16th Century Schiavona

Place of Origin: Venice

Date: c.1580

Overall Length:


Backsword blade with unidentified armourer’s marks. Chiselled steel hilt with exceptionally cast brass pommel of a neo-classical lion’s head mask. Small red stones set in the eyes of the lion.

It has been postulated that the development of the schiavona hilt is a later evolution of the German hilts from the second half of the 16th century. While this may be true, I feel that it is also possible the hilts were being developed concurrently across the continent as sword fashions were changing, with each region contributing its own unique designs. 

One thing that does seem obvious with schiavona hilts, is that as they are evolving they are adding more and more bars to the hilt. This example shows the fewest number of bars in the hilt when compared with the other examples in the display as well as in the established literature. This fact in combination with the neo-classical lion’s head mask of the pommel indicates that this sword likely represents a very early example in the evolutionary line of the Venetian Schiavona.