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Thread: 17th Century European Campaign Sword

  1. #1
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    17th Century European Campaign Sword

    Hi Guys

    I am currently endeavouring to write an Article about (what I refer to as) European Campaign swords for the Heritage Arms Society Magazine Barrels and Blades. I have found that these swords are often incorrectly referred to as Walloons or Schwedendegen. I have four of these swords in my collection (see attached) that I also had previously described as Walloons, until I secured an actual Walloon at which time, I knew this was not the correct designation for this group of swords. All of mine appear to have German Blades. I have been using the blades to suggest a date range; however, I understand that this is not necessarily accurate as older blades were re-used but hoped it might give me a starting point. At this stage the age of the blades on the four examples I have range from c1610 – c1670 (Approximately).

    I have attached pictures and my current information sheets on the swords in question, I am also hoping to include other examples as they come to light.

    The four examples pictured are:

    1. Campaign Sword-c1610-Broadsword Kings Proof-Col Heinrich
    This sword was originally featured in SOUTHWICK Leslie The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons pp 93 plate 239. Hilt of steel with side ring filled with a pierced plate, and with a thumb ring on the inner side. The blade struck with the king's head mark of Coll, Heinrich - Also known as Enrique Col or Coel and Henrique Sol. A famous German swordsmith who worked chiefly in Spain, 1588-1610.

    2. Campaign Sword-c1640-Broadsword
    Northern European [Dutch or German] heavy cavalry campaign Walloon-hilted broad-sword dates to the Thirty-Year War, ca.1640, and is mounted with a Large broadsword blade. The hilt had acquired a nice uniform patina, has two knuckle guards decorated in the centre with twin engraved balls and a thumb guard. The Guards insert into the base of the pommel. The Shells display heavily embossed decoration, and the grip has twisted steel wire.

    3. Campaign Sword-Broadsword 1414 & Running Wolf
    " straight double-edged blade with light staining & clear markings, short single fullers inscribed 1.4..1.4. & struck with the running wolf mark; grey finish to steel hilt with thumb ring on the inner side; flat mushroom shaped pommel & pierced kidney shaped guard; grip re-bound with woven brass wire; n/s. A good early sword C.1650

    4. Campaign Sword-Broadsword-Inti Domini
    Good. 35" straight double-edged blade with light staining & clear markings, short single fullers inscribed INTI DOMINI (Innermost with the Lord) & struck with the running wolf mark; grey finish to steel hilt with thumb ring on the inner side; urn shaped pommel & pierced kidney shaped guard; grip re-bound with woven brass wire; n/s. A good early sword C.1670.

    All I know is that these swords turn up regularly and I assume that they had been produced in large numbers, however an exact origin and or time/frame is still not clear. Despite being referred to as Swedish, they are apparently not common in Sweden. To add to the confusion, they are also referred to by a large variety of names including:
    • Velddegen
    • Felddegen
    • German Haudegen (Hewing Sword)
    • Campaign Sword
    • Swedish cavalry sword
    • Swedish cavalry broadsword
    • Reitar Haudegen
    • German campaign sabre
    • "Schwedendegen" (Swedish sword) if double edge and "Svensksabel" (Swedish Saber) if single edged

    At this stage the references I am using from my personal library are:
    BEZDEK Richard H German Swords and Sword Makers Pp 187
    BLAIR-C-European & American Arms c1100-1850 Pp 9 9 (175)
    Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue of Arms and Armour Vol. 4 Pp 66-68 Plate 234
    KUPPELMAYR Waffen-Sammlung
    MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd Page 228 pictures 173, 174, 175, 176, 177
    George Neumann, Swords & Blades of the American Revolution, pg.72 #33.
    NORDSTROM Lena White Arms of the Royal Armoury pp 53 Plate 64
    PUYPE J.P. WIEKART A.A. Van Maurits naar munster
    SEITZ Heribert - Blankwaffen 2 Pp 110 Plate 123
    SOUTHWICK Leslie The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons Pp 93 Plate 239
    I have on order “The Visser Collection Arms of the Netherlands Vol. I Part 3”.

    I was wondering if there are other reference recommendations and/or any research material you would be prepared to share. Naturally I would credit you as the source.

    In particular I am looking for:
    • period paintings of soldiers featuring this distinctive style of sword;
    • the identity of the nations that used them, i.e., Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Bavaria etc;
    • were they manufactured in Germany or just the blades with hilts made locally?
    • were they for cavalry or infantry or both?
    • Where did they originate etc?
    • In what wars did they feature?

    Every source I check tells a different story thus far. Any assistance anyone can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers Cathey

  2. #2
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    Hi Cathey,

    I think your photos did not upload. Walloon hilts are an under documented category, with some styles being French, others Germanic and others Dutch/Walloon. The term Walloon itself is a modern collector name, and has no historical precedent.

  3. #3
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    Missing pictures

    Can't beleive the pictures didn't load, hope they do this time
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  4. #4
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    It is better with the pictures.

    Numbers 1 and 3 - German states (basically any of them), around 1670-1720. Number 1 - blade could be slightly older.
    Number 2 - mountain Austria, around 1670, modern wire wrap.
    Number 4 - Northern Germany/Netherlands, around 1650-1700. Modern wire wrap.

    Precise attribution of those swords based on hilts typically is not possible because they have been used during broad period (over 100 years) and geography. Blades typically have been replaced and wraps damaged due to heavy use and poor storage.

    I can show few examples from my collection which can be attributed with somewhat higher certainty. They have marked blades, original wire wraps and untouched tang nuts.
    For example, one can attributed to France around 1730-1750 (blade is slightly curved and etched VIVE LE ROY)
    Another one to Prussia around 1720-1740 due to characteristic eagle mark on the blade.
    I can show more examples later, if you want. I have a lot of this stuff.
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    Last edited by Ivan B.; 09-23-2022 at 02:42 AM.

  5. #5
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    Hi Ivan

    Thank you for this information and yes please if you could post more that would be great. The more examples I can collect the better at this stage. I just can’t believe given how prolific these swords were in the 17th century that I have not been able to find a period painting with one clearly identifiable.

    At this stage it appears all blades were ordered from Solingen, and hilts manufactured locally. This also appears to apply to the British examples I have found.

    Cheers Cathey

  6. #6
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    I agree, most of the blades are manufactured in Solingen and most of hilts are crude and made by local blacksmiths. There are some exceptions; for example, there are many completely identical swords which are attributed to Amsterdam town guards (and could possibly been used by the whole Dutch cavalry). Those swords have high quality hilts and were likely made and assembled in Solingen, and ordered in large batches. I think they also were used prolonged time, from late 1600 until mid 1700, because many of them survived until now (I personally have two and have seen dozens).
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  7. #7
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    French walloon swords also had well made hilts (probably made in Alsace). By 1750 they have lost thumb ring but still had characteristic basket.
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  8. #8
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    Blades are typically not dated, but there is an example with dated blade (I think 1696 is not magic number but the actual date).
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  9. #9
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    Closely related Swiss swords had lion head pommel and usually curved blade. Earlier swords had iron pommels, and from late 17th century pommels were from brass.
    They also featured decorated guard plate, what I think is typical for Alpine region.
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  10. #10
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    Next sword I believe is Austrian, around 1670 (could be variations). It has decorated guard plate, which I believe were common in Alpine region (Switzerland/Austria/Bayern).
    There is a large number of similar swords in a castle near Innsbruck, they are likely come from the local armory. All blades are from famous Solingen blade smiths and should be rather expensive; probably that was some kind of elite cavalry unit.
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  11. #11
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    Walloons etc

    Hi Ivan

    Thankyou so much for sharing these, may I use them in my Article, which is 7 pages already with conclusions yet. If you wouldn’t mind having a read of it when its closer to publication, I would love your input. I had assumed at first that you lived in Europe given your collection, surprised to see you live in Seattle. In Australia we just don’t have access to these swords in any number outside my own collection.

    The two with the wide blades are fabulous, Rex can’t get enough of these wide blades, and this is the first time I have seen these campaign swords with large riding sword blades. I will send you a message with my email as I may need to ask for some higher resolution images of these.

    Tell me what do you call them, I keep bouncing back between Campaign sword and Walloon style?

    Cheers Cathey

    Attached is what I regard as the classic Walloon from our collection.
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  12. #12
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    Hi Cathey,

    "Walloon hilt" is the most commonly used term for collectors to talk about this sword, but there are also no historical basis for that term. As for "campaign sword", I must say I have never seen that word used before.

    The only term I have seen used historically to talk about these is possibly "épée à la suisse" or "Swiss style sword" which is first used by Louis de Gaya in 1678 in his Traité des armes. The illustration he gives makes no sense at all, and looks almost like a schiavona, but Manesson Mallet in 1684 gives more details about it, saying it is equipped with a double pontais guard and branches protecting the hand. The pontais, or pontats, are the bilobate plates that are mostly associated with this style of sword. Richard Lassels in 1688 adds that Swiss style swords have pierced guards. This is not to say that such swords were only Swiss, or even originated there, but they do seem to have been popular in countries around the Alps, which explains why people would perceive them as such.

    There is also a tendency to associate the example you show above with the French 1679 pattern, but I am increasingly doubtful of that as almost every known sword of that type bears Dutch markings, and very few if any have any convincing French ones.

  13. #13
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    Hi Cathey,

    Thank you for your interest to my pictures! Yes, you can use them, I can send higher resolution images.
    I think that's a great idea to write an article about walloon swords (I would prefer this term). I haven't seen any good summarizing publication about walloon swords and was always surprised that such a common and widely used weapon have received so little attention from researchers.
    I started collecting swords when I lived in Stockholm. Accidentally saw an announce from Stockholms auktionsverk about upcoming antique weapons auction, decided to visit it... and so it started. Few years ago I moved to Seattle but continue collecting European swords (mainly cavalry swords from 17th to early 19th century).

    Best regards,
    Ivan
    Last edited by Ivan B.; 09-27-2022 at 03:04 AM.

  14. #14
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    I think there are two types of swords which are being called "walloon swords": one without side bars (classical Amsterdam town guards sword/French Wallonne de Cavallerie M1679 and one with side bars.
    First was certainly derived from campaign swords which Sweden purchased from Netherlands during the Thirty years war. Those campaign swords just lost forward quill on
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  15. #15
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    The second type - with side bars - possibly have been developed from this kind of swords, which have been also used during the Thirty years war (and likely assembled in Netherlands). My example missing the thumb ring.
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  16. #16
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    So much variety

    Thanks Ivan and Max

    This area of swords is so diverse. We also have a slightly earlier cavalry sabre and two Lion head examples in our collection. Pictures attached.

    The first probably Swedish has a f Flat renaissance pommel, wide up-and-down quillons, and forward ring-guard. The large ring-guard is filled with a plate, decorated, and with a corresponding thumb-guard at the back. The Guard and pommel engraved with floral decoration. Grip has both Turks heads but no wire, only the wood remains. The blade is slightly curved backsword which pre-dates the hilt bare a sword mark in use from circa 1580-1620.

    Next is a Brass Lions head With curved blade double-edged to the point and fullered along the back over most of its length on each side. Brass half-basket guard of slender bars of circular section comprising a heart-shaped side-ring on the outside framing a brass plate embossed with symmetrical foliage and linked to the pommel by an outer handguard corresponding to the knuckle-guard, each with double central swelling and joined together by a diagonal, downcurved quillon (terminal repaired), brass pommel cast and chased as a lion’s head, and brass wire grip.

    Last Iron Lion head pommel with pieced guard on one side and thumb ring on the other. The blade is slightly curved and has an etching of a man’s head with text that translates as “VINCERE AUT MORI= either to conquer or to die and SOLI DEO GLORIA = Glory to God alone”.

    Cheers Cathey
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  17. #17
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    Leger Museum Walloon Article

    I was wondering if anyone can assist me with identifying the full names of the publications quoted in the article 019027 CAT. 548, HV-692 by the Leger Museum. I am keen to check out the references listed first hand but in the literature list they have only quoted the authors surname and year of publication as follows:

    Literature
    -Beyerling (1937) p. 475-476 World's Guns (1958) No. S27 p. 200
    -Mann (Vol. II, 1962) Cat. A475 p. 247-248 A491p. 253-254
    -Seitz (Vol. II, 1965) p. 178
    -Seifert (1967) p. 537 fig. 7f
    -Aries / Petard (Fasc. VII/1, 1968) `Wallone de Solingen a pontat double'
    -Gaier (1976) p. 38
    -Schlesinger (Vol. I, 1978) p. 145
    -Norman & Barne (1980) p. 189-193, 265-267, 269-270
    -Petard (1977) p. 36-39 & Pl. 3
    -Puype (1981) p. 9, 47, fig. 38
    -Haedeke (1982) p. 82, fig. 31.1
    -Norman (1986) Cat. A491, p. 118-119
    -Schutters in Holland (1988) Cat. 50-51 p. 231, Cat. 66 p. 248-250
    -Geibig (1991) p. 118

    I do have books by a number of these authors but have no way of knowing if they are the ones referred to in this list.


    Cheers Cathey
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  18. #18
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    The second and third are assuredly Swiss, 18th and 17th century, base don the tell tale lion shaped pommels. The firs tmay very well be Swiss as well. The Swiss became known for their preference to curved sabre blades in the 16th century, and guards like these can be found in the country.

  19. #19
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    I agree, the first one is probably Swiss. Hilt is typical for the Central Europe (Rhine area), and curved blade pointed to Switzerland.

  20. #20
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    About the Swiss sabres in this style, I see them described as cavalry weapons, what I believe it is hardly possible, as the mercenary Swiss units were infantry. I wonder if they are better described as infantry mounted officer weapons.

    I guess I have some of the books above, Mann, Seitz, Norman and Schutters, and probably different books by Petard and Puype.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

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