Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Sgian Achlais Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Michael B.
Industry Professional



Location: Chugiak, AK
Joined: 18 Oct 2007

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2009 12:39 am    Post subject: Sgian Achlais         Reply with quote

So, I've been quite curious about how the sgian achlais would be worn. Everything I've read just says that it was carried in the sleeve, or under the arm near the armpit. Would a sheathe be physically sewn into a garmet to hide the knife, or was it strapped on to the arm somehow (like a modern day sling for a concealed weapon). Any thoughts? I know it's a bit of a mystery. This is of course assuming that the sgian achlais is the "black knife" that purportly evolved into the sgian dubh and not the knife in a hunting trousse. Thanks.
www.facebook.com/bearmountainforge2
Michael Bergstrom
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,132

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2009 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some people wear the sheath suspended from a long leather thong over the shoulder. I don't know much about Scottish garments of the 17th and 18th centuries, but a pocket in the jacket seems like a good place for the knife/sheath. Think of a modern suit jacket's inside pocket and move it back a little. Maybe surviving garments don't have such a pocket, but the idea seems practical. Happy

I don't know that we'll know conclusively. There aren't many references to sgian achles; I can only think of the Edward Burt quote that everyone cites. Also, only a small number of surviving knives are even tentatively called sgian achles.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,206

PostPosted: Mon 25 May, 2009 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: Sgian Achlais         Reply with quote

Michael B. wrote:
So, I've been quite curious about how the sgian achlais would be worn. Everything I've read just says that it was carried in the sleeve, or under the arm near the armpit. Would a sheathe be physically sewn into a garmet to hide the knife, or was it strapped on to the arm somehow (like a modern day sling for a concealed weapon). Any thoughts? I know it's a bit of a mystery. This is of course assuming that the sgian achlais is the "black knife" that purportly evolved into the sgian dubh and not the knife in a hunting trousse. Thanks.


As Chad said, there are very few references to the concealed knives carried by Highlanders and nothing about how they were retained. The great kilt, which was a length of double width tartan belted around the waist with the excess material fastened over one shoulder, created "pockets" on either side of the garment. Knives or other small items could be carried there but were more likely to be concealed in the waistcoat or jacket. That Highlanders carried several concealed knives is a certainty. One reason there is little comment is because carrying knives was like tieing your shoes. Everyone knew how so there was no reason to write it down. Also, the persons most fascinated by this behavior were those on the outside, i.e. sassenachs, especially during the "Tartan Revival" of the early 19th c. Sassenach writers liked to imbellish stories about Highlanders and were not averse to making up stuff if their limited research did not provide the information they were after.

The first known carry of a sgian dubh in the kilt hose comes around the beginning of the 19th c. A portrait of MacDonnell of Glengarry in Highland dress, painted by Raiburn shows what appears to be two small knives inserted in the top of his right kilt hose. Perhaps Alasdair Ranaldson started the trend.

Whether the sgian dubh evolved from the sgian achlais is a subject for debate, although not a very important one. The moving of a small sheath knife from a jacket pocket to the top of ones kilt hose is an event of very minor significance. There are all sorts of theories of why the sgian is now carried in the kilt hose, none of which has any historical support. And, while the sgian could be used as a weapon, it was more likely to have been considered a utility knife by its owner.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Sgian Achlais
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum