French Sabre-Briquet, Model AN X1
(circa 1790-1820)




French soldier with a sabre-briquet
 

This is an original French Napoleonic pre-Waterloo sabre-briquet. The Modele AN XI is one of the most famous, and classic swords of the Napoleonic Wars. It was worn only by officers and elite troops like grenadiers and voltigeurs. It was rarely used in actual battle, but found its uses during foraging and duels, which were frequent under the Empire.

The lower portion of the single fuller 28.25" blade is beautifully hand etched with some interesting motifs including cabbalistic inscriptions, a Turk's head, bugle, banners, and floral designs. The cast brass hilt has 28 ribs. The hand guard is stamped "Versailles" (one of the Imperial Arsenals), and bears several other marks including the letter "F," possibly the letter "U," and another unidentified mark.

Note: At the battle of Waterloo, the Imperial Guard was the last to fall, repelling cavalry charge after charge. After Napoleon's defeat and the return of the Bourbon, these privileged regiments were disbanded. A large majority of its soldiers returned home, some soldiers stayed in the Royal armies, but others, still loyal to Napoleon emigrated to the United-States, Greece, and Turkey.