Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Is a saber/sabre by definition curved? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Hector Mendoza





Joined: 14 Oct 2006

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu 22 Oct, 2009 10:11 pm    Post subject: Is a saber/sabre by definition curved?         Reply with quote

I was having a discussion in another forum about sabers. One guy claims that if a cavalry saber is not edged then it ceases to be a saber and it is a sword. I claim that sabers became more and more straight throughout the years until their main purpose became only thrusting.

1786, clearly curved
http://www.militaryheritage.com/images/1796%2...abre_1.jpg

1821, not so curved anymore
http://www.militaryheritage.com/images/1822%2...abre_1.jpg

1897, is it curved at all?
http://www.militaryheritage.com/images/1897%2...0sword.JPG

1908... I don't see a curve! WTF?!
http://www.militaryheritage.com/images/1908_1.jpg

But then, can the 1908 pattern sword still be called a saber?
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Lukasz Papaj




Location: Malbork, Poland
Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu 22 Oct, 2009 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

saber "single-edged sword," 1680, from Fr. sabre "heavy, curved sword" (17c.), alteration of sable (1640), from Ger. Sabel, probably ult. from Hung. szablya "saber," lit."tool to cut with," from szabni "to cut." The Slavic words (cf. Rus. sablya, Polish szabla "sword, saber") are perhaps also from[hungary]; Ger. It. sciabla seems to be directly from Hungarian

Retrieved from: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=saber.
View user's profile Send private message
Henrik Zoltan Toth




Location: Hungary
Joined: 18 Feb 2007

Posts: 200

PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello

The sabre is originated (in Europe) from the single edged variants of the straight avar swords (like the one of Kubrat in an other topic from yesterday). In the 7. Cent. came the "protosabre" with the first bulgarians into Europe. These sabres had nairly narow or slightly curved blades, almost like the weaponst of the nomads in 9-10 th C. (like the Attila-sword in Vienna)

In the 11-13. Cent. became the sabre more and more curved (pecheneg, kipchak/kuman, oguz (seldjuk, ottoman), mongolian sabres).

In the 15. Cent the greeks, south-slavs, romanians, albanians, venetians (f.e the stradiots) and hungarians begun to use the ottoman kilidj (and/or seif?), and created their own saber-types. (not to forget the russian, cosac and polish variants of turkic and tatar sabers) These wera all (both stronger og slightly) curved blades.

In hte 18th Century (with the creating of the first husar and ulan regiments) became the saber popular in middle and West Europe, too.

(in 1711 the Habsburgs beated II. Ferenc of Rákóczi, many of his officiers emigrated, on the other hand the hung. hussars of the Habsburgs renegated into the french armyin 1635, 1688 and in the early 1700's - f.e the Rattsky and Bercsényi regiments in France)

And in the Napoleon wars came the mameluk sabre. But in the second hallf of the 19th Cent. the sabre became really more and more straight.

Zoltán
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 6:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hector,
I skip the whole debate and just call them swords. Big Grin If you are looking specifically at British military swords, then you will find that in the official language describing the various patterns uses the term "sword", and the describes the designs to which makers must adhere. The language and specifications become more specific over the course of the 19th century, especially when compared to the infantry officer sword regulations of the 1780s and 1790s (which are quite vague).

The patterns of the 1820s mark the beginning of the slightly curved swords (or sabers, if you will Wink) shown in your Military Heritage links. The P1821/22 swords being the first British regulation patterns with the compromise cut and thrust blade. The P1897 has a straight thrust oriented blade with very little cutting edge (1/3 to 1/2 of the blade is actually blunt and has a dumbbell or I-beam cross section). The P1908 has a single edged thrusting blade. I think it is up to you whether or not you would want to call them sabers. I probably would not, but some people call the US M1913 cavalry sword a saber, so I am not sure there is really a hard and fast rule.

One thing that bugs me is the need to differentiate between swords and sabers. All sabers are swords, but not all swords are sabers, at least in my opinion. Happy

Jonathan
View user's profile Send private message
Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The specific definition of a saber will vary greatly depending on shape, usage and even which language you happen to be speaking. In Swedish, a straight cavalry backsword can be called either "palasch" or "sabel" depending on at which point in history it was issued. So, it can be kinda confusing.

My personal, highly generalized definition is: All curved swords are sabers, but not all sabers are curved.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
View user's profile Send private message
Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,504

PostPosted: Fri 23 Oct, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders Backlund wrote:
My personal, highly generalized definition is: All curved swords are sabers, but not all sabers are curved.


As Diogenes the Cynic demonstrated with Plato's Man, it isn't easy to come up with good compact definitions. One word suffices: shotel.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 757

PostPosted: Sat 24 Oct, 2009 2:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Anders Backlund wrote:
My personal, highly generalized definition is: All curved swords are sabers, but not all sabers are curved.


As Diogenes the Cynic demonstrated with Plato's Man, it isn't easy to come up with good compact definitions. One word suffices: shotel.


And messer, and golok, and..... Big Grin
View user's profile Send private message
Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,930

PostPosted: Sat 24 Oct, 2009 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To add more consternation are the well meant but rather individual descriptions by author and collector George C. Neumann. A passel of short straight swords are labeled by him as short sabers. Not to be confused with his labeling yet more swords (straight and curved) simply as hangers.

Cheers

GC
View user's profile Send private message
Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sat 24 Oct, 2009 8:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:

As Diogenes the Cynic demonstrated with Plato's Man, it isn't easy to come up with good compact definitions. One word suffices: shotel.


I'd say that sickle-shaped shotels are sabers, double-curved or straight shotels are not.

Personal definition, mind you.

Glen A Cleeton wrote:
To add more consternation are the well meant but rather individual descriptions by author and collector George C. Neumann. A passel of short straight swords are labeled by him as short sabers. Not to be confused with his labeling yet more swords (straight and curved) simply as hangers.


I'd like to add that the term "hanger" doesn't seem to have a real equivalent in my language. We'd call them cutlasses, sabers, or just swords.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
View user's profile Send private message
Samuel Bena




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 10 Dec 2007

Posts: 94

PostPosted: Sat 24 Oct, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Zoltan ,

Nice overview you have there Happy but I dont 100% agree on this part:

Henrik Zoltan Toth wrote:

In the 15. Cent the greeks, south-slavs, romanians, albanians, venetians (f.e the stradiots) and hungarians begun to use the ottoman kilidj (and/or seif?), and created their own saber-types.
Zoltán



There is picturial evidence in the form of Serbian fresco from Pec that the "Yugoslavs" were quite aware of the weapon in the pre-ottoman conquest era :



Picture of Saint Michael from St. Demetrios church in Kosovo and Metohija cca.1322-24. Mind you the area was quite heavy on Cuman/Kipcak presence already (as most of medieval balkans , where they served as mercs or semi-vassals, hence we could speculate the possible origins of the awarenes for the weapon). Yet , giving the piece into the hands of St Michael shows that medieval Serbs probably regarded the weapon highly.

Of course it would be foolish to assume that Ottomans held no influence over the popularization of the said weapon. However, as you cleverly pointed out the various EE nations gave a unique twist to their sabers and didnt only make dull copycats as it is sometimes assumed. A fine example of this are the 15th century Hungarian sabres , that hold both european-schiavonesca as well as nomad (or ottoman) heritage:





Such sabres seem to also feature in heraldy as early as 1466 :


(Coat of arms of a Hussar by the name of Péter)
Note the substantial pommel on the upper piece , that seems to be similar to the early hungarian katzenkopf type, also found on the schiavonesca-type arming swords.

The OP question "what is and what is not a sabre" , has also been raised on the vikingsword forums : http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=10881 , in particularl the 11th post adresses the issue :

Quote:
the definition of the sabre is; a sidearm with a long curved blade and a asymmetric grip often bent towards the forward quillon, which has no pommel as a sword but can have a pommel cap instead. (Heribert Seitz Blankwaffen 1
p 183)


Cheers,
Samuel
View user's profile Send private message ICQ Number


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Is a saber/sabre by definition curved?
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 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum