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- Date of production 1st half of the 14th century
- Place of creation Olkusz, Poland
- Dimensions length: 125 cm, width: 24 cm
- ID no. MR PTTK Olkusz 265/67
- Object copyright The Antoni Minkiewicz Regional Museum of Polish Tourism and Sightseeing Society in Olkusz
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
In the collection of the Regional Museum in Olkusz, there is a well-preserved medieval sword. It is called an executioner's sword, because local legend claims that it was used for an execution carried out in the square in Olkusz. Scientific research does not, however, confirm such a hypothesis with regard to the presented exhibit.more
In the collection of the Regional Museum in Olkusz, there is a well-preserved medieval sword. It is called an executioner's sword, because local legend claims that it was used for an execution carried out in the square in Olkusz. Scientific research does not, however, confirm such a hypothesis with regard to the presented exhibit.
According to them, this sword was a war weapon with a light blade, mainly used for piercing. Decapitation (beheading) would have been extremely difficult to achieve with a single swing of this weapon. Executioners' swords had a handle suitable for two hands; they were heavy and not very long; they were sharpened over the entire length of the blade at the same width and had a blunt-ended tip. Even a tool that was specially shaped for "separating the head from the body" could not ensure the full effectiveness of the sentence, which was only assured by the invention of the guillotine.
Therefore, the sword from Olkusz could not have been the tool used to behead a wretch in the market square in Olkusz. It was used on the battlefield, not for executions. According to Ewart Oakeshott’s medieval sword typology, it is described as type XVIa. It has a blade narrowing towards the tip, with a double-sided fuller up to 1/3 of its length. Signs made of yellow metal were placed on it, and it had the sword-bearer's stamp on its handle (a long-sword with a simple cross-guard and a circular pommel). It is well-balanced, which allowed for a longer fight, and was long enough to effectively reach an opponent.
Elaborated by Jacek Wilk (The Antoni Minkiewicz Regional Museum of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society in Olkusz), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved