An Early Scottish Highland Dirk of the French & Indian War - American Revolutionary War Period
This product is unavailable
An Early Scottish Highland Dirk of the French & Indian War - American Revolutionary War Period, circa. 18th century. 9.5" double-edged unmarked steel blade with areas of salt & pepper rust pitting (some areas worse than others). Carved wood handle/grip with formed steel lower collar and a domed steel cap on the pommel. The original leather scabbard is of fine quality and is worked depicting decorative segments and panels (some loses). 16" overall length. A great example !
NOTE: The wood grip has a painted number "1756". This is a date or a collection or Museum inventory number. Generally, Museums put very small letters and numbers on their items so not to take anything away from the items appearance. It is our opinion that it is a date and the overall form of the dirk conforms to other known examples of the period. The significance of the date is unfortunately unknown.
The Jacobite Rising
The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion
SOME HISTORY: according to wikipedia
The Scottish dirk (also "Highland dirk", Scottish Gaelic: Biodag), as a symbolic traditional and ceremonial weapon of the Highland Cathairean (cateran or warrior), is worn by officers, pipers and drummers of Scottish Highland regiments. The development of the Scottish dirk as a weapon is unrelated to that of the naval dirk; it is a modern continuation of the 16th-century ballock or rondel dagger.
The traditional Scottish dirk is a probable development from the 16th century but like all medieval societies, the Highlander needed a knife for everyday use. The dirk became symbolic of a Highland man’s honor and oaths were sworn on the steel which was believed to be holy. The following highlights the importance of the dirk in Highland culture:
The dirk occupies a unique niche in Highland culture and history. Many Highland Scots were too cash-poor to buy a sword, following the Disarming Acts enacted to erode Highland martial insurrections but virtually every male carried a dirk—and carried it everywhere! If in Japan the katana was the soul of the Samurai, in Scotland the dirk was the heart of the Highlander. In many warrior cultures oaths were sworn on one's sword. Among the Gael, however, binding oaths with the force of a geas (involving dire supernatural penalties for breaking such an oath) were sworn on one's dirk. The English, aware of this, used the custom against the Highlanders after Culloden: When Highland dress was prohibited in 1747 those Gael who could not read or sign an oath were required to swear a verbal oath, "in the Irish (Scots Gaelic) tongue and upon the holy iron of their dirks", not to possess any gun, sword, or pistol, or to use tartan: "... and if I do so may I be cursed in my undertakings, family and property, may I be killed in battle as a coward, and lie without burial in a strange land, far from the graves of my forefathers and kindred; may all this come across me if I break my oath."
During the period of proscription, only service in a British regiment permitted Highlanders to bear their traditional arms and dress. The 78th Fraser Highlanders, raised in 1757, wore full highland dress uniform; their equipment was described by Major-General James Stewart in 1780 as including a "musket and broadsword, to which many soldiers added the dirk at their own expense."