"Hie Facht an das Messer." – Gott wöll vnnsr nit vergessen.
"Here they fight with Messers. -- May God remember them." -- Hans Talhoffer, Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre, 1467
This sword is named for the common soldier, or Soldat.
The Soldat is inspired by the classic shape of the Grosse Messer we can see in German fencing manuals of the 15th and 16th centuries. The famous artist Albrecht Durer dedicated a large part of his Fechbuch to the art of the Messer. A dedicated student of this art might in time become a master. But this was not a title that was to be taken lightly. You had to prove your worthiness before a jury of accomplished masters.
We made the Soldat to match this attitude of uncompromising dedication and strife for mastery expressed by the swordsmen of the late medieval and early rennaissance periods. It is at first glance an unassuming and somewhat crude weapon. Looks are deceiving, however.
The blade is a simple but very effective design with a subtlety that is easily overlooked. Because of overall size and shape the blade can be made surprisingly quick in handling even without any real mass in the pommel to act as counterbalance. The dynamic balance and heft of this weapon arrives almost exclusively from the distribution of mass in the blade and tang.
The cross section is a lean and slim triangle, allowing a stiff spine and an acute angle of the main bevel. Such a blade is very effective in the cut.The outer third of the blade is further lightened by a false edge resulting in a blade that is surprisingly responsive and quick in the recovery.
We can see from the drawings of Albrecht Dürer that the fighting techniques exploited with these weapons were in no way crude or simple: the moves described require quick and expertly balanced weapons of offence and defence.
The hilt of the Soldat is a simplified version of our Meister - constructed with two grip slabs that are secured with tubular rivets, but without the fullering in the guard, grip and pommel.
Secured by a rivet through the guard is a lug on the outside of the hilt that protects the knuckles of the hand. This is an important feature as the blade is used in binding and winding techniques that otherwise easily might result in damage to the sword hand.
The hilt components are investment cast in mild steel from original waxes carved by Peter Johnsson, based on Peter's first-hand examination and documentation of period originals of this type.
The blade is hand-ground from high-carbon steel to a fine satin finish, heat-treated by hand for maximum flexibility and to take a fine edge. These swords are sold sharp, unless otherwise requested by the customer.
The Soldat is available in either right or left-hand versions. Please be sure to specify when ordering.