Hungarian/Croatian Rapier, First Half 17th C


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Iron hilt formed of hollow-ground diamond-section and round bars, featuring straight quillons
expanding toward the ends, with small ball finials. Wide side ring and smaller side ring
below attached to the round-section pas d’ane. The reverse guard features three round-
section bars extending from one quillon diagonally downward to join the base of the pas
d’ane. Bun-shaped pommel with large integral button; original grip wrap of twisted iron wire,
with Turks heads top and bottom. Straight tapering 38 1/4″ blade of flattened diamond
section, with narrower flat ricasso stamped with several marks and bordered by incised
lines. According to the Hungarian antique arms dealer who sold this in 2002, this rapier
came from a collection in Szigetvar, Hungary and the marks are a Toledo, Spain maker’s
mark and the Ban (viceroy) armory mark of Miklos Zrinyi (Nikola VII Zrinski), 1620-1664, a
Croatian nobleman, poet, and military leader in the 17th C. We have not been able to
confirm this, but we do believe the blade is of Toledo manufacture. The hilt is somewhat
unusual, with some features of a swept hilt rapier, and others resembling hilts of
horseman’s broadswords. This might be expected in Eastern Europe, which had unique
styles, mixing Western European designs, with their own influence and that of the Ottoman
Turks, with whom they were in conflict for centuries. Overall length 44″ (112 cm). Very
good condition; the blade with minor pin-prick pitting, the hilt with dark patina and an old
brazed repair to one of the reverse guard bars. The rapier comes in a professionally made
custom-fitted, lined wooden box, made for the previous owner, who was in diplomatic
service in Hungary in the early 2000’s.

Miklos Zrinyi was active during the late stages of the Thirty Years War. Afterwards he
distinguished himself in actions against the Ottoman Turks, and was appointed Captain of
Croatia by Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. A period engraving shows him in battle
against the Turks wielding a saber, and at his side is a rapier which looks very much like the
one offered here. Several monuments to Miklos Zrinyi are located in Hungary and Croatia.