Insights from Historical Artwork

Close up of a scene of a fortress siege from the book of Maccabees, c. 925 (Leiden, University Library, MS Periz, F. 17, f. 9a). Note the clear extension of the finger on the grip of the mounted swordsman. This is one of the earliest depictions of a "fingering" grip in with a Medieval sword. It is also possible that rather than actually being fully "wrapped" around the sword’s ricasso, the finger is only extended to slightly loosen the grip at the moment of impact --to enable a final "snap" with the blow (often, delivering a strong cut uses a firm grip before, a somewhat looser grip during, and a firm grip after again for follow through and recovery).

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