Near East / Holy Land, Byzantine Empire, ca. 12th to 13th century CE. A well preserved iron sword of the form known as paramerion, this example with the gentlest of curves to the blade - artwork of the time period depicts this style of sword anywhere from a scimitar-like curve to a nearly straight blade. The guard would later be popular among the Ottomans, with short, tapering quillions and triangular langets. The blade is broad, thin in cross section, and the edges taper very gradually to a rounded tip. The name - paramerion - means "along the thigh", where this would have rested when not being wielded with deadly force. Size: 5.6" W x 38.5" H (14.2 cm x 97.8 cm)
This style of sword is depicted on a variety of 13th century icons, held by Michael the Archangel and others. Its most famous artistic portrayal is on the portrait of Nikephoros II Phokas, now displayed at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice. It seems to have evolved from either the langseax of the Huns or the Greco-Roman spatha. It was used by the kataphraktoi or cataphracts, the armored heavy cavalry of the Byzantine army. Condition: Iron is pitted with some small losses along the edges, but is overall in excellent condition for age. The handle covering and the pommel are lost.
Provenance: ex-private Los Angeles, California, USA collection, acquired at Auctions Imperial Inc. Collection formed before 2000