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Old 18th August 2022, 05:43 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default Walloon, not really?

Continuing on from my attempt to finally settle on general file descriptions for swords in my collection. Here is the next group I am querying.

This group, I have always described as Walloon’s although I know that is not strictly correct. I do have one classic Dutch Walloon and when you compare these to that sword the difference is size alone is significant. Not to mention that the Walloon is probably Dutch, whereas these are generally listed as German, Norweigan or Swiss. Given the country or origin dose vary I was thinking perhaps Campaign Sword/Sabre dependant on blade type or Field Sword/Sabre.

At this stage I have come across the following alternative names:
  • 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
The four examples pictured are:

Walloon-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.

Walloon-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.

Walloon-c1650-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

Walloon-c1670-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.

I would be interested in an alternative view of an appropriate and clear naming description, if possible, please provide references.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 18th August 2022, 08:16 AM   #2
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What magnificent swords! You must have a beautiful collection.

As far as I know Walloon are the French speaking people of Belgium. Not sure why this type of sword is named after them. Maybe because they live with the Flemish/Dutch people often associated with this sword? Maybe Walloon is the French term for the sword?

Nobody in Sweden knows why the Germans sometimes call it Schwedendegen/Schwedensäbel (Swedish sword/sabre). It seems to be a German term dating back to the 30-year war. These swords were never common in Sweden.

This is not science, but collecting individually handcrafted arms from the 17thC. Hence I think it’s futile to attempt to find scientific definitions to these items. As long as we understand each other when we mention a term then that’s satisfactory at a basic level.

I know immediately what people mean when they mention a Walloon sword. But given the fact that these swords were commonly used all over Europe I would try to avoid using a narrow geographic place to name this sword. I favour calling it a Felddegen or campaign sword. Other members may prefer to call it something else. The most important thing is that we understand each other.
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Old 18th August 2022, 12:20 PM   #3
fernando
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Originally Posted by Victrix View Post
...As far as I know Walloon are the French speaking people of Belgium...
As you say, Victrix, Wallonia is the Southern francophone part of Belgium; land of the Walloons.
Some say the walloon sword is a 16th century european weapon used by belgian calvinist cavalry and foot soldiers alike.
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Old 18th August 2022, 12:44 PM   #4
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I think best before answering would be to check several of Jan Puype's books or the Visscher catalogue (which still I do not have). But I am bookless now.

IIRC Puype gives precise notice of how the walloon sword was adopted by the Dutch (PUYPE, Jan Piet, et al. Het arsenaal van de wereld. Nederlandse wapenhandel in de gouden eeuw. De Bataafsche Leeuw, Amsterdam 1993), sometime in the 1630s.

Next important date would be 1672 when the French armies invaded The Netherlands and afterwards adopted the Walloon hilt themselves.

In the 1690s the French started making variations of the hilt, both for infantry and cavalry and simplified versions in brass. Sabre blades were also attached.

The basic model was kept in use for almost a hundred years. Probably the peak of use of the Walloon sword was between the Nine years war and the War of the Spanish sucession. By all contenders, including the Spanish.

Even with the identification of the Heinrich Kolle blade, I believe 1610 is a too early date for that hilt. Also the 1414 and running wolf sword I think it is of French use and therefore shall be after 1672.

Walloons, after the peace of Arras (1579), were more of a third of the Catholic Monarchy troops in the Low Countries, outnumbering Italians or Spanish by far. After 1635 they were more than half. The Southern Low Countries, including Walloonie remained catholic. Given how easy was to cross the border, many emigrants moved to the north, but they were mostly Flemish speakers. Brabant in the Netherlands is mostly catholic nowadays.

The question is, I am not sure walloon swords originated with walloon troops.
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Old 18th August 2022, 12:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
As far as I know Walloon are the French speaking people of Belgium. Not sure why this type of sword is named after them. Maybe because they live with the Flemish/Dutch people often associated with this sword? Maybe Walloon is the French term for the sword?

Nobody in Sweden knows why the Germans sometimes call it Schwedendegen/Schwedensäbel (Swedish sword/sabre). It seems to be a German term dating back to the 30-year war. These swords were never common in Sweden.

This is not science, but collecting individually handcrafted arms from the 17thC. Hence I think it’s futile to attempt to find scientific definitions to these items. As long as we understand each other when we mention a term then that’s satisfactory at a basic level.

I know immediately what people mean when they mention a Walloon sword. But given the fact that these swords were commonly used all over Europe I would try to avoid using a narrow geographic place to name this sword. I favour calling it a Felddegen or campaign sword.
Yeah, I would probably go with felddegen or haudegen.

On a side note, the blade on the bottom one does look almost exactly like the blade on the Walloon sword I got recently (except for the inscription, and minus some patina). So definitely close cousins! }|:oP Picture attached for reference.

As to why Walloons are named that; I've read in the past that it's just a 19th century collectors term... but I don't know whether that is true or not.
Alternatively I'd have hypothesized that they got the name from the French during their war against the Dutch (after which the French then made it into their first standardized model). The first forces they would've encountered geographically would have been the Walloons. But that is just musing and speculation on my part.

And of course the felddegens look quite similar (thumb ring, straight double edged cut and thrust blade, thrust plates on the guard, often pierced, upturned quillon bulb, roughly similar period).
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Old 19th August 2022, 12:53 PM   #6
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These are what the Dutch Legermuseum describe as waalse degen:

https://collectie.nmm.nl/nl/collectie/?q=waalse+degen

And these under houwdegen.

https://collectie.nmm.nl/nl/collectie/?q=houwdegen
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Old 20th August 2022, 11:56 AM   #7
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alternative view:
this type is called in Dutch Houwdegen = broadsword for the footsoldier/infantry and must be dated much later between 1675-1725.

epee-wallone/walloon sword is a different type of sword as previous post #5 , is the most famous Dutch sword and a broadsword for the cavalry, blades were exported from Solingen to Amsterdam where local made hilts were mounted and local made scabbards were added , exported in masses and used in most western European armies. 1645-1675

the name "sword from Wallonia" comes from the french who captured large quantities of these swords during their campaign in 1672/73 in the southern Netherlands and subsequently introduced the sword in the french army under epee wallone.

CF Puype, van Maurits naar Munster /JP puype p 92-95 p-114
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Old 10th September 2022, 10:35 AM   #8
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Default Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre)

Hi Guys

I am endeavouring to write an Article about (what I am now calling) European Campaign swords for the Heritage Arms Society Magazine Barrels and Blades. The swords I am referring to are the four I have posted here that now appear to be frequestly referred to as Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre). As I have said I had previously described these swords as Walloons and/or Walloon Type, until I secured an actual Dutch Walloon at which time, I knew this was definitely not the correct designation for this group of swords. All of mine appear to have German Blades and I have been using the blade to suggest an age; 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).

Whilst I intend to base my articel on the four swords already in my collection I am also hoping to include other examples as they come to light.

At this stage the references I am using 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” its on its way to Australia.

I was wondering if anyone has any other reference recommendations and/or any research material they would be prepared to share. Naturally I would credit them as the source.

In particular I am looking for:
• period paintings of soldiers with these swords
• the identity of the nations that used them, 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


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

Cheers Cathey
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Old 10th September 2022, 11:43 AM   #9
Victrix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
Hi Guys

I am endeavouring to write an Article about (what I am now calling) European Campaign swords for the Heritage Arms Society Magazine Barrels and Blades. The swords I am referring to are the four I have posted here that now appear to be frequestly referred to as Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre). As I have said I had previously described these swords as Walloons and/or Walloon Type, until I secured an actual Dutch Walloon at which time, I knew this was definitely not the correct designation for this group of swords. All of mine appear to have German Blades and I have been using the blade to suggest an age; 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).
Hi Cathey,

I strongly discourage you from identifying these type of swords as Schwedendegen or Schwedensäbel since this means Swedish sword and sabre (not Swiss!). People from non-European continents often mix up Sweden and Switzerland which have some similarities in character but are very different countries in Europe.

As I mentioned in post #2 already: “Nobody in Sweden knows why the Germans sometimes call it Schwedendegen/Schwedensäbel (Swedish sword/sabre). It seems to be a German term dating back to the 30-year war. These swords were never common in Sweden.”
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Old 11th September 2022, 01:07 AM   #10
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Default I actually call them Campaign swords

Hi Vitrix,

As you can see from my previous posts I now refer to these as Campaign swords. I used the term Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre) in the header of this post as it has been used on other sites and I hoped it might draw in more information.

Thank you for response, it is useful to note that these swords were not common in Sweden.

I am actaully wondering if I should perhaps start an entirely new thread in the hope of illiciting more information. These are proving very difficult to research with any degredd of confidence.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 11th September 2022, 04:59 AM   #11
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I have found the thread to be very informative and have restrained my own thoughts due to real ignorance of the scope in time we are looking at.

The more I read of the descriptive terms, it seems like a timeline needs to be included to categorize the specific forms. Walloons best regarding the late century infantry swords.

My one example may be later 17th century, with the fully developed inboard plate. Also a plain broad hewing blade of cavalry length.

Some descriptions get parsed to death as to literal meanings, so that just adds more to simply calling everything a walloon (when they are not).

Thanks for this thread!

GC
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