Object Title

Baselard Dagger

A baselard dagger has a long blade and might be an intermediate between a long dagger and a short sword. They are identified through their capital letter 'I' shaped hilt.

Development

Baselard daggers appeared in the late-13th century. They first emerged in south Germany or northern Italy and then spread rapidly throughout Europe.

As well as the military type, there was a civilian version of the dagger. In the 14th century it was a popular sidearm of civilian society, particularly in England.

The popularity of the baselard dagger decreased in the late-15th century.

Use and effect

Like most daggers, the baselard dagger was particularly useful for close-quarter combat.

Despite being more similar to a short sword than many daggers, the baselard would still typically have been used as a back-up weapon in hand-to-hand combat. Military daggers were usually a weapon of last resort.

Baselard daggers mostly had double-edged blades (sharp on both sides). Carrying a dagger with a double-edged blade meant the soldier could use it for both cutting and thrusting.

An anonymous English writer of the 15th century wrote that:

There is no man worth a leke,
Be he sturdy, be he meke,
But he bear a basilard. [1]

[1] Kelly DeVries and Robert Douglas Smith, Medieval Military Technology, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), p.25

Statistics

Blade length 36.5cm (14 3/8 in.)
Overall length 45cm (17 ¾ in.)
Weight 397g (14 oz.)

Author

Bob Woosnam-Savage