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Shamshir vs Tulwar
Shamshir
60%
 60%  [ 21 ]
Tulwar
20%
 20%  [ 7 ]
Other
20%
 20%  [ 7 ]
Total Votes : 35

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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr, 2011 6:23 am    Post subject: Tulwar vs Shamshir         Reply with quote

I've been looking at this site a lot lately, maynly for blades to convert to viking seaxes and after a while the larger swords got to me. Now I want a blade for a sword project or a complete one, but I can't decide which I like better, Tulwar or Shamshir.
http://www.ancientarms.biz

So I was thinking, could I realistically use the shamshir with a viking kit? Offhand I'd say yes, but really? What do you guys think? It has a typically indian marking on the blade, probably in sanskrit. I don't know how old that type of stamp would be even though the alphabet used was around back then at least. But it would be a really ballsy sword for a viking kit. Wink
Here's the shamshir I was thinkig of:

http://www.ancientarms.biz/servlet/Detail?no=603

On the other hand the Tulwars look amazing. I've always been partial to the disc handle.

http://www.ancientarms.biz/servlet/Detail?no=576

Also, whichever I choose it needs to be a and durable and strong cutter, because that's what I use swords for.
I noted that the shamshir in question actually has a full handle width tang construction, while the tulwars have a short halfway bolted tang, which makes me again favor the shamshir.

As you can see these wootz or Damascus blades aren't even all that expensive, especially the smaller knives. Crazy cheap really. That makes me wonder if they're real or just fake pattern etched, but they look real enough. I'll probably pick some of the less expensive bare blades for some projects first, then decide on which sword I want. Can't afford one right now anyway. Or maybe I can, after all they're not that expensive.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr, 2011 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are some Swedish runestones about Vikings in Sarkland who fed the eagles. Look what armour they could have brought back. Such an item might have been worth a lot if it was a rare weapon from far away lands.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr, 2011 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Both shamshir and tulwar were developed after the viking age. During the viking age curved swords looked pretty much like Hanwei Charlemagne saber. They weren't very curved, similar to a typical katana curve actually.
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

... maybe take into account how comfortable the grip of one would feel in hand
compared to the other ... while you might be partial to the disk-portion of the grip,
one could think it might limit some range of flexibility in the wrist ...
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Tulwar vs Shamshir         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:

So I was thinking, could I realistically use the shamshir with a viking kit?

...

Also, whichever I choose it needs to be a and durable and strong cutter, because that's what I use swords for.

...

As you can see these wootz or Damascus blades aren't even all that expensive, especially the smaller knives. Crazy cheap really. That makes me wonder if they're real or just fake pattern etched, but they look real enough.


(a) No, not realistically.

(c) These kind of blades are usually "real", in that they're "mechanical damascus", i.e., pattern welded. Sometimes you see blades from these places with welding defects being sold as cheap seconds.

(b) Durable might be a bit of a gamble. In my experience, blades from such sources (not this source in particular, but modern Indian damascus in general) vary a lot in hardness and heat treatment.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr, 2011 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz wrote:
... maybe take into account how comfortable the grip of one would feel in hand
compared to the other ... while you might be partial to the disk-portion of the grip,
one could think it might limit some range of flexibility in the wrist ...


I never met a tulwar where the disk limited my wrist motion. Even a giant-sized handle I have is still almost a centimetre shopr short of touching my wrist. It does restrict grips, though - no need for worrying about hammer grip versus handshake grip, you have no choice.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Apr, 2011 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Both shamshir and tulwar were developed after the viking age. During the viking age curved swords looked pretty much like Hanwei Charlemagne saber. They weren't very curved, similar to a typical katana curve actually.


Yes, normally i'd say so too.
But swords at least named "Shamshir" were around during the Viking age according to wikipedia (which can be unreliable, I know). What they looked like may be another matter. I'm looking into it.

Another lead could be art depictions from Constantinople that show sabers eerily similar to that Shamshir. I'll have to look into scientific dating on them though. The clothing and armour suggest it to be previous to the turn of the first century, I'd say the type of lamellar used is probably late roman iron age to early charlemagne, although the artist could have been going for a classic style. But it got me started thinking.

Also, about the Tulwar, which I wasn't implying could go with my viking kit but I just wanted because, well it's a Tulwar. Early mention of sabers (called "Tulwar" or "talwar") in india is from the truly ancient Rigveda. 1000 BC? Possibly older. Exactly how these looked are unknown today since India isn't putting enough resources into excavation, but they were curved in some way.

The Kilij, very similar to the Shamshir I showed seem to have dominated the use of swords in the Seljujik Empire. This came about at the very end of the viking age. The Kilij is also older than this so it would possibly have been around in Särkland for adventurous viking to pick up and take home.
What early Kilij and Shamshir looked like I haven't found examples of yet though. I'll have to get that book Khorasani, Manouchehr "Arms and Armour from Iran and check it out. They could end up looking just like the Chalemagne saber of course.

Now this is just based on Wikipedia, which can be notoriously unreliable at times. But certainly there's more to this than one usually associates with it in our circuit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilij

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seljuk_Empire


Certainly sabers in the "Viking age" could have been more in the line of the Charlemagne saber than the modern type we associate with the name Shamshir and Kilij today, but it bears looking into far more for a definite answer.


Then there's this thread:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=22949
Suggesting that the same names Kilij and Shamshir could also have been used for straight blades.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge


Last edited by Johan Gemvik on Fri 29 Apr, 2011 8:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Apr, 2011 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Then there's this other thread:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4223
I Quote Kayahan (at near end of page)
"Thanks for the link, it's really a nice find. However, for the 9th-10th century, it is not unusual at all; V.V. Arendt's work "Türkische Säbel aus den VIII. - IX. Jahrhunderten" (1935) focuses on this type, examines many survived examples in different museums, and concludes with a clear decision of Turkic origin."

So here's someone stating even earlier origins of some sort of Turkish saber.

The plot thickens... Wink
Let's see where this leads. At the very least it should be some good reading about pretty swords.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Sander Alsters




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Apr, 2011 10:38 pm    Post subject: Tulwar vs Shamshir         Reply with quote

The book of Khorisani is a good one! I have it myself and has loads of info on the subject. It limits itself to the middle east though. The first curved swords in Iran were dated round the 9th century if im not mistaken. They probably originated in China and were brought to Iran and the northern tribes by the Turks and other. It was my belief however that the curved swords used by the Byzantines were more like a single edged roman cavaly sword, with a curve. The weight was more towards the handle while eastern curved swords, esecially the Kilij had their balance more towards the tip of the sword. Please correct me if im wrong, im here to learn:-)
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Gene W




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've had several blades (smaller) from the same source and the hardness/tempering would certainly have been an issue if you wanted to actually have any kind of 'live' practice with them.

These are usually 'raindrop' pattern welded with a minimal temper. (none are Wootz)
I have serious concerns that they wouldn't survive a strong hit.

OTOH, You can get a perfectly servicable monosteel or basic laminated munitions grade Tulwar for little money that would hack and slay all day!
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Sanders, that led me back to the Byzantine connection. After all, if a viking was to get a scimitar of sorts if not Särkland (pardon my modern swedish spelling) then most likely in Byzantine as at least the swedes traded with them and both Viking and anglo saxons served in the Varangian guard at one time or another.

So digging into that I found this most excellent post on another forum.

http://www.netsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002256.html

Emperor Nikephoros (II) Phokas in the 11th century is depicted here with a Parameroion, a byzantine saber.

However, it seems Egfroth on the forum thread link actually got it wrong. Emperor Nikephoros Phokas actually lived between 912 – 10 December 969, so 10th century rather. Even better for my timeline actually since my kit is late 10th C viking.



Wiki-link to Nikephboros II
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikephoros_II
This is a great find, it even shows the scabbard, with fittings and suspension.

Looking closely at the sword he's holding it's as I said eerily similar to a Shamshir, although not quite the same. The blade, scabbard and suspension are pretty close to what I've seen on Shamshirs and Tulwars from 18th-20th century although the blade isn't an exact match, and you can see it's a western style globe pommel. But one detail that catches my eye is the visible upper half of the "North star", that you see on all shamshirs. Is it just the top half, or a complete star with the lower half covered by the hand, one can only speculate.
If this is what I should go for instead then I better get a bare blade for conversion than a complete modern style Shamshir.
As Gene and several others already pointed out though, I should probably go for a monocarbon blade if I want it to be durable.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge


Last edited by Johan Gemvik on Sun 01 May, 2011 10:23 am; edited 5 times in total
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Eric G.




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This isn't 100% on topic but I thought it might be interesting to some of us...

Check out this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWvsHorqldM&feature=related


Yes he calls it a scimitar in this video's title, but he does call it a tulwar in another video.

Eric Gregersen
www.EricGregersen.com
Knowledge applied is power.
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He's holding a Tulwar to demonstrate backsword halfsword technique while talking about Scimitars in general. The techniques are similar to some I've trained with japanese swords although those movements were less rounded and smooth and more forced powered halfsword cuts and thrusts. I've also seen simialr techniques in chinese martial arts, probably more similar actually as they tend to have smoother curving motions in the cuts, although that's a rough generalisation.

Very intersting point actually. Probably not the only way to use them but certainly one of several and well suited to the situation at hand with the crowd and to get really close in with the long rifles to block them from shooting.
Wounding 17 people could easily have been killed 17 people if they'd actually swung those scimitars though so I guess they just didn't have room for it. Doesn't take much with a weapon like that to lop off parts.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sun 01 May, 2011 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a larger and more detailed picture.



But what is that writing on the blade!? Doesn't look like Greek or Latin I was expecting, more like Sanskrit or Arab????

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking more into this with Emperor Nikephoros Phokas, yes he lived in the 10th century, and he may well have had any number of sabers. However the image of him is from a 16th century manuscript, not from his own time. So it could show anything really. Most likely it depicts a saracen saber modified by the artist to fit the byzantine setting as best he could fathom. That would explain the odd writing on it also.

The surely dated surviving sabers from viking age that I've found so far all look about the same as the Charlemagne saber. So Luka is most likely right after all. My apologies for doubting it in the first place. Wink
As a reconstruction of what the 16th century artist thought a Paramenion looked like in the time of Emperor Nikephoros it sould still be an interesting project. It would certainly make for a handsome sword. But hardly suitable for a viking outfit if it's to be verified authentic.

Exactly what did the Paramenion look like though? I'll keep searching.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Shahril Dzulkifli




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Aug, 2011 8:11 am    Post subject: Tulwar vs Shamshir         Reply with quote

When compared to the tulwar I prefer the shamshir. The shamshir is without doubt a symbol in many Middle Eastern countries, and it's still sold in bazaars throughout the region today. There are diamond-encrusted shamshirs and are still carried by royals during ceremonies.

The photo below shows a Russian soldier during the war in Afghanistan (1979-88) dressed in Afghan traditional clothes. He also arms himself with a sword, all given to him by friendly locals. The sword in his hand is of course, a tulwar, judging by its handle. In the past Afghanistan had manufactured tulwars long before royals and military officers had them replaced with Russian or Western-style dress swords.


“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Aug, 2011 9:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ya, the saber of that style came in with the Turks, and were not in anyway around during the Viking age.
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Gene W




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Aug, 2011 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: Tulwar vs Shamshir         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:
When compared to the tulwar I prefer the shamshir. The shamshir is without doubt a symbol in many Middle Eastern countries, and it's still sold in bazaars throughout the region today. There are diamond-encrusted shamshirs and are still carried by royals during ceremonies.

The photo below shows a Russian soldier during the war in Afghanistan (1979-88) dressed in Afghan traditional clothes. He also arms himself with a sword, all given to him by friendly locals. The sword in his hand is of course, a tulwar, judging by its handle. In the past Afghanistan had manufactured tulwars long before royals and military officers had them replaced with Russian or Western-style dress swords.



The sword he's pictured with is a traditional Afghan Pulwar.
The traditional Hilt has similarities to Indian Tulwar and Persian swords (usually the straight bladed type).
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William P




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PostPosted: Sun 21 Aug, 2011 3:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the magyars and possibly the rus used swords like these
http://manningimperial.com/list.php?category_...roup_id=10

and if you track him down, christopher (quarf) morgan of the new varangian guard has photos of an example of a pair of daggers that have a somewhat oversized handle and might be evidence of a broken sabre blade reforged and sharpened to be used as a dagger.

if not for the hawksbill pommel id say the samshir wold in theory look more period appropriate than a tulwar if you plan on making a viking seax.
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Shahril Dzulkifli




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Tulwar vs Shamshir         Reply with quote

Thanks for informing, Gene.
I thought that sword is a tulwar before realizing that it is a pulwar.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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