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Old 25th May 2024, 08:21 PM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default SCHIAVONA, Napoleonic period (?) FERDINAND IV of Two Sicilies

This schiavona is inscribed VIVA FERDINANDO IV OF THE TWO SICILIES (Naples and Sicily) and I am hoping to get some clarification on proper period.
Ferdinand I (1951-1825) reigned as Ferdinand IV from 1759 as King of Naples and Sicily ....but in the complex chaos of monarchies in these times and which principalities were ruled by whom, what name and number etc. are hard to figure out.

With French Napoleonic invasions in Italy 1790s, occupation of Rome, then invasion of Naples, Ferdinand fled to Sicily.
He was restored to the throne of Two Sicilies in 1816 at end of Napoleonic wars and died 1825, so terminus ante quem for the blade in that year.

Has anyone else seen or acquired items from Ferdinand IV of the Two Sicilies? and might shed some light on possible date on this blade and the traditional schiavona hilt it is mounted in.

The grip was professionally restored at the time I got the sword over 25 years ago.
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Old 26th May 2024, 07:53 AM   #2
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Ferdinand I (born Jan. 12, 1751, Naplesódied Jan. 4, 1825, Naples) was the king of the Two Sicilies (1816Ė25) who earlier (1759Ė1806), as Ferdinand IV of Naples, led his kingdom in its fight against the French Revolution and its liberal ideas. A relatively weak and somewhat inept ruler, he was greatly influenced by his wife, Maria Carolina of Austria, who furthered the policy of her favourite adviser, the Englishman Sir John Acton.

Ferdinand became king of Naples as a boy when his father ascended the Spanish throne (1759) as Charles III. A regency ruled during Ferdinandís minority and continued the liberal reforms of the previous king. In 1767 Ferdinand reached his majority, and his marriage in 1768 to Maria Carolina signalled a reversal of this policy. The birth of a male heir gave Maria Carolina the right, according to the marriage contract, to enter the council of state (1777). She brought about the downfall of the former regent Bernardo Tanucci and engaged Naples in the Austro-English coalition against the French Revolution in 1793.

Ferdinand, encouraged by the arrival of the British fleet of Admiral Horatio Nelson, attacked the French-supported Roman republic in 1798. On December 21 of that year, however, the French invaded Naples, declaring it the Parthenopean Republic, and Ferdinand fled to Sicily. The Republic was overthrown in June 1799, and Ferdinand returned to Naples, where he put to death the Republicís supporters, violating the terms of their surrender.

In 1806 Napoleonís army captured Naples, forcing Ferdinandís flight to Sicily, where, yielding to British pressure to mitigate his absolutist rule, he removed Maria Carolina from the court, appointed his son Francis as regent, and granted the Sicilians a constitution.
With the fall of Napoleon, he returned to Naples as Ferdinand I of the united kingdom of the Two Sicilies (December 1816). His renewal of absolute rule led to the constitutionalist uprising of 1820, which forced Ferdinand to grant a constitution. Having ceded power again to his son Francis, Ferdinand, under the pretext of protecting the new constitution, obtained his parliamentís permission to attend the Congress of Laibach early in 1821. Once there, he won the aid of Austria, which overthrew Naplesí constitutional government in March. The subsequent reprisals against the constitutionalists were his last important official acts before his sudden death.
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Old 26th May 2024, 02:12 PM   #3
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Thank you so much Udo!
Trying to figure this out really puts the old gray matter in a knot!
So as near as I can figure.....Ferdinand was king of Naples from his majority in 1759 as FERDINAND IV .
While he was effectively king of Naples, the combining of Naples and Sicily as the TWO SICILIES was a long standing convention as these regions were one of the largest states of what became Italy in the unification of 1861.

It would seem likely that this schiavona (or its blade effectively) belonged to a loyalist to Ferdinand at virtually any point from 1759-1806 while he ruled as Ferdinand IV (as blade inscription denotes).

By 1816, he became Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.

Would be interesting to learn more on the use of the traditional schiavona as shown here being used far outside the Venetian context. It has of course long been held by many that these were typically confined to Venice and the Dalmatian guard units of the Doge.
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Old 26th May 2024, 04:40 PM   #4
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Nice sword, Jim! Schiavonas typically have all sorts of different blades and I guess the blade doesnít necessarily mean it was used by a Sicilian? Interestingly the French under Napoleon took over Dalmatia which they called Illyria and recruited local troops in the area. See: https://www.napoleon-series.org/revi...c_balkans.html.
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Old 26th May 2024, 05:00 PM   #5
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Default Schiavonas

I should know all this, having married a Sicilian and lived there, but I don't.
I do know that Cathey's work on schiavonas is probably the definitive, go-to source.
This pattern dates from 1640 to 1700 and is regarded as the fifth pattern; see below.
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Old 26th May 2024, 05:40 PM   #6
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Victrix thank you very much! and for posting this interesting link to the Dalmatian connection with the French.

Keith, thanks for reminding me of the remarkable work by Cathey, in her inimitable thorough style of research! The work by Nathan Robinson ("My Armoury") has also long stood as excellent resource expanding on Oakeshott's study.

Its great to see this grouping of hilt forms of schiavona which as you note seems to place this particular hilt on mine of that period late 17th c.
it seems to heighten the potential for heirloom hilts being used with more contemporary blades in later periods.

Victrix as noted, this blade was not necessarily to a Sicilian 'proper' but to someone in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which comprised a large part of Southern Italy which included Naples as well as Sicily. Thank you for the note on the varying blades on schiavona, and I like the idea that this blade is on a much older hilt (thanks again Keith for that heads up).

These hilts evolved apparently from Germanic swords of 14th-16th c. in the 'cats head' pommel, as well as the crossguard systems known in Hungarian swords of that period. Note: the catshead pommel (as seen in my example and characteristic to most schiavona) is termed KATZENKOPFKNAUF (really a mouthful!) .
This brings to mind the KATZENBALGER swords of Germanic mercenaries
having to do with 'cat fight' in simile.

The schiavona type hilt with the lattice type basket hilt appears to have evolved adding to these simpler guards and interestingly have had some similar elements to some of the Spanish type features such as downturned quillons etc (as on 'nimcha').

Apparently the schiavona term loosely has to do with Slavonic mercenaries using these swords in Spain as well as of course in Venice as bodyguards to the Doge. The Slavonic term refers to these Slavonic mercenaries with 'schiavona' being the feminine as with calling swords by female gender.

Yikes Keith, you were married to a Sicilian girl? beautiful BUT deadly!

Thank you for the input guys! Ive clearly become more intrigued by this and researching what I can find so with your input (thanks again Udo for that detailed excerpt) I feel like Im getting somewhere.

Interesting that Ive always been fascinated with Spanish colonial swords, and here an 'Italian' sword turns out to be in effect connected to Spain of the colonial period in Americas. Ferdinand IV was the son of Charles III of Spain, thus ruled as a cadet branch of the Bourbon dynasty!

Sounds complicated, no? but must get this straight for pop quiz!
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Old 27th May 2024, 12:55 AM   #7
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Default Ferdinand IV king of the two sicilies c.1783

Portrait of King Ferdinand IV of the Two Sicilies. His father King Charles VII of Naples had acceded the Spanish throne in 1759 as Charles III . This placed Ferdinand as King of Naples (and Sicily) as a cadet branch of the Bourbon dynasty. Really....how do these guys figure this stuff out?!

As he ruled Naples as Ferdinand the IV, he was King of Sicily as Ferdinand III, but as both known as Ferdinand the Bourbon.
I wonder if the IV designator in the ascription on the blade suggests this is a Neopolitan schiavona as opposed to Sicilian?

I think Im still on track, though almost lost it at the last turn!
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Old 27th May 2024, 02:11 AM   #8
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Default Onward- Austerlitz and the Calabrian Insurrection

Still at it-
As the Napoleonic period began, a coalition of European armies formed to defend, including Sweden, Russia, Holy Roman Empire, United Kingdom, Portugal and Naples and Sicily............known as the THIRD COALITION....in April,1805.
They were defeated by Napoleon at Battle of Austerlitz Dec.2,1805.
Napoleon then declared himself King of north Italian cities, and advanced toward Naples.

Ferdinand IV, his forces already defeated at Austerlitz, fled Naples to Sicily (Palermo) where British navy helped defend him there against French.

In southern Italy, in Naples the area of Calabria (Greek inhabitants) were fiercely loyal to Ferdinand IV and the Calabrian insurrection in these regions of the semi autonomous Neopolitan Republic (formed 1799) ended with the SIEGE OF AMANTEA (Dec1806-Feb1807).

With all of this, I would submit that this schiavona might be classified as a NEOPOLITAN SCHIAVONA OF THE THIRD COALITION, perhaps an officer of the forces of Ferdinand IV.
It may have been a heirloom hilt with later blade in accord with the rule of Ferdinand IV.


Those are my thoughts so far....what do you guys think?

Not sure if my facts are right on some of this, so corrections welcomed.

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 27th May 2024 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 27th May 2024, 07:54 AM   #9
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I cannot find any mistake in your conclusions that this Schiavona was a property of an Neapolitan officer of the army of Naples during the Third Coalition.
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Old 27th May 2024, 02:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
I cannot find any mistake in your conclusions that this Schiavona was a property of an Neapolitan officer of the army of Naples during the Third Coalition.
Thank you Udo. I feel strongly that this is the proper identification of this schiavona. What is curious is the use of a clearly much older (probably early 18th c. ) hilt with a blade which may have been of latter 18th c. or at least certainly had this inscription added during the reign of Ferdinand IV.
While the Two Sicilies designation became more 'officially' used after he was restored as the Napoleonic wars ended in 1816, he then became officially designated FERDINAND I.

The turbulence in Italy continued of course until the unification in 1861, which ended the dual kingdom/state of the Two Sicilies.
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Old 27th May 2024, 05:48 PM   #11
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Hi Jim. My opinion is that this is a complete blade and hilt combination from c.1700 and the inscription was a later addition.
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Old 27th May 2024, 06:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
Hi Jim. My opinion is that this is a complete blade and hilt combination from c.1700 and the inscription was a later addition.
Thanks Keith, I rather like that opinion!!
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Old 28th May 2024, 04:05 PM   #13
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Jm, allow me to post this sword. Only the inscription matches. This one is said to be from the Royal Regiment of Macedonia, Ferdinando IV (1765-180)5. Dates also don't match.


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Old 28th May 2024, 06:44 PM   #14
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Fernando, THANK YOU! Thats a wonderful example, and actually those dates do coincide with the turbulent reign of Ferdinand IV. As you know PORTUGAL was one of the key elements of the THIRD COALITION.

This type hilt is similar to Venetian swords of munitions grade I believe of this period, but I dont have a photo of one, they're hard to come by.

Your example perfectly affirms the period of use of mine with this inscription but I think as Keith has noted, seems to be of earlier period with the inscription added in the 1765-1805 period.
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Old 29th May 2024, 07:04 AM   #15
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Could you please explain the meaning of the blade's inscription "PORLAMGDD"? I cannot see any link to Macedonia.
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Old 29th May 2024, 10:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
Could you please explain the meaning of the blade's inscription "PORLAMGDD"? I cannot see any link to Macedonia.
"PORLAMDGG "?
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Old 29th May 2024, 10:41 AM   #17
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How it shows in the seller text and the initials in the guard.


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Old 29th May 2024, 11:11 AM   #18
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From where comes the connection between Portugal and Macedonia?
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Old 29th May 2024, 07:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
From where comes the connection between Portugal and Macedonia?
From nowhere, i would say. Why do you ask that, Udo ?
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Old 30th May 2024, 07:52 AM   #20
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Because there must have been a reason why there was a regiment called MACEDONIA and I want to know which is the reason for this. And what is the meaning of the blade's signature "PORLAMGDD"? Has this something to do with Portugal?
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Old 30th May 2024, 09:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
Because there must have been a reason why there was a regiment called MACEDONIA and I want to know which is the reason for this. And what is the meaning of the blade's signature "PORLAMGDD"? Has this something to do with Portugal?
Sorry Udo, for the lack of attention. It can only be the Spanish motto initials of POR LA GRACIA DE DIOS.
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Old 30th May 2024, 04:19 PM   #22
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This schiavona associated with Portugal is intriguing as it reveals the fact that Macedonian forces existed apparently in that country and I am presuming that this was during the Third Coalition. The inscription to Ferdinand IV of course suggests under his command.

While Portugal was apparently involved in the Third Coalition with the other national allies previously noted, wouldnt these Macedonian forces have been under the allegiance to the Portuguese King? I am unclear whether Ferdinand IV's rule included Portugal in this time.

I cannot find any clarification online as all Macedonian history seems focused on ancient periods.
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Old 30th May 2024, 06:26 PM   #23
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Default Ocean again...

I don't see any connection between with either sword and Portugal. The motto in the blade is Spanish. Fernando IV has never reigned in Portugal !!!


.

Last edited by fernando; 31st May 2024 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Words missing
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Old 31st May 2024, 01:34 AM   #24
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Ocean?
Forgive me Fernando, since you were posting this sword I for some reason assumed it was Portuguese, as these are typically your key focus in adding to the perspective of sword types in discussion.

I did not understand what you meant buy the dates dont match?

So its a Macedonia regiment with a Spanish blade, the hilt and blade clearly not homogenous then I obviously misunderstood thinking this was an example in use by units in service of Ferdinand IV. ..much in the manner of my sword posted OP.
So....very nice Ferdinand IV blade.

Absolutely no idea on the hilt, Macedonia, or any details on it.

I do appreciate seeing another blade with Ferdinand IV inscription, Thank you.
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Old 31st May 2024, 11:53 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
...I did not understand what you meant by the dates dont match?...
I was only emphasing the fact that only the written mottos in both blades do coincide; the king mentioned in the sword i posted, judging by the seller's description, falls into a different period ? .. then we have two Ferdinando IV's ?
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Old 31st May 2024, 01:14 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Spanish motto initials of POR LA GRACIA DE DIOS.
Many thanks Fernando, now this is clear!
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Old 31st May 2024, 07:02 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
I was only emphasing the fact that only the written mottos in both blades do coincide; the king mentioned in the sword i posted, judging by the seller's description, falls into a different period ? .. then we have two Ferdinando IV's ?
In my original post, the inscription aligned with Fernando IV of the Two Sicilies as far as I can tell, that regal numeric was only aligned WHEN Fernando ruled AS FERDINAND IV of Naples and FERDINAND III of SICILY (1759-1816).

When he was deposed in the Napoleonic mess, he regained power in 1816 as FERDINAND I of the Two Sicilies.
His father Charles VII if Naples and Sicily in the BOURBON schedule became CHARLES III of CASTILE, so placed Ferdinand as IV of Naples and III of Sicily.

The only other Ferdinand IV (1633-1654) was a Holy Roman emperor, Bohemia, Croatians and Hungary as well as Rome.

Therefore the BLADES MUST BE ascribed to the Ferdinand IV I describe.
and in the 1759-1805 period.

In following Udo's question about what did the sword posted had to do with Portugal and why would there be a Macedonia regiment associated with Portugal........I had assumed the specifying a Macedonian regiment suggested it must have been in foreign service.

Clearly if the sword was in use in Macedonia, why would the regiment be noted as Macedonian, and where do we find what unit this is?

The abbreviated PORLAMGDD is typically seen on inscriptions, like this is a rather unconventional acrostic manner.

So the big question is...what is a Ferdinand IV blade doing on an apparently mismatched hilt with Macedonian associations?

Hmm.....the possibilities are almost staggering.....whatever the case, the BLADE is Ferdinand IV as originally specifed.
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Old 1st June 2024, 07:58 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
whatever the case, the BLADE is Ferdinand IV as originally specifed.
this is absolutely correct
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