kidney or bollock dagger

It is obvious how this late-medieval dagger got its name: the two ball-shaped bulges between its handle and the blade apparently tickled the dirty minds of most Europeans, as this weapon is commonly referred to as a bollock dagger, in English, French and Dutch alike. In the 19th century some experts preferred to refer to it more neatly as kidney dagger.

Kidney or bollock dagger, 1200-1500

Kidney or bollock dagger, 1200-1500

Old-Frisian law had what is known as blood feud or vendetta, which gave the next of kin of somebody who had been murdered the right to kill the murderer or a member of his family by way of revenge. As an indication that a murder had thus been committed ’legally’, the killer used to leave the murder weapon and a few coins at the scene. The rusty coin on this dagger suggests that the weapon has been used for such a sinister purpose …