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Isaac D Rainey




Location: Evansville Indiana
Joined: 29 Sep 2012

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jul, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: Saber typology?         Reply with quote

Hello everyone, I have been attempting to research the history of sabers from the near east onward and have not found much information. I have a few questions about sabers that I have not found the resources to answer.

1. What influence did the mongols have on sabers/swords, and did they take any influence back to East Asia from the weapons they encountered.

2. Did the shiavonesca style sabers originate in Hungary, or was it a result of mixing styles between Italians and Stradioti.

3. I keep reading that the Persian forces that fought Alexander the great used curved swords, I have not found any physical example of this. Are they just stereotyping them or did they use a form of edged weapon that I am unaware of.

4. Where there any characteristics that came from western sword designs, the oldest sabers I have come acrossed have been from Eastern Europe from about the 9th century.

I will appreciate any information given to me. Explain it to me like I'm five if you have to. These are just some of those questions that bug the hell out of me because I cannot find the answer to them.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jul, 2013 2:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Isaac, I'm far from an expert on this subject but I'll do my best. AFAIK the sabers which originated in Western Asia (I think they started before the 9th century, but weren't common) spread East and were adopted by the Mongols, and other central Asian nomadic tribes. These in turn influenced the Chinese dao, the quose quill and willow leaf dao for example. As far as the Persians Alexander's time, they used a short double edged sword known as an akinakes
Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Wed 31 Jul, 2013 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Isaac D Rainey




Location: Evansville Indiana
Joined: 29 Sep 2012

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Wed 31 Jul, 2013 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What kind of swords did the mongols use before being influences by others? Where they Chinese style blades, or their own unique style?
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jul, 2013 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I'm not sure how far back in time the Mongols emerged as a distinct tribe, but I think that it was after the saber had been widely adopted by the nomads of the Eurasian steppe. As to what these peoples used before the introduction of the saber, I'm not sure, though I've heard that it was a blade similar to the above mentioned akinakes.
Éirinn go Brách
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jul, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh yes, I just remembered something. The swords of the late Sassanid Empire share many characteristics with those of Sui and Tang Dynasty China. These two sword types clearly influenced each other, and as they would have had to travel through the steppe to do so, it's probable that they would have also ended up in the hands of the peoples of the steppe.
Éirinn go Brách
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Aug, 2013 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Saber typology?         Reply with quote

Isaac D Rainey wrote:
3. I keep reading that the Persian forces that fought Alexander the great used curved swords, I have not found any physical example of this. Are they just stereotyping them or did they use a form of edged weapon that I am unaware of.

They used the akinakes (a straight two-edged dirk), various short straight swords similar to Greek ones, various curved falchions similar to Greek ones, and various one-handed axes and picks. Not many examples of Achaemenid weapons survive because they did not deposit weapons in wells, rivers, or graves. The Osprey by Nick Sekunda is not bad on this, although Duncan Head's book is better.

Some older writers translate akinakes (a short, straight two-edged blade) as scimitar (a long, curved one-edged blade). Others translate the Greek machaira, which sometimes means "falchion" and sometimes just "sword," as cutlass, sabre, scimitar, etc.
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Isaac D Rainey




Location: Evansville Indiana
Joined: 29 Sep 2012

Posts: 62

PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to know who first invented this form of blade.

This is the sword of Mehmed II http://www.museumsyndicate.com/images/5/47813.jpg

This a hungarian sword of around the same time. http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/8981/hungarianc.jpg.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that the earliest saber of this form is attributed to the Avars in the 7th century.
Éirinn go Brách
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Isaac D Rainey




Location: Evansville Indiana
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is it possible that this form originated with the Avars, or they where influenced by someone else?
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Aug, 2013 12:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well from what I've heard, yes it was the Avars.
Éirinn go Brách
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isaac D Rainey wrote:
Is it possible that this form originated with the Avars, or they where influenced by someone else?


I'm afraid you'll have to learn to accept the scientifically responsible conclusion that we don't know for sure. The earliest examples we know of did come from Avar graves and deposits, but it is perfectly possible that another contemporary or slightly earlier culture also used a similar sword form without ever having left any written, iconographic, or archaeological evidence of it. There are also massive gaps in the archaeological record so, even if we assume that the form originated with the Avars, we don't have a very clear picture of where it spread from that point of origin and how.
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