The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hilt- Italy; blade- Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1540 - c. 1545 and c. 1614 (hilt (Italian))
    1614 or later (blade (German))
  • Steel, blackened and chiselled
  • Length: 91.1 cm
    Width: 3.2 cm
    Weight: 1.14 kg
  • Inscription: 'SI·DUX·ABSIT·DEVS·NON / HOSTES·VINCETVR·MEVS' In italic Roman capitals
    Inscription: 'VERITATEM·DILIGITE· / ET PVGNATE / PROPATRIA' In italic Roman capitals
    Inscription: 'PRO·FIDE· / ET·PATRI[A]' Engraved
    Inscription: FIDE·ET· / CUI·VIDE' Engraved
    Inscription: 'PRO·ARIS· / ET·FOCIS' Engraved
    Inscription: 'ME·FECIT· / SOLINGEN' Engraved
    Incised mark: Half-moon Engraved
    Inscription: Medallion of Elector Wolfgang Wilhelm encircled with '[W]·OLFGANGVS·WILHELMVS·DG / CO·PAL·AD·RHEN·DVX·I·CH'
    Inscription: Medallion portrait and 'ISPANIA'
  • A624
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sword, the hilt composed of a spherical pommel, with button; oval, wire-bound grip; single curving rear quillon, also bent forward; hilt-arms; knuckle-guard, joined to the hilt-arms by a prominent diagonal loop. From one end of the hilt-arms projects a short bar, ending like the quillon in a monster's head; the entire hilt is of blackened steel chiselled in relief with foliage.

    The flat blade has a series of grooves to the point, which has been slightly cut down at the forte; on each side are two lines of inscription in Italic Roman capitals, parallel with the edges:

    SI · DUX · ABSIT · MEVS · NON

    HOSTIS · VINCETUR · MEVS

    ('If my leader is absent my enemy will not be conquered')
    and on the other side:

    VERITATEM · DILIGITE · / ET PVGNATE

    PROPATRIA

    ('Seek the Truth and fight for your country')

    Other inscriptions engraved across the blade, above and below, are mottoes frequently found on Solingen swords of this date:

    PRO·FIDE·/ ET·PATRI[A]
    FIDE·ET· / CUI·VIDE
    PRO·ARIS· / ET·FOCIS
    ME·FECIT· / SOLINGEN

    Between these inscriptions is an engraved half-moon, used as a mark, among others by Peter Munsten of Solingen. Above these inscriptions is a plain section with a medallion of the Elector Wolfgang Wilhelm on one side, encircled with a band inscribed:

    [W] · OLFGANGIVS · WILHELMVS · DG
    CO · PAL · AD · RHEN · DVX · I · CH ·

    and on the side a similar portrait now obliterated, of which only the word ISPANIA, is now legible, and which represented Phillip III of Spain. These were the two leaders of the Imperial and Roman Catholic side in the Thirty Years' War. In Meyrick's time the inscription could be deciphered as:

    REX PHILIPPVS · III DEI · GRATIA
    HISPANIARVM · ET · INDIARVM

    For a partizan bearing the arms of Wolfgang Wilhelm, and dated 1615, see A999.

    Skelton, II, pl. CVI, where it is claimed that 'This beautiful specimen was presented by Phillip III, King of Spain, to Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of the Rhine, on his succession to the electorate (sic) of Neuburg, and the adoption of the Roman Catholic religion in the year 1614.' He reversed the policy of his predecessor, Otto Heinrich, the founder of Neuburg, who had early adopted the Protestant faith (cf. A29).

    The decoration includes monstrous heads, and, on the pommel, dolphins. The guard inside the hand, originally consisting only of a U-shaped bar linking the ends of the arms, has been cut off. The first inscription reads:

    SI DVX. ABSIT. DEVS. NON
    HOSTES. VINCETVR. MEVS

    'If God is not present as leader my sword will not conquer my enemies'.

    The blade has been shortened at the point.

    This object is sword no. 11 in the list of arms and armour acquired by Meyrick from Domenic Colnaghi about 1818, now in the library of the Royal Armouries.

    Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 93.