The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • late 15th century and 19th century (blade)
    19th century (hilt)
    19th century (etching on blade)
  • Iron or steel, copper, gold and bronze, engraved and etched
  • Length: 89.5 cm
    Width: 5.3 cm
    Weight: 1.106 kg
  • Inscription: 'M · AGRIPPA · L F · COS · III
    Inscription: 'DIVIIVLI' (Divi julii)
    Stamp: Five pairs of sickle marks Defacing the etchings
    Maker's mark 20cm from hilt
  • A495
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Arming sword, the 19th-century hilt made up of a pommel in the form of a gilt bronze medallion with slightly sunk centre, and on either side the profile heads of Agrippa and Julius Caesar in relief (after the antique), inscribed;-

    M AGRIPPA LF COS III

    DIVIIVLI (divi julii)

    There is an engraved finial on the top and the sides of pommel are engraved; forward curving crossguard of copper decorated with acanthus leaves in relief; modern cord bound grip. The original Italian blade is double-edged and of diamond section, strongly ridged, tapering, and etched at the forte with four panels, two of acanthus leaves and two of mythological subjects on an obliquely hatched ground in the Italian manner. The etching is defaced by five pairs of sickle marks heavily stamped on either side. There is a maker's mark, on both sides.

    The hilts of A495-8 and A512 are all very much open to doubt, and are probably the work of early restorers. The same pattern on guards combined with an antique medal on the pommel, occurs on a sword in the Lazaro-Galdiano Museum, Madrid.

    The three twig-marks are commonly found on Italian blades, as well as occurring singly, e.g. rapier at Bern (Wegeli, no. 251); Graz (Pichler,pl. XXI, 5) ; Vienna (Leitner, pl. LXIII) ; Dresden (Ehrenthal, p.18, no.83); and on a sword in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; see A623. The loop-shaped marks on the base of the blade appear to be a variant of the well-known Italian ‘sickle-mark’, which is sometimes found with the name Fringia (see Z.H.W.K. II, 27, 151, 270, and cf. nos. A929-30, 1103). It also occurs on two-hand swords in the Doge's Palace at Venice.

    The etching of the blade appears to be of the 19th century. This group of marks also occur on a Venetian infantry sword, probably of the last quarter of the 15th century, at Vienna (Waffensammlung, inv. no. A896; Boccia and Coelho, 1975, Fig. 150); and on an early 16th-century sword also at Vienna (Waffensammlung, inv. no. A91; Boccia and Coelho, 1975. fig. 173).