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dagger, blade, century and short

DAGGERS, short-bladed weapons for stabbing. There are still extant flint daggers not less than 5,000 years old. Homer makes mention of the dagger. Primitive nations use daggers made of wood, bone,- animals' sharp horns, etc. The citlrellus; or coustel, of the 11th century was used by Saxon and Norman foot soldiers for piercing the• Links. of Ake hauberk (see HAUBERK) In dispatching unhorsed, knights; it got to be as long as a short sword. In,the "catriail and jupon" period (see CHAIN Milos) the misgricorde ("Dagger of Mercy"), used by the knights in dealing the 'coup de grace," had a triangular blade and hung by a chain from the knight's right breast. It became a very short sword in the plate armor period (see PLATE Assozat), with a thin, sharp blade that could penetrate between the junctures of the armor parts. In the reign of Richard II of England (14th century). everybody wore a dag ger, even the ladies carried a baselard attached to the girdle. The long. Continental poinard followed. A dagger that was called anelace was worn by civilians in the 14th and 15th centuries; the brasses of that period display it. The left-handed dagger (main paucke) was in use in the 16th century; it was to ward off the opponent's sword thrusts while the right hand was offen sively wielding the sword. The "kidney(' dag

ger, with its heavy blade and stout wooden handle, had a guard consisting of two round lobes, whence the name "kidney." It was used from the 14th century till the reign of Charles I in England. The dague a rouelle, with its dic-shaped guard, belongs to the 15th century. The "eared" dagger (of Oriental origin) had tx o ear-shaped flat lobes serving as pommel. To the 15th century also belongs the "ox tongue" dagger, having a short blade and wide groove and flat hilt. It developed, in Italy, into the cinquedia dagger, so called from its "five-fiuger" breadth of blade at the hilt end.

The more modern Italian stiletto has • a Slender, short, but thick, tapering blade. But daggers have been used less and less in more recent times and remain now in warfare, but with the maritime forces (midshipmen) carried as a side-arm (dirk). The dirk is still carried in the stocking of the Scotsman as a show feature of former days. See also JAPANESE AND ORIENTAL ARMS AND ARMOR.

Bibliography.—Ashdown, C. H., 'British and Foreign Arms and Armour) (London 1909) ; Hewitt, J., 'Ancient. Arms and Armour' in (1855-60); Viollet-le-Duc, E. • M., 'Dictionnaire raisonne de Mobilier francais' (Vols. V, VI, Paris 1872).