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Old 18th April 2021, 12:01 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default Hungarian swords and references query

In going through old notes, Ive come across old references to the often peculiar inscriptions and symbols on Hungarian blades referred to as 'the Transylvanian knot'. I think it was Ariel who found this information and possibly it came from a book on Hungarian swords, "Kardok" (Hungarian swords) by Lugosi Jozsef(?) and Tennesvary Ferenc.

I am wondering if anyone can say more on this curious inscription, the book, and perhaps where one might obtain this and other titles on these swords.
There is very little in books in English on Hungarian and Polish swords.

Another title I had the name of:
"Huszarfegverek a 15-17 Szazadban" (forgive my horrible spelling)
Tibor S. Kovacs

one more:
"a Magyar faj Vandor Pa'sa:
J. Zichy, Budapest, 1897

Sure would appreciate any info on these,
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Old 21st April 2021, 06:28 PM   #2
Victrix
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Hi Jim!

Iím also interested in literature in English on Hungarian swords and arms/armour. Unfortunately these are quite rare.

You may be able to buy Lugosiís Kardok and Nadolskiís Polish Sabres if you google local Hungarian and Polish online book shops and second hand book shops.

You may want to look up Dr. Tibor Kovacs (https://mnm.hu/en/users/dr-kovacs-s-tibor) at the Hungarian National Museum who has written quite a lot (in Hungarian). The museum is fantastic and well worth a visit. I have forever regretted not buying his book on maces and war hammers when I was there. He wrote a book on Hungarian Hussars in 15-17thC in Hungarian (which I donít understand a word of)
https://issuu.com/lajosyossarian/doc...sz__rfegyverek

Some material is available in German like this on the fringia inscription: https://www.waffen-kostuemkunde.de/d...ds/Fringia.pdf. Peter Krenn is very good on Austro-Hungarian arms from Styria, e.g. https://www.historischerverein-stmk....-in-Coburg.pdf.

Hope this helps.
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Old 22nd April 2021, 05:25 AM   #3
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Victrix, thank you so much for this information and these links!
Like you, I will not be able to read these, but always hope for good images and sometimes English captions. The Swedish Arms & Armor Society journal 'Varia" is wonderful, as they publish captions and summaries in English, and gratefully a good number of references do this.

Excellent information!

All very best regards
Jim
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Old 29th April 2021, 11:08 PM   #4
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Hungarians keep it close to the vest, when it comes to literature on their swords. Polish swords are close to the Hungarian ones. For some unknown to me reason, Eastern Europeans refuse to publish books on edged weapons in English.
Here's a good recent volume on Polish swords...not in English. https://www.ebay.com/itm/25486890187...IAAOSwM2deP~FI

What is a Transylvanian knot?
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Old 30th April 2021, 03:01 AM   #5
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Thanks very much Dmitry! good tip on this.
The 'Transylvanian knot' is basically a colloquial term for magic/occult/talismanic wording and symbols found on some Eastern European blades. I have never found any good literature on this, but I think Ariel had some reference to it in one of his obscure references on Hungarian swords.

The convention is similar to the 'magic' motif and decoration on the Caissagnard blades from Nantes in France 18thc.
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Old 1st May 2021, 09:26 PM   #6
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In addition to what has already been mentioned, I recommend SPLENDEUR DE L'ARMURERIE HONGROISE, a profusely-illustrated 1999 Belgian exhibition catalog of Hungarian arms from the state museums. Scarce, but possible to find. And in a Romance language, not in magyar!

Jim, what does this Transylvanian knot look like?
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Old 1st May 2021, 09:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix View Post
Hi Jim!

Iím also interested in literature in English on Hungarian swords and arms/armour. Unfortunately these are quite rare.

You may be able to buy Lugosiís Kardok and Nadolskiís Polish Sabres if you google local Hungarian and Polish online book shops and second hand book shops.

You may want to look up Dr. Tibor Kovacs (https://mnm.hu/en/users/dr-kovacs-s-tibor) at the Hungarian National Museum who has written quite a lot (in Hungarian). The museum is fantastic and well worth a visit. I have forever regretted not buying his book on maces and war hammers when I was there. He wrote a book on Hungarian Hussars in 15-17thC in Hungarian (which I donít understand a word of)
https://issuu.com/lajosyossarian/doc...sz__rfegyverek

Some material is available in German like this on the fringia inscription: https://www.waffen-kostuemkunde.de/d...ds/Fringia.pdf. Peter Krenn is very good on Austro-Hungarian arms from Styria, e.g. https://www.historischerverein-stmk....-in-Coburg.pdf.

Hope this helps.
Is the mace book written in English, or just the title and photo annotations are in English?
How I wish there was a away to read that FRINGIA article you linked to, in English! Alas, I tried, and couldn't translate the .pdf....
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry View Post
In addition to what has already been mentioned, I recommend SPLENDEUR DE L'ARMURERIE HONGROISE, a profusely-illustrated 1999 Belgian exhibition catalog of Hungarian arms from the state museums. Scarce, but possible to find. And in a Romance language, not in magyar!

Jim, what does this Transylvanian knot look like?

The 'Transylvanian knot', if I understand correctly, is simply an idiom describing a phrase or group of symbols or words in acronym or combinations thereof which are intended as talismanic or magical imbuement. As I noted, in the 17th and 18th centuries Europe had popularized these kinds of themes on blades in many cases.

Addendum:
Just found photos of a saber I had, since 1976, but traded it away in the 90s. I bought it from a well known mail order dealer with the 'description' (?) '18th century Hungarian hussar saber. It turned out this was an Arabian saber hilted with a much favored Hungarian blade. I was told the inscription was basically 'jibberish' and non translatable. I was surprised in 2015 to discover this material on the 'Transylvanian knot' which told a lot on these strange words on the blade of this saber. I wish I still had it.

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 2nd May 2021 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 01:42 AM   #9
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Adding the photo for previous post as unable to find manage photos attachment in edit.
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Old 12th June 2021, 09:14 AM   #10
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I found this website in English with bits and pieces on Hungarian history as well as arms & armour: https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/. It has a local flavour with a lot of info not previously known to me. Seems Tokapi Museum is a must if visiting Istanbul. Thereís a wealth of fascinating history in Eastern Europe, which was not encouraged during communist times, but now increasingly being re-discovered locally and shared internationally. Itís like missing pieces of puzzle that contribute to seeing the whole picture.
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Old 12th June 2021, 09:41 AM   #11
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As Hungaqry has been a long time part of the Habsburg monarchy the following title might be of interest too. JirŪ Protiva, Palase habsburske monarchie, hardcover 193 pages, ISBN 978-80-86783 0-37-6, Hungarian text, at the end of the book desriptions of all pieces in German language. It contents 120 colour prints of swords (pallaschs) of the Habsburg army between 1679 and 1825. For those interested in this kind of arms this book is very commendable.
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Old 13th June 2021, 04:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
As Hungaqry has been a long time part of the Habsburg monarchy the following title might be of interest too. JirŪ Protiva, Palase habsburske monarchie, hardcover 193 pages, ISBN 978-80-86783 0-37-6, Hungarian text, at the end of the book desriptions of all pieces in German language. It contents 120 colour prints of swords (pallaschs) of the Habsburg army between 1679 and 1825. For those interested in this kind of arms this book is very commendable.

Thank you so very much Udo!!
This looks like a most useful reference and great photos. I know what is meant by many of these publications only in the languages where published, but many have taken to including English sub captions and often summary text.
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Old 13th June 2021, 11:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
As Hungaqry has been a long time part of the Habsburg monarchy the following title might be of interest too. JirŪ Protiva, Palase habsburske monarchie, hardcover 193 pages, ISBN 978-80-86783 0-37-6, Hungarian text, at the end of the book desriptions of all pieces in German language. It contents 120 colour prints of swords (pallaschs) of the Habsburg army between 1679 and 1825. For those interested in this kind of arms this book is very commendable.
The language here is either Czech or Slovak. I can understand the composition of the sentences , and which words are verbs, nouns, genders etc, but just barely the meaning. I remember when this book came out. Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 20th June 2021, 10:44 AM   #14
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Hi Jim,

I have this book by Lugosi and Temesvary, found in a charity bookstore last year. It is exclusively in Hungarian which makes it pretty impenetrable but has a great many photos and detailed captions which can be typed into Google Translate.

I will take a look and see if I can see any photo or reference to this Transylvanian Knot.

Does anyone know the correct term in Hungarian so I can scan the text for it?

Regards
Jerry
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