Steel, wood, brass and copper wire
Overall: 108.9 cm (42 7/8 in.); Blade: 85.7 cm (33 3/4 in.); Quillions: 22.5 cm (8 7/8 in.); Grip: 15 cm (5 7/8 in.)
Weight: 2.3 kg (5.07 lbs.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1620
The inscription on this sword reads, "When I raise this sword, so I wish that this poor sinner will receive eternal life."
Execution by decapitation was generally reserved for the nobility during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Although the axe was favored in England, for centuries swords were used throughout Central Europe. The blades were often etched with moralizing inscriptions and designs representing Justice (as here), the gallows, the rack, or the Crucifixion. By the early 1700s swords were no longer primarily used in Europe for executions, but they still functioned as symbols of power. This sword was probably ceremonial for a formal procedure or procession.
The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.