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The term dagger does not emerge until the late Middle Ages, reflecting the fact that the dagger was known in antiquity but had been supplanted by the hewing knife or seax during the Early Middle Ages.
Hans Talhoffer's depiction of combat with the dagger (degen) (1467)
The dagger emerged in the 12th century as the "knightly dagger," or more correctly, the cross-hilt or quillon dagger, and by the late medieval period, it had evolved into a popular arm and tool for civilian usage.
The so-called "Guido relief" within Zürich's Grossmünster is the earliest known portrayal of a cross-hilt dagger (c. 1120). The Morgan Bible contains several illustrations of the fully evolved cross-hilt dagger (c. 1240). Many of these cross-hilt daggers have cross guards and pommels that look like small swords from the time period. Others, on the other hand, are not perfect replicas of known sword designs, with pommel caps, enormous hollow star shaped pommels on so-called "Burgundian Heraldic daggers," or antenna style cross and pommel, evocative of Hallstatt era daggers, for example. The cross-hilt style was popular during the Renaissance.
In the 13th century, the Old French term dague appears to have been used to refer to these weapons, along with synonyms like poignal and basilard. Since the 1380s, the Middle English dagger has been in use.
The dagger was frequently used as a secondary defense weapon in close combat during this time. In the 14th century, the knightly dagger evolved into the bigger baselard knife. Knights fighting on foot to support the infantry defensive line became quite common in the 14th century. This requires the use of more daggers. Archers used them to slay dismounted knights at Agincourt (1415) by pushing the tiny blades into helmet vents and other openings. The baselard was a cross between a short sword and a long dagger, and it gained popularity as a civilian weapon. A song satirizing the usage of enormous baselard knives as fashion accessories is recorded on Sloane MS. 2593 (c. 1400). Anelaces, which are a cross between a broad dagger and a short blade, were popular as civilian accessories in 14th century England, and were worn "hung by a ring from the waist."