Flemish or French C.1680-90. This fine sword is representative of the transition from rapier to lighter side arm carried by the nobility. Its iron hilt is finely encrusted with silver floral motifs, angle or cherub masks and lines of pellets. The 29 ½” blade incorporates panels of foliage and strap work flanking a central panel depicting Gabriel holding the Sacred Heart, a clear declaration of loyalty to the Catholic Church in a culture divided by the Reformation. So intense was the dedication to the opposing views that the Thirty Years War, a half century earlier which was largely based on that division, resulted in seven and a half million deaths, most civilians.