Napoleonic AN XI Light Cavalry Saber. The "Sabre Cavalerie Legere AN XI" is the classic sword for the light cavalry of Napoleon’s Grand Armée. Inspiration for US 1860 cavalry saber. Carbon steel blade, steel scabbard.
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The "Sabre Cavalerie Legere AN XI" is the classic sword for the light cavalry of Napoleon’s Grand Armée. A widespread design, it was to the French cavalry what the 1796 saber was to the British cavalry. It is the 2nd inception of the three-bar hilt, which became a common hilt style on many military swords of the 1800’s. (The first being the AN IX - a very similar sword to the XI).
The AN XI model saber was part of larger turn of the century program to modernize French military equipment. Until then, most light cavalry swords had the older Hussar style hilt with its single characteristic knuckle guard. It would take time to produce and phase the new sabers into the vast ranks of the Grand Armée - its first enthusiasts were the Chasseurs à cheval who readily adopted the new design in 1803 and would have their regiments uniformly equipped with the new sword within a few years. This was not so with the characteristically stubborn Hussars, who preferred their typical Hussar Hungarian-inspired swords - likely because it was a better match for their ostentatious uniforms. They would not begin to carry the AN XI in significant numbers until as late as 1812. The sword was also issued to the horse artillery and the later Lancer Cavalry.
The designation AN XI is a reference to the French Revolutionary Calendar that, at the time, officially replaced the Gregorian Calendar used since the founding of the French Republic in 1792. The XI is a reference to the "11th Year" (1802) of the founding of the Republic.
Even though the sword was eventually superseded by later models it remained a popular blade for a decade after, co-existing among newer designs. It would also be the inspiration for the US M1860 Cavalry Sword.
Napoleonic saber of the AN XI has an unsharpened blade of tempered high carbon steel. The spine of the blade bears the recreated 1813 signature of the famed Klingenthal sword manufactory in Alsace. The hilt is of brass and the grip is wrapped in tight black leather. The scabbard is of steel with two integrated steel hanging rings.
Steel: Tempered EN9 High Carbon Steel.
Overall Length: 39 7/8".
Blade: 34 1/4".
P.O.B.: 8 3/4".
Grip Length: 4".
Weight: 2 lb 10.6 oz.
French Napoleonic swords and sabers.