Russian M1817 Infantry Sword / Hanger
Curved blade with single broad fuller and spear point. Cast brass one-piece hilt with ribbed grip and oval pommel, knucklebow and forward-curving quillon. No scabbard. Blade 26 7/8 inches in length, the sword 32 1/8 inches overall.
The Russian M1817 was based on the French ‘sabre briquet’ line of short sidearms for foot troops, which had been in use in France since the retirement of the infantryman’s epee in 1767 (‘briquet’ being a joking nickname from their supposed use as oversized firelighters). Being simple, strong and cheap to produce the design spread across Europe, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, and it was either adopted or copied in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
The Russian version, perhaps inspired by examples captured from their enemy during the 1812 invasion of Russia, has a slightly longer blade which is fullered until very close to its spear point, whereas the original was unfullered with a hatchet point. Its quillon has an unusual finial with a smaller ball atop a larger one, the larger having notches in its surface, very different to the smooth single ball finial of the French-derived type. Compared to the somewhat heavy but robust French type the Russian feels a little nimbler in the hand.
There is engraved text, the script probably Cyrillic, on the spine of the blade, which is difficult to make out due to wear. There are some stamped letters including ‘I’ within circles on the side of the knucklebow, probably manufacturing or inspection stamps along the lines of the French ‘poincons’.
The blade is darkly patinated overall, with some pitting and denting towards the point, which has worn (probably reduced by around 1/8 of an inch). The grip has some handling wear that has rubbed it smooth, with a light patina overall.