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Old 15th May 2022, 05:55 AM   #1
Cathey's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: adelaide south australia
Posts: 241
Default 17th century Swiss Sabre

Hi Guys

I recently acquired this Swiss Horseman’s sabre with an Iron hilt, and another described as a German Campaign sword with a brass pommel and guard. I have been trying to find a more definitive description for these to basically label and file them etc. I have attempted to translate pages 167 to 170 of SEITZ Heribert - Blankwaffen 2. This chapter deals with “The Warguard” and from the illustrations appears to apply to this group of swords. I am pretty comfortable with the dating of these but their origin and correct reference name still illudes me.

The translation from German to English reads as best I can tell:
In the dense flora of the long sidearms of the Baroque era, a characteristic group of cutting weapons stands out, characterized by their slightly curved blades, which are single-edged, and by their hilts in the shape of epee hilts. The group is most influential in the second quarter of the seventeenth century and, with a few exceptions, is fairly uniform. The weapons belonging to this category can most likely be counted among the "German-made sabers", as they were called at the time (I, p. 183, 359). As an exception, a powerful weapon with a leather-covered, long wooden grip can be mentioned. (Fig. 179) This unusual type probably once belonged to the hand weapons on a warship, where a weapon of this shape (the blade is 88 cm long in this case) was used for boarding or even for the defense of the vessel is reminiscent of the Dutch type that was in use in Sweden from about 1625 to 1640.

However, the main part of this group consists of cavalry weapons with conventional construction. The hilt here has both knuckles and side knuckles (see Fig. 9) and an openwork guard plate that often curves upwards (Fig. 180). For a reason that is difficult to explain, this weapon has sometimes been called the "Swedish saber" - however, neither the type nor the designation could be attested in this country.

Curved blades were not used at all by the Swedes at that time. Although this type of weapon may have happened to have been used by Swedes at some point, e.g., B. in the Thirty Years' War (of which nothing is known), one obviously has to look for its origin in a completely different area, most likely in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The knob has a flat, heart-shaped shape, like that found in the Netherlands and Sweden (cf. fig. 180), but the squat, round knob is also common (fig. 180 right, 181, 182 right). The latter, incidentally, seems to have appeared at a later date than the former, since it can usually be traced with a decoration of two knob-like swellings nested within each other, this decoration of brackets occurring about 1640-1650 (Fig. 40).

Any additional information would be more than welcome at this stage.

The first sword is Circa 1640-60 Iron Animal head pommel with pieced guard on one side and thumb ring on the other. The blade is slightly curved 34” 86.5 cm long and has an etching of a man’s head with some text in what could be Latin above and below. If any one can tell what this is I would also be most appreciative. I have gone through all of my references on marks and blade engravings and found nothing that matches this one.

Cheers Cathey
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