Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1356 English knight
Subjectknyȝt knight
Culture: Plantagenet English
Setting: early Hundred Years War, France mid-late 14thc
Object: daggers


* Wise 1976 p84-86
"The ballock knife appeared during the first quarter of the [fourteenth] century and became especially popular in England and the Low Countries.  It took its name from the hilt, which had two small lobes at the base of the blade to form the guard.  The blade was usually narrow and pointed, normally single-edged but sometimes with a double edge."

* Capwell 2009 p128
"Often referred to as 'kidney' daggers even today, the form of these uniquely recognizable knives makes their true inspiration fairly obvious. While ballock knives shocked Victorian scholars of weapons into renaming them, to the medieval mind the open and public display of a phallic icon was not necessarily erotic at all.  Rather it may have been an apotropaic defence intended to ward off evil."

* Fryer 1969 p65
"Kidney Dagger  A term for the type of dagger with a pair of rounded lobes instead of quillons, formerly known as a ballock knife.  It was used in north-western Europe from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries."

* Wilkinson-Latham 1973 p45
"The most popular style of knife worn by civilians was the 'Ballock' knife or dagger, depending on whether the blade was single or double edged, which had a grip with two large protuberances where it joined the blade.  Although termed a 'Ballock' knife or dagger during the Middle Ages, the Victorians referred to it as a kidney dagger, a term still occasionally used today.  The 'Ballock' knife had a  sheath with, in some cases, a small integral sheath for a knife.  This weapon is thought to be the forerunner of the Scottish dirk."


* Wise 1976 p84
"In the first half of the fourteenth century most daggers followed the shape of the sword and had long hilts and quillons and round or crescent-shaped pommels. These were called simply quillon daggers. Gradually they developed a tapered blade of diamond, sometimes triangular section, with a smaller crossguard and a pommel to match that of the sword. These daggers were designed to pierce the joints of an opponent's armour or the slits in his visor, and were primarily carried by knights."

* Oakeshott 1960 p337
"A dagger which was very much used in England during the second half of the fourteenth century has a short blade, generally two-edged and of flattened four-sided section, and a hilt like a little sword. Most of their pommels are of either Type I or Type J, and the majority have grips very long in proportion to the blade and very short, thick crosses."

* Wilkinson-Latham 1973 p45
"Another basic style of dagger in use in the 14th century had a simple pommel and a slightly pointing down cross guard. The blade was of diamond section and the pommel and cross guard very similar to the style of sword in use at this time."


* Wise 1976 p87
"The rondel dagger also appeared in the first half of the fourteenth century.  It had a blade of triangular section and a hilt with a rondel or disc shaped guard and a similar disc in place of a pommel.  The blade might be long and slender -- up to 20 in. in length -- or short and thick, capable of punching through most armour.  The shorter type was most popular from 1360 to 1410.  The rondel was used particularly by knights."

* Treasures from the Tower of London 1982 p61
"Both soldiers and civilians usually carried daggers in the Middle Ages, and to meet the demand many different types were developed.  ... [O]ne ... type, now called a rondel dagger because of its round pommel and guard ... apparently first appeared about 1300 and remained one of the most popular forms of dagger until the early sixteenth century."

* Fryer 1969 p64
"Dague à Rouelles  Alternatively Rondel Dagger.  A fourteenth- to early sixteenth-century dagger, the hilt having disc pommel and guards, and slender blade."

* Capwell 2009 p124
"By the middle of the 14th century the rondel dagger was becoming the most fashionable type worn by all classes, both in war and for self-defence in daily life. Some have single-edged blades, while others are stabbing tools, the blades being merely long steel spikes. The disks or rondels were constructed of diverse materials -- wood, horn, copper alloy, iron or steel -- and can vary greatly in diameter. Nevertheless, they always grip the user's hand tightly, giving a solid seat for a powerful downward thrust."