Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1350-1400

Object Number

IX.915

Provenance

Acquired in 1949. From the Oldman Collection (the late Mr W. O. Oldman - see Mann 1963, p. 76); see also Notes

Physical Description

Iron hilt consisting of flattened oval pommel and straight quillons of square section. Grip missing. Tapering two-edged blade with a mark inlaid in brass on one face and another mark incised on each face of the tang. On the forte is an Arabic inscription translated as 'Inalienable property of the treasury of the march province of Alexandria, may it be protected', or, perhaps more accurately, 'Donation to the Arsenal in the frontier city of Alendria, the well-guarded.' (see Thomas 2011:26).

Materials

Dimensions

SwordLength1232 mm
SwordWeight1710 g
BladeLength965 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade (see Description); for illus. see Dufty and Borg 1974 and Thomas 2011:27.

Associations

Places Germany

Bibliographic References

Sir James Mann, 'A European sword of the late XIVth century with an Arabic inscription', Eretz Israel, VII (L.A. Meyer memorial volume), 1963, pp. 76-77, pl. XXX. ('late 14th, early 15th century').

R. E. Oakeshott, The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, London, revised edn., London etc., 1981 (1st edn 1964), p. 65, Pl. 29 (full length and det. of hilt; 'first half of the 14th century').

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 15, Pls 4d (full length), 106 (marks).

P. Hammond, Royal Armouries Official Guide, 2nd (rev'd) edn, London, 1993, p. 18, top centre (col. ill., 'probably Italian, about 1400').

D.A. Oliver, 'Some European Knightly Swords from the Arsenal of Alexandria', The sixteenth Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, London 1999, p. 14 (mention re Mann's suggested provenance; stated to be illus. at end of article, but not so).

Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum [Leeds]. Souvenir guide, Royal Armouries, Leeds etc. [2006], p. 50, illus. (gen. view, missing tip - 'probably Italian, about 1400-1410')

C. Thomas, ''King of Emirs': Pious donations of European swords to the Arsenal of Alexandria during the time of the Viceroy Sayf al-din Aristay', The Spring 2011 London Park Lane Arms Fair [catalogue]', London: 2011, pp, 26-27

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1

Notes

Mann 1963, p. 76: 'About 1922-1929 a number of European swords with Arabic inscriptions coming from Constantinople were offered on the London market by Mr Robinson, son of the well-known Sir Charles Robinson (1824-1913) who had much to do with the Victoria and Albert Museum. Several of them were bought by Mr J.C. Currelly for the Royal Ontario Museum at Toronto, and it was probably from this source that the Tower sword [IX.915] was acquired by Mr Oldman.'.


R. Ewart Oakeshott (1964/1981, pp. 63-65) dates this sword type (his XVIa) on the basis of archaeological and pictorial evidence to the period c.1290-1340. His dating is unchanged in his later publication ('Records of the medieval sword', Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1991, pp. 147, 152-56). Thomas (2011:26) describes the sword as 'German', rather than Italian which it has been previously described as and the mark, as Thomas points out, does appear to be Germainc and so the present (2011) country of origin reflects.