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Old 29th September 2021, 07:24 PM   #1
corrado26
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Default Left Hand Dagger?

Left Hand Dagger? That's the question. Got it today and like it but would like to know what others think about its age and origin. Total length 357 mm, length of blade 230 mm. Interesting is the recess shortly before the tip of the blade and what was its purpose.
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Old 29th September 2021, 08:32 PM   #2
fernando
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Interesting piece. Whether it is a left hand dagger, the ring says yes. Is the blade tip 'bulky' all round, like in hand weapons made to perforate ... mail or armour ?
We know the primary purpose of the left hand dagger being that of parrying the adversary blows, it also serves as a stabbing weapon as a resource in a sword fight.
The guard rather atypical and so is the grip. I wonder whether some of our members are familiar with this dagger shape.
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Old 30th September 2021, 09:37 AM   #3
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Some additional fotos of the dagger's tip of both sides and fotos which demonstrate that the dagger is very well balanced.
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Last edited by corrado26; 30th September 2021 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 30th September 2021, 12:01 PM   #4
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Interesting; the recess occurs in the edge sides but not on the ridges.
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Old 1st October 2021, 06:40 AM   #5
Jim McDougall
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The grip shape is most unusual as noted. These left hand daggers came in around mid 16th c. and fell into disuse for fencing soon after the 17th c. according to Egerton Castle (1885, p.246). However in its latter existence it was "...of a very reduced type, approximating that of a stiletto and its guard consisting merely of straight quillons with a small ring".

However in Spain the hand covered guard type known as main gauche' came into use for some time later.

It seems most of these had fluted cylindrical grips, a lot of those German with the ringed guard like this, but the styling on this hilt is most unusual. The blade with what seems almost like an armor piercing point is as well. The ring indicates this was a fencing dagger, as a guard to protect knuckles if an errant blade slipped in a parry.

That 'star' ,mark on the guard it seems I have seen somewhere, but the only mark like it in a stand alone situation is from a non illustrated knife in "Knives and Scabbards", (Cowgill, de Neergaard, Griffiths, 1987, #174) stating it is early 15th c. Naturally this is a bit early for this dagger, but thought it worthy of mention.....the region unfortunately not stated but mostly from British excavations.
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Old 1st October 2021, 08:19 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot for your help. Maybe that the mention of Spain as probable origin hits the nail: I got it from a Spanish collector.
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Old 1st October 2021, 02:10 PM   #7
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Could it be an artillerist dagger?

To clean the gun touchhole.
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Old 1st October 2021, 02:27 PM   #8
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I consider this a rather clear example of a STILETTO.

Absolutely not a left-hand dagger.
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Old 1st October 2021, 03:32 PM   #9
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I agree with mariusgmioc, this is an italian stiletto.
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Old 1st October 2021, 05:09 PM   #10
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I would not venture myself for a stilleto, looking at its hybrid composition.
Stilettos, as the word means, are supposed to be rather thin, which doesn't seem to be the 'ferocious' blade tip of this weapon.
Neither a Spanish 'daga de mano izquierda' (maing gauche is a Gallicism), even having come from a Spanish collector.
Also i am surprised that Spanish left handers came into action at a later stage; there are Toledan 'guardamanos' in the Real Armeria from the XVII century, a time when they were used in sword & dagger fighting.
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Old 1st October 2021, 05:26 PM   #11
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Default The star mark

The Toledan Almaus, father and son, used a star for mark and so is a star in my centoventi; but both are distinct in shape with the one in Udo's example.


.
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Old 1st October 2021, 06:07 PM   #12
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I agree on the note this is not a stilletto, especially not Italian and not the gunners stiletto, with narrow blade as Fernando describes to insert in touch hole if emplacement overrun...to 'spike' the cannon.

The flared tip, seemingly armor or otherwise piercing enabling.....this was not just for armor, but heavily padded textiles often worn.

Fernando, the 'star' on the example shown is a 'pentagram' with five points, not the asterisk type used in Toledo. If the five point star existed over a century before, it does seem possible of course to have still been in use somewhere.

The classical styling of the hilt does suggest Italy or Spain as context, but hard to say for sure. An anomaly to be sure!
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Old 1st October 2021, 07:25 PM   #13
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
...Fernando, the 'star' on the example shown is a 'pentagram' with five points, not the asterisk type used in Toledo. If the five point star existed over a century before, it does seem possible of course to have still been in use somewhere...
Jim, i was only (un)establishing some relation in context. If i do look for star marks in general i notice that six pointed ones abound circa 1500's (Armi Bianche) and a five pointed one may be seen in a XIV century halberd (Waldman).
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Old 1st October 2021, 10:52 PM   #14
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Jim, i was only (un)establishing some relation in context. If i do look for star marks in general i notice that six pointed ones abound circa 1500's (Armi Bianche) and a five pointed one may be seen in a XIV century halberd (Waldman).
Got it. It seems weird that a 'punctuation' character would be used as a personal marking, when these were used so randomly in cosmological motifs.
While each of these are regarded as 'stars' , in symbolic literature they carry very different meanings. Gets pretty confusing
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