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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Medieval Scottish Double-Handed Sword with Heraldic Pommel

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LOT 0479

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,670 - 7,010
USD ($) 5,150 - 7,730

Sold for: £4,500
(Inc. bp*)

Medieval Scottish Double-Handed Sword with Heraldic Pommel

Early 13th-mid 14th century AD

A Western Middle Age iron longsword, from Scotland or possibly France, of Oakeshott's Type XIIa, cross style 1, pommel type H; 'Bastard' sword (sword that can be used with two hands), with long tapering blade with cutting edges running nearly parallel to the tip; the narrow fullers extended for two-thirds of its length; the blade shows corrosion and severe battlefield usage nicks, although both cutting edges are well preserved in their complex; the lower guard is simple and straight, with a long grip allowing for the off-hand to be used for extra leverage and power; the pommel is highly decorated with the same inlay on both sides, a saltire or crux decussata within a shield, ie. the well known Saint Andrew’s cross representing possibly a heraldry of the owner; a closed flower inlaid on one side of the blade. 1.3 kg, 99.5cm (39"). Fine condition. Very rare.

From an important private family collection of arms and armour; acquired on the European art market in the 1980s, and thence by descent; accompanied by an academic report by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
See Dufty, A.R.,European swords and daggers at the tower of London,London, 1974; Oakeshott, E., The archaeology of the weapons, arms and armours from Prehistory to the age of Chivalry,Woodbridge, 1960 (1999); Oakeshott, E. The sword in the Age of the Chivalry, Woodbridge, 1964 (1994); Oakeshott, E. Records of the Medieval Sword,Woodbridge, 1991; type XIIa sword was created from Oakeshott as a sub-type of sword XII, with a blade tapering too strongly for a sword of XIIIa style, and acutely pointed (Oakeshott,1991, pp.89ff.). Similar noteworthy swords are the sword from the Burrell Collection of Glasgow (Oakeshott,1991, p.90), the practically identical specimen at the Tower of London (Dufty,1974, pl.3, no.2), and another specimen in a private collection (Oakeshott,1991, p.93).
The presence of the saltire or crux decussata on the pommel makes it very difficult to interpret the origin: such heraldry was widely used in the Middle Ages, primarily from the Duchy of Bourgogne. The oldest heraldic use is related to the Scottish: the flag of Scotland is a cross of St. Andrew, white on a blue background, and it is also represented on the flag of the United Kingdom. It is one of the oldest flags in the world, traditionally dated to the ninth century, and the oldest national flag still in use.