European Sword

  • Dated: probably 3rd quarter of 16th century
  • Maker: Ulrich Diefstetter (active between 1555 – 1589)
  • Geography: Munich, Germany
  • Medium: iron or steel, wood and fish-skin, blackened
  • Measurements: overall length 107 cm; width 3.3 cm; weight 1.59 kg
  • Inscriptions: the maker’s mark, including the crossed flails of Diefstetter and the shield of Bavaria

The sword has a blackened hilt made up of a cone-shaped pommel of octagonal section. The shouldered grip is made of wood and bound with fish-skin. The long straight, spatulated guard is engraved with feathering at the ends on the left side, while the knuckle-guard, side-ring, pas d’âne, and counter-guards are all riband-like and of triangular section. The single-edge blade (except towards the point) is doubly grooved and stamped with the maker’s work.

This sword probably comes from Schloss Ambras in Tyrol where a considerable number of comparable swords survive. Other examples bearing like marks are to be found in the Armeria Reale, Turin (G 16), at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg (B 402), and at Vienna (Boeheim, Album I, Taf. XI 2). In addition to this swords marked with the crossed flails of Diefstetter and the shield of Bavaria are a hand-and-a half sword in the Pauilhac Collection; one sold at Sotheby’s, 15 August, 1941, lot 19; and another in the Lockett Collection, sold Christie’s, 1942, lot 307.


  1. The swordsmith Melchior Diefstetter worked at Au near Munich.
  2. He was the son of Caspar I and is recorded as not being of full age in 1497. 
  3. About 1523 he was recorded with two sons, Georg and Ulrich. He died in or before 1556 and was survived by a widow, Barbara, and eight children still minors.
  4. One of his other sons, Caspar II, was a swordsmith in Munich by 1537 and died in 1552. His son Ulrich was Bavarian court swordsmith “in der Au”, and is recorded by frequent payments in the Ducal accounts between 1555 and 1589.
  5. A sword blade inscribed ARIAS PANTMER IN VRI / VLRICH DIEFSTETER IN MANAGI, with the arms of Bavaria and the monk’s head of Munich stamped on it, is in the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zurich (Inv. No. LM27328; Schneider, 1980, No. 183).
  6. A fourth generation of the family is represented by Arsatius Diefstetter, active 1588-1616, and a fifth by his sons Hans, who died in 1613, and Albrecht, active 1616 to 1630, latterly in Passau. (H. Stocklein, Z.H. W.K., VIII, 1918-20, pp. 371 and 375-82).
  7. If the blades of this group of swords are contemporary with the hilts, they are probably by Ulrich Diefstetter rather than by Melchior, to whom they are usually attributed as Ulrich Diefstetter also used the mark of crossed flails, often in conjunction with the head of a bull transfixed with an arrow.

Source: Copyright © 2016 The Wallace Collection








Informative Ancient Egypt Comics: BROS

Our 1st place contest winner requested a Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep comic as their prize.

I took a class about Ancient Egypt last semester and we had a whole lecture dedicated to talking about how gay Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were.
Their tomb walls were decorated with scenes of them ignoring their wives in favor of embracing each other. In one scene, the couple is seated at a banquet table that is usually reserved for a husband and wife. There’s an entire motif of Khnumhotep holding lotus flowers which in ancient Egyptian tradition symbolizes femininity. Khnumhotep offers the lotus flower to Niankhkhnum, something that only wives were ever depicted as doing for their husbands. In fact, Khnumhotep is repeatedly depicted as uniquely feminine, being shown smaller and shorter than his partner Niankhkhnum and being placed in the role of a woman. Size is a big deal in Egyptian art, husbands are almost always shown as being larger and taller than their wives. So for two men of equal status to be shown in once again, a marital fashion, is pretty telling. Not to mention they were literally buried together which is the strongest bond two people could share in ancient Egypt, as it would mean sharing the journey to the afterlife together.
And yet 90% of the academic text about these two talks about these clues in vague terms and analyze the great “brotherhood” they shared, and the enigma of Khnumhotep being depicted as feminine. Apparently it’s too hard for archaeologists to accept homosexuality in the ancient world, as well as the possibility of trans individuals.

On the last note, I was walking around the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and there is a mummy on exhibit. It caught my attention because the panel that was describing it was talking about how it was a woman’s body in a male coffin and wow, the Egyptian working that day really screwed that up. My summary, not actual words, sorry I can’t remember verbatim but it basically said that someone screwed up.

They claimed that the Egyptians screwed up a burial.

The Egyptians. Screwed up. A burial.

Now I’m not an expert in Ancient Egypt but from what I know, and what the exhibit was telling me, burials and the afterlife and all that jazz DEFINED the Egyptian religion and culture. They don’t just ‘screw up’. So instead of thinking outside the box for two seconds and wonder why else a genetically female body was in a male coffin, the ‘researchers’ blatantly disregard the rest of their research and decided to call it a screw up. Instead of, you know, admitting that maybe this mummy presented as male during his life and was therefore honorably buried as he was identified. But it would be too much of a stretch to admit that a transgender person could have existed back then.

(Sorry I can’t find any sources online and it’s been like 2 years but it stuck in my mind)

There’s a lot of bigoted historian dragging on my dash these days and it makes me happy.

Once again, more proof that we queers have ALWAYS been here, and it’s a CHOSEN narrative to erase them.


I am reblogging this for the lols as well as a very accessible and engaging reminder that every historical narrative is created by human beings interpreting existing evidence and will necessarily reflect their biases, experiences, cultural norms and taboos.

Human objectivity is a myth, and until we have diversity present and speaking out in and across all disciplines, the truth will remain obscured.



Penguin: Trust me! I’m a linguist! It’s called reduplication! 

The penguin is not a linguist, don’t listen to her.

Comparative linguist: Reduplication is a plural-formation strategy in many languages, but English is not one of them. 

Internet linguist: Internet English does, however, have a related phenomenon known as re-noot-lication.   



Interactive Map: The History of Gender Diversity

This interactive map from PBS is a good starting point for people who would like to learn the history of gender diversity around the world. Although the information isn’t anything I would cite directly or take without a grain of salt, it’s a testament to the fact that gender categories are nowhere near as universal as many seem to believe they are. It also isn’t complete-there are many more peoples, cultures, and genders to explore beyond the map as well.

Related: Medievalpoc tagged “qpoc”

A really interesting resource to help fuel reflection and discussion about modern and ancient views on gender and its nonbinary nature (although I will highlight the concerns about accuracy and appropriation shared in some of the comments). For me, it’s encouraging to remember that trans and nonbinary gender identities are nothing new, and that a broader gender spectrum has been embraced in many times and places ❤


Here’s my finished painting for the Persona-themed Velvet Room Art Show gallery run by @pixeldripblog. Check out the event page here!

Acrylics and cardstock on 16×20 wood board with 3/4″ cradle

Endless thanks to @simongannon for assisting me at every step of this, and especially for making the “!!” effect!

This will be for sale at the gallery, and online after. I’l post the link when it’s up.

This looks amazing!!!


Garb Week: TV & Film

All of these are just stunningg





Now, this is steampunk. 

In the small details, history that slaps you in the face.

You know, I’m waiting til the end of the summer to do Garb Week again, but I have to say this gorgeous photoset is making me impatient…

“in the small details, history that slaps you in the face”