Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1477 Swiss Reisläufer
SubjectReisläufer mercenary infantry 
Culture: Swiss
Setting: Burgundian wars, Hapsburg-Valois wars, western Europe 15th-early 16thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

​* Miller/Embleton 1979 p

​* Miller/Embleton 1979 p


* Boeheim 1966 p332
"Die Helmbarte in ihrer ältesten und ursprünglichen Form ist, wie erwähnt, deutschen Ursprungs; sie bildete im 14. und 15. Jahrhundert die gemeine Waffe des Fußknechts; erst mit der Umänderung der Bewaffnung am End des 15. Jahrhunderts, als der Landsknecht den langen Spieß erhielt, führten sie nur bestimmte, in der Führung erprobte Kriegsleute und Unteroffiziere; so war sie für lange Zeit die Waffe des ,,Weibels''."

* Higgins Armory Museum > Great Hall
"Halberds  The name halberd was derived from the German words Halm (staff) and Barte (axe).  Extremely popular in central Europe, it was a versatile lethally effective infantry weapon with which to grab, thrust or hack at an opponent.
    "Like most staff weapons, use of the halberd declined during the second half of the sixteenth century, and from that point on, it became increasingly a ceremonial arm used by guards and town militias."


* Fryer 1969 p63
"Baselard  A dagger, or short sword, of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century date.  The hilt was similar in form to a capital letter I.  The length of the blade varied."


* Miller/Embleton 1979 p

* Miller/Embleton 1976 p

​* Cassin-Scott 1994 p19
"The German/Swiss mercenary soldiers known as Landknecht[e] created a mixture of fashions, the remnants of their plunder, which were copied by fashionable young men. Their large-brimmed leather or felt hats were slashed, curled back and profusely decorated with feathers. The parti-coloured hose worn with ribboned garters below each knee were often slashed to reveal bare flesh. The doublet, of various colours, had very wide slashed sleeves caught in at the wrist. Scanty slashed hose pants were worn with a small cod-piece. Armoured breast plates were attached over these soldiers' doublets. Heavy swords were carried as tools of their trade. Square-toed shoes called void shoes were slashed and had narrow strap fastenings."


* Norman 1964 p84-85
"Numerous types of short swords or large daggers were used by both civilians and military throughout the whole period.  Many are merely small versions of the normal sword, others have special forms of their own.  One of the most popular from the late fourteenth to the end of the sixteenth century, known apparently as a baselard, probably because it came originally from Basle, had a handle like a capital I.  It seems to have spread across most of Europe but survived longest in Switzerland.
    "Designs exist for sixteenth-century daggers of this type with richly decorated mounts and sheaths by such artists as Hans Holbein (1497/8-1543) and Heinrich Aldergraver (1502-c.1555).  Many have sheaths decorated with pierced gilt metal after Holbein's Dance of Death or with scenes from the legend of William Tell."

* Diagram Group 1990 p31
"Baselard.  The medieval name for a type of dagger with a cross-piece at the guard and pommel.  Most have tapered, double-edged blades.  From c.1300-1500."

​* Coe/Connolly/Harding/Harris/Larocca/Richardson/North/Spring/Wilkinson 1993 p43 (Anthony North, "Barbarians and Christians" p30-43)
"One of the best known forms of medieval dagger is the baselard.  This had a distinctive crosspiece at both the guard and pommel end, giving the hilt the appearance of a capital I.  The type almost certainly originated in Switzerland and can be traced back to the thirteenth century.  It seems to have been associated with the city of Basel, hence its name, but was widely carried throughout Europe, especially in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  As a satirical English song of the period says: 'There is no man worth a leke, Be he sturdy, be he meke, But he bear a basilard.'  Versions with wood and bone hilts are common, but silver hilts were also made." 

* Fryer 1969 p65
"Holbein Dagger  A sixteenth-century dagger evolved from the baselard, also known as Swiss Dagger.  The hilt was I-shaped and the double-edged blade was short and leaf-shaped."