(About): A Mamluk Sultan’s Gift
Like many of Darksword Armory’s replica weapons, the Alexandria Sword is a faithful reproduction of a genuine medieval artifact: in this case, it has been based on the ‘Harriet Dean Sword’, a 600-year-old Italian blade that was donated to the armory at Alexandria in 1419 by the Mamluk Sultan. Such a rich, pan-European history encompassing both West and East can be a fantastic way to add depth to your re-enactment impression, or to act as an inspiration for your LARP outfit.
A Swift Blade for Renaissance Warfare
The blade of the sword is a late-medieval style, classified by medievalist Ewart Oakeshott as a Type XVIIIc. The XVIII swords were developed in tandem with a fighting style known as ‘cut-and-thrust’ from the earlier medieval knightly arming swords, and were a sort of bridge onwards to the much narrower, sharply pointed rapiers and side-swords of the Early Modern era. Our Alexandria Sword has a broad blade that is diamond-shaped in cross-section – this belies its primary use as a thrusting sword, being rigid enough to deliver puncturing blows to vulnerable points in plate armor or to split chainmail. Although the blade is handsomely proportioned, it is flat and slender edge-on, and this along with its subtle taper towards the point with its broad base create an exact balance-point, keeping it agile enough to be perfect for the Renaissance fighting manuals which were written for swords like this. The blade comes optionally branded with its characteristic Arabic inscription just below the hilt, a perfect replica of the original, which reads “Donation of al-Mālik al Mu`ayyad Abū al-Nasr Shaykh to the armory in the frontier city of Alexandria [in the] year 822 [A.D. 1419].” The blade is made from 5160 spring steel and tempered to 60 HRC at the edges – this means it is a fully functional blade, capable of standing up easily to light combat with similarly-hard blade and weathering the rough-and-tumble of re-enactment.
A Hilt Inspired by the Past
The hilt is unfussy and ergonomic, significantly simpler than many contemporary swords which were beginning to incorporate finger-rings and elaborate swept hilts. The cross-guard and pommel are made from tough mild steel. The guard is simple cruciform, with the added detail of pointed terminations which mark this out as the meticulous work of a master-artisan. The slender hand-grip is covered in wet-formed leather, permitting a secure grip for lightning-fast moves. The solid wheel-pommel provides the carefully-measured counterweight to the blade, resulting in a peerless weapon that would be suitable even for authentic bladed HEMA. It is made in a full-tang, peened construction, and so is a fully secure, battle-ready functional weapon.
If you can’t tell, we are enormous fans of this sword. Our Alexandria Sword draws together a fascinating and mysterious history with peerless craft to create an unmatched reproduction: the closest you can get to wielding the original sword.
(Curiosity): The Alexandria Swords: Spoils of War or Symbols of Peace?
The ‘Alexandria swords’ are a fantastically enigmatic group of swords that were discovered in the armory at Alexandria, Egypt, in the early 20th-century. They are all clearly weapons of European manufacture, but they have all been inscribed with devotional text in Arabic – most of them date from the early 1400s, a turbulent period in Egyptian history. Some theories state that these were swords captured in battle, taken from fallen soldiers or stripped from captured nobles; whereas other scholars theorise that these swords were given as markers of good faith in sealing treaties, such as the Cypriot-Mamluk treaty of 1414. Nevertheless, enlightened rulers such as Shaykh al-Mahmudi seem to have given these swords as part-curiosity, part-trophy to the collection at Alexandria to symbolise and commemorate their legacies.
- Total length: 45 inches
- Blade length: 33 ½ inches
- Blade width: 3 ¼ inches
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Blade hardness: 60 HRC at edge ; 48-50 HRC at core
- Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
- Grip material: Leather
- Weight: 3 lbs 8 oz.