Medium: steel, silver gilt, the scabbard of wood, velvet, silver gilt.
Measurements: 121.3 x 32.1 cm
Acquirer: Charles II, King of Great Britain (1630-85), when King of Great Britain de facto (1660-85)
Provenance: supplied to Charles II in 1678, the scabbard supplied to William III
The sword has a broad, straight, flat, two-edged steel blade with etched decoration, and a cruciform silver-gilt hilt, the quillons in the form of a rampant lion and unicorn, a fleur-de-lis at the front of the quillon block and a Tudor rose at the back, with a portcullis above. The wooden scabbard is covered in velvet with applied silver-gilt emblems including a rose, thistle, harp and fleur-de-lis, with a portcullis, royal lions and the coat of arms of William III.
This sword, known as the Sword of State, was traditionally used by the monarch after the coronation, in place of the Sword of Offering (which was kept with the regalia in the Abbey), for all formal occasions, when it would have been carried before the sovereign. The hilt of the sword and the decorative emblems on the scabbard show that it was intended to be carried with the point upwards.
Two swords of state were made for Charles II - the first in 1660, and this one in 1678. It is described as 'a new Sword of Estate most extraordinarily wrought Enchased and gilt'. The 1660 sword was used when Charles II attended Parliament, and this example was used at other formal occasions such as the ceremonial creation of the Knights of the Bath.
The scabbard carries the coat of arms of William III and so dates from his coronation. The 1660 sword no longer exists but this one has remained among the regalia in the Tower of London. It is still used occasionally by the Queen for events such as the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969 and the VE Day service in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1995.
Death of Æthelhere at the Battle of Winwaed, AD 655 Illustration by Angus McBride in a work by Osprey Publishing
Æthelhere (died November 15, 655) was King of East Angalia from 653 or 654 until his death. Æthelhere was a member of the ruling Wuffingas dynasty and was one of the three sons of Eni to rule East Angalia as Christian kings. He was a nephew of Rædwald, who was the first of the Wuffingas of which more is known. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86thelhere_of_East_Anglia
The Battle of the Winwaed (Brythonic: Maes Gai; Medieval Latin: Strages GaiCampi) was fought on 15 November 655 (or 654) between King Penda of Mercia and Oswiu of Bernicia, ending in the Mercians’ defeat and Penda’s death. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Winwaed
Bastei in German translates as bastion and you can easily see why this name was chosen for this towering rock formation, situated on the River Elbe near Dresden in the German Free State of Saxony. Towering almost 200 meters over the river below, Bastei was formed by water erosion over a million years ago. In recent times it has become such an object of fascination that a bridge linking a number of the rocks was constructed, and is itself something of a marvel of Victorian age engineering.
Measurements: overall length 94.5 cm. Blade length 79.4 cm
Presented in conserved excavated condition with patina characteristic of a river find, the sword has a broad flat blade tapering slightly over its upper third, formed with a short blunt point. The central part of the blade surface is showing distinct pattern-welded horizontal patterns formed in three vertical parallel lines over the greater part of the blade length, both “herringbone” and wavy linear.
The edges and the area immediately below the point are forming a frame forged in a less distinct pattern of vertical irregular wavy lines, fitted with pommel of two-part construction. The lower piece is elliptical with horizontal medial ridge, while the upper part is thinner in section, both sides being vertically segmented by two shallow recessed panels bordered by a series of very narrow ridges and a pair matching narrow flutes. Together they are forming a lobated upper edge, but the crosspiece is a modern reconstruction “aged” to match.
For a detailed study of swords from German collections dating from the 8th-12th centuries and for their categorisation, see Alfred Geibig, “Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter”, in Offa-Bücher. Band 71, Neumünster 1991. The pommel on the presented sword is classified by Geibig as Kombinationstyp 3 (see pp. 33-36, fig. 4.)
FINALLY: Israel accused of its warcrimes by members of parliament in the UK
"We should not equate the occupied with the occupier, we should not equate a refugee population of 1.7mil imprisoned in a tiny strip of land, with prison guards, we should not equate terrorists firing rockets with a supposedly "civilized" state systematically killing women, children, disabled and elderly people…If UK and other Western governments fail to discriminate between the actions of Hamas and israel, hundreds of Palestinian civilians will continue to die and the annexation of Palestine by israel will continue.”