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Offered by PETER FINER

Origin United States, Pennsylvania
Period Pre 18th Century
Materials Steel and wood
Dimensions
H. 19.29 in;
H. 49 cm;
Creation Date c. 1525-50  
Description A horseman's hammer, subsequently carried in the early 17th century swedish service
c. 1525-50    
Germany
Steel and wood
Latin inscription on the head:  '.PAX. VO' and 'BIS. 1622. OLO HANKE'
49 cm / 19.29 in    
#2496

PROVENANCE
Private collection, Scandinavia

This short-hafted type of war hammer was intended for use by mounted troops and as such in German it is called a reiterhammer. The belt hook enabled the hammer to be suspended from the saddle. The type was popular throughout the 16th century, and this present example (evidently within the service of the Swedish crown) remained an expedient weapon in field use well into the age of military firearms.

The Latin inscription on the head is a truncated abbreviation of 'Pax Vobiscum ' (' Peace with you'), a salutation common to both the Catholic Mass and the Lutheran Divine Service. The continued parts of the inscription form a Swedish male name: 'Olo Hanke', almost certainly the name of the man armed with this hammer in 1622.

The nature of the Latin inscription on the head of this war hammer, together with the date 1622, provide a high degree of evidence linking the hammer to the onset of the truce of that year between the Swedes and the Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth; this was signed in November and in 1623 was extended until 1625.
Styles / Movements Baroque, Gothic, Traditional
Dealer Reference Number AN20 TH-02/#2496
Incollect Reference Number 340314
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