Western Europe, Spain, ca. late 18th to early 19th century CE. A forged-steel cavalry sword with an ovoid handle wrapped in steel wire, a knob-form pommel beneath a brass spacer ring, and a curved vertical handle guard. The double-shell guard covers two large finger rings as well as a projecting quillon with tapered tips and a pair of recessed rings. The lengthy blade tapers to a pointed tip and has a thick spine, a shallow fuller with a thinner secondary fuller in the midsection, and a sharpened edge. One side of the blade reads "TOLEDO" between two incised floral motifs, and the other side reads "VIVA ESPANA." A petite maker's mark in the shape of a crescent moon is present on either side of the blade, though the identity of the exact maker is uncertain. Size: 8.875" W x 38.3" H (22.5 cm x 97.3 cm); length of blade: 31.8" L (80.8 cm).
Swords have been a means of defense and a means to an end for more than 6,000 years of human civilization. While swords may be imposing in the hands of a foot soldier, they are absolutely punishing in the hands of a well-trained cavalryman. According to author Harvey J. S. Withers, "The cavalry sword was still a horseman's most effective weapon of defence and attack up to the 18th century. Unlike infantry soldiers, who began to rely more on musket and pistol, the cavalry soldier carried a firearm only as his secondary weapon of defence. It was therefore crucial that he had a sword capable of producing a devastating effect when combined with the horse's speed and his own strength and skill. The sword needed to be heavy and robust, with a long cut-and-thrust blade, fixed to a large hilt, affording good protection to the sword hand." (Withers, Harvey J. S. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Sword and Sabres." Anness Publishing Ltd., London, 2010, p. 46)
Provenance: private Glorieta, New Mexico, USA collection
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Slight bending to overall form of blade, minor nicks to blade, hand guards, and handle, light softening to some incised details on blade, and minor darkening to blade and brass spacer ring, otherwise intact and very good. Great patina throughout.