Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Pallos

Three “pallos” swords we are talking about now. One of them is in the U.S.A. while the other one is on display in Hungary, the third is in London.

Pallache (sword, in Hungarian “pallos”) with Scabbard
Artist/maker unknown, Hungarian
(in Philadelphia Museum of Art, U.S.A.)
Geography:
Made in Hungary, Europe
Date:
1682
Medium:
Etched and partially blued and gilded steel (blade); gilded silver, wood, velvet (hilt); wood, velvet, gilded silver (scabbard)

My remark:
This weapon is called “pallos” in Hungarian and it was used from horseback. It has a straight, sometimes double-edged blade, the grip is one-handed and slanted. It was used in the wars of the “Hungaries” (Royal Hungary, Principality of Transylvania and the Ottoman Occupied Lands of Hungary) during the 16th but mainly in the 17th century. Similar weapons were used in the Ottoman Army as well. It was not uncommon that Hungarian warriors used the excellent Eastern blades that they had got from bounty so as to use them in Hungarian fashioned swords.


The Pallos of Thury György:

Thury György, captain of Kanizsa was entrapped by the troops of the surrounding Turkish castles on April 2, 1571.
The head of the invincible duellist, a famous warrior of the Borderland was sent directly to the Sultan. 
The bequest inventory of the deceased captain of Kanizsa was made three weeks after his death, including a very interesting sentence:
‘A broadsword in silver, which is being sent to the emperor.’ This weapon had got to the collection of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tirol in Ambras, and in 1933, to the Hungarian National Museum.

The blade of the Broadsword was made by an Arab bladesmith, Mohammed of Medina and the initial lines of the 48th sura of the Qur’an and the text written on it is about victory. The setup of the Broadsword is Turkish work in gilded silver. It is interesting that the original grip of the Broadsword was changed to a Hungarian saber grip. The weapon, related to Thury is one of the earliest Hungarian ‘horseman’s broadswords’. We know that Thury had 600 duels with the Turks so this sword may have been a trophy of such a fight.
Contemporary drawing of Thury György (in the middle)
The broadsword of the famous warrior of the Borderland embodies the traditions of Arabian Turkish weapon-making, re-assembled with the new type of Hungarian saber grip. The importance of the weapon is great, for its history can be followed authentically from the death of Thury until 1933 when it was given to the Hungarian National Museum.

(Source: Kovács S. Tibor)

Thury’s “pallos” in the museum of Kanizsa, being guarded by Hungarian reenactors

You can read more about Captain Thury here:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/1541-1699/1571-the-last-stand-of-captain-thury-gyorgy/

A Pallos from the Wallace Collection:

The description of the Museum:

The hilt is comprised of an inverted cone-shaped pommel with large button, the base faceted and of hexagonal section, the upper part decorated with interlaced basketwork, scrolls chiseled in low relief and russeted; the grip of oval-section bound with shagreen; gaurd of diamond section, diagonally recurved upwards and downwards respectively, one being prolonged to form a knuckle-guard; the knob on the end of the other, and those in the center of the guard and the escutcheon, are decorated with interlacements like the pommel; heart-shaped ring for the thumb, with straps extending over the grip and scabbard. On the other side, tongues extend up the grip and along the blade resembling the projections found upon hilts of Eastern origin. Broad, flat blade, double-edged with a rebated point. Scabbard covered with black leather, tooled with blind lines and fleurs-de-lys, mounted with three bands (the two upper bearing rings) and a chape, and shod with metal along the sides; the mounts are decorated with scrolls and panels of basketwork chiseled in low relief; the ground is matted with lines and has at one time been painted.

Dimensions: 

  • Pallash with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hungary

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