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In many of the countries which ultimately united to form what is today, Italy, peasants were prohibited from owning weapons. Famously, the “gunner’s stilettos” were simply civilian weapons which had numbered graduations on the blades to be excused as for military use. Blacksmiths, many of which were very highly skilled and produced wonderful artistic screens, gates, candle and torch stands, door hardware and other household items for the wealthy sometimes clandestinely produced weapons for criminals. This dagger is such a weapon demonstrating extremely skilled forging and finishing. It is iron, one piece, 10” in length with a medially ridged leaf shaped blade which is   edged and easily capable of slashing a throat. As well, it is slender enough to deliver a fatal thrust to and internal organ. The integral guard is asymmetrical, providing a thumb rest for the thrust and a blade catcher opposite. The grip is divided by a baluster in the middle flanked by spirally reeded bands. The lower segment is octagonal in section with alternate facets chiseled in lattice and plain. The upper is of slightly waisted round section with a further reeded band below the depressed center, reeded beveled edge pommel. All accomplished with hammers and chisels shaping the metal without removing or filing. It’s no surprise that the surface is heavily oxidized overall, as it surely was secreted, perhaps in a stone or tile roof, a common practice.
Stock Number: B2846

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