Brescia last quarter of the XVIth Century
Material: Forged iron
Size: cm 38 long
review by gherardo turchi
An ancient and precious forged iron dagger called “left hand”, which was manufactured in one of those flourishing workshops of swordsmiths active in the city of Brescia, during the last quarter of the sixteenth century.
This weapon was called left-hand, being generally used with a sword held with the right hand, thus the dagger was a sort of counterpart in case of a fight, this way forcing the adversary on both sides.
The city of Brescia, together with Milan, has always been the homeland of Italian swordsmiths since the fourteenth century. The proximity to the woods, an inexhaustible source of wood to feed the blast furnaces, as well as its hilly position, particularly exposed to the winds useful for the forges, has substantially contributed to the development of great techniques for making swords, daggers, and blades in general.
The blades by the way underwent a particularly complex forging process, to which the atmospheric and natural events contributed significantly, in addition to man’s manufacture: the excessive heat would have led to a slower cooling of the core of the blade during processing, compromising its flexibility in the strike phase; excessive cold, on the contrary, would have had the same effect on the strength of the blade, cooling it too quickly and crystallizing the mineral part of the coal.
Brescia and Milan were in a perfect position, both from a climatic and meteorological point of view, to manufacture blades that became an Italian symbol of excellence throughout Europe.
This weapon belongs to the manufacturers from Brescia in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. It has a broad, double-edged blade with a rhomboid section and a rectangular tang; it has a guard with two short, columned stop arms, in the center of which there is a big ring at the height of the blade tang. That ring served to insert the thumb when giving a blow and thus further getting the grip.
Its handle, worked in an iron torchon, ends in a big flattened basket-shaped pommel, engraved with flower motifs.
This dagger is in an excellent state of preservation and represents a meaningful addition to the catalog of steel weapons made in Brescia at the end of the sixteenth century.