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Old 27th September 2010, 08:53 PM   #1
cornelistromp
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Default vikingsword?!? ID needed

Hi all,

as the forum still names vikingsword.com, I thought it still might be the best place to find some answers.

herewith a sword with questions,Finding place is Norffolk in the UK.

parts of the scab. wood and leather, hairy side inside (both hard as stone) remain at the tang and blade.
can any body place/date this sword or know a similar?
the type of pommel is also not known to me
what kind of cross has been used on this type ?

ttl length 90cm ,blade 77, tang 10cm, pommel 60mmx37mm , blade width 53mm.

thanks+regards
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Old 29th September 2010, 07:58 PM   #2
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Hi cornelistromp,

I cannot believe that nobody has responded to your thread so far, so I feel kind of obliged to leave my favorite field and have a go at this.

Viking? NO WAY.

It's the fragment of a South German ca. 1535 Landsknecht backsword. Look at the pommel. The quillons are missing as well as the wooden cord bound and leather or velvet covered grip.

I attach images of a similar pommel of a contemporary Landsknecht dagger sold at Bonhams in spring, and of a sword sold at Christie's.

For lots of more illustrations, please see my former thread on Katzbalgers and related Landsknecht swords:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ght=katzbalger

Best,
Michael
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Old 29th September 2010, 08:34 PM   #3
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Hi Michael,

Thank you very much!
it is very nice to see you write a comment about a sword, it is a very rare and special moment for all of us

this sword is very difficult to place, when you look on top of the pommel in the plan of the blade you see a cross patee. I received reactions from a roman sword till a 16thC sword.still I really can not place it.

I think that it is not a katzbalger because the shoulder of the blade fitted into the cross guard, you can see the trace at the blade, most (all) of the katzbalgers have the shoulder resting on the cross block and more important a ricasso!

f/m I think there is some pattern welding however because there is organic material hard as stone on the blade,it is not very obvious.

looking forward to some more reactions.
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Old 30th September 2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Interesting!

I am not aware of Viking Age pommels of this form, though the profile of the blade does indeed resemble Viking Age blades. Unfortunately I cannot discern fullering or blade details with all the overlying 'patina.'

There is, in Zurich at the National Museum, a most fantastic and wonderful excavated katzbalger that is mounted with a superb Migration Period pattern-welded blade! All suggesting a second 'working life' for the blade.

I'll try and dig up the museum accession number, details and a picture over the coming weekend.
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Old 30th September 2010, 06:17 PM   #5
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Hi Lee,

Superb suggestion - we are eager to see the details!

The idea of a Katzbalger did not come from myself but from an absolutely expert friend who - in his field of late medieval and early Renaissance weapons - has about the same qualified expertise as I hope to be able and boast of in mine.

Based on my cultural historical background though I can tell that Viking swords had either characteristic Brazil nut or trilobite pommels which the one in question is definitely not.

As soon as you have identified the Zurich Katzbalger I will search my photo archive as I photographed literally everything on various priviledged visits there.

Best,
Michael
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Old 30th September 2010, 06:58 PM   #6
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A Katzbalger of ca. 1535 - same period as yours - in the Musée de l'Armée in Paris.

Best, Michael
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Old 30th September 2010, 07:30 PM   #7
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I just showed these photos to my cat, who has an impeccable nose for the 16th century pommels. Her verdict - a katzbalger!
So our experts agree!!!
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Old 1st October 2010, 06:13 AM   #8
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I have been repeatedly drawn back to this thread by this intriguing sword, which of course at first glance has the compelling gestalt of a Frankish sword of Migration to Viking periods, and each time have been almost taunted by this strange pommel, and the configuration of the hilt at the blade root.

I must admit being a bit intimidated as I enter this sector in placing observations as Lee has of course pretty much the final word on these type swords with his many years of experience and research, which as noted, began these forums. Also I would note that Michaels note suggesting the 'katzbalger' potential seems to be ultimately plausible, and the similarity in the pommel profile he has shown is also compelling.

With that, I am really looking forward to the katzbalger Lee has cited in Zurich with a Migration period blade. That is absolutely phenomenal, to think of a blade with a secondary working life many centuries later, but in those days a good blade was to be used, not placed in a museum.

While it does seem that a katzbalger sword with a Migration period blade might be feasible as an anomaly on the Continent, such a combination excavated in England suggesting its being in situ from these early periods is truly puzzling.
The extreme goethite encrustation has eliminated it seems the definition in the sword elements that would help us in better identification, but as noted, the blade does have essentially the profile of these Frankish blades.

In Ellis-Davidson (p.48), it is noted that of these Frankish blades, which of course Ulfbehrt comes to mind, the Ingelrii (Ingelrilt, Ingelrd) blades which though contemporary, continued much later and in were known as late as 12th century. Also mentioned is that these blades were distributed appararantly differently in being found in England and Sweden.

While we know that the Viking period closed around 11th century, and that these blades are known as late as 12th c. and in England, these blades would, as evidenced, continue as working blades for some time later, even centuries, and into the period where these quite different type pommels and mounts would have been in place. The katzbalger swords seem to have thier origins around 15th century and continued into the 17th.

I am wondering if this might be a type of transitional or atavistic sword in England which might have been mounted in traditional style of earlier swords actually carrying an earlier blade, possibly even Ingelrii, and with pommel fashioned more toward other developing forms , perhaps around the 13th-14th century.

All best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 1st October 2010 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:52 PM   #9
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Lightbulb Reference from Schneider (1980)

Here is the listing for the katzbalger with recycled early Medieval blade from the catalog of edged weapons in the Schweizerischen Landesmuseum in Zurich.

I am still looking for a slide I made of it...
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Old 3rd October 2010, 04:09 PM   #10
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Question Seeing things?

Every time I look at the pictures I see something different and it is not always the effect of different monitors. Do I correctly perceive a trace of a fuller where I have placed the two green lines or is this just imaginings?
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Old 3rd October 2010, 04:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Every time I look at the pictures I see something different and it is not always the effect of different monitors. Do I correctly perceive a trace of a fuller where I have placed the two green lines or is this just imaginings?

Ist das ein Franken klingen ?????
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Old 3rd October 2010, 04:53 PM   #12
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Hi Lee,

Great idea to post that Swiss piece with the recycled blade (German 'wurmbunte Klinge'). This of course is the characteristic form of a Katzbalger and somewhat earlier than our piece in question, about 1515-20.
Cornelistromp's sample can be assigned to ca. 1535-40 when single edged blades came into use with Katzbalgers as well. It sure was one of the latest of its kind. The German Pfalzgraf Ottheinrich, friend and look-alike of Henry VIII, was portayed bearing a Katzbalger with this kind of pommel in 1535 if I am not fooled by my memory.

I tried to share my pics of the Zurich piece but my scanner quit service this morning ...

Best,
Michael
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Old 3rd October 2010, 05:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ist das ein Franken klingen ?????
Very well possible, Jim,

In any case it seems to be a 'wurmbunte Klinge' that may well be as early as the 5th or 6th century. Higher contrasted close up pics would sure help a lot.

Perhaps the attachament will be useful.

Best,
Michael
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Old 3rd October 2010, 05:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ist das ein Franken klingen ?????
Very well possible, Jim,

In any case it seems to be a 'wurmbunte Klinge' and may well be as early as the 5th or 6th century. Higher contrasted close up pics would sure help a lot.

Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock; 3rd October 2010 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 7th October 2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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Cornelis,

Please look at the pommel of the Landsknecht dagger in the attached picture, ex Harold L. Peterson collection (Christie's, 1978), ca. 1535, sold Bonhams, 29 April 2010.

This is exactly what the pommel of your relic Katzbalger originally looked like.

Best,
Michael
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Old 7th October 2010, 08:18 PM   #16
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Hi Michael,
of course Iam very familiar with this type of pommel, I had a landsknecht sword with a developed hilt in my collection with exactly the same pommel.(I will try to find a picture of it)
however I must say it is not the same pommel as the excavated sword has.
in combination The strong tapering tang, the lack of a ricasso, the shoulder of blade had fitted into the cross block, the spatulate point and parallel edges makes me date this sword (much) earlier then the 16thC. but when I really don't know, how can one tell?

best regards
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:19 PM   #17
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You asked how one could tell?

By 30 years of studying and experience. based on 300,000 photos taken in the best museums and their reserve collections, plus a private library comprising 3,000 books and catalogs.
There also were Katzbalgers with single edged blades, as well as Katzbalger sabers, especially in the later period of that type of Landsknecht swords, so your blade is not unusual at all.

Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock; 8th October 2010 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 10th October 2010, 01:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
You asked how one could tell?

By 30 years of studying and experience. based on 300,000 photos taken in the best museums and their reserve collections, plus a private library comprising 3,000 books and catalogs.
There also were Katzbalgers with single edged blades, as well as Katzbalger sabers, especially in the later period of that type of Landsknecht swords, so your blade is not unusual at all.

Best,
Michael
Hi Michael,

I absolutely don't doubt your knowledge, however sometimes we disagree but that is good for the debate. herewith a katzbalger with an Estoc blade.
A katzbalger degen.

kind regards from Holland
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Old 11th October 2010, 02:54 PM   #19
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Hi Cornelis,

I do not have the least problem with you disagreeing now and then; that's what brings life into our discussions after all.

Nevertheless I am sorry to have to differ from the description of the item you posted yesterday. This is by no means a Katzbalgerdegen but clearly an estoc for horsemen. It's much too long to be toted by an infantry soldier like a Landsknecht; remember Katzbalgers are only about 90 cm long. The open Brezen-Parierstange (pretzel shaped quillons) is not unusual at all for that type of dangerous thrusting weapon of ca. 1540-50

Remember the famous GIECH estoc, an earlier type (ca. 1520) than yours, sold Sotheby's in 1974, and again from the Visser collection in 1990? I attach scans and description. BTW, it fetched 15,000 euro in 1990 and would probably double its price today.


Best,
Michael
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Old 11th October 2010, 06:42 PM   #20
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Hi Michael,

you are absolutely right about the description it is by no means a katzbalger degen or landsknecht degen. This type of sword belongs indeed to the German sword style of estoc.
As you definitely know as well they are produced in Graz, Judenberg and Passau. there are a number of examples preserved in the Grazer Zeughaus. also these type of estocs were carried by Austrian harquebusiers and Hungarian hussars on horseback. in the wars with the Turks.
about the date we disagree..................... why not
The closed 8 ring guard is a later development of the open 8 guard.
the later estocs also have an integral cap at the quillion block covering the ricasso to keep water out of the scabbard and sometimes also an octagonal guard plate.
I think that the estocs with closed ringguards and scabbard throats can be dated in the second half of the 16thC, Also the Giegh/Visser one and the open 8 shaped quards with the caps in the first half of the 16thC.(similar as the developement of the katzbalger hilt in the 16thC)
lit:P.Krenn 1997 pp30-31


kind regards from Holland
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Old 11th October 2010, 07:00 PM   #21
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Agreed!

Best regards from Bavaria,
Michael
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Old 15th October 2010, 09:36 AM   #22
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Just ran across this article while googling for something else, could it be a version of this pommel type?

hrcak.srce.hr/file/42051
Z. DEMO: Srednjovjekovni mačevi, VAMZ, 3. s., XVI-XVII (1983-1984)

“The sabre with an S- shaped cross (no. 6) is a tvpical example of the weapons
used in the middle of the 15th C. (Fig. 2, Plate 2:3, 4:3). The hilt of his type of
sabre, with it's characteristics length for a one-and-a-half-handed grip has, as a rule,
a simple flat pommel, level on the longer side, and slightly circular or polygonally
shaped shorter side with a circular boss with a concave dimple in the centre. In
reference to the distribution of the known finds to date of this type of sabre, it
should be classified as a typical weapon for the Croatian-Hungarian area. The
shape and format of the blade distinguishes at least three particular variants of this
type of sabre:
a) a blade which widens in the lower third with a marked point at the beginning
of greater width;
b) a blade which widens in the lower third with a fuller (channel for blood);
These two variants contain elements characteristic for sword blades of the
14th and 15th Centuries, especially for types XIII, XV and XVI,
c) a blade without a fuller (or with only a very short and shallow channel)
and without any widening of the blade in the lower section.”
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Old 17th October 2010, 03:05 PM   #23
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Hi Jeff,

Thanks for bringing these up for discussion.

They are Italian influenced pommels and quillons of the 1470'-90's type, though; please note the raised central ovoid shape (medallion) which usually is no longer present after 1490.

Best,
Michael
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