In today's blog we will explore a custom piece we have made. It is a rapier designed to a style with elements chosen by the customer in the style of the Guard of the Electors of Saxony. The position was created in the mid 14th century and had as one of its responsibilities the right to vote for the Holy Roman Emperor. This allowed this small state to acquire a good degree of power and had the resources to create weapons and armor of high status and style. They are prized pieces in collections today and popular items for replication.
The style of swords carried by this group have style elements that were cutting edge fashion, especially in the mid 16th century to the first half of the 17th. They also had made distinctive halberds and armor that was noted for its high contrast detail.
The sword we are looking at today has several characteristics that denote many of the swords of this group. They often have a bulbous pommel whether round or faceted that has a taper from the mid-point to top of the grip that can be intense. The guards will often flare as they approach their ends and can be straight or swept in graceful curves. The grips are often complex pieces with bands and caging over fine materials such as shark skin or wire wrap. Like the armor mentioned above, the pieces are often blackened and feature high contrast in the detailing with bright polished steel or gold and bronze.
Custom Sword by Arms & Armor Inc.
The piece we have completed has several of these elements and creates a striking sword to have on one’s hip. The weapons associated with this unit are usually very practical even with their impressive decorative design. It also is one of the early examples where we see multiple pieces being crafted as like arms for a military unit. These would be early examples of standardized pieces for military service that would appear in the following generation.
One of our stock items is based on another weapon from this lineage check out our Elector of Saxony Dagger.
We also have two Stock Swords that fall in this style of weapon, our Gustav Vasa Rapier and the Saxony Military Sword.
This custom sword is excellent in action, and we hope the customer enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it. Check it out in the video below.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985