Sword ID

Sep 24, 2018
About 35-40 years ago I came across a guy who had imported a number of swords from Sudan. I bought this one (IIRC I paid about $100). It originally had a typical Sudanese wooden, leather wrapped hilt with a leather disk pommel. I wanted a more European looking sword and removed the Sudanese hilt, drew out the tang a bit and added a disk pommel with the tang riveted on the top of the pommel


Today I would have left it original but I was younger and had different values and priorities. I have always suspected that it is a European blade which was exported to Africa. This is because of the double headed eagle engraved on both sides of the blade. I seriously doubt that a Sudanese craftsman would have used infidel imagery, particularly the Christian cross on the single crown above the eagle.

The double headed eagle has been used by various European countries and houses including the Byzantines, the Hapsburg Austrians, Albania, and the Russian Romonovs amongst others.

The blade is 34" long and the cross guard (I would guess Sudanese origin) is 6 1/4". The fuller runs the entire length of the blade.

It appears that the eagle has been on the blade for a long time because the engraving is worn off the high parts of the blade on the edge of the fuller. It would take a lot of drawing in an out of a scabbard to wear the steel down.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the origin or age of this blade?

You’re right that it is very likely European. Many countries have local swords with imported European blades and Sudan happens to be one of those countries where many of their so called kascara swords have European blades.

Many of the swords imported were apparently from Germany (Solingen) and Italy. There are even examples of local sudanese smiths copying the European markings sort of like a counterfeit because of these imported blades reputation for quality.

I’m sure someone more knowledgable will come along and give a better idea. You could also send pics to these guys who specialize in the neighbouring takouba swords which have many of the same European blades. www.takouba.org
Run it through the mill at the http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=12 board

You will be chastised for your efforts but might get the best rational explanation for the blade in the end. The guard does definitely fit as having been a kaskara and I assume any other old bits are long gone but your interest is of the blade's origin. I would go to the grand inquisitors at vikingsword ;)

A friend has suggested that the blade may have originally been an 18th century Austrian cuirassier blade. He cites a description from "Cut and Thrust Weapons" by Eduard Wagner, "the blade is straight, 92 cm long, two edged, channelled on both sides (fullered), the Austrian eagle with a crown is engraved." Also, the double headed eagle engraving is very similar to a blade on an auction site which is described as being Austrian or Russian.

If it is indeed an European blade my sin may be less by restoring it to a European configuration. Also, in mitigation in about 1980 there were very few decent reproduction blades around.
Well it is your sword. Having said that, it is a really nice looking re-hilt. If it's solid, I would say you knew what you where doing. Good work. Too further stir the pot a bit what you did is the reverse of what was done when the blade made it to the Sudan. It is also not unusual at all for users to get a blade and put a hilt that is more to their liking, was done all the time through out history, so your just playing it forward.
You might get more input on it at myarmoury.com, though you'll probably get some flak for altering it. People on that forum can be quite opinionated about such things.