Show Navigation

Dean Castle Arms and Armour


Left hand dagger


This left hand dagger has a stiff, straight blade with a hollow ground cross-section. The ricasso of the blade is inscribed with a lion rampant under a crown and phoenix. The blade is inscribed with: 'VIWE DEO ET VIVES DITAT SERVAT FIDES', 'REVENGE MOY PRENS LA QUERELLE DE MOY SEIGNEUR PAR TA MERCY'.


Although daggers of this kind were relatively simple weapons, their manufacture could be complex. The making of a sword or dagger typically required the work of several makers within a craft guild who often worked in different towns, or even different countries. Such is the case with this dagger, which has a blade of Scottish origin and a North Italian hilt.


A number of similar blades etched with arms and mottos are known. Some of these are undoubtedly Scottish, while others may be. They were originally mounted in wooden hafts of phallic form, hence the original name for the type, 'ballock dagger'. This blade appears to have been remounted in the 19th century in a genuine but redecorated hilt.

390mm long
Dean Castle
Digital Number:
East Ayrshire Council

Alternative Views:

alternative small picturealternative small picture