The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cinquedea
  • Cinquedea
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1470
  • Iron or steel, bronze, gold, ivory and copper alloy, etched
  • Length: 46.7 cm, blade
    Width: 9.5 cm
    Weight: 0.96 kg
  • Inscription: 'CAVE · NE · VITORIA · SIT · CAYXA · M · / FATIS · REGITVR · MORTALE · GENS' Up the centre
    Maker's mark: Bladesmith's mark 17.7 cm from hilt
  • A747
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Cinquedea, the arch-shaped hilt shod with gilt bronze, decorated like A746 with acanthus leaves in the form of a lyre in low relief; flat, curved guard; the grip, in one with the pommel, consists of two ivory plaques, inlaid with four circular pierced ornaments in brass; the bands usually inset at the sides, generally of gilt copper and inscribed, are missing. The ends of the pommel-cap are decorated in relief with lyre-like arrangements of acanthus foliage. The quillons bear traces of etched decoration. The style and arrangement of the etching of the blade is very like that of A748, but appears to be original.
    The blade, of flattened diamond section, has two shallow holes from base to point and is etched with a representation of Leda and the Swan, and other classical subjects, surmounted with winged figures and foliage. Inscribed up the centre:

    CAVE · NE · VITORIA · SIT · CAYXA · M ·
    (Suggested translation: Take care that victory is not the cause of death)

    FATIS · REGITVR · MORTALE · GENS
    (The race of mortals is ruled by destiny)

    There is a bladesmith's mark 17.7 from the hilt: the same mark appears upon A741, 743, and 748.

    Italian, about 1470

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.