The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Spetum
  • Spetum
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1610
  • Iron or steel
  • Length: 71.5 cm, including socket, not straps
    Weight: 2.22 kg
  • Maker's mark
  • A1026
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Spetum, runka or trident, with long spike of stiff, diamond section; curved side blades terminating in points of diamond section; faceted socket with two straps; the whole of the head is wrought in one piece; octagonal haft-ferrule. The blade bears a maker's mark on each side.

    Italian, about 1610.

    Viollet-le-Duc VI, 25, fig. B.

    Provenance: Louis Carrand (?) (Une corcesque, 100 fr. [with une hache pertuisarme]; receipted bill, 14 April, 1869); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The Italian name for this type of weapon is corsesca, rather than runka or roncone, from which the English word "runka" is presumably derived. "I. G. gentleman" translated la Roncha of Giacomo di Grassi (p. 104) as "bill" (P3).
    Boccia and Coelho illustrate (1975, pI. 592) a similar weapon also with these marks in the Museo Civico, Bologna (inv. no. 700), which they call a corseche and date about 1600-20. Another is in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan (1980 cat, no. 712, with a list of similarly marked weapons). The same mark occurs on spetums in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and in the Museo Stibbert, Florence, no. 1987; also on two halberds in the Royal Armouries, VII. 977-8; another at Bern, no. 1528; and on a cutlass in the Keasbey sale, New York, 1925, lot 73. At Venice are four corsesche, of like form, bearing the same mark (J 243-4, 246-7).

    It also occurs on a partizan in the Royal Armouries, bearing the arms of France and Navarre (VII-216).