising.
According to the auction catalogue, the length of #2 is 75,8 cm, the length of # 3 is 73,2 cm. Metallurgical analysis would be helpfull, but was not undertaken.
To find a proofed provenance for medieval arms and armour, occurs very rarely. Even if you have a provenance, what is it worth? In many cases: Nothing!
For example: A gothic full armour in a Fischer sale 2008, lot 293, sold for CHF 130000,- +Premium ( Euro 100.000,- incl.). It was described as from the collection of Max Kuppelmayr, pesumably from the armoury of Törringer zu Jettenbach. Nevertheless the complete armour was a 19th century copy! Many items from the Kuppelmayr collection are not genuine.
Or provenance Hearst collection: Hearst employed a good armourer, who even forged good medieval sallets, which were later sold as genuine.

The only way to avoid to acquire not genuine items is to examine them closely(not only on photos) and to compare them with genuine items. And experience, experience......(which includes that you have once acquired fakes).

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Old 4th April 2012, 04:56 PM   #37
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I remain unconvinced on the pair, I'm afraid.

the fact they came from the same source, so similar is what puzzles me. This falchion type is from the 1240s through to about 1320, the lipped-point forms of your Type III begin to supercede the cleaver form in popularity from about 1300.

Which would indicate at least 2, possibly 3 if the Rothenburg example is from the same source originally, all remarkably similar. the Rothenburg example I've read on its case is described as

Quote:
"Malchus (Falchion des Tempelritterordens)
Knaufvorderseite mit Kupferdraht eingelegtem Templerkreuz ruckseitig ein stilisiertes H Im oberen Teil der Klinge ein Kupferdraht eingelegtes Kreuz mit stilisiertem Auge an der Spitze
Mitterleuropa um 1300"

Malchus (Falcion of the Templers' order knights)
A copper inlaid Templer Order Cross in front of the pommel, a stilized H at the back side. A copper inlaid cross with a stilized eye on top at the base of the blade.
Middle Europe about 1300



So, assuming the same collection, we have a falchion attributed to the knights templar (and "attributed to the knights templar" is a phrase that makes me highly suspicious, much like "attributed to William Wallace"...), an item which has already had its suspicions of provenance questioned by several other individuals, and associated with this one, we have two virtually proportionately identical falchion, with matching crosses, albeit with an inch length difference.
All three of these examples have remained in exceptionally good state of preservation for the last 700 years, as a contained cluster of three items, while the rest of the falchions in europe are in scattered groups. And one of them just happens to be associated with templars, but the other two arent. why would one of a trio be like that? that feels very odd to me.

As a cluster, the three falchions feel like there are too many co-incidences all falling together at the same time. Remarkable similarities in such a small data set as the twenty or so existing falchion predating the year 1500 are going to skew the data significantly, and of these three examples, I cannot help but wonder if those remarkable similarities are a result of them having come out from the same workshop significantly after thier purported date, freshly washed down with a nice bit of patinating acid....



Furthermore, all three examples demonstrate geometry details that I'm cautious of - a noticable false edge ground bevel on their upper edge, proceeding to a deep fuller which runs along the blade without fading out.
My gut instinct reading that sort of shape is to suspect is that examples no. 2 and 3 both follow the fashion of the Rothenburg example in having a pronounced deep spine on the back edge, with little distal taper.

that contradicts the details known of the conyers, cluny, and hamburg falchions, all of which have a very thin distal profile at their widest points; in the case of the conyers, only 1.2mm thick - a feature infact that I've observed on a pretty good number of 13th C swords in general.

I cannot help but feel that those details leave this trio as highly suspect. Those "remarkable similarities" undermine the quality of the rest of the study.

As a craftsman, I rather suspect that accurate replicas of all three of these falchions may well reveal handling deficiencies absent in the conyers, cluny and hamburg examples. As a student of arms, I feel they are too questionable to be given significant emphasis.


(and I really do apologise for the criticism here. it feels like I'm ripping into your work by questioning these sources, and I hope its not coming over as such)
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Old 4th April 2012, 07:08 PM   #38
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The description Templars Falchion is pure nonsense! The inlaid cross is a simple cross potent, which can be found on dozens of sword blades and pommels.

Falchions have not been so rare as you believe, see the dozens of depictions in illuminated manuscripts.

Hundreds of medieval European swords in not excavated condition exist in Museums or private collections. Why should there be no Falchions?

The blade of #3 has no fuller and is never too thick, the weight of the whole sword is 1.19 kg, which is relatively light for a sword with such a broad blade.The thickness of the blade of the Conyers Falchion is extremely thin. Nearly every sword blade I know has at least a thickness of ab.3 mm(not measured on corroded ones) at the center of percussion. A back edge is by no means unusual, see the attached photo with a blade without fuller and a back edge.

The fact that three swords originate from the same source does not indicates that these are fakes.

About 20 or more swords from the Alexandria Arsenal are known in western collections, many of them like peas in a pod, Oakeshott said. Are these therefore fakes?

As I have pointed out in my last post, examining a sword on the basis of photos or specific dimensions is useless without having examined it in reality. Not only theory is essential, but experience, experience!

As pointed out before, Falchion #3 is in the collection of an experienced collector of medieval arms and armour (all not excavated,except a few very early ones) who`s advice is asked around the world. If he is not able to discriminate genuine swords from fakes, no one would be able!

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Old 4th April 2012, 09:35 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
The description Templars Falchion is pure nonsense! The inlaid cross is a simple cross potent, which can be found on dozens of sword blades and pommels.


Agreed.
I'd have used a phrase significantly more offensive than "nonsense" myself. But then I am scottish.

But that's what the Reichsstadtmuseum Rothenburg one now has attributed to it on the information card beside it...
(edit: And I've love to know where/who the idea that it identified it as such came from. and then slap them round the back of the head!)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
Falchions have not been so rare as you believe, see the dozens of depictions in illuminated manuscripts.

Hundreds of medieval European swords in not excavated condition exist in Museums or private collections. Why should there be no Falchions?


I'm under no illusions on the rarity or lack thereof - As part of my own work, I went through almost 3,000 manuscript illuminations, noting how many were applicable to the research: I found a little over 180 of those to contain depictions of falchions, unidentifiable messer forms, or what could potentially be single-edged swords that were of falchion form.

Given that there was a slightly raised incidence of depiction of Goliath bearing a falchion among biblical or devotional illumination was a fairly common motif among those manuscripts, I'd say it was acceptable to say that a conservative estimate of incidence of depiction of the falchion ocurred in at least 1 in 20 manuscript images.

Not common, but certainly not rare.

Why should there be so few falchions in museums and collections today, if that ratio were accurate, is one of the real puzzles which I've been trying to look at and work out what's happened. What in the falchion's nature has made it less likely to survive, not just in terms of finely preserved specimens, but in terms of the archaeological record? Much like the munitions harness, it is horribly under-represented in the archaeological record, and therefore we need to look at working out what the cause for that is.

That's a question that needs to be looked at in a great deal more detail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
The blade of #3 has no fuller and is never too thick, the weight of the whole sword is 1.19 kg, which is relatively light for a sword with such a broad blade.The thickness of the blade of the Conyers Falchion is extremely thin. Nearly every sword blade I know has at least a thickness of ab.3 mm(not measured on corroded ones) at the center of percussion. A back edge is by no means unusual, see the attached photo with a blade without fuller and a back edge.

The fact that three swords originate from the same source does not indicates that these are fakes.

About 20 or mores words from the Alexandria Arsenal are known in western collections, many of them like peas in a pod, Oakeshott said. Are these therefore fakes?

As I have pointed out in my last post, examining a sword on the basis of photos or specific dimensions is useless without having examined it in reality. Not only theory is essential, but experience, experience!

As pointed out before, Falchion #3 is in the collection of an experienced collector of medieval arms and armour (all not excavated,except a few very early ones) who`s advice is asked around the world. If he is not able to discriminate genuine swords from fakes, no one would be able!

Best


Regarding the attached photo, that one has rather puzzled me - after all, for a production date of 1480, it features a falchion of a type that fell out of fashion the better part of 150, maybe even 180 years earlier. its a fascinating depiction.

Regarding #3, I have a dozen examples that spring to mind immediately that are much thinner than 3mm, some corroded, some not, including a pair of examples marked from alexandria (in the care of Dean Castle, the former collectin of Howard De Walden), whose distal profiles were quite astounding to me. So I'd say that is no proof whatsoever one way or the other...

If it is indeed in the hands of a collector who is so experienced, the immediate question is, is this collector infalliable? Has he never made a mistake? I cant help but wonder what the opinion of that collector is on the odds of three samples all coming from one source, and particularly if he has any doubts about not only the one in his collection, but the other two. If you can show me one expert in any field who's never made an error, I'll show you an expert who's not done much work in thier lives. No-one should be afraid of making fools of ourselves by making errors, particularly in a field where such judgements are one of opinion. (and lets face it, by querying these three, I'm more than likely the one making the error! ).

If #3 is absolutely watertight, on the weight of opinion of one individual, then that still leaves #2 and #1 open to debate. Furthermore, what are the opinions of other experts? is one person's opinion utterly infalliable and enough? I've handled enough swords in "records of the medieval sword" and been able to spot mistakes Oakeshott made. I've handled bits in glasgow museums and been able to spot that Tobias Capwell made a mistake in the cataloguing numbers in "The Real Fighting Stuff", for instance...
We all make mistakes by being human.

--

That said, I'm in absolute agreement, that to consider the provenance by photograph alone is entirely insufficient.

But we have little record if its previous owners, its auction history, which collections it has passed through over time. Were #2 and #3 paired together 80-odd years ago by a collector? Were they paired together 90 years ago by an auction house and then sold together? Which auction house? Were they in the armoury of a castle, much as the Churburg harnesses were? did they just appear in the catalogues of a collector? We all know the story of the words of Louis Marcy in Paris, after all, and his workmanship still continues to appear in museums, auctions and collections - and often identified as genuine items.

I dont know the details of origin. I'm fairly sure you dont have them. Who does? Anyone?
Without this data to hand, we cannot even begin to make assumptions on origin of each one in turn. It is solely speculation, with no more academic worth than the Reichsstadtmuseum's 'templer'[sic] attibutation.

We have no metalurgical analysis of blade or cross; nor do I expect we ever will get such a destructive analysis.

we have no x-ray studies of these items, we have no neutron diffraction study of them, we have no carbon-dating of the organic components.

we have virtually no actual evidence to corroborate their likely date.

All we do have are photos that link it to a set of remarkably similar-proportioned items, in a field where finding one is rare enough. and all in excellent condition.
and those co-incidences just seem a little to good to be true.


Regarding the Alexandria swords - or the Castillon swords, for that matter - I do not doubt them, because their provenance is well-recorded. and while many are findamentally simiar, there's enough difference between them to make the clear distinctions. in the alexandria swords, a great many of them can be traced back not just through their inscriptions, but through photographic evidence of their storage in alexandria when they came to the attention of collectors.

on the other hand if an identical alexandria or castillon sword arrived on my doorstep with absolutely no provenance attached to it... I'd be selling it fast, before any troublesome bugger like me starts asking where it came from, and the price dropped!

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Old 5th April 2012, 09:04 AM   #40
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If you want to acquire a not excavated medieval sword wit a provenance tracing back to medieval times, you will grow old before you get one.
Do you have not excavated medieval swords in your collection?
If you have not at least a half dozen, you will never be able to discriminate genuine swords from fakes without scientific tests. Genuine swords are perfect, fakes are never perfect in all aspects.
The collector mentioned above has more than 20 medieval swords in his collection, among them several from the Alexandria Arsenal.
(the photos you mention were taken in the St. Irene Arsenal in Constantinople, not in Alexandria, the swords were captured in 1517 by the Ottomans. But even counterfeit medieval islamic swords stamped with a Tamga are on the market, though far away from beeing perfect).

Best

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Old 5th April 2012, 12:29 PM   #41
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independently of an opinion on the authenticity of # 1 # 2 # 3. I do see the importance of provenance, forgeries have reached the last two decades such a high level that every specialist can be fooled.
Unfortunately without clear provenance laboratory research has become essential.
A sword for example, that has been auctioned in the 30's at one of the famous auction houses gives me more confidence than one that just appears out of nowhere and where the origin is shrouded in mist, a so-called pop-up sword.
Swords that do not come from the ground and must have been kept indoors somewhere for 600 years, any information older than 20 years must be found without great effort.
I do not expect that any specialist whatsoever can give in all cases a definitive and infallible judgment, based on a visual inspection alone.
Some swords in my collection have been published in ROMS and the dimensions or describtion do not correspond with reality.
Furthermore, I know examples of original swords offered by famous auction houses as 19th century reproductions and, unfortunately also vice versa.
Some kind of Provenance, how short or unimportant it may look, is not everything but it helps.

best,

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Old 5th April 2012, 02:42 PM   #42
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You are surely right, a proofed! provenance is always good. But how many medieval swords appear at auction with a provenance? Very very few!

The two swords in my thread: Early European arms captured by the Ottomans, were sold at auction without provenance. Are they therefore fakes? surely not! If genuine swords were catalogued as 19th century, the better it is for the experienced collector, to acquire swords for a moderate price. If a 19th century sword is catalogued as genuine, you can make no scientific test before you bit for it. Only your experienced eye can help you.

Best
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Old 5th April 2012, 02:56 PM   #43
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Hi All,

Sorry for the late post.

The thing that also fascinates me about falchions 2 and 3 is that they both show similar damage. Their hilts have split in the same place, and their blade edges both show similar wear/damage/cracking at about the mid-point.

Fascinating. I'd expect to see different wear patterns on each blade.

I'm trying to figure out identical wear patterns could happen, under normal use and aging. To be fair, this might be a stereotypical wear pattern for this blade shape, as the Hamburg Museum falchion shows a corrosion hole on the blade where the other two show wear, and it is missing a hilt. One could argue that this blade tends to go in the middle and lose the wood from its hilt.

Still, similar wear patterns can be evidence of copying.

My 0.0002 cents,

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Old 5th April 2012, 03:20 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
You are surely right, a proofed! provenance is always good. But how many medieval swords appear at auction with a provenance? Very very few!

The two swords in my thread: Early European arms captured by the Ottomans, were sold at auction without provenance. Are they therefore fakes? surely not! If genuine swords were catalogued as 19th century, the better it is for the experienced collector, to acquire swords for a moderate price. If a 19th century sword is catalogued as genuine, you can make no scientific test before you bit for it. Only your experienced eye can help you.

Best


it is not solely the 19th century reproductions but the recently made forgeries which are auctioned off as original which can represent a problem.
These swords are without a provenance or have a faked non-verifiable provenance.
The only way to deal with certainty about the authenticity is to show that the sword is or is not made ​​out of bloomery steel, so steel with inclusions of slag FE2SIO4, the only ferrous material available in the middle ages, this can only be detected at the microscopic level and not with an experienced eye only.
Luckily it does not happen on a large scale and of course the majority of the swords without provenance offered by renowned auction houses is OK. But each case is one too many.

best,

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Old 6th April 2012, 01:26 AM   #45
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Does anyone happen to have a copy of "European Arms and Armor of the XV-XIX Century from the William Randolph Hearst Collection"?

It might be a good starting point to start trying to ascertain when these were obtained by Hearst, and from where.
It seems that Hearst Castle's collections registrar is unable to assist, as apparently when the castle was donated to the state of california in 1957, no documentation of the items was included.


So all we know of thier provenance is that they are attributed to the Hearst collection, and predate 1957.
Hardly the most solid of foundations yet, alas.
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:13 PM   #46
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For friends of provenance!

Here are two photos from an excavated sword (no Falchion), which speaks for its own provenance. It was sold some years ago by a London dealer. The sword is of the same type as the Castillon group A swords. It was also found in France. The disc pommel is enamelled and bears an inscripion and arms, which give us a name and a date. The arms are those of Pierre de Cros, Archbishop of Arles, and the sword can not date later than 1383, where he was appointed as a Cardinal.

Comments welcome!

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Old 6th April 2012, 01:14 PM   #47
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yes, Iam a friend of provenance

I expect that every serious sword enthusiast is familiar with this sword, a beautiful pommel formed outof 3 pieces and a unique Oakeshott type XVIII, " type? castillon G-A hoard blade".
The pommel is an absolutely beautiful work of art in itself with the legend Archiepiscopus and the arms of the cros family, possible to link direct to the cardinal/archbishop Pierre de Cros. the blade acts as a work of art not far behind.

If I may speak freely and open , and I sincerely hope I did not kick somebody against the sore leg.
If it would be in my possession, I would find out if the original pommel and original blade belong together or if it is later composed.
(I have no idea how to investigate this though, probably we now do need the expert eye here which you refered to in your previous post.)
Please do not get me wrong, it is only because the combination seems strange to me.
The blade seems to me outof the castillon hoard and I only would expect another pommel, as the known ones , not so exceptionally beautiful and unique.

best,

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Old 9th April 2012, 08:47 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.G.Elmslie
Does anyone happen to have a copy of "European Arms and Armor of the XV-XIX Century from the William Randolph Hearst Collection"?

It might be a good starting point to start trying to ascertain when these were obtained by Hearst, and from where.
It seems that Hearst Castle's collections registrar is unable to assist, as apparently when the castle was donated to the state of california in 1957, no documentation of the items was included.


So all we know of thier provenance is that they are attributed to the Hearst collection, and predate 1957.
Hardly the most solid of foundations yet, alas.



@JG Elmslie
the catalog from 1952 I have somewhere, I'll search.
I also have the index of 1939 but unfortunately only the index.

@Swordfish
I am also very curious about falchion # 3, is here a little more known about it than just the collection of a capable collector. Do you know when he acquired it, auction? collection?
Can you please reveal something about it?

best,
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Old 9th April 2012, 10:01 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
yes, Iam a friend of provenance

I expect that every serious sword enthusiast is familiar with this sword, a beautiful pommel formed outof 3 pieces and a unique Oakeshott type XVIII, " type? castillon G-A hoard blade".
The pommel is an absolutely beautiful work of art in itself with the legend Archiepiscopus and the arms of the cros family, possible to link direct to the cardinal/archbishop Pierre de Cros. the blade acts as a work of art not far behind.

If I may speak freely and open , and I sincerely hope I did not kick somebody against the sore leg.
If it would be in my possession, I would find out if the original pommel and original blade belong together or if it is later composed.
(I have no idea how to investigate this though, probably we now do need the expert eye here which you refered to in your previous post.)
Please do not get me wrong, it is only because the combination seems strange to me.
The blade seems to me outof the castillon hoard and I only would expect another pommel, as the known ones , not so exceptionally beautiful and unique.

best,



Well observed !

The blade, cross and pommel are surely genuine, but do they belong together? In this case no scientific test can ever help you, only your eye can help you.

When I saw the photo for the first time, the first that struck me, were the unbalanced proportions. The pommel is too large for a single hand sword. The blade and the remains of the cross show a close resemblance to the Castillon swords, including the patination and the corroded spots. For a single hand sword of this type I would also expect a pommel of wheel type and a tang button.

Pierre de Cros was appointed as Archbishop of Arles in 1374. If we assume that the pommel was not made much later, we have a date of c.1375. If we further assume, that the sword was not the first of its type, but in fashion ab. ten or twenty years before, we have a date for this sword type c. 1355-1365.

The Castillon swords are generally dated c.1410-1450. Is it likely that half of the swords from Castillon were of a nearly one hundred years old type? I don`t think so. I believe that the pommel was assembled to a cheap Castillon sword, to increase its value. I therefore would never acquire this sword.

But an assumption is no proof. Under usual circumstances, it would not be possible to proof that the pommel was added later.

But contacts to other collectors are allways helpfull. A collecting colleague of me saw this pommel many years ago as a single item in an antigue shop in Italy. He did not acquired it, because it was too expensive. I fully trust this collector. Then this is the proof for me.

Best

Last edited by Swordfish : 9th April 2012 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 10th April 2012, 01:09 PM   #50
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thanks, here we also agree.
because the tang is relatively wide, it is likely that the pommel did not fit at once.
Then somewhere material must have been removed, inside pommel or outside tang. if this is the case, it can be seen by the eye of an expert.

The collecting colleague, is he skilled and his first name starts with an F?

best,
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:54 AM   #51
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If you'll forgive the resurrection of a resting post!

A fascinating discussion, thnaks to all for sharing the fruits of their research. The falchion is a weapon I am very interested in myself, and it is good to know that therre are more examples out there than I had hitherto known.

What are peoples' thoughts about the link between the flachion and the messer?
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Old 11th October 2012, 09:33 AM   #52
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Welcome to the forum wardlaw .
Always time for a resurrection .
I hope you find it pleasant being with us.
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Old 11th October 2012, 12:37 PM   #53
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Thanks Fernando.

I was going back over the thread and I see that J.G.Elmslie had already suggested a link between these blade forms. i am sure that he is right. I would also look at the hunting swords as another member of the family.

Wiht regard to the image of St Peter from Cracow, I wonder if the archetype here might not be the cleaver-like knife from a hunting trousseau? The argument against that, of course, is the hilt form, which is clearly sword rather than knife.

The synchronicity of three of us all working on aspects of falchions and messers is quite terrifying!
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Old 11th October 2012, 04:56 PM   #54
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Guilty as charged.


I've been a bit lax in my research the last few months; been sidelined by historical consultancy work for a videogame company. It pays the bills...

that said, I've generally come to a few conclusions, as the research has slowly progressed, and I've been fortunate enough to address design details with the likes of Peter Johnsson.


I'm absolutely in agreement with (Mr?)Wardlaw, in regards to the hunting swords as well as messer. studying the falchion in isolation is futile, what's needed is the data on all the single-edged weapon forms of western europe - falchion, messer, the langes messer, the single-edged hangers, and the single-edged swords like the Bankside Sword now in the Royal Armouries.

All of these are inter-related, not just in terms of the handling properties, but in their design, construction, and their methodologies of use and the relevance in terms of social structure.

I'm steadily feeling that things like the messer were more popular in germanic regions as a result of cultural values, more than any practical difference in the weapons' performance, but also that their production was dictated by the different social structures, not so much the old trotted out idea of swords only being the property of certain social classes, but that sword production was the perogative of certain facets of the guilds, who each jealously guarded their niche markets, and in the case of cutlers and knife-blade makers, were actively wanting to muscle in on the economic markets that their similar skills could exploit.

I also cant help but feel that the falchion, messer and single-edged sword must be addressed and studied in light of Peter Johnsson's superb presentations/papers/potential book(s?) on the subject of the inter-relation between the medieval sword and geometric proportions. That may well begin to answer the question of asking is the falchion's place in social structures, in military importance, and in active use, different to that of the knightly sword? Research will have to be taken to compare the existing samples to their contemporary double edged weapons to find potential associations; particularly valuable there will be the castillon falchion, where there is the association with the Castillon Type C double-edged swords which have been found to have plausible associations of geometric proportion. Is it the case that a falchion which has quite likely come from the same cutler's wokshop bears similar proportional geometry, or is it entirely different? That's a unique case of a control subject for both sides of the divide. That study will determine if there's any links between the theories Peter's putting forward, of connotations of the design of the medieval european sword as an extension of God's divinity, and the numerical symbolism popular among the educated medieval thinkers, and if that then links into the specific commentary by the likes of John of Salisbury, in "policraticus", where the phrases such as "His word is indeed a sharp two-edged sword" appear - not a sword, but a two-edged sword. Does this indicate the association of the single-edged sword with work that is not reighteous? There's a whole load of un-answered questions there just begging to be looked at. We already know that the falchion is often seen in the hands of the heretic, the blasphemer, the infidel, in medieval art - the falchion/scimitar weilding turk, the depiction of Goliath, the soldier in the Crucifixion. Can those connotations be not just a visual imagery for the artwork, but also a design consideration that may, to some extent give a possible explanation for the disparity between prevalence in art, and in the archaeological record? I dont know, yet.
Such studies must be done, and are as relevant as establishing a typology, or establishing a database of the actual mechanical properties of these weapons.

The more you dive into the single-edged european arms, the more the falchion becomes just one aspect, and the deeper the rabbit-hole becomes...

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Old 11th October 2012, 05:30 PM   #55
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the relationship between the falchion and the messer? well


the only thing consistent with the Falchion and Messer is that they both are single edged.
The Falchion is a sword with a pommel and cross, necessary to be a sword.
the grosses messer has no pommel and usually no cross, but a thorn or curved riveted parry plate, and of course grip plates necessary to be a messer.
swords were made by sword cutlers, and messers by a knife cutler, who were not allowed to make swords.
also in terms of geometry, they are not comparable, both the balance points and pivot points differ the maximum possible.
I believe that there is a geometric relationship in the design of these messers similar to swords, which can be tested with the excellent theory of Peter.
on the other hand you see the Falchion develop into curved single edged swords (with a pommel and cross) and cutlasses. eg dussage, storta


best,
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:59 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
Falchion and Messer [...]
in terms of geometry, they are not comparable, both the balance points and pivot points differ the maximum possible.


Do you have any numbers at hand, or suitable references? These would be very interesting to see.
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Old 11th October 2012, 09:11 PM   #57
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likewise, I'd be interested in data on messer for my work on the subject, I've got my hands on only two examples so far (And have yet to even start thinking about collecting data on where in the world has examples of them for the study of them.) But what I've seen in artwork suggests that particularly for 15th C stuff that there's quite a few with fundamental similarities in design to the falchions.

the discussions I've been fortunate enough to have with Peter Johnsson have also helped me feel that its plausible that falchion and messer can (in some situations) have really rather similar blade design principles, and be differentiated by hilt construction method only.

so, any info would be most welcome.
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Old 12th October 2012, 06:20 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.G.Elmslie
likewise, I'd be interested in data on messer for my work on the subject, I've got my hands on only two examples so far (And have yet to even start thinking about collecting data on where in the world has examples of them for the study of them.) But what I've seen in artwork suggests that particularly for 15th C stuff that there's quite a few with fundamental similarities in design to the falchions.

the discussions I've been fortunate enough to have with Peter Johnsson have also helped me feel that its plausible that falchion and messer can (in some situations) have really rather similar blade design principles, and be differentiated by hilt construction method only.

so, any info would be most welcome.


I have 3 Messers in my collection,

see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=messer post#1

pm me your mail adres and I will mail you the details, I can also send directly to Peter Johnsson if you want.
I'm curious how the widest point of the blade, at the second half of the blade at a Falchion, can be expressed in the old geometry "rigthteousness is quadrangular"

best,
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Old 12th October 2012, 03:07 PM   #59
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Having just clicked the link and seen the photos, I just developed a strange medical condition, and turned a thorough shade of green...

you lucky, lucky bastard.

(I mean that in the best possible way, I hasten to add. )

I'll send a PM in a moment about that.
I'm likewise rather interested to see if and how the geometry might (or might not) be found to have an association for this type of weapon too. Having seen his presentation on the subject, I'm certain it was used for some swords, but I am sceptical it was used for all. But finding the same sort of ratios in a messer would be really exciting.
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Old 17th October 2012, 05:39 PM   #60
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...wasn't Malchus the servant of the High Priest whose ear was cut off by St Peter and restored by Christ?
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