Dragoon Sabre from the 17th Century
This weapon is one of the most valuable possessions which was bought as part of the Belitska-Scholtz collection 1962 by the Ferenc Nádasdy Museum.
This sabre is single-edged and has a slightly curved blade, with a sign in Arabic on one side. Its forte is standing out dominantly. There are several parallel ridges running long the blade. Its heart-shaped yelmen bears relief leaf-ornamentation, its dragoon type hilt is is copper-wired. Its hand guard was made of rolled iron with one end inclining towards the blade and ending in a pommel. The other end is linked to the chase, thus shaping a two-part hand guard. On the backside of the yelmen there is a ring for parrying strikes.
Sabres are single-edged sword-like weapons with a curved blade. In order to make it suitable for stabbing the lower third of the inner curve was sharpened and this was called the forte. At the beginnings a simple metal rod was the hand guard, but it became more complex later on. The pommel was not only meant to support the hand, but also to balance the weapon.
Sabres are tools of war used for cutting and it was peoples from the East to spread them in the West. Some researchers believe that the term itself is of Hungarian origin.
The sabres of Hungarians at the period of the Conquest of Hungary were slightly curved and the embellishments indicate the expertise of the blacksmiths. At the time of founding the state of Hungary, these weapons completely disappear from the hand of Hungarians and even if such objects were found, then it was a link to rather the Kun and the Besenyő. Later on – especially after the settlement of other nations – the Hungarian cavalry began using it and sources say that soldiers carried this weapon during the Italian campaign of King Lajos.
From the 15th century, following the Ottoman influence sabres spread among Hungarian soldiers, however it was not the type which our ancestors used during the Conquest of Hungary in the 9th century. The blade received a more dominant curve and the grip became more complex. In the beginning the pommel and the hand-guard were linked by a chain, this was later replaced by a metal band.
This characteristic Hungarian cavalry weapon became known in Europe in the 18th century, when by depositing Hussar outfits from the Western battlefields the first Prussian, French, English and even American regiments came into existence. The blade of these sabres was relatively broad, it became later thinner and less curved. Hussars used the weapon until World War II. when the development of arms made it futile. It was favoured because no armour had to be pierced when fighting an opponent with similarly light armour, thus the blade could be lighter. It was ideal for both cutting and stabbing and the curved blade could strike easier and reach less accessible body parts (e.g. behind a shield) could also be hit. (szg)
Lugosi József – Temesvári Ferenc: Kardok. Budapest, 1988.
Kovács S. Tibor: Huszárfegyverek a 15-17. században. Budapest, 2010.
Temesváry Ferenc: A sárvári Nádasdy Ferenc Múzeum fegyvergyűjteménye. Budapest, 1980.
Inventory number: 74.81.1.