Online Encyclopedia

DAGGER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 729 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!

DAGGER  , a

hand weapon with a short blade . The derivation is obscure (cf . Fr. dague and Ger . Degen), but the word is related to (lag, a long pointed jag such as would be made in deeply nicking the edge of a garment . The war knife in various forms and under many names has of course been in use in all ages and amongst all races . But the dagger as generally understood was not a short sword, but a
See also:
special stabbing weapon which could be used along with the sword . The distinction is often difficult to establish in a given case owing to the variations in the length of the weapon . The
See also:
principal
See also:
medieval dagger was the misericorde, which from the end of the i zth century was used, in all countries in which chivalry flourished, to penetrate the
See also:
joints of the armour of an unhorsed adversary (hence Ger . Panzerbrecher, armour-breaker) . It was so called either because the
See also:
threat of it caused the vanquished to surrender " at mercy," or from its use in giving what was called the coup de grace . From about 1330 till the end of the succeeding century, in many knightly effigies it is often represented as attached on the right side by a cord or a chain to the sword-belt . This weapon and its sheath were often elaborately adorned .

It was customary to secure it from accidental loss by a guard-chain fastened to the

breast-armour . Occasionally the misericorde was fixed to the
See also:
body-armour by a
See also:
staple; or, more rarely, it was connected with a gypcibre or pouch . The misericorde may be called a
See also:
poniard . The distinction between the dagger and the poniard is arbitrary, and in ordinary language the latter is taken as being the shorter and as having less resemblance to a short sword or
See also:
cutlass . A weapon, with a longer blade than the misericorde, was habitually worn by civilians, including judges, during the
See also:
middle ages; such weapons
See also:
bore the name of anlace (from annulus, as it was fastened by a ring), basilarde or langue de bceuf, the last from the broad ox-tongue shape of the blade . This had often a small knife fixed on the
See also:
scabbard, like a Highland officer's
See also:
dirk of the
See also:
present day . By nobles and knights the dagger or poniard was worn when they had exchanged their armour for the costume of peace . It is recorded besides that when they appeared at a tournament and on some other occasions, ladies at that time wore daggers depending, with their gypcieres, from their girdles . Thus, writing of the
See also:
year 1348, Knighton speaks of certain ladies who were present at jousts as " habentes cultellos, quos daggerios vulgariter dicunt, in powchiis desuper impositis." A longer and heavier dagger with a broad blade (
See also:
Italian) is called cinquedea . The Scottish " dirk " was a long dagger, and survives in name in the dirk worn by midshipmen of the royal
See also:
navy, and in fact in that worn by
See also:
officers of Highland regiments . In the 15th and 16th centuries the
See also:
infantry soldiers (Swiss or
See also:
landsknecht) carried a heavy poniard or dagger, This and the earlier
See also:
Spanish dagger with a thumb-ring were distinctively the weapons of professional soldiers . The rise of duelling produced another type, called the main gauche, which was a parrying weapon and often had a toothed edge on which the adversary's sword was caught and broken .

One

form of this dagger had a blade which
See also:
expanded into a triple fork on pressing a spring; this served the same purpose . The satellites of the Vehmgericht had a similar weapon, in order, it is suggested, that their acts should be done in the name of the Trinity . The smaller poniards are generally called " stilettos." Much ingenuity and skill have beenlavished on the adornment of daggers, and in rendering the blades more capable of inflicting severe wounds . Daggers also were sometimes made to
See also:
poison as well as to wound . Of
See also:
oriental daggers may be mentioned the
See also:
Malay " crease" or " kris;" which has a long waxed blade; the Gurkha " kukri," a short curved knife, broadest and heaviest towards the point; and the
See also:
Hindu " khuttar," which has a flat triangular-shaped blade, and a hilt of H-shape, the
See also:
cross-bar forming the grip and the sides the guard .

End of Article: DAGGER
[back]
DAFYDD AB GWILYM (c. 1340-c. 1400)
[next]
DAGHESTAN

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.