The seventeenth century in Italy saw the refinement, of the dagger into a from described by Oakeshott as beautiful. horrible weapons. As with all evolution, theirs was in response to specific forces in society during the period. It was time of intrigue and vendettas and the stilleto was as often the clandestine tool of the assassin as it was the defender of the righteous. This example is of typical three piece construction. Its spirally twisted grip is a popular form. Its chiseled decoration and preservation of the hilt set it above more common examples. The blade is of stout triangular form, capable of penetrating the fashionable and functional leather doublets of the period. 7 7/8"length blade.