The Wallace Collection

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Cinquedea
  • Cinquedea
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Venice, Italy
  • c. 1470
  • Iron or steel, gold, ivory and copper alloy, inlaid, etched and gilded
  • Length: 51.1 cm, blade
    Width: 9.2 cm
    Weight: 0.89 kg
  • Inscription: 'DESINT FATA(?) DEVM FLETI SPERARE PREC(?) .. / INFIVTV VISSIMVS MORIEMVR IPORT..' Each compartment contains human figures
    Inscription: 'INVICTI VIXIMVS · MORIEMVR IN PORTV' Each compartment contains human figures
    Maker's mark: Bladesmith's mark 17.7cm from hilt
  • A741
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cinquedea, composed of a strong, curving guard; grip, faced with thick ivory plaques inlaid with four circular ornaments in brass; the bands at the side, usually of gilt copper and inscribed, are missing, as is the arch-shaped metal mount of the hilt; the blade of flattened diamond section, with two shallow grooves, is decorated with allegorical subjects, winged horses and amorini, etched and gilt. It is inscribed:

    DESINT FATA DEVM FLETI SPERARE PREC(?)
    INFIVTV VISSIMVS MORIEMVR IPORT . .

    The second line was probably intended for:

    INVICTI VIXIMVS · MORIEMVR IN PORTv

    (We have lived unconquered: we shall die in port)

    The compartments each contain a group of human figures; on one side, first, a naked woman holding up a sail, and two naked men one of whom is holding a mast with a fighting-top, all riding dolphins; second, two naked men holding a mast, a third naked figure being partially obliterated: on the other side, first, a naked man cutting at a bearded oriental, and two wheels; second, two naked men carrying wheels. Two winged terminal horses are in the pediment above these scenes.

    There is a bladesmith's mark 17.7 cm from the hilt; the same rake-like mark appears on nos. A743, 747-8, and on an Italian Renaissance sword, the blade with strong, central ridge, in the Doge's Palace at Venice.

    Italian, about 1470.

    Skelton I, pl. LXII, fig. 5.

    Provenance: Sir Samuel R. Meyrick.

    The decoration of this cinquedea has been attributed by Mr. Charles ffoulkes to Ercole dei Fideli (Arch. Journal, LXVIII, no. 270; 2nd Series, XVIII, no. 2, 157-65). See also nos. A742-3, 745.

    The decoration of the blade is less good than that on A745. It resembles that on A748 both stylistically and in arrangement, but seems not to be by the same hand. What is apparently the same mark occurs on a 'cinquedea' blade in the Museo Civico, Bologna, but the etching in this case seems to be by yet another hand (Boccia & Coelho, 1975, figs. 206-8, where it is attributed to a 'Maestro dei cavallini' at Emilia, about 1500).