Oakeshott Type XIV – Records of the Medieval Sword – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

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Extract from Records of the Medieval Sword by Ewart Oakeshott

This is a very distinctive sword-type which by its incidence in works of art can be given a more than usually precise life-span between c.1275-1340. Its characteristics are a short grip and comparatively short blade which is broad at the hilt and tapers strongly to a sometimes very acute point with a generally flat section fullered in its upper half. Cross tend to be generally quite long and slightly arched, while the pommel-type most commonly found allied to the to these other elements is of Type K, broad and flat with small raised bosses.

Naturally, like all swords, their sizes vary; and we do not have very much hard archaeological evidence to go on, for, in spite of the type’s obvious popularity in the period of its usage, very few examples are so far available for study. Not so their appearance in works of art – sculpture, tomb-effigies, MS miniatures and early Italian paintings. When they are depicted in their scabbards, it is not possible to be certain that they are not of Type XV (q.v below) nut enough are shown naked to make dating secure. They appear only once or twice along with the more usual Type XII’s in the Maciejowski Bible (c.1260) as well as in the Oxford Romance of Alexander, an earlier English MS dated c.1333, where XIV’s are shown along with XIIIa’s, XII’s and XV’s.


Type: XIV
Find-place: Somewhere in Denmark
Collection: Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen
Blade-length: 28″ (71.1cms)
Pommel-type: R
Cross-style: 1, curved
Date: c.1300+ or -20
Condition: Excavated, probably from a bog. Poor, very corroded. Interesting double fuller.

XIV. 6

Type: XIV
Find-place: Unknown
Collection: Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen. Ex collection E. A. Christensen
Blade-length: 33″ (83.9cms)
Pommel-type: K, factted
Cross-style: A curved, sophisticated and elegant form of 1
Date: c.1300
Condition: Perfect. Must have been preserved in a house or an armour or well-cared for. The grip is probably an original.
Publication: Christensen & Hoffmeyer

This is one of those perfectly preserved, sharp and shining medieval swords which are too easily condemned as being ‘too good to be true’. Considering that it was acquired about thirty years ago by a collector and connoisseur as astute and experienced as Mr. Christensen, there can’t be much validity in any doubts about its authenticity. It’s a big sword, as you can see from the dimensions upon the elaborate series of drawing [sic] Mr. Christensen sent me just after he had acquired the sword.
In the catalogue of his collection made before it went on his death to the Danish nation, he dates it at c.1475. (‘Gammelt Jern’, No.66, p.88), but I believe this is nearly two centuries too late. [sic] its whole form – pommel, cross and blade – are so strongly fitted into the classic XIV shape tha I am sure it has to be dated between c.1275-1325. It is an absolutely outstanding sword, and I think the sketches he sent me give a very clear idea of its size, and the rather unusual form of its long, beautifully made double fullers. Unfortunately, the only photographs I have are not very good.

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