The Wallace Collection

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Cinquedea
  • Cinquedea
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1490
  • Steel, bronze, gold, ivory and copper, inlaid, etched and gilded
  • Length: 65.7 cm, blade
    Width: 10.8 cm
    Weight: 1.21 kg
  • Inscription: 'AVXILVM · A · SVPERIS I PRAEBENT · VICTORIAM'
    Inscription: 'DEVS · ET · NATVRA · NIHIL · FRVSTRA · FACIVNT'
    Inscription: 'INFICTV · VISSIMVS · MORIEMVR · IN PORTV'
    Maker's mark: Bladesmith's mark 15.2cm from hilt
  • A745
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cinquedea, of large size. The arch-shaped hilt is shod with gilt bronze, decorated with a profile bust and nude female figure in low relief; the grip in one with the pommel, is faced with two plaques of ivory, inlaid on either side with four circular ornaments in brass; on the sides, inset between the plaques, are bands of gilt bronze inscribed:

    AVXILIVM · A · SVPERIS / PRAEBENT · VICTORIAM
    (Help from the Gods above given victory)

    Curved, steel guard of flattened oblong section etched with scrolls and scale ornament. The blade of flat diamond section, with four, three and two hollowed panels from base to point. Etched on one side, the trial, scourging and crucifixion under triple arches, surmounted with a medallion representing Fortessa (Fortitude) and on the other a classical subject of nude male and female figures with the emblems of Justice above. Traces of gilding remain. The narrow panel up the centre of the blade is inscribed:

    DEVS · ET · NATVRA · NIHIL · FRVSTRA · FACIVNT
    (God and Nature do nothing in vain)

    on the one face, and on the other:

    INFICTV · VISSIMVS · MORIEMVR · IN PORTV
    (We have lived unconquered and shall die in port)

    There is bladesmith's mark 15.2 cm from the hilt; the same mark appears on A744 and 746.

    Italian, about 1490.

    Laking, European Armour III, fig. 852.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 1930 (Spitzer).

    Provenance: L' art ancien, III, 368, Spitzer.

    The decoration on this cinquedea resembles that upon one in the Museo Stibbert, Florence, which M. Charles Buttin has attributed to Ercole dei Fideli of Ferrara (Les Arts, Sept. 1910 28-9.) See also A741-3 in the Wallace Collection.

    The female figure on one end of the pommel cap apparently has her arms bound behind her. A comparable figure occurs on A740.

    The two halves of the inscription are each made with a different set of punches.
    The mark on the blade resembles that on A744, but not that on A746. The same mark occurs on the blade of a 'cinquedea' in the Musée de I' Armée, Paris, no. J. 774, which Boccia and Coelho ascribe to Emilia, about 1490-1500 (1975, Fig. 200). The etching on both blades is very similar in style. The same mark occurs on no. J.08061 in the Musée de l' Armée, but in that case the etching of the blade appears to be by an entirely different hand.