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Old 2nd September 2017, 11:10 AM   #1
Cerjak
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Default Early 17th Century swept hilt rapier with ovoid pommel

Early 17th Century swept hilt rapier with ovoid pommel
O.L. 100 cm ; blade (certainly shortened) L. 81 cm incised with traces of an inscription within the short central fuller; blade width at hilt circa 2 cm.
Any comment on it would be welcome.
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Old 2nd September 2017, 01:44 PM   #2
fernando
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Bonjour Jean-Luc,
Vey nice but ...
No marks ... no inscriptions ?
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Old 2nd September 2017, 02:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Bonjour Jean-Luc,
Vey nice but ...
No marks ... no inscriptions ?

Hi Fernando
Yes ,there is inscriptions in the fuller but unfortunately unreadable
Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 2nd September 2017, 02:35 PM   #4
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Better an unreadable inscription than none at all .
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Old 3rd September 2017, 06:10 AM   #5
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Hilt appears to be a variation of AVB Norman's Type 61, pommel is his Type 29 and he does note that these two types tend to appear together on many rapiers. His chronology of 1600-40 for the hilt seems to match what we have here, and he notes several variants on the essential Type 61 theme on a large body of surviving examples -- including the C-shaped terminus of the knuckleguard.

What is interesting to me about this example is that the position of the guard seems to be reversed, i.e. designed to protect the left hand. If so it might explain the shortness of the blade. Could this not have been designed for an unusual fencing system that employed a shorter sword in the left hand, as opposed to a main-gauche dagger? There were schools of rapier fencing that called for identical rapiers in each hand (spada da lato gemelle), analogous to the Chinese technique of fighting with shuangjian, or a matched pair of swords. (see Boccia/Coelho, ARMI BIANCHE ITALIANE, 555/556 for an example in the Odescalchi Collection). So here, we may have the surviving weapon of a set of rapiers using a shorter blade for the left hand, which again has a Far Eastern counterpart in the combined use of katana and wakizashi in the "niten-no-ryu" technique.


In fact, there is a woodcut illustration of a fencer with two rapiers, the one in his left hand being visibly shorter albeit with the same blade width and taper, from Marozzo's OPERA NOVA (Venice, 1550) showing the technique of combat "alla due Spada" (published in LIVRUSTKAMMAREN, Vol. XIII:5, 1974, p 193, fig. 13
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Old 3rd September 2017, 09:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Hilt appears to be a variation of AVB Norman's Type 61, pommel is his Type 29 and he does note that these two types tend to appear together on many rapiers. His chronology of 1600-40 for the hilt seems to match what we have here, and he notes several variants on the essential Type 61 theme on a large body of surviving examples -- including the C-shaped terminus of the knuckleguard.

What is interesting to me about this example is that the position of the guard seems to be reversed, i.e. designed to protect the left hand. If so it might explain the shortness of the blade. Could this not have been designed for an unusual fencing system that employed a shorter sword in the left hand, as opposed to a main-gauche dagger? There were schools of rapier fencing that called for identical rapiers in each hand (spada da lato gemelle), analogous to the Chinese technique of fighting with shuangjian, or a matched pair of swords. (see Boccia/Coelho, ARMI BIANCHE ITALIANE, 555/556 for an example in the Odescalchi Collection). So here, we may have the surviving weapon of a set of rapiers using a shorter blade for the left hand, which again has a Far Eastern counterpart in the combined use of katana and wakizashi in the "niten-no-ryu" technique.


In fact, there is a woodcut illustration of a fencer with two rapiers, the one in his left hand being visibly shorter albeit with the same blade width and taper, from Marozzo's OPERA NOVA (Venice, 1550) showing the technique of combat "alla due Spada" (published in LIVRUSTKAMMAREN, Vol. XIII:5, 1974, p 193, fig. 13

Dear Philip,
Thank you very much for your very interesting and instructive answer about this sword.
Also looking again to the tip and the blade shape I don’t see any sign who could confirm tha the blade had been shortened
best

Cerjak
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Old 3rd September 2017, 11:21 AM   #7
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Hi Jean-Luc,
I guess Philip was referring to the blade shortness as a fencing option and not blade shortened accidently or incidently. .
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Old 3rd September 2017, 03:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi Jean-Luc,
I guess Philip was referring to the blade shortness as a fencing option and not blade shortened accidently or incidently. .

Yes Fernando,
My first guess was that is was shortened and after I have read Philips comment I have watch again the tip and the blade geometry in order to confirm this point.
The only point who still puzzle me : A somewhat big pommel with a short blade affect the balance.

Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 3rd September 2017, 03:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Better an unreadable inscription than none at all .
at last may be readable !

Could be PAUL- U -- MEFICIT SOLINGEN
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Old 4th September 2017, 04:24 AM   #10
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Default balance affected by pommel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerjak
Yes Fernando,
My first guess was that is was shortened and after I have read Philips comment I have watch again the tip and the blade geometry in order to confirm this point.
The only point who still puzzle me : A somewhat big pommel with a short blade affect the balance.

Best

Jean-Luc


Do you think, Jean-Luc, that this may have been intentional from a functional standpoint? In other words, a sword-fighter might see an advantage in having his left-hand weapon having a livelier (lighter-at-the-tip) balance because he would not necessarily be deploying both swords to exactly the same effect.

Referring to my prior post, the use of identical swords in the Chinese shuangjian technique, or twin batons (sometimes bolo knives) of the same size in some Philippine escrima systems, is feasible and practical since none of these weapons has the great length of a typical rapier (the Chinese swords being cut-thrust weapons are about a meter long at most, the Filipino knives much shorter). Now, there are the twin matched rapiers in the Italian tradition (the "spada da lato gemelle" that I mentioned), but I do not know how the technique accommodated two equally long rapiers simultaneously since I've never watched anybody practice it.

I would think that a system that called for a shorter rapier in the left hand, using a weapon like yours, must have been created as a practical compromise between the rather esoteric spada da lato gemelle and the more familiar rapier-plus-dagger combo.

Finally, I agree that this sword was made to be short. The proportions and profile do not convincingly show that it was a long blade cut down.
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Old 4th September 2017, 05:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerjak
at last may be readable !

Could be PAUL- U -- MEFICIT SOLINGEN


Played a lot with contrast, brightness, values, and levels in GIMP. Can't be certain. But I think the word on the left is Meigen.





Which according to google is a German surname. Furthermore according to pintrest there is at least one rapier attributed to a bladesmith out of Solingen named Clemens Meigen housed in the Philidelphia Museum of Art.

Looking at that example it appears he did put his name in the fuller in a similar manner and with a similar font/face. It's a lot of supposition I know. But it looks like a case that could be strengthened.

Last edited by Helleri : 4th September 2017 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 4th September 2017, 10:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helleri
... Looking at that example it appears he did put his name in the fuller in a similar manner and with a similar font/face....

Nice work with the photo handling, Hellery; and not an implausibe suggestion but ... does it look to you that, the style of the name inscription is about the same ? .


.
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Old 4th September 2017, 11:17 AM   #13
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I think it's a left hand rapier with 30-40cm shortened blade.

the twin rapiers, a rapier that is divided into 2 halves, so that as a surprise two weapons arise, to which Philip refers (Boccia/Coelho, ARMI BIANCHE ITALIANE, 555/556) are much longer ; in Boccia bladelengths of 109 and 119cm respectively .

Given the heavy pommel it is more likely that the original length was longer.

(maybe the rapier has been shortened in time for a left handed man with a growth disorder.)


The hilt design seems English (influenced) to me 1620-1640

attached rapier from my coll. with inscription of clemens Meigen.
on JL rapier is Meigen written with a new type E, this E also occurred in the early 17th century

best,
Jasper
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 4th September 2017 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 4th September 2017, 03:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
I think it's a left hand rapier with 30-40cm shortened blade.

the twin rapiers, a rapier that is divided into 2 halves, so that as a surprise two weapons arise, to which Philip refers (Boccia/Coelho, ARMI BIANCHE ITALIANE, 555/556) are much longer ; in Boccia bladelengths of 109 and 119cm respectively .

Given the heavy pommel it is more likely that the original length was longer.

(maybe the rapier has been shortened in time for a left handed man with a growth disorder.)


The hilt design seems English (influenced) to me 1620-1640

attached rapier from my coll. with inscription of clemens Meigen.
on JL rapier is Meigen written with a new type E, this E also occurred in the early 17th century

best,
Jasper

Hi Jasper,
Looking at the blade geometry and also at the possibility of a shortened blade,can we have a blade also reshaped ?
With circa 35 cm more, the blade geometry would be somewhat unusual as the actual blade width at the tip is already near is the minimum width for a tip .

best
Jean-Luc
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Old 5th September 2017, 12:59 AM   #15
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To help read poor inscriptions you can try using a "weak" magnet placed on the backside of the blade (behind the inscription) and very sparingly sprinkle iron powder on the other side where the inscription is. Sometimes you will need to blow lightly on the powder to get it to move around and form letters. This does not always work, but I have had some success using this method.

Best,
Robert
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Old 5th September 2017, 08:00 AM   #16
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Hi Jean Luc,

yes I think the blade is reshaped at the point.

At the point the blade is not gradually narrowing in width but suddenly, like a colichemarde blade.

This is not common for a rapier blade.

best,
Jasper

ps.
as a general rule. Girard Thibault recommended in his book Academie de l'Espée in 1630 the following length for a rapier;

With the point on the ground, the guillon block reaches the belly button.

Last edited by cornelistromp : 5th September 2017 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 5th September 2017, 04:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
Hi Jean Luc,


ps.
as a general rule. Girard Thibault recommended in his book Academie de l'Espée in 1630 the following length for a rapier;

With the point on the ground, the guillon block reaches the belly button.

Jasper,

So for a 120 cm blade the man would be around 190 cm tall so not common for the period!
Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:35 PM   #18
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jean Luc,

when we guess your rapier is shortened by 30cm.
then the length of the right owner is approx. 175cm

for your rapier the man's length should be around 125cm.
fe Tyrion Lannister in games of thrones.

best,
Jasper
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 5th September 2017 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:42 PM   #19
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I am just a bit taller than a 'shorty' and my belly button stays at 90 cms. May we guess that an 'average plus' guy would have his belly button at 100 cms. ?Meaning that Jean-Luc's sword blade would have beenm shortened by some 20 cms. which, for a blade shortening operation, is still considerable .
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Old 5th September 2017, 05:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I am just a bit taller than a 'shorty' and my belly button stays at 90 cms. May we guess that an 'average plus' guy would have his belly button at 100 cms. Meaning that your sword blade would have beenm shortened by some 20 cms. which, for a blade shortening operation, is still considerable .


Hi Fernando,

100cm is approx. men's length of 160cm
see previous post 18, Jean Luc's rapier shortened by 30cm-35cm is very likely.

best,
Jasper
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Old 5th September 2017, 06:26 PM   #21
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If you allow me to insist, Jasper
Unless we have belly buttons in different places ...
Mine stays at circa 55 % of my total height.
Proportionally, a blade of 100 cms would correspond to a man 183 cms. tall.
Considering an average man of the period measuring 178 cms., its blade would ideally measure 98 cms.
We then would have that Jean Luc's blade, measuring 81 cms and considering it has been mae for a 'normal' man, would have been shortened by no more than 20 cms. as i first suggested.
So sorry for having switched the complicometer
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Old 5th September 2017, 07:21 PM   #22
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Hi Fernando,

According to da vinci's golden ratio, the ratio of ground navel to navel head is as 1.618 : 1

in my body it is 110+72, but I believe I have short legs.

the minimum ao length for a rapier to be a rapier is 112cm ( JP Puype- van Mauritz naar Munster)

I can live with shortened 20cm or more.

best,
Jasper
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 5th September 2017 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 7th September 2017, 01:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
Hi Fernando,

According to da vinci's golden ratio, the ratio of ground navel to navel head is as 1.618 : 1

in my body it is 110+72, but I believe I have short legs...

A ratio of 1.604 ?. Be happy: mine are much shorter .
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Old 7th September 2017, 02:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
A ratio of 1.604 ?. Be happy: mine are much shorter .

I hope that the members will not go more far on their personal anatomy’s measurements details!
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Old 7th September 2017, 02:18 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=cornelistromp]Hi Fernando,


in my body it is 110+72, but I believe I have short legs.

Jasper I ‘m sorry but it will be impossible for you to submit an application for miss Univers!
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Old 8th September 2017, 09:15 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Nice work with the photo handling, Hellery; and not an implausibe suggestion but ... does it look to you that, the style of the name inscription is about the same ? .


.

Look at the character spacing. IGEN are consistently spaced more or less. But between M and E. As well as between E and I. There is noticeably larger spacing. That would suggest a loss of discernible detail. That could be a more elaborate E. It could also be punctuation. However the very next E has no such gap. Which would suggest that it is more likely punctuation or just bad spacing.

All I can say is that from what is left of the inscription. Those are how the characters present. Where it assumed that a character consists of contiguous regions (multiple similarity based selection tools don't really lie when the cross comparison all agrees).

The I could have been a P. That's possible. But if it was there is no evidence for it remaining. We can make all the presumptions and forced fits that we like. I'm just going off what can be known. And what can be known may be too incomplete to accurately point to anything. Which would be unfortunate but again entirely possible.

I just googled based off what could be known as far as my skills allow me to tell. Get someone with better image enhancement abilities and programs and you may get an answer you like better

Last edited by Helleri : 8th September 2017 at 09:30 AM.
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