A Superb And Highly Imposing Crusader Knights Hammer-Axe With Likely Templar Armourer’s Stamps, & A Pierced Apostle’s Cross
An original medieval, long, socketed Christian Knights’s battle hammer-axe made in around the early Crusades era of the 1200’s and most likely used until at least the 1400’s, with crucifix and crescent stamps, over pressed with gold. The second of two original Crusades period, crucifix war hammer-axes we were delighted to acquire. This axe though has two easily identifiable Templar type gold armourer's stamps.
A large iron axehead with long triangular-section blade and shaped open socket, rectangular hammer extension to the rear with incised chequerboard design; one side of the neck with two distinctive double armourer’s stamp marks of twin crucifixes standing above a crescent moon, one of the symbols used by Knights Templar, it has a a horizontal line with three transverse strokes above, a cross-shaped opening to the neck. A very large, substantial and beautiful iron battle-axe cum war-hammer, very likely the combat weapon of a so called ‘Warrior of Christ’, such as the Knight's Templar and Knight’s of St John of Jerusalem. It is pierced within the body with a superb, large open work Christian ‘bottonee or budded’ cross, sometimes known as part of the Apostles cross. A cross with three circles or discs on each end in a Christian context represents the Holy Trinity but was probably also copied from earlier Celtic Druidry, where the circles or rings represent the three dominions of earth, sky and sea. It has a an open socket for the now rotted away haft [original wooden hafts of such axes simply no longer exist after the passing of such a great time], the blade with straight upper edge and bearded profile, square-section cross hatched short hammer. After the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291 (the city of Jerusalem had fallen in 1187), the Knights of St, John were confined to the County of Tripoli and, when Acre was captured in 1291, the order sought refuge in the Kingdom of Cyprus. Finding themselves becoming enmeshed in Cypriot politics, their Master, Guillaume de Villaret, created a plan of acquiring their own temporal domain, selecting Rhodes to be their new home, part of the Byzantine empire. His successor, Foulques de Villaret, executed the plan, and on 15 August 1310, after more than four years of campaigning, the city of Rhodes surrendered to the knights. They also gained control of a number of neighboring islands and the Anatolian port of Halicarnassus and the island of Kastellorizo.
Pope Clement V dissolved the Hospitallers' rival order, the Knights Templar, in 1312 with a series of papal bulls, including the Ad providam bull that turned over much of their property to the Hospitallers.
The holdings were organised into eight "Tongues" or Langues, one each in Crown of Aragon, Auvergne, Crown of Castile, Kingdom of England, France, Holy Roman Empire, Italy and Provence. Each was administered by a Prior or, if there was more than one priory in the langue, by a Grand Prior.
At Rhodes, and later Malta, the resident knights of each langue were headed by a baili. The English Grand Prior at the time was Philip De Thame, who acquired the estates allocated to the English langue from 1330 to 1358. In 1334, the Knights of Rhodes defeated Andronicus and his Turkish auxiliaries. In the 14th century, there were several other battles in which they fought.
In 1374, the Knights took over the defence of Smyrna, conquered by a crusade in 1344. They held it until it was besieged and taken by Timur in 1402.
On Rhodes the Hospitallers, by then also referred to as the Knights of Rhodes, were forced to become a more militarized force, fighting especially with the Barbary pirates. They withstood two invasions in the 15th century, one by the Sultan of Egypt in 1444 and another by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1480 who, after capturing Constantinople and defeating the Byzantine Empire in 1453, made the Knights a priority target. Original crusaders war axe-hammers of this particular type are now very rare indeed to find, and we are delighted to have two stunning examples, the only place one can see similar examples are in museums, or as reproduction copies for re-enact ours. Around 900 grams, approx 10.25” long .Good condition for age, with superbly well surviving armourers stamps. We show In the gallery two pictures early Christian Knight’s symbols of crucifixes and crescents. These symbols, and variations, can be still be seen chiselled into stone in the numerous remains of Templar Knights or Christian knight’s castle sites in the Holy Land, the Mediterranean and France As with all our items it comes complete with our certificate of authenticity.