Category Archive 'Arms and Armor'
07 Dec 2019

Tiger Mortar

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9.4″ mortar shaped like a sitting tiger. India, 1770-1799

23 Nov 2019

Lord Byron’s Greek Blunderbuss

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Auctions Imperial LLC, November 30, 2019, 9:00 AM PST
Cheyenne, WY, Lot 250: A FINE GREEK BLUNDERBUSS OF LORD BYRON

Est: $7,000 – $8,000
Opening Bid: $3,500

An exceptional example of a “tromboni” made in Epiros, covered entirely in superbly embossed and engraved silver displaying naturalistic flowering vinework. The brass buttplate and triggerguard engraved en suite. The fine matched flintlock mechanism and barrel with flared muzzle elegantly chiseled in relief with vinework and a stand of arms highlighted with gold. Set on the left side of the stock with a silver plaque with foliate border engraved, GGB for George Gordon Byron. From the Samuel Gridley Howe Collection. Early 19th century. Very minor wear.

George Gordon Byron, Sixth Lord Byron, was England’s greatest Romantic Era poet. He led an adventurous, often dangerous, existence and at age 35 journeyed to Greece to join the revolution and fight the Ottomans. Given command over a brigade of Suliots, he was preparing an attack on the Ottoman stronghold of Lepanto, but died in Missolonghi on April 19, 1824. Byron’s passing was mourned throughout the world. He became a national hero to the Greeks and his renown as a poet grew in England, Europe and America.

Samuel Gridley Howe M.D. (1801-1876,) noted American abolitionist, was so inspired by Lord Byron’s cause, that he sailed for Greece in 1824 with the intention of fighting by Byron’s side. Howe arrived just weeks after Byron succumbed to fever; he nonetheless fought for six years against the Ottomans at Missolonghi, Crete, and other locations, and assisted Byron’s close friend and protégé, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, among other Greek notables. Howe acquired Byron’s helmet, sword and a number of other military effects before returning to the U.S. in 1830; the helmet was repatriated to Greece in 1926, donated to the Ethnographic Museum, Athens (now the National Historical Museum) by Howe’s daughter, Maud Howe Elliot, which memorialized her father’s service to Greece as well. Howe’s eldest daughter, Laura Elizabeth Richards, celebrated American author, presented the blunderbuss to her son, Henry Howe Richards, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Late 18th-early 19th century. Minor wear. Overall length 51.4cm. Condition II


Samuel Gridley Howe, 1801-1876


The images of a portrait of Samuel Gridley Howe as a Greek freedom fighter, painted by John Elliot c. 1830, now housed at Brown University.

27 Oct 2019

15 Loveless Knives

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Blade Magazine has a feature illustrating 15 Bob Loveless knife designs that you and I will never own.

Loveless was, without doubt, the most brilliant and original custom knife maker of the last century. A decade or two ago, just about everybody making custom knives was doing copies of Bob Loveless’s Drop Point Hunter.

Success, however, went to Loveless’s head, to put it mildly. He hired an employee, who then actually made all the knives, and became an arrogant asshole. He did not even do a catalog. He sold you photos of his knives at so much a photo. He ran a three-to-five-year waiting list. And he gleefully charged (back in the 1980s) $100 an inch, plus an extra $100 for that rather vulgar naked lady stamping and that was $100 for each side of her.

I didn’t like his nude stamping and I did not like his “I can treat customers like dirt” attitude, so I did not even put in an order. And just as well. Goofy air-headed Loveless collectors have bid all his knives so far into the stratosphere that you’d feel crazy using one.

They are nice designs, but, alas! priced out of the world you and I live in.

RTWT

The Loveless book is also back in print at $45 here.

14 Oct 2019

Over 100 Viking Sword Parts Found in Two Caches in Northern Estonia

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Peterson Type H, Wheeler Type II Viking Sword 9th Century.

Archaeology.org:

[P]ieces of some 100 Viking swords and spearheads dating to the middle of the tenth century A.D. were found in two caches placed about 260 feet apart along a remote Viking trade route near Estonia’s northwestern coast. Archaeologist Mauri Kiudsoo of Tallinn University said the bits of broken weapons may have been cenotaphs, or items left as a monument to warriors who had died and were buried somewhere else. The surviving sword parts provide enough information, however, to know the weapons included H-shaped double-edged swords. Eight nearly intact type H swords and fragments of 100 more have been found in Estonia alone.

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ERR News:

The fragments were found in two closely located sites in a coastal area of north Estonia, in the territory of the ancient Estonian county of Ravala, late last autumn.

The finds consisted of dozens of items, mostly fragments of swords and a few spearheads.

Mauri Kiudsoo, archaeologist and keeper of the archaeological research collection of Tallinn University, told BNS the two sites were located just 80 meters apart. The swords date from the middle of the 10th century and are probably cenotaphs, grave markers dedicated to people buried elsewhere.

The reason why the swords were not found intact, Kiudsoo said, is due to the burial customs of the time. It is characteristic of finds in Estonia from the period that weapons were put into the graves broken or rendered unusable.

While the Ravala fragments constitute the biggest find of Viking-era weapons in Estonia, more important according to Kiudsoo, is the fact that the grips of the swords allow us to determine which type of swords they are. They have been identified as H-shaped double-edged swords. This type of sword was the most common type in the Viking era and over 700 have been found in northern Europe.

Kiudsoo said that by 1991, eight more or less intact type H swords and about 20 fragments had been discovered in Estonia but the number has risen to about 100. The overwhelming majority of the Estonian finds have come to light on the country’s north coast, which lies by the most important remote trade route of the Viking era.


Sword Pommel, XI-XIII century from Läänemaa, Estonia.

30 Sep 2019

Fantasy Swords, Flamberges, Saw Blades, Sword Breakers

Captain Price discusses.

Or try this link.

21 Nov 2018

A Masked Helmet

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A tight helmet with grotesque face (masked visor), Germany or Italy, early 16th century and later. Height: 9.44″/24 cm. Typical modified helmet for the Gioco del Ponte. Provenance: Collection of the Royal Dynasty of Hanover, Marienburg, auctioned at Sotheby’s, October 2005

08 Nov 2018

Greek Helmet From Marathon

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Corinthian-style helmet from the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.) found with warrior’s skull inside. Note marks of helmet on the skull.

Museum of Artifacts:

On the morning of September 17, 490 BC, some 10,000 Greeks stood assembled on the plain of Marathon, preparing to fight to the last man. Behind them lay everything they held dear: their city, their homes, their families. In front of the outnumbered Greeks stood the assembled forces of the Persian empire, a seemingly invincible army with revenge, pillage and plunder on its mind. The two sides faced each another directly, waiting for the fight to start. The Athenians stalled for days, anticipating reinforcements promised by Sparta. But they knew they could not wait for long. The Persians, expecting as easy a victory as they had won against enemies so many times before, were in no hurry.

The Greeks, knowing the time for battle had come, began to move forward. Ostensibly, they advanced with focus and purpose, but beneath this firm veneer, as they looked on a vastly larger enemy — at least twice their number — many must have been fearful of what was to come. The Persian archers sat with their bows drawn, ready to loose a barrage of arrows that would send fear and confusion through the Greek ranks .Eventually, though, the infantry on both sides engaged in battle. Moving towards each other and perhaps with the Greeks running the final 400 metres whilst undoubtedly under fire from the Persian archers, the two armies clashed.

Few hours later the bloody battle ended. Herodotus records that 6,400 Persian bodies were counted on the battlefield, and it is unknown how many more perished in the swamps. The Athenians lost 192 men and the Plataeans 11.

20 Oct 2018

Queen Saga Speaks

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Queen Saga I

As told to the Guardian:

Every summer, my parents, my six-year-old brother and I go to stay in a cabin by a lake called Vidöstern in Tånnö in southern Sweden, not far from where we live. I like to build sandcastles on the beach, or find rocks to skim across the water and see how many times I can make them bounce. Mamma says she used to play and swim in the lake when she was little, too.

On 15 July this year, I was playing on the beach with my friend, when Daddy told me to get a buoy from the cabin: he said the water level in the lake was very shallow and we had to warn any boats that might come along because it was dangerous. He said it had been the hottest summer for 260 years.
Sweden’s ‘true queen’, 8, pulls ancient sword from lake
Read more

I waded into the water and it was very soft on my skin and refreshing, a little bit cool but not too cold. It was a nice feeling because the sun was shining and I was very hot. Daddy was begging me to rush so he could watch the World Cup final, but I like to take my time about things so I ignored him.

I was crawling along the bottom of the lake on my arms and knees, looking for stones to skim, when my hand and knee felt something long and hard buried in the clay and sand. I pulled it out and saw that it was different from the sticks or rocks I usually find. One end had a point, and the other had a handle, so I pointed it up to the sky, put my other hand on my hip and called out, “Daddy, I’ve found a sword!”

I felt like a warrior, but Daddy said I looked like Pippi Longstocking. The sword felt rough and hard, and I got some sticky, icky brown rust on my hands. It started to bend and Daddy splashed up to me, and said I should let him hold it. It was my sword and now he was taking it away! I gave it to him in the end.

I ran to my mamma and my mormor – my grandma – and some other relatives who were all sitting outside having fika, which is Swedish for having a sit-down with coffee and cookies. I was yelling, “I found a sword, I found a sword!” Daddy went to show it to our neighbours, whose family has lived in the village for more than 100 years, and they said it looked like a Viking sword. Daddy didn’t get to watch the football in the end.

When he showed it to an archaeologist, she said she had goosebumps and that it was at least 1,000 years old. Actually, they now think it’s 1,500 years old – from before the Vikings. She called it “sensational” and said nothing like this had ever been found in Scandinavia before, and that maybe I had found it because of the low water levels. She made me promise not to tell anyone because she and other archaeologists wanted to see if there was anything else buried in the lake; they didn’t want anyone else to come and take the treasures.
Experience: I run a hospice for animals
Read more

It wasn’t hard to keep the secret. But I did tell one of my best friends, Emmy, and now I know I can trust her because she didn’t tell anybody, except her parents – but they promised not to tell anybody else, so that’s OK.

This month, the archaeologists finally came to search the rest of the lake and they found a brooch that is as old as my sword, and a coin from the 18th century. Then they announced the news and I could finally tell everyone at school. I came back from gym class and the whiteboard said, “Saga’s sword” and there were balloons, and the whole class got to have ice-cream.

I had to give the sword to the local museum – Daddy explained that it’s part of history and important to share it with others. I felt “boo” that it’s gone away, but “yay” that other people will get to see it. I’m going to try to raise some money to make a replica sword that I can keep.

People on the internet are saying I am the queen of Sweden, because in the legend of King Arthur, he was given a sword by a lady in a lake, and that meant he would become king. I am not a lady – I’m only eight – but it’s true I found a sword in the lake. I wouldn’t mind being queen for a day, but when I grow up I want to be a vet. Or an actor in Paris.

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Original story.

05 Oct 2018

False Expectations

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NYM blogged about this cuirass previously here.

25 Sep 2018

Rørby Sword

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natus.dk:In 1952 Thorvald Nielsen was dredging a ditch in a small bog at Rørby in western Zealand. He found an ornamented curved sword of bronze that had been stuck diagonally into the turf. The sword was from the beginning of the Bronze Age, around 1600 BC, and was the first of its kind to be found in Denmark. It was handed in as treasure trove to the National Museum, but the story does not end there. In 1957, when Thorvald Jensen was digging up potatoes around the same place, he uncovered yet another curved sword. The second curved sword was ornamented like the first, but it was also decorated with a picture of a ship. This is the oldest example of a ship image from Denmark.

Combat Archaeology:

A peculiar class of swords emerge in the earliest periods of the Danish Bronze Age, namely the curved sword. The specimens from Rørby Mose, western Zealand, are amongst some of the most impressive armament finds from the Early Bronze Age.

The first of these swords was found by chance in 1952. Five years later, again by chance, the second was found, only a few meters away from the location of the first. The two swords are nearly identical and both intensively decorated with geometric patterns which reveal a date of c. 1600-1500 BC .

The second of the swords found at Rørby, however, features a distinctive depiction of a boat on its blade and is the earliest known of its kind in the history of Denmark The depiction is strikingly similar to the boats contained in the many Bronze Age rock art panels of Scandinavia as well as the Hjortspring boat from around 350 BC. In a certain sense, the morphology of the Rørby swords, with their curved extremes, also bear some resemblances to these boats.

Although impressive, there is little to suggest that these curved swords had any combative function. They are massive and unwieldy and their morphology does simply not allow for any functional interpretation in combative terms. Being made of expensive bronze and so intensely decorated with fine geometric patterns, the swords can more appropriately be assigned to a symbolic role.

05 Sep 2018

Viking Sword, Possible Byzantine Manufacture

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The extreme nature of the ornamentation on this sword, combined with the unusual (for Scandinavia) motifs coupled with the apparent lack of a fuller (lenticular, ‘grooveless’ sword blades being a common hallmark of swords from Constantinople) may indicate that this sword was manufactured in Byzantium and may have belonged to a Varangian Guardsman or may have been gifted to a Nordic person held in esteem by the Romans.

With double-edged blade of gradual taper; inlaid on both sides in gold and silver with decorative patterns, one side bearing a gradually tapering geometric-architectural design in five stages and the other bearing a gradually tapering palmette design. The hilt comprising down-curved cross guard, sturdy tang and five-lobed pommel riveted to the upward-curving upper guard; the cross-guard, upper guard and pommel all inlaid in silver with decorative knotwork and tracery and in gold with dots.

Overall length: 94 cm (37″); Blade length: 80.6 cm (31.75″)

This rare Viking sword, the hilt of Petersen Type O, has a cross-guard with decorative devices reminiscent of those on one of the three swords that were found in the rich ship burial of about 900 at Hedeby in Denmark when it was subsequently excavated in the 1950s. More of these ‘rabbit ear’ or ‘knotted rope’ characters may be found on three of the ‘Hiltipreht’ group of swords, namely one in the Wallace Collection, London (Inv. No. A456), the Ballinderry sword in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin (Inv. No.1928.382) and the example from Malhus in the Trondheim Museum, Norway (Petersen, Abb.89).

The credentials of this prestigious weapon are further enhanced by the decoration upon the blade. On one side there is a palmette design of inlaid silver with traces of gold that is very similar to that on a fragmented blade from the River Bann in Ireland and illustrated in Bøe. This should be compared with the inlay on a sword from the Waal near Nijmegen (Oakeshott, Records of the Medieval Sword, p.47). On the other side, the inlaid precious metals may well represent a schematic plan view of a building, as is believed to have been intended upon another silver inlaid sword illustrated and described by Ewart Oakeshott (Records of the Medieval Sword, pp.28-29).

02 Sep 2018

The Guttman Gladius

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A POMPEII-TYPE GLADIUS (SHORT SWORD), TINNED BRONZE SCABBARD AND IRON SPEAR HEAD

MID/LATE 1ST CENTURY A.D.

The gladius with parallel double-edged blade of piled construction, of flattened diamond section with raised rib at the point, and long tang, the forte with dot-punched inscription on both sides reading: “C. Valer(i) Pr[imi]/C.Valeri(i) Pri(mi)” and: “C. Valeri(i) P[rimi] C. Raniu(s)/C. Vale[ri] Primi”, mounted, 25 in. (63.6 cm.) long; the scabbard consisting of bronze mounts with remains of tinning, with cut-away and engraved motifs, comprising the locket with two pierced and engraved panels decorated with two helmeted figures, the upper with a warrior moving towards the right, his head turned back, holding spear and shield, and wearing muscled cuirass and crested helmet, two shields resting at his feet, the lower panel with figure of winged Victory writing on a shield hanging from palm tree, wearing drapery around her lower body, the chape with figure of winged Victory holding palm leaf, a separate palmette with scrolling pattern above, with modern collar attachment, mounted, 5¾ in. (14.5 cm.) long max.; and an iron spear blade decorated with circular and wavy line motif on both sides, with faint inscription on the shaft, 17¼ in. (44 cm.) long; and a modern replica of the gladius and scabbard, 26½ in. (67.3 cm.) long max. (4)

Provenance:

Found in Wiesbaden in 1971-1972 by Wolfgang Johe.

Read more: here

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