Executioner’s sword

Johann Willems, Solingen, Germany, c. 1620–1640.

Steel, iron, brass, wood.

114 cm.

Executioner’s swords were usually very high in quality, with blades made by the best blacksmiths of the day. The sword in the collection bears its manufacturer’s signature. Both faces of the blade are stamped with the so-called running wolf of Passau, as well as interpretations of the orb and wheel, which symbolise a ruler’s power. Additionally, the blade is marked with the texts FIDE-SED/CVI-VIDE (“Trust, but be careful whom you trust”) and SOLI-DEO GLORIAA (“Glory to God alone”).