The Ancient Mariner’s Cutlass, imported by Frost Cutlery, could be termed a poetic piece — inspired by that old sea ballad rather than by any martial tradition. An ornate display weapon, the cast metal fittings symbolize the adventure and romance of the sea. With a sheath and blade of polished stainless steel to offset the antiqued handgrip and other decorations, the sword makes an attractive wall hanging. The designers made no effort to hold to any traditional seafarer’s weapon style.
The slender blade of this sword — very nicely shaped and polished — resembles an officer’s cutlass rather than the sword the Ancient Mariner himself might have used. Seaman’s swords were built to be brute force weapons in the hands of common sailors poorly trained in fighting arts. The ordinary cutlass was short and heavy, meant to chop through the spars and hawsers of the enemy’s rigging as well as through the enemy. More refined blades like this one were issued to the ship’s officers, who received intense training in swordsmanship and could put lighter and more accurate blades to efficient use. No genuine fighting cutless would ever have shown this much unnecessary decoration.
Some of the workmanship in this sword is fragile. The rings holding the metal chain to the scabbard are lightly made. Up close, the decorative pieces show considerable detail, but the assembly is disappointing. Phillips head screws hold several of the fittings together in a clamshell construction, literally clamped to the stainless steel scabbard. If it’s hanging high on the wall, visitors won’t look too closely at the fine points.