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Thread: Ancient Arabian Swords

  1. #1
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    Ancient Arabian Swords

    I was under the impression that before the mongol invasions the Arabs used swords that were straight and double edged more similar to a knightly sword than a sabre. However, I was reading a book about Arabian Knights and it mentioned that pre-Islamic Arabian knights used the saif, which was then described as curved and single edged. Is the author mistaken or was the curved sword something always used amongst the Bedouin tribes?

    Alina
    When wrestling is ended, the owners and the winner camels return home with proud and happiness while spectators are delighted of having an exciting day.

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    Very, Very interesting subject Alina, thanks for posting, I wanted to post a thread like this but I hesitated. The calim that the arabs used straight swords before the 14th century is true but Ive seen a drawing of the battle of Ain Jalut which clearly shows the Mamluks using curved saifs, now this is really confusing.

    There were many threads like this one before but the guys who posted pics of old arabian saifs attached them straight from a URL and now all of them are gone.

    The arabs are divided into four divisions:
    1. Bedoin nomads
    2.Civilised merchant nomads (like the tribe of the prophet, the Quraysh)
    3. Civilised people
    4.Peasants

    Contrary to what Navid and Manoucher say, before Islam there were many properly educated and civilised people amongst arabs, there were also three Feudal Kingdoms among them, The Kingdom of 'Manathira' in Al-Hira in Southern Iraq. The 'Kindah' kingdom in Oman, and the 'Himyar' kingdom in Yemen. The Kingdom of the 'Munthirs' was ended by Emperor KhosroII, but got two of his joint armies destroyed as a result in the battle of 'Thee Qar'.

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    Originally posted by M.Carter
    Very, Very interesting subject Alina, thanks for posting, I wanted to post a thread like this but I hesitated. The calim that the arabs used straight swords before the 14th century is true but Ive seen a drawing of the battle of Ain Jalut which clearly shows the Mamluks using curved saifs, now this is really confusing.

    There were many threads like this one before but the guys who posted pics of old arabian saifs attached them straight from a URL and now all of them are gone.

    The arabs are divided into four divisions:
    1. Bedoin nomads
    2.Civilised merchant nomads (like the tribe of the prophet, the Quraysh)
    3. Civilised people
    4.Peasants

    Contrary to what Navid and Manoucher say, before Islam there were many properly educated and civilised people amongst arabs, there were also three Feudal Kingdoms among them, The Kingdom of 'Manathira' in Al-Hira in Southern Iraq. The 'Kindah' kingdom in Oman, and the 'Himyar' kingdom in Yemen. The Kingdom of the 'Munthirs' was ended by Emperor KhosroII, but got two of his joint armies destroyed as a result in the battle of 'Thee Qar'.
    Thanks for bringing those divisions to light. My training has showed a simpler division - Nomads and Sedentary (Non-nomadic) people. This is of course prior to the Arab conquest.

    Are there any museum examples of swords that date to the time of the Arab conquests or perhaps as late as the crusades? Physical evidence of these weapons is equally important to historical documentation. Have you found any examples?

    Alina
    When wrestling is ended, the owners and the winner camels return home with proud and happiness while spectators are delighted of having an exciting day.

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    Dr. David Nicolle wrote the article "Arms of the Umayyad Era: Military Technology in a Time of Change" from the book "War and society in the eastern Mediterranean." In the article he provides many plates of both manuscript and archaeological finds relating to arms and armour of the time of the Arab conquests. I found only double edged swords in these plates. However, I have no way of knowing if these weapons were the original forms used by the Arab peoples before they branched out in the conquest.

    Also, in "Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350" once again by Dr. David Nicolle, I've found very few pre-mongol examples of sabre like swords in Arabic finds and manuscripts.

    The problem then is I have two sources from the same man that say the same thing. This is hardly objective or extensive research even if we accept that Dr. Nicolle is one of the foremost experts in the area. Does anyone else have any other examples to draw upon?

    Alina
    When wrestling is ended, the owners and the winner camels return home with proud and happiness while spectators are delighted of having an exciting day.

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    This link was posted a while ago and proved very useful. There are loads of straight arab swords that found their way to Topkapi in Turkey:

    http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/turk/TopkapiArms2.html

    I would bet these are the Damascus swords which the crusaders brought home myths about that they could cut through other swords and silk and all that crap.

    Also, this link may prove useful (take the dimensions with a grain of salt though):

    http://faculty.washington.edu/wheele...rds_index.html

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by M.Carter
    Ive seen a drawing of the battle of Ain Jalut which clearly shows the Mamluks using curved saifs, now this is really confusing.
    Was the drawing contemporary with the battle? Generally, in looking at period art, equipment matches the period in which the art was created, not the period of the event depicted (assuming they're different, of course)

    Adam
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    -Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

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    Thats exactly what is confusing me the most Adam

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Alina Boyden
    Dr. David Nicolle wrote the article "Arms of the Umayyad Era: Military Technology in a Time of Change" from the book "War and society in the eastern Mediterranean." In the article he provides many plates of both manuscript and archaeological finds relating to arms and armour of the time of the Arab conquests. I found only double edged swords in these plates. However, I have no way of knowing if these weapons were the original forms used by the Arab peoples before they branched out in the conquest.

    Also, in "Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350" once again by Dr. David Nicolle, I've found very few pre-mongol examples of sabre like swords in Arabic finds and manuscripts.

    The problem then is I have two sources from the same man that say the same thing. This is hardly objective or extensive research even if we accept that Dr. Nicolle is one of the foremost experts in the area. Does anyone else have any other examples to draw upon?

    Alina
    I wouldnt rely too much on Dr.Nicolle's books myself, there was a thread posted here a while ago about incorrect information in his books. Unfortunatly I cannot locate that thread, but one of his funny sentences I can still remember,'A Knights charge was purely hypothetical' or something like that.

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    Originally posted by M.Carter
    I wouldnt rely too much on Dr.Nicolle's books myself, there was a thread posted here a while ago about incorrect information in his books. Unfortunatly I cannot locate that thread, but one of his funny sentences I can still remember,'A Knights charge was purely hypothetical' or something like that.
    I believe it was that "the impact of the charge is purely psychological" or some nonsense like that. Yeah, I'm aware of his biases, but he still does put out some good information.

    Alina
    When wrestling is ended, the owners and the winner camels return home with proud and happiness while spectators are delighted of having an exciting day.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Alina Boyden
    I believe it was that "the impact of the charge is purely psychological" or some nonsense like that. Yeah, I'm aware of his biases, but he still does put out some good information.

    Alina
    Yes thats the one, though as you said he does give some good info.

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