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Extract from Records of the Medieval Sword by Ewart Oakeshott
This type is distinguished by having a sledner blade, generally long in proportion to the hilt, with a very narrow fuller running to within a few inches of the point. In classic examples there is a very little taper to the edges, though in well-preserved examples the point is quit acute. However, since so many river-found and earth-found swords have much heavy corrosion at the point, in such survivors the point appears to be spatulate and rounded. In my Sword in the Age of Chivalry I mistakenly added a Type XIb, thinking erroneously that such corroded blade constituted a sub-type. There is, however, a positive sub-type in XIa, where the blade is broad, but the fuller remains very narrow. Examples of these are rare, one of the best being shown here at XIa.1.
As with all of the other types, the form of pommel and styles of cross varies a good deal within the limits of custom and availability during the period of usage – which in the case of Type XI seems to be between c.1100-1175. This statement however, needs to be accepted only with caution. We don’t know what hiterto unknown survivor may rise from earth or river or tomb with a reliable dating context to confound my typology. Or from somebody’s collection, for that matter. So far as I know at present, XI’s have inscription either in iron (as in XI.1 here) or in silver or latten or gold where the ‘handwriting’ matches Leppaaho’s 11th and early 12thc century Viking blades.
The beautiful Xa, in the Wallace Collection (No Xa. 1 in this series, above) is a perfect example where, having only the form of the sword (not its perfect preservation) to go by, it cannot be pin-pointed at all to any certain period between 1050 and 1350. All that can be said is that it is a classic Xa, whose hilt is matched exactly by (a) some of Leppaaho’s Viking hilts and (b) hilts shown in monumental art between c.1250 and 1350. So it may be with Type XI, though at present (October 1990) I would not date any XI beyond c.1125.
1. Type: XI
Collection: Private. Formerly R.T. Gwynn, Morgan Williams
Blade-length: 34′ (86.4cms)
Cross-style: 1. Long and thin
Condition: Excavated (near perfect, fine blue-black patina.[sic]
Iron inlaid inscription NISMOMEFECIT on one side and a garbled version, not very clear, of INNOMINEDOMINI on the other.
2. Type XI (Borderline XA, but put in here to compare with 1)
Find-place : Tyrvaa, Finland
Collection: Helsinki University
Blade-length: 32 1/1 (82.5cms)
Condition: Excavated, near perfect
Publications: XI. 1. An article in the The Ancestor in 1903; VIctoria and ALbert Museum, THe Art of the Armourer, 1953; XI.2 Leppaaho, pl.5.
This beautiful sword has been published and illustrated several times; the first I know of was in a very select and aristocratic magazine, The Ancestor, in 1903. Laking featured it in his Record of the European Armour and Arms…in 1921, and it appeared again in the catalogue of the sale at Christies in 1921 aof the Morgan Williams collection from St Donat’s Castle. Iwas exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in ‘Art of the Armourer’ exhibition; however, for some reason in none of the these publication was any mention made of the nature of the inscription.
There are two other swors inscribed NISOMECECIT, one in the Museum at Stade, the other in Helsinki – illustrated in Leppaaho, Fig. 5.2.
This is a aperfect example of the type, with its long blade and narrow fuller.
Collection: Glasgow Museum Reserve Collection
Blade-length: 32′ (81.4cms)
Condition: Excavated. Poor. A great deal of corrosion and deep pitting on the blade, and the hilt as well. The cross has one arm nearly taken off by a avery deep piece of corrosion.
Collection: Ex. D’Acre Edward coll. Royal Armouries.
Blade-length: 29″ (73cms)
Condition: Excavated. Quite good. Surfaces of balde good except for the last 10″ (25cms) or so near the point, where it is very heavily corroded. The pommel and cross are well preserved. The grip is modern. There is a tiny inscription in the balde on one side, the letters SOS. It has been suggested that this unlikely-looking combination of letters is in fact the initial letters of the words SANCTA\, O SANCTA.
Publication: Dufty. Plate 2c
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