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Old 5th March 2023, 10:39 AM   #1
Teisani
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Default Constantin Brâncoveanu's sabres - Săbiile lui Constantin Brâncoveanu

Constantin Brâncoveanu's sabres - Săbiile lui Constantin Brâncoveanu - by Teişani the Tired

Constantin Brâncoveanu was Prince (Domn / Voivode) of Wallachia (Ţara Rumânească) from 1688 to 1714. He was a rich man, hence the Ottomans called him „altın bey / golden prince". Arrested in the spring of 1714 by the Ottomans and taken to Constantinople under suspicion of collaborating with the Russians, he was executed together with his 4 sons (he also had 7 daughters and wife Maria) on the 15/26th of August 1714.

The following written is based on the articles in "Buletinul Comisiei Monumentelor Istorice" 1926,1931,1935. So if you don't like something here, blame them .

● - this dot will represent the precious stones that intrerrupt the inscription on the blades.

His trusted aid, Manu Apostol, had managed to move most of the family treasure to Brașov shortly before Brâncoveanu's arrest. It's inventory mentions 16 sabres, 10 of them as turkish, and silvered. The sabres are mentioned once more in a late-1714 inventory when the treasure was confiscated by imperial authorities - "Zehen mit Silber beschlagene Säbel. zwei silberne Säbel. , vir mit Silber beschlagene Säbel. Ein Beschlacht auf einen türckhischen Säbel, silber vergolt, mit türckhischen Sleinen beselzt". And again in 1715 when some were sold. The looting of Brâncoveanu's treasure is well known, Ottomans being reported to sell them even in Moldova. By 1720 just 2 sabers remained unsold in Transylvania. Returning from exile, Brâncoveanu's wife, Maria, apoints Gheorghe Hrisogon de Trapezunt / Gheorge Trapezuntul (who managed the prince's Vienese and Venetian possessions, †1739 of diabetes) to represent the family's interest. He talks to the Austrians about compensations for the widow, and the imperial authorities eventualy agree. However, Trapezunt is not happy regarding the value of some of the treasure items, that were to be compensated. For example the initial inventory mentioned "silvered sabre", yet the apraisal document failed to mention the "silvered" part. These sabres were valued by the Austrians at 5-6 florins, yet Trabezunt says that "any common merchant carries a sword worth about 10 to 30 and 50 thalers, it is hard to believe that a prince of Brâncoveanu's status would sent a such a (meaning low value)sabre for safe-keeping". He also found it curious that one with a jasper stone handle was valued at only 3 florins.
Gheorghe Hrisogon de Trapezunt (1720?) - "E primieriante per le sciable nell' inuentario uenendo specificale d'argento, nella stima non si fa menzione d'argento, ma uengono stimate di 5 a sei fiorini, che ogni ordinario mercante porta almeno sciabla da 10 a 30 e 50 taleri, e un Principe di qualita, come il Brancouano, pare cosa dificile da credersi [saluo miglior sentimento] hauer mandalo in deposito per sicurezza di tal ualore. Una poi fra le altre si dice con pomolo di petra hiaspide stimata di 4 fiorini".

In 1823-24, Robert Walsh - Narrative of a Journey from Constantinople to England", page 270-271, the following: "The name of Bessaraba is still cherished in Wallachia. A sword which had belonged to him was brought to me for sale; it had on the blade his name in letters of gold, with the following inscription: +ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ ΔΕΣΠΟΙΝΑ ΣΚΈΠΈ ΦΡΟΥΡΊ ΦΥ[Λ]ΑΤΤΕ ΑΠΌ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ΕΧΤΡΏΝ ΤΏΝ ΕΥΕΒΕΣΤΑΤΏ ΕΝΔΟΣΟΤΑΤΏ ΚΑΙ ΕΚΛΑΜΠΡΌΤΑΤΏ ΑΥΘΕΝΤΙ ΙΩΆΝΟΥ ΙΩΝΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΊΝΩ ΠΑΣΆΡΑ [ΜΠΑ]Ν ΒΩΙΒΩΔΑ+, meaning "Birth giver of God, keeper, watch over and guard from foes the all-glorious and all-shining lord, Ioan, Ioan (sic) Voivode Constantin Basaraba.

◍ - L'Armeria Reale di Torino
Medalion with the image of Mary and baby Jesus, and two candles
Blade inscription......................."CY ΒΑCΙΛΕΥ ΑΗΤΤΗΤΕ' ΛΟΓΕ ΘΕΟΥΠΑΝΤΑΝΑΞ ΤΟΝΓΕMONI ΚΑΙ ΠΙΣΤΟΑΥΘΕΝΤΙ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟ"
Blade inscription as is..............."CYΒΑCΙΛΕΥΑΗΤΤΗΤΕΛΟΓΕΘΕΟΥΠΑΝΤΑΝΑΞ ΤΟΝΓΕMONIΚΑΙΠΙΣΤΟΑΥΘΕΝΤΙΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟ"
Greek......................................"Σύ, βασιλεύ άήττητε, λόγε Θεού, παντάναξ, τω ήγεμόνι χαί πιστό αύθέντη Κωνσταντίνω"
English...................................."[Oh Crist] Thou, invincible King, Word of God, Master of all things, come to the aid of the powerful and faithful autocrat Constantine"
French...................................."[O Christ] Toi roi invincible, Verbe de Dieu, maître de toute chose [sois secourable] au chef et fidele autocrate Constantin!"

In 1857, Victor Langlois publishes in "Revue archéologique I, pp. 292-294" a study entitled "Notice sur le sabre de Constantin XIV (sic), dernier empereur de Constantinopole, conserve a l'Armeria Reale de Turin" (Teisani's note: Langlois / Langlets' article is also referenced in "The Catholic Institute Magazine, Volumele 2-3, 1857, page 155" (see the attached picture). It's about a sabre with Damascus steel blade, brought from Constantinople by Baron Tecco, former Minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia, and later given as a gift to King Victor Emmanuel. Baron Tecco had bought it (with a considerable sum of money) from a local merchant, whom had acquired it from the guard of Mehmed II's tomb. Langlois believed that the sabre belonged to the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, based on the gold inlay inscription, "Thou invincible King, Word of God, Master of all things, come to the aid of the powerful and faithful autocrat Constantine". It is only on one side of the blade.

However, in 1874, Giovani Veludo, publishes an article entitled "La spada di Constantino Paeologo, ultimo imperatore di Constantinopoli" in which he argues that, based on the blade's shape (curved), it could not have belonged to Paleologos, since the Byzantines used straight blades on their swords. Teisani's note, based on this, http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...9&postcount=13, it might be a false assumption. He also argues that the inscribed verses (yes, they are verses), match the 16th-17th century style. Finaly the "ο ηγεμων" and "ο αύθέντης" excludes the possibility of a Byzantine emperor. Why? Marinescu argues that emperor Constantine titled himself differently, "Κωνσταντίνος εν Χριστώ τω Θεώ πιστός βασιλεύς και αυτοκράτωρ Ρωμαίων ο Παλαιολόγο". On the other hand, Wallachian ruler, Constantin Brâncoveanu, in letters from the orthodox patriarch was titled as such. Further proof is in Brâncoveanu's portrets by Alessandro della Via in Venice, and on a map of Wallachia made during 1694-1699 by stolnicul Constantin Cantacuzino, published at Padova in 1700 (and an Austrian copy of Cantacozino's, by Schierendorff in 1707, resides at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Viena).

The Venetian portret title says: ✶ ΊΩΆΝΝΗΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΊΝΟΣ ΜΠΑΣΑΡΆΜΠΑΣ Μ
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Last edited by Teisani; 6th March 2023 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:03 PM   #2
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Excerpts from the "Buletinul Comisiei Monumentelor Istorice 1926 anul XVII"
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Last edited by Teisani; 5th March 2023 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:05 PM   #3
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Excerpt from "Buletinul Comisiunii Monumentelor Istorice 1931 anul XXIV"
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:18 PM   #4
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Excerpts from "Buletinul Comisiunii Monumentelor Istorice 1935 anul-XXVIII. Text only.
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:21 PM   #5
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Excerpts from "Buletinul Comisiunii Monumentelor Istorice 1935 anul-XXVIII. Pictures.
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:29 PM   #6
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◍ - L'Armeria Reale di Torino - pictures
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:35 PM   #7
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◍ - Suţu Palace
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:40 PM   #8
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◍ - Muzeul Militar Naţional „Regele Ferdinand I” - Bucuresti
And here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...9&postcount=71
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Old 5th March 2023, 05:59 PM   #10
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◍ - Muzeum Wojska Polskiego w Warszawie
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Old 5th March 2023, 06:02 PM   #11
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◍ - Tararstan national museum
https://kazanreporter.ru/post/4894_1...-s-bogorodicej
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Old 5th March 2023, 06:03 PM   #12
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◍ - Unknown
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Old 5th March 2023, 06:12 PM   #13
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Although these Greek inscriptioned blades could posibly be Brâncoveanu's, it is worth mentioning that the medalio with Mother and Child (and 2-3 candles) apears on blades with Latin/Cyrilic wrinting as well, here are a few (see attached)

If anybody knows other blades with these features, please feel fre to post them. Also if anybody knows where these blades come from.
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Old 5th March 2023, 09:31 PM   #14
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Some other sabres with Greek inscriptions.
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Old 6th March 2023, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eftihis View Post
Some other sabres with Greek inscriptions.
Eftihis you forgot a few more.
Here from Аствацатурян book.
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Old 6th March 2023, 05:41 PM   #16
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and another one in the kremlin.
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Old 7th March 2023, 06:48 PM   #17
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Thank you for your contributions.
============================
I found Marcu Beza's paper: Noui urme romanesti la manastirea Sinai si la Ierusalim. In: Boabe de grau, An V, 1935, nr. 9, p. 552-565.
http://restitutio.bcub.ro/handle/123456789/763

Problem is, nobody knows how the sabre ended up at the Holy Tomb monastery treasury. Beza, working with the assumption that it trully is Brâncoveanu's sabre, postulates that it may have been a gift given to the patriarch, on one of his many visits to the Wallachian prince. The handle is made of ivory, according to him.
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Old 7th March 2023, 07:26 PM   #18
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And Nicolae Iorga's article on the Stockholm sabre can be read here: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki...escoperite.pdf
Can anyone please help with translating the greek writting in the last page?
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Old 8th March 2023, 06:07 PM   #19
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These swords with the Virgin Mary medallion have been subject to a lot of speculation. Rivkin, in his "A Study of the Eastern Sword", discusses them and his hypothesis is that these originated during the Great Turkish War and distributed as gifts to potential Holy League allies in Eastern Europe, particularly Russia. If true, this explains why there are inscriptions in different languages - those would have varied based on the intended recipients.
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Old 13th March 2023, 09:17 PM   #20
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One more. Seems rehilted since thw scabbard is typically Ottoman. https://www.landesmuseum.de/videogui...ser-und-sultan
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Old 15th March 2023, 11:16 PM   #21
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Thank you for this superb information!
The Royal Armouries in the UK host a saber with a very similar blade and decoration put on to a typical Polish L-guard. I had to promise them to not publish pictures however..
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Old 16th March 2023, 07:28 AM   #22
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Hello Patrick. Very interesting to hear about that L-guard sabre. Since you can't post pictures, can you at least describe the blade decoration, such as: does it match exactly the text on any other blade already posted here? If not, is it Greek/Latin/Cyrillic, can you type the text, are there candles, etc?

Regards,
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Old 16th March 2023, 01:39 PM   #23
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Hi Teisani,

The inventory number seems to be B.0937.1. They will certainly send you images on request.

There is a arch-ornament with two candles underneath it and a depiction of Maria and infant-Jesus in a circle. All in gold and on the tierce. No text. The blade itself appears to be around 1650, in Hungarian manner and of high quality.
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Old 23rd March 2023, 09:35 AM   #24
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Apparently the "sword of Constantine XI Palaiologos" myth refuses to die. Here is an article on sword #23, that the author claims belonged to the Byzantine emperor. http://www.rehbergundemi.com/silah-k...23-nolu-kilic/
Oh well! At least we get a nice picture of the inscription on the blade.
This #23 sword is #2682 from here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...14&postcount=5
Quote:
συ βασιλευ αηττητε,λογε θεου,πανταναξ,νικης βραβεια δωρησαι κατα των πολεμιων τω ηγεμονι και πιστω αυθεντι Κωνσταντινω ωσπερ ποτε τω βασιλει μεγαλω Κωνσταντινω
(You invincible king, voice of god, all-knowing, bestow (us) the prizes of victory over our enemies, the supreme and true believer Constantine, who once was like Constantine the Great..)
Later, I discovered that the sword belonged to the last Byzantine emperor Constantine Palialogos, thanks to the Greek websites about Chios. This sword is mentioned in many more Greek written sources. The story of the sword is as follows: Paliologos, who aimed to get the support of the crusader armies in 1452, allowed the catholic rite to be held in Hagia Sophia and hosted Cardinal Isidoros, who came from the Vatican, in Istanbul. During this visit, Isidoros Konstantine presented this sword. Later, on April 26, the Genoese commander (Chios) Gioanni Ioustinianos (born in the island of Istanbul) presented this sword to Gioanni Ioustinianos Longos. Longos came to the aid of the Byzantines with 2 ships and 700 men. Longos protected the Agiou Romanou (Topkapı district) Gate during the siege. His soldiers followed him and left Istanbul. He died from the wounds he received 2 days after their arrival in Chios. Chios is a great hero. (The Genoese commander who fought Ulubatli Hasan in the 1453 movie is the same person.)
Wikipedia got in on this act too: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki...an_emperor.jpg

The funny thing is, we actually know what John VIII Palaiologos' (Constantine XI's predecessor) sword looked like. It was a typical sabre for the time. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...9&postcount=13

And more of the same.
https://sword-site.com/thread/837/sw...eror-byzantium
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Old 23rd March 2023, 09:03 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teisani View Post
"Sword donated by Suleiman the Magnificent to Catherine the Great said by Suleiman to have been Constantine VI's."

That one sentence alone should be enough to discredit pretty much anything else written in that post.
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Old 23rd March 2023, 10:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV View Post
"Sword donated by Suleiman the Magnificent to Catherine the Great said by Suleiman to have been Constantine VI's."

That one sentence alone should be enough to discredit pretty much anything else written in that post.
Yes I can just imagine Suleiman dictating his will: "yeah, this chick, what's her name...Catherine! Yeah, Catherine. Give her this sword when she's born 100+ years from now, OK? I'm going to Szigetvár...Heard al sort of nice things about it this year, 1566."
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