(About): A Sword Lovingly Designed from a Hidden Gem of 19th-Century Medievalism
Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc is not a household name in the Anglosphere, but by any measure of justice he should be. His breathtaking Encyclopédie Médiévale is a towering work of medieval scholarship, when the academic discipline had not yet even entered infancy. The Encyclopédie’s precise almost blueprint-like illustrations have given Darksword Armory fantastic material from which to make a fitting tribute to Viollet-le-Duc: the Duke Sword.
A Functional Blade from a Lost Age
The blade of our Duke Sword is a true classic: a slender Oakeshott Type XIV arming sword blade, with a stiff diamond cross-section, a steady even taper almost to the point of the narrow blade and a broad shallow fuller. Such weapons became popular in the 13th and early 14th centuries, with the improvement of chainmail and the appearance of transitional forms of armor that began to introduce elements of plate: such a stiff cutting-and-thrusting sword could work equally well to burst mail as to deliver concussive blows or weak-point thrusts against a more armored opponent. The blade of our Duke Sword is made from highly resilient 5160 spring steel, dual-tempered to 60 HRC at the edge (48-50 HRC at the core) – this means that it is a fully-functional, resilient blade capable of taking (and dealing out) the rough and tumble of light combat and re-enactment use.
A Hilt with a Secret Weapon
The hilt of the Duke Sword is made from tough mild steel, and is made with a full-tang, peened construction. This means all of the parts are threaded onto the tang of the blade, and then the protruding tip of the tang is hammered flat, securing the hilt firmly to the blade and resulting in a fully battle-ready weapon, capable of being used safely. The grip is made from wet-formed leather.
But the Duke Sword’s pommel has a trick up its sleeve. The large wheel-pommel his heavier than you might expect on an inferior, mass-produced reproduction weapon: that’s because Darksword’s expert smiths have carefully weighted it so as to move the point-of-balance of the sword right down to the sword’s crossguard. This means that the Duke Sword moves like a snake, feeling absolutely weightless in your hand and shifting with lightning-speed. It truly is a marvel of design and manufacture.
The Duke’s Sword is a rare object: a new medieval sword, based upon the old but incorporating centuries of innovation. It’d be a fantastic addition to a re-enactment impression of a 14th-century knight, or to a LARP costume for a brave paladin or warrior.
(Curiosity): The Tragically Obscure Viollet-le-Duc
Viollet-le-Duc was a titan in his age. A flamboyant restorer of dozens of France’s greatest medieval landmarks, he renovated Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral in the 1860s as well as the magnificent cité walls of Carcasonne. He produced reams of architectural manuscripts, forging a pioneering relationship between form and function that would form the next generation of architects, including august names like Frank Lloyd-Wright. His Encyclopédie Médiévale was the first serious scholarly attempt to provide a history of the evolution of arms and armor, which he did on a grand scale. He was not without his detractors – his works have been criticised for incorporating flights of fancy, anachronism and inaccurate guesswork – yet his status as the finest French architect and medievalist of the 19th-century can scarely be questioned. And yet he is almost completely unknown outside of France, not least because his works have never been translated into English. Perhaps our Duke Sword will inspire you!
- Total length: 40 inches
- Blade length: 32 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: 2 lbs 14 oz.