Polish Saber (Hungarian style)

Hungarian-style Saber with Scabbard and Carrying Belt, early 17th century, Polish
(Metropolitan Museum)
This is one of a series of twelve jeweled sabers made in Hungarian style for use at the Saxon court in Dresden. These twelve swords are recorded as having had new wrist chains added in 1687 and as having been used again in 1709. This example bears what may be the mark of Georg Hoffmann (recorded 1586–1609), a goldsmith working in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland).

Medium: Steel, gold, silver, leather, wood, textile, semiprecious stones; 

Dimensions: L. 37 1/2 in. (95.2 cm); L. of blade 31 1/2 in. (80 cm); Wt. of saber (a) 2 lb. 1 oz. (936 g); Wt. of the scabbard (b) 2 lb. 3 oz. (992.2 g); Wt. of the belt (c); 5 oz. (141.7 g)

The Batorowka sabers

There are many similarities between Polish and Hungarian sabers. These kinds of typical Polish-Hungarian sabers below, supplied with a chain on their grip, were produced in a great number during the reign of King Báthory Stephen (István) (1533-1586) both in Poland and in Transylvania. In Polish, they were called Batorowka.

This is a saber from Poland from the 16th century:

Let us compare it with a Batorowka from the same period (see the second saber):

Here, you can see Cesare Vecellio’s etching: a Hungarian nobleman, 1598, look at his saber:

The next example is a painting of Kober Martin: it portrays a Hungarian nobleman, Kubinyi Dániel, 1595 in Felsőkubin (Vyšný Kubín) presently in Slovakia. Look at his saber.

The next example is also from Upper Hungary, near the Polish border. It is from the Zmeskál Epitáfium (1600), Alsókubin (Dolný Kubín), now Slovakia. Also, look at the saber of the kneeling figure on the left.

King Báthory’s saber

Báthory István, King of Poland and Prince of Transylvania (1533-1586)

The dimensions of his saber: Full length – 965 mm, blade length – 840 mm, width – 40mm, thickness – 8 mm, yalman – 215 mm. These kinds of sabers were called Batorówka-style or Hungarian sabers, named for King Bathory, and popular until the mid-1600s.

Here are the pictures of a few more Batorowka sabers:

You can read more about King Báthory’s life here:


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