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A schiavona sword

Number

6258

Origin

Italy (hilt); Germany (blade)

Time

Mid-18th century (hilt); early 17th century (blade)

Technique

Forging, casting

Material

Steel, brass, leather

Dimensions

Overall length 1007 mm; blade length 848 mm

The straight double-edged blade is made of plain steel. The point of the blade is located on the midline. In the upper part of the blade, on both sides, the "royal head" marks are stamped. The hilt consists of a straight grip and a steel basket guard of a characteristic shape. The brass figured pommel is decorated with mascarons on both sides. The grooved grip is covered with leather. The guard consists of a cross-guard, oblique side arms on the outside and inside. The upper side bows on the outside form a "belt" connected by oblique and curved bridges with a cross-guard. No scabbard.

COMMENT. The presented item is an Italian schiavona with a mid-18th century hilt and an earlier German blade made in the early 17th century, or a little earlier. The "king head" (Königskopf) mark belonged to Johannes Wundes, a renowned German blademaker who lived and worked in Solingen between 1560 and 1620. The schiavona is an Italian Renaissance sword, one of the varieties of European long-bladed edged weapons with a basket hilt, along with a Scottish broadsword, Walloon small sword and the so-called mortuary sword or haudegen. The Italian word "schiavona" means "Slavic". The name comes from the hired guard of the Venetian Doges, which was recruited from the Adriatic Slavs, mainly natives of Istria and Dalmatia that were under the rule of the Venetian Republic until 1797. Schiavons were popular in Italy from the 16th to the late 18th century. In addition, they were used by the heavy cavalry (cuirassiers) of the Holy Roman Empire under Ferdinand II (1578-1637), as well as by some separate formations of the French cavalry in the late 18th century. The schiavona is characterized by a straight, double-edged blade, rather long and wide, but single-edged blades were also used. Due to the very characteristic design of the basket hilt, the schiavona cannot be confused with any other type of edged weapons. The presented schiavona has great historical and cultural value as a well-preserved specimen of a separate variety of European long-bladed edged weapons of the 17th - 18th centuries.