2006 | 54 | 2 | 363-388
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The paper makes a record of the swords with pommels denoted Type N (Oakeshott) or XV (Ruttkay) or B2 (Glosek) or 16 II (Geibig). The other sword parts have also been analyzed, cross-guards (Type 1) and blades (types Xa and XIII). Two subtypes have been identified, N-a (9 specimens) and N-b (5 specimens), which is correspondent to Geibig Combination Type 16 II, as well as the swords with pommels of related shapes (types O, B/N and A1). The pommels, blades and guards of all Type N swords are very similar both in type and in size. All swords have hand-and-a-half hilts, whose dimensions are very similar in most cases. Most of the blades are of medium dimensions and show transitional characteristics between Oakeshott's types Xa and XIII, those with predominant features of the former type being more frequent. All guards of Type N swords are straight and slender, belong to Oakeshott Type 1 and are very long (22.5-27.7 cm). So far, only three swords with Type O pommels are known. Some examples are close to Type N swords (guards of Type 1, blades of Type Xa), and some differ (guards of Type 2, blades of Type XVI). Most finds come from Transylvania, central Romania (5 examples), and Bavaria, southern Germany (three N-b examples, three B/N and one O), and almost all were chance finds. A rare exception is the pommel discovered in a Transylvanian hoard buried in 1241. The only artistic depiction of a sword with that type of pommel occurs on a statue from about 1255 in Naumburg cathedral, central Germany. The dating of N Type swords to the first half of the 13th century is confirmed by the typological characteristics of their blades and cross-guards, and this date has been suggested by most scholars. In the first quarter of the 13th century the Teutonic Knights (1211-1225) were based in the surroundings of Brasov (Kronstadt) in Transylvania. It is in that area that two N Type finds were discovered, while another two come from Sibiu (Hermannstadt), also in Transylvania, the city which had remained the center of the German colonists even after the Order's departure. Besides a Type N pommel, the above mentioned hoard from the Sibiu area contained a liturgical vessel (urceolus) which is directly analogous with a find from the first half of the 13th century from Thuringia, the region of origin of the Order's grand masters in that period. Under the assumption that the Teutonic Knights brought the swords with Type N- pommels to what then was eastern Hungary, the swords may be a little more precisely dated to the first quarter of the 13th century, while those of Type N-b would then be a decade or two younger. Based on their typological properties, the swords with Type O pommels have been dated to the second half of the 13th and early 14th centuries, which is also suggested by their sculpted depictions in Freiburg cathedral from about 1300. Considering their morphological resemblance to Type N pommels, they may be interpreted as their slightly younger derivative.
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  • M. Aleksic, Filozofski Fakultet Beograd, Cika Ljubina 18-20, 11000 Beograd, Serbia
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