A short sword




Western Europe


Circa 1400


Forging, casting


Steel, wood


Overall length 619 mm; blade length 458 mm

The straight elongated triangular double-edged blade is made of plain steel with a fuller along the midline. The tip of the blade has a rhombic cross-section. The hilt consists of a grip with a massive disc-shaped pommel and a steel cross-guard with smoothly curved quillons and spherical ends. The pommel is decorated with grooves and has thickenings on both sides. The wooden grip is slightly thickened in the middle. There are steel ferrules at the top and bottom of the grip. No scabbard.

COMMENT. The presented item is a Western European short sword (or dagger) dated late 14th century. It was probably made by German or Swiss artisans. The sword is similar in its design to the famous Italian short swords (or daggers) called cinqueda, but in no case can it be attributed to this very specific national variety of edged weapons, which was furthermore used in a later period. A very similar in design but longer sword was published by Donald J. La Rocca, who dated it to 1350-1400 (see Swords and Hilt Weapons. – Singapore, 1993. – P. 46). The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a similar sword (inv. no. 32.75.225), which is dated by Helmut Nickel to about 1400 (see Nickel, H. Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection // The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. – Summer, 1991. – P. 14). Another one example known to us dates from the same time (see Fischer: Antike Waffen und Militaria: 12. bis 13. September 2013: [Auktionskatalog]. – Luzern, 2013. – Los 1095). This short sword is very rare and has great historical and cultural value. Such weapons have survived to this day in single examples and are represented in not all European major state weapons collections.