Object Title

Short Sword - Baselard

Short Sword - Baselard

Date

mid-15th century

Object Number

IX.3482

Provenance

Excavated from Queenhithe in 1987

Physical Description

Wooden hilt of roughly H or I shaped profile and round section. The pommel is elongated on one side, being rounded off on top to accommodate the wrist more comfortably, while the other side curves gently underneath to meet the flat top. A ferrous metal plate is secured to the flat top of the pommel. Four brass pins secure the grip to the tang. The quillons are convex, arcing down towards the hand, and has an ferrous metal ferrule on the blade side. The blade is straight and single edged, with a varying profile. A long ricasso gives the base of the blade a triangular section, but about 1/3 along the length of the blade this softens into curved edge along one face.

Featured in

Hundred Years War

Techniques

Engraving, Inlaying

Materials

Dimensions

BladeLength559 mm
OverallLength690 mm
OverallWeight560 g

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscription
An inlayed panel of brass wth the inscription +Naede Dann+ This could translate from an old Germanic dialect as, 'Help me then' or 'So help me', or most probably 'Grace then'. This probably derived from the more common `Maria Hilf` (or variations of) inscriptions sometimes found on germanic swords.
bottom of the blade on one face
inlay and engraving

Associations

Bibliographic References

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, pp. 64-5 (col. illus., 2nd from top).

Notes

A comparable example, albeit with a double edged blade, was found in Brooks Wharf, directly adjacent to Queenhithe, and now resides in the Museum of London (No. 7553)
There is a second comparable example within the Museum of London collection, with a similar single edged blade (80.34). Also from the Thames.
A third, now missing most of its blade, with an almost identical hilt (A16643). From the London Wall.
Several similar examples exist in Swiss institutions, particularly the Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum Zurich, (No. LM.16211 being an excellent example of the type.)

This baselard is a sub-type known as a Schweizerdegen (or Swiss Sword), a type unique to Switzerland, predominantly its German speaking regions. The type is common throught the second half of the 15th century but is rarely seen outside of Switzerland, even in directly neighbouring states.

Diebold Schilling's Speitzer Chronik repeatedly depicts this type of edged weapon and often uses it as a way of distinguishing between the Swiss and foreigners.