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Old 10th December 2017, 11:36 AM   #1
cornelistromp
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Default medieval sword with rune script.

medieval sword, Oakeshott type 12
Origin: east Europe, Baltic states.
Date:1250-1350
the sword is large in size, with a grip of 13 cm more 1 1/2 hander.
length 103cm, blade 83cm, blade width 5.5cm.

just before the unicorn inlay there are 2 characters inlayed, probably rune script.
if it is rune, the first character is the letter A and stands for "Ansuz" God, second character is not known to me. On the other side of the blade a snake or mythical animal is depicted, with the head facing the hilt.

the cross is ribbon-shaped and end in points that recede to the tip of the blade.
besides the Cawood castle sword type of swords, (actually a different cross shape) only one such identical cross is known to me.

a few years ago I have received ,probably from the writer, a publication in the Russian language about early swords found in the Baltic states.
at P 89 it shows a sword with almost the same hilt.

my Russian is not so good, maybe someone can tell me something about this sword? where it is found where it is now.
information about the rune script is also very much appreciated.

thanks+best,
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Old 10th December 2017, 06:27 PM   #2
NeilUK
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Hi Jasper, that's a superb looking sword you have there, but I cannot help you with its whereabouts except to say that it is not on display in either Kaunas History Museum or Vilnius. By the way your mind must have gone to sleep in your post - the book you show is in Lithuanian not Russian! Mind you I cannot read either language. But there is a mention of Kaliningrad in the text; what the reference is to I have no idea, however. I hope someone else can help.
Regards, Neil
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Old 10th December 2017, 07:11 PM   #3
Cerjak
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Jasper
Very nice sword with a rare type of cross.
on type XIV.5 page 120 record of medieval sword ‘ cross of type 4 and a pommel of type j.1 (not the same pommel but near) see a type 15 p 129 “record of the medieval sword “
For the blade see page 80/76 and cross(quite different in curvature) record of the medieval sword but no one with a long grip like yours.
Also the author Vytautas Kazakevičius.died in 2005 ,I have also a scan of the full book wrotte in Lithuanian. Tell me for which page you need a translation
picture
sword from the met with long grip and curve cross
Difficult to find a similar example of cross and impossible to find the same combinaison with blade of type XII ,long grip ,curve cross guard,and disk pommel
Best

Jean-Luc
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Old 11th December 2017, 07:05 AM   #4
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thank you Neil, of course it is , do not let them know in lithuania.

Jean Luc, thank you for your help, here is the page 90 where I am looking for a translation, f/m the right part of page 89 ( see post 1)
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Old 11th December 2017, 01:33 PM   #5
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Hi Jasper, fellows,
This is a very interesting piece you have shared! Gives me plenty to think about...

The sword in Kazakevicius' book comes from Latvia and is kept in the History Museum in Riga. It was found at Vilkmuiza, where there was a burial site of the pagan Curonians. The hilt has no similarity to the native Curonian swords and there is an inscription on the blade of a type consistent with many others from "Christendom", so I think it is safe to say this sword was imported somehow to Latvia.

There a few other swords that have a similar curved cross; I flagged several that had a resemblance to my mind, and all but one are in the neighbourhood of the Baltic. Attached below are a sword from Kaliningrad in the State Museum in Berlin,and another in Copengagen. Note that both have a brass/bronze pommel; all the other (less similar) examples share this feature also.

The inscribed wolf or unicorn appears on many Christian swords, so I'm a little skeptical that any of the other characters are truly pagan runes. An encircled letter 'S' (for Salvator?) is also very common, but other characters or symbols occasionally appear. For example, another sword in Berlin seems to have the number 69 on it!

The closest parallel for the "runic" letter I have found appears on a sword from Jaworze in Southern Poland. As it happens this sword also bears the mark of the wolf and unicorn, and possibly some encircled characters, so I think the comparison is very relevant! It also reminds me a little of a mark I saw on a type XIIIa sword at the Met a few years ago. This mark appeared entirely alone, and doesn't resemble any letter that I can see... but otherwise the sword completely resembled many others from a Christian European context.

So, is anything known of this new sword's provenance? Based on the above comparisons, I would be entirely un-surprised to hear it comes from Poland or the Baltic shore!

best,
Mark
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Old 11th December 2017, 03:40 PM   #6
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Hi mark,

great input thank you, also good examples of similar types of swords and similar decorations, amazing!

all I know is that the sword comes from a Hungarian collection and according to the collector it was in his possession for over 20 years, on the sword was mentioned wisiqradi, I do not know if this is the name of a collection or if it is a location where it was found.

I was also thinking of an Eastern European or Baltic origin.

ps: did you see the snake/mythical animal somewhere before?

thanks+vbw
Jasper
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Old Today, 03:16 AM   #7
Reventlov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
all I know is that the sword comes from a Hungarian collection and according to the collector it was in his possession for over 20 years, on the sword was mentioned wisiqradi, I do not know if this is the name of a collection or if it is a location where it was found.

I was also thinking of an Eastern European or Baltic origin.

ps: did you see the snake/mythical animal somewhere before?

Hungary... not so far off then! Searching for more comparisons from Hungary has not turned up anything interesting though. "Wisigradi" as in Visegrád perhaps?

Marks of zigzags and wavy lines are not so uncommon, but I can't think of anything that quite compares to the "head" of the snake here...

I think the pommel itself is a little unusual/unexpected; I'll try to post soon some examples that have similar pommels yet differ in all other details.
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Old Today, 09:11 AM   #8
cornelistromp
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yes I can understand that, you would probably expect a H-pommel in the period 1250-1350.Like on the few surviving examples
The pommel of above sword is a subtype of H, of type H1, oval in shape instead of round.
This pommel was common and spread in Europe from 1350-1425, mostly on hand-and-a-half and two-hand swords and of course in combination with the blade forms that were used during this period, often stabbingblades fe XVIa, XVII
nonetheless, this oval pommel variation can be seen earlier, already in 13thC art , on early frescoes in Eastern Europe. fe. Zica Monestry 1220 in Serbia and 2 others in Kosovo.

I found this pommel in combination with XII blade, a almost similar recess I have seen on a type of Z pommel.
it would be interesting to see a sword with a H1 pommel with a similar recess.

best,
Jasper

Last edited by cornelistromp : Today at 03:01 PM.
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