Weapons with double curved blades

44
Weapons with double curved blades
Scimitar. Place of manufacture: Balkans or Anatolia, 1822 Materials: steel, silver, gold, coral. Total length 74,3 cm. Blade length 56,2 cm. Weight without scabbard: 822,1 g. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Scimitar? Fire?
Be more modest - where is it so loud!
Pain, as familiar to the eyes as a palm,
Like lips -
Your own child's name.

Love (Scimitar, Fire). Marina Tsvetaeva

Weapon from museums. I haven’t come across more stupid poems, but they do contain the word “scimitar”, and it is this type of edged weapon that this material is dedicated to. Although not only one scimitar, but a melee weapon with a double curved blade. We know that a concave blade with a sharpening along its inner side is by no means new. Thousands of years before our era, the khopesh, makhaira, falcata swords, and later the Nepalese kukri, had such blades. But in a scimitar, the blade does not expand towards the tip and does not become heavier, since it remains the same width. However, there are exceptions. For example, a scimitar with a blade widening towards the tip is available in the Golden Gate museum complex in Vladimir. The combination of a relatively light weight (no more than 800 g) and a decent length blade (within 65 cm) gives the scimitar excellent properties as a weapon for close hand-to-hand combat, which is convenient for both chopping and stabbing. Well, the interesting, “eared” shape of its handle is such that it does not allow the weapon to escape from the hand during a strong chopping blow. The very name of this weapon is interesting, which is translated into Russian as “laying”, that is, it means that it puts people to sleep in eternal sleep.




This is the same scimitar. General form

It is believed that the scimitar began to be used in the 16th century. But who came up with such a blade, in which the blade near the hilt deflects down at a rather large angle from the handle, then goes straight and breaks upward again near the tip, is unknown. But thanks to this trick, the tip of the scimitar turned out to be parallel to the handle. This allowed them to stab effectively (that’s why it was sharpened on both sides), but the reverse fracture made it possible to deliver strong cutting blows to the enemy. The straight part of the blade was also important. Firstly, it made it possible to increase its resistance to transverse bending. Secondly, it increased the effective length of the weapon, making it more versatile, unlike the same Persian shamshir or Turkish kilic.


Scimitar of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566). Master Ahmed Tekeli. General form. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Since the scimitar, during a chopping blow, tries to “break out” of the hand due to centrifugal force, a very “cunning handle” was invented for it. It completely covered the lower part of the palm, for which special broadenings (“ears”) were invented on it. So no matter how they chopped it, it could not escape from the hand. That is, he could, of course, but this was a very, very extreme case of complete loss of control over the weapon on the part of its owner. Moreover, it was customary to decorate both the scimitar blade itself and its handle. For this, technological techniques such as metal carving, engraving, notching, and finishing with jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and coral were used. They were worn in a sheath in a belt like daggers. At the same time, the scimitar scabbard is usually wooden, covered with leather.


His hilt

Since the scimitar does not have a guard, its blade is usually designed so that it fits into the sheath along with part of the handle. At the same time, the total length of the scimitar, as noted above, could reach 80 cm with a blade length of about 65 cm and a weight without a sheath of up to 800 g, and with a sheath of about 1200 g. This weapon was by no means only Turkish. It was used in the countries of the Middle East, it was very actively used by the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula, as well as South Transcaucasia, and the Crimean Khanate, of course. Although it is known primarily as a specific weapon of the Turkish Janissary warriors.


His blade...

There is a legend that the Sultan forbade them to carry sabers in peacetime. By this he put them in an unequal position in relation to the soldiers of the Turkish Sipahi cavalry. But the Janissaries cleverly circumvented this prohibition by inventing scimitars, which were not sabers, but were not inferior in length to them. By the way, many scimitars came to Russia from the Cossacks, who obtained them as trophies after their successful campaigns. Well, among the Transdanubian Cossacks, who were in the service of the Turkish Sultan, the scimitar was even a “standard weapon”.

The idea of ​​a scimitar, only as a bayonet, was picked up and developed by the French in the 19th century. In particular, French muzzle-loading rifles were equipped with scimitar bayonets. The bend of the scimitar bayonet blade did not interfere with the work of the ramrod. Well, when the bayonet was removed from the gun, it was already a real scimitar, convenient in hand-to-hand combat!

There are several scimitars of truly remarkable workmanship in museums around the world. Among them:


The scimitar of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent is the earliest example of such a weapon, dating back to 1525-1526. The blade is signed by its creator - Ahmed Tekel, and there is also the following inscription on it: “Scimitar of Suleiman the Magnificent" The handle is made of ivory, but has no “ears”. But both she and the blade itself are decorated with a gold notch. The length of the blade is 66 cm, it has a slight bend, and the end of the tip is curved outward. The reverse side of the blade has also been sharpened, so this is not quite a typical scimitar, and, more accurately, this is its early form. The scimitar is in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul


Scimitar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with a scabbard trimmed with coral. It should be noted that coral decoration was generally characteristic of Turkish weapons. The handles of pistols, as well as the stocks and butts of guns were decorated with corals.

A second ornate scimitar, also owned by Suleiman the Magnificent and also made by Ahmed Tekel, with a blade length of 46,7 cm, an overall length with hilt of 59,3 cm and a weight without scabbard of 691 g, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


And this is his blade!

The scimitar that belonged to Sultan Bayazid II, made by master Mustafa bin Kamal al-Ashkeri (late 16th century), already has “ears” on the handle and even a hole for a lanyard. Located in the Doha Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

It is clear that such scimitars were not combat weapons, but were status weapons, which is why they were so richly decorated. And they came to us only because they belonged to the sultans...


Scimitar with a bone handle in a sheath. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Several scimitar manufacturing centers are known, which has led to the fact that they have their own local characteristics. The Istanbul version of the scimitar, made in Istanbul, is known - these scimitars were of the highest quality, because the best craftsmen worked in the capital; Asia Minor, Balkan, whose “ears” had an angular shape, and the blade itself and scabbard were finished in silver. Scimitars from “eastern Anatolia” (modern Caucasus) were distinguished by their short length and bend. The handle is most often metal, with widely spaced “ears”. It is interesting that the inscriptions on the blades of these scimitars were made with errors and not very carefully. That is, they were clearly copied from Muslim models by craftsmen who did not know Arabic, but who wanted to make weapons “in the oriental style”!

As with Japanese swords, the unusual shape of the scimitar gave rise to a considerable number of myths about it. For example, it was argued that a scimitar could be a throwing weapon and hit an enemy at a distance of up to 30 meters, and the “ears” on the handle served as stabilizers. Another myth is that the scimitar, precisely because of the presence of these “ears,” was used by the Janissaries as a musket stand for shooting... while sitting. The scimitar was also described as a weapon of a mounted warrior, although it was inconvenient for a horseman to use it. This is clearly an infantryman's weapon! By the way, it is interesting that the scimitar was not only a weapon of the Janissaries, but also of the bashi-bazouks (“sick in the head” or “crazy”) - irregular formations of the Turkish army, famous for robberies and atrocities.


London Illustrated, 1880.9.10. An Albanian fights with a Montenegrin, and both of them use scimitars!

There are not only scimitars, but also another example of exotic weapons with reverse sharpening, and in the collection of the Penza Regional Museum of Local Lore. But we will talk about them in the continuation of this article next time...
44 comments
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  1. +3
    15 May 2024 06: 23
    Thank you for such beauty. 16th century! How delicately the blades are made. By the way, why didn’t they write which CNC machines were used to do this in those days?)
    1. +5
      15 May 2024 08: 13
      Good morning . This is the first time I've read about the scimitar, and I didn't know about its double bend. I think the scimitar in the first photo was made more as a decoration, and not for combat. How does it lie in your hand? After all, the stones will “cut” the palm and fingers. Of course it was beautifully done, the master did his best.
      1. +4
        15 May 2024 08: 43
        Quote: Blacksmith 55
        How it lies in your hand

        And he didn’t lie down, but showed off in the Sultan’s belt.
        1. +1
          15 May 2024 11: 11
          That's what I'm talking about. The weapon must be convenient and reliable when used. The life of its owner may depend on it. Who in our time would carry a machine gun, beautiful, but very uncomfortable. I don't think he would have worn it for long. But to impress others... , and is still relevant today. If I were a sultan, I would have three wives))))). Oh yes, this is certainly the same, but I would see this scimitar on my wall, I would wear it simple and reliable.
          1. +5
            15 May 2024 11: 44
            The weapon must be convenient and reliable when used. The life of its owner may depend on it.

            There are knives for shelves - they are called “shelf knives” because of their beauty. They can be used normally, they are very high quality - but it would be a shame to spoil them. But for this scimitar there are several options - 1. The owner did not use it - there was no reason - he was guarded and the weapon was statutory. 2. For all fighters, the skin from calluses becomes rougher and becomes like a sole - and such a handle does not cause any discomfort. 3. an ordinary leather glove is put on, which is very useful in battle and again, the handle becomes comfortable.
            I tried similar weapons with gloves, it was quite comfortable and the stones acted as notches on regular handles and helped to feel the weapon.
            1. +5
              15 May 2024 12: 37
              Quote: Ivan Ivanych Ivanov
              I tried similar weapons with gloves, it was quite comfortable and the stones acted as notches on regular handles and helped to feel the weapon.

              What an interesting addition. Thank you, Ivan. Practical things like this are always valuable.
              1. +3
                15 May 2024 12: 52
                Practical things like this are always valuable.

                That is why there is practical archeology over the hill and reconstruction here.
                Until you use an artifact or a replica, it is not clear what and why. And after use, many questions remain.
                1. +4
                  15 May 2024 13: 23
                  Quote: Ivan Ivanych Ivanov
                  practical archeology over the hill and reconstruction here.

                  Also not without sin. M. Gorelik and I myself have met such “reenactors” that it’s hard to cry. And you can’t prove anything to them, the most interesting thing. Although we should understand that truth is never absolute.
                  1. +2
                    15 May 2024 15: 07
                    And you can’t prove anything to them, the most interesting thing. Although we should understand that truth is never absolute.

                    There is such a thing. It’s just that domestic reconstruction is still emerging from adolescence with all the shortcomings of the latter. Enough of all sorts of floating foam. But there are already quite a lot of almost professional re-enactors, although there are also plenty of clingy clowns, chronologists and alcohol fighters.
    2. -1
      15 May 2024 14: 59
      On CNC machines??? If it were bronze, it would be a casting. Yes, sharpening would be done on a sharpener with a string or manual drive, but the blade itself is forged! If only there was a stone or a tree, and so on... And then there was no CNC... gears, a planetary gear is the maximum. Although, the PU in some way can be mechanical, so yes, you’re right, in general, something this is possible to ensure manufacturing accuracy. But it clearly does not apply to blades, but only to rotation parts.
  2. +1
    15 May 2024 08: 23
    Thanks to the Author, an interesting story, as always.

    Looking at these weapons, it becomes clear why in the description of the battles of our troops with the Janissaries in the 18th century, the phrase “they stabbed the Janissaries with bayonets” often flashes. This weapon was probably formidable in one-on-one combat, but with such short daggers against a formation of regular infantry with fixed bayonets, a crowd of Janissaries really could not do much.
    1. +4
      15 May 2024 08: 49
      crowd of Janissaries,
      That’s why they besieged Vienna twice with this crowd.
      1. +1
        15 May 2024 10: 13
        Quote: 3x3zsave
        That’s why they besieged Vienna twice with this crowd.


        It worked, but by the 18th century the crowd had lost its former strength.
      2. +4
        15 May 2024 13: 08
        crowd of Janissaries,
        That’s why they besieged Vienna twice with this crowd.

        By the way, not in a crowd, but in camps!
  3. +7
    15 May 2024 08: 50
    The very name of this weapon is interesting, which is translated into Russian as “laying”, that is, it means that it puts people to sleep in eternal sleep.

    The Turks themselves write in the etymological dictionary that the word yatağan comes from the ancient Turkic verb yat (to bend, stoop, lie, sleep) by adding the suffix -AğAn, that is, it can be “bent” and “sleeping”, and “lying”. “Laying” somehow doesn’t fit into this rad.
    Another myth is that the scimitar, precisely because of the presence of these “ears,” was used by the Janissaries as a musket stand for shooting... while sitting.

    Looking at such a type of scimitar as the Black Sea scimitar or laz bıçağı, it is quite believed that it can be used as a stand. I can’t even think of any other purpose for such “ears.”
    1. +3
      15 May 2024 12: 38
      Quote: Dekabrist
      Black Sea scimitar or laz bıçağı, it is quite believed that it can be used as a stand.

      Interesting too. I have not come across such information.
      1. +6
        15 May 2024 15: 18
        Interesting too. I have not come across such information.

        This, Vyacheslav Olegovich, is because this time you chose, to put it mildly, an odious source as the basis of the article, in which the scimitar appears out of nowhere in the 2000th century. In fact, this weapon is the product of a long, thousand-year evolution from the blades of the Turkic nomads of northern China from the Ordos plateau, which is considered the ancestral home of the Turks. The illustration shows bronze blades found on this plateau, made 3000 - XNUMX BC. Based on more serious sources, the article would have had a completely different look.
        1. +5
          15 May 2024 15: 30
          And one moment. To write an article about the scimitar, and not remember that according to the Turkish legend, which has already acquired almost official status and according to which the name scimitar comes from the name of the blacksmith Yatagan Baba, who first forged this weapon, is like writing an article about Paris and not remembering the Eiffel Tower .
          1. +2
            15 May 2024 16: 12
            Quote: Dekabrist
            Turkish legend, which has already acquired almost official status and according to which the name Yatagan comes from the name of the blacksmith Yatagan Baba, who first forged this weapon, it’s like writing an article about Paris and not remembering the Eiffel Tower.

            To drag in all the legends, the entire volume of VO is not enough! I am strongly against materials much longer than 8000 characters.
        2. +2
          15 May 2024 16: 11
          Quote: Dekabrist
          Interesting too. I have not come across such information.

          Based on more serious sources, the article would have had a completely different look.

          These are not relatives of the scimitar and, as they say here, “an owl on the globe.” I've read quite a bit about scimitars. In addition, the article generally precedes the story about scimitars from the Penza museum. And in this capacity, its information content is more than sufficient!
          1. +3
            15 May 2024 16: 19
            These are not relatives of the scimitar and, as they say here, “an owl on the globe.”

            Who is not related and who is an owl? Are scimitars not related to the scimitar?
          2. 0
            15 May 2024 16: 25
            I've read quite a bit about scimitars.

            I’m ready to bet my pension against yours that there were no Turkish sources among what you read.
            1. 0
              15 May 2024 19: 45
              Quote: Dekabrist
              There were no Turkish sources among what I read.

              That I’m crazy, reading Turkish sources for the sake of passing online material. We have a military REVIEW, not a scientific journal. There were magazines Tseykhgauz, Orel, Sergeant. This is where materials with links to sources were needed and... these were serious scientific materials. Online journalism has different goals. Provide interesting material for the 99% of the audience who want to learn something quickly and without stressing too much. If anyone is interested, let him delve deeper himself. This is a popularization of the topic and nothing more. I wrote about this - and to you too, more than once. Please remember.
              1. +1
                15 May 2024 19: 55
                Please remember.

                I'm not complaining about my memory yet. By the way, about memory. Calculate how many fewer comments there would be if I had not gone deeper into the topic.
                1. +1
                  15 May 2024 20: 09
                  Quote: Dekabrist
                  Calculate how many fewer comments there would be if I had not gone deeper into the topic.

                  That's it! Any REVIEW reader can delve into the topic as much as he likes and this will be good for him, for the readers, and for the topic. I’ll tell you more - it’s precisely on this principle that online journalism should be built. Articles overflowing with 29 thousand characters of information are simply unreadable.
    2. +3
      15 May 2024 15: 40
      I can’t even think of any other purpose for such “ears.” Why?
      One plus eared scimitar: a stick, a pot and a fire can make coffee, and if you have two scimitars and a spit, you can roast a wild boar. Although the latter is not for the true believers. However, Alakha was respected for the vodka of war, so as an option, it was under pressure from the clergy that the Janissaries began to cut off their “ears” from the scimitars. Yes, they rebelled against the pillar of faith of the “Sultan” more than once, which was at the forefront of elevating the Sultan’s 7th brother to the throne or his verbal agreement not to notice the vodka and women in the barracks, history is silent. I admit I went too far about “women”, but if the pork is in question, then... wash, clean up, the same scimitar with soap in the basin... feel
      1. +3
        15 May 2024 15: 51
        However, the vodka of war Alakha was respected

        The Janissaries drank buza. Moreover, even at a time when Sultan Mehmed IV banned all alcohol. Sometimes opium was added to it for strength.
        1. +3
          15 May 2024 17: 56
          The Janissaries drank buza.

          Viktor Nikolaevich I know, and it seems from you. I wrote about vodka “on the ball”, according to the recollection of Kutuzov’s embassy, ​​who soldered the chief eunuch and his honorary escort. Assuming that who would guard such a nobleman if not fellow sufferers of “misfortune”, but with combat experience.
          1. +3
            15 May 2024 18: 41
            By the way, alcohol in the Muslim East is an interesting topic. Maybe someone will take it someday.
            1. +5
              15 May 2024 20: 08
              Conversation about fifteen minutes ago on Discord. Where is Zhanat? Washing the foal for the third day. Drinks? Dp. He's a Muslim. They are paired with the mullah. Talgat are you lying? No. Under the roof? Why the hell? Well, Allah doesn’t see and all that. Cool, thanks, I’ll go see them, otherwise I’m already tired of waiting for it to get dark. For what. Well, the mullah said that when it’s dark he can’t see. So he drinks with Zhanat? They've been drinking like this for three days now. Yesterday the mullah's wife kicked them out of the house, today our dad is out of the mosque, we have to be on time. Tomorrow we'll go ask for forgiveness on Zhanat's birthday. That is, drink again, but with four people. Why will there be about fifteen guests? Will Mullah not be fired after a spree? And who will know about this? Well, for example, the bosses? Mufti or something, but who will tell him? Mullah's wife? Damn you got it, I went to tell them about the roof. People are laughing...
              If the guys are Kazakhs from the Southern Urals.
              Tomorrow I will kill my brothers, I heard about an innovative way of drinking vodka from the Tajiks!
              1. ANB
                +3
                16 May 2024 01: 27
                Tell your people that the Koran forbids drinking grapevine products. That is, wine and cognac. Vodka, beer, whiskey - yes. :)
                1. +2
                  16 May 2024 06: 07
                  But it’s true! To be honest, I knew, but I never thought seriously about it, so I didn’t remember.
                  Although you shouldn’t say this to them, their wives me..... wassat
                  1. +1
                    16 May 2024 19: 32
                    The Koran also prohibits men from having sex with male animals. With female animals - yes. (I'm not kidding.) smile
  4. +2
    15 May 2024 10: 33
    When chopping, a scimitar gives little difference from a saber. But the cutting properties when pulled are an order of magnitude higher than any other weapon. That’s why it blossomed already at the decline of metal armor, which is useless to cut. That’s why such a handle with edges does not allow even a relaxed palm to escape - when you cut, the fist is not clenched so tightly than when you chop. From experience.
  5. +6
    15 May 2024 15: 26
    Several scimitar manufacturing centers are known, which has led to the fact that they have their own local characteristics.

    In the first photo there is a Balkan scimitar, in the second - the most common - Anatolian, in the third - a scimitar of the Ionian coast.
    1. +8
      15 May 2024 15: 46
      The most curious thing is that before coming to VO, I considered this to be the classic form of the scimitar (see photo).
      After all, after ten years on the site, I’ve gotten the hang of it and don’t ask bad questions.
      1. +4
        15 May 2024 15: 59
        The most curious thing is that before coming to VO, I considered this to be the classic form of the scimitar (see photo).

        Try typing the word “scimitar” into Google Translate and translate it into English. He will give you a scimitar and practically your drawing.
        1. +5
          15 May 2024 17: 48
          I know Victor. Even more, this discovery at one time systematized my understanding of why, starting from R. Tolkien, orcs and goblins run with scimitars. drinks
  6. +4
    15 May 2024 17: 37
    This allowed them to stab effectively (therefore it was sharpened on both sides).... Since the scimitar has no guard

    IMHO, it was extremely difficult to stab them, chopping/cutting was another matter.

    https://youtu.be/Xzk3lP5qfM4?t=266


    https://youtu.be/sneyhtx3L5o
  7. +1
    15 May 2024 17: 37
    Quote: Dekabrist
    thousands of years of evolution from the blades of the Turkic nomads of northern China from the Ordos plateau

    It’s not clear why spread propaganda filth about the great Turks from China? There were no Turks there, and there couldn’t have been. There were Mongols, there were Manzhurs, there were Tanguts from Tibet - there weren’t any Turks there, and there couldn’t have been. Yes and the Turks could not create infantry weapons - no reason. The scimitar is an ordinary status weapon such as a Caucasian dagger, or other traditional edged weapons of a similar purpose. It’s just that writers and publicists inflated the topic out of the blue.
    1. +1
      15 May 2024 18: 36
      Sewage is the comments of all sorts of watchmen with a fat Korean pig on their avatar.
  8. +2
    15 May 2024 19: 04
    On the hills of Manchuria and in Primorye lived Jurzhen warriors, who later changed their name to Manchus. To me alone, the Dzhurdzheni sound like Turchens and Turkens, which is already close to the Turks themselves. Those who have had to deal with long-bladed weapons not made of Damascus, but of ordinary iron, understand that these blades constantly have to be straightened because they bend not only across, but also along. When the owner gets tired of constantly returning the blade to a perfectly straight state, sabers or scimitars appear. Then inexperienced blacksmiths from other tribes begin to copy other people's curves from Damascus steel from lazy nomads of foreigners with weapons made from rawhide.
  9. 0
    15 May 2024 23: 24
    Thousands of years before our era, khopesh swords possessed such blades,

    Khopesh seems to be not quite a sword... Much like a dolphin is not quite a fish.
  10. 0
    16 May 2024 07: 40
    Quote: Dekabrist
    Sewage is the comments of all sorts of watchmen with a fat Korean pig on their avatar.

    Getting personal is another argument. And the ancestors of that Mongoloid in the avatar bullied the great Turks for 1000 years, which was reflected in their appearance.