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Author Topic:   Arabic weapons
Leafe
Member
posted 06-19-2000 02:12     Click Here to See the Profile for Leafe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, I am new here and I have a couple quick questions for you all. Let me start off, however, by stating that I am not a collecter of ethnographic edged weapons but am instead merely a person interested in history. As part of that, I am interested in the equipment historically used by cultures of the past.

I am interested in finding out some information about arabic weapons that might have been used during the 10th through through 13th centuries. I am particularly interested in swords and daggers used, if I may get really specific, in Andalus (Muslem Spain).

I have come across two possible types of weapons that have interested me. However, I have no idea if they are appriate to the time period.

- The first is the Jimbaya dagger. I have seen numerous pictures but don't know how or when they were used or any other kinds of info.

- Second, I read something about a sword called a Jinete. I know nothing about this sword, but I think it comes from the right period.

If anyone knows anything about these two weapons and can give me some info or point me in the right direction, I would be greatful. Also, if anyone knows other things about Arabic Weapons used during the 10th through 13th centuries, I would be extremely interested to learn what I can.

Thank you in advance for your help.

- Eric

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Oriental-Arms
Senior Member
posted 06-19-2000 02:26     Click Here to See the Profile for Oriental-Arms   Click Here to Email Oriental-Arms     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Eric, welcome on board
Just a note about the Jambiya (Should be properly pronounced Jannabiya): The origin of the name is a dagger mounted on the hip, but these days it mainly refers to a short dagger with curved double edge blade, which is found all over the Islamic world from North - West Africa to Indonesia. It takes various shapes, and the oldest I know about are Persian, 17th C. The Common Arab Jambiya is much later, late 19th Century and until present time.

[This message has been edited by Oriental-Arms (edited 06-19-2000).]

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mameluke2000
Member
posted 06-19-2000 05:56     Click Here to See the Profile for mameluke2000   Click Here to Email mameluke2000     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
here is a moroccan "koummya"it is the traditional weapon of the Mokhazni tribe,Morocco being situated just south of Spain was actually one of the cultural exchange centers.The Moors are the moslems who invaded Spain and the "Moorish"or arabic influence is apparent in the archetecture,art and edged weapons.

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mameluke2000
Member
posted 06-19-2000 05:59     Click Here to See the Profile for mameluke2000   Click Here to Email mameluke2000     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
http://www.msnusers.com/louiescorner/files/KOUM1.jpg

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Oliver
Senior Member
posted 06-19-2000 10:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Oliver   Click Here to Email Oliver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Leafe,

Welcome to the forum. Arab weapons (as distinct from "Arabic" which refers to the language) of the 10th through the 13th centuries are hard to pin down. If you mean the weapons of the Arabs themselves (as a distinct semetic ethnic group) they were most likely more or less similar to western weapons from the the same time period. If you mean "weapons of the 'Arab' world" or more properly Islamic weapons then you get into a pretty big field. The Arabs used troops from the areas in which they operated (like the Berbers in North Africa in service there and on the Iberian Penninsula). These troops often had their own distinct weapons. Also, in many cases the Arabs absorbed aspects of cultures they came into contact with (Iran as an outstanding example) or were more or less conquered by (the Seljuks, Mongols, Ottomans, Europeans, etc.). Pinning down exact types of weapons in a time frame that broad without some geographic specifics would be rather difficult. Are you interested in the weapons of a particular area?

Best,

Oliver

[This message has been edited by Oliver (edited 06-19-2000).]

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Leafe
Member
posted 06-19-2000 11:45     Click Here to See the Profile for Leafe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oliver,

I am interested specifically in weapons employed by soldiers of Andalus (Muslim Spain) during the late 10th century. I included latter periods because I thought that might help.

I would really like to know something about what weapons different ethinic--such as Arabs (specifically Umayyads) and Berbers-- as well as different social classes, might employ in battle during the time of the Cordova Caliphate (10th century).

While I understand that weapons were influenced by other cultures, and that the Arabs used troops of other cultures, those weapon-types that were imported from other Arab areas interest me slightly more than those that were adopted from the visigoths or the Berbers or from other non-arab areas.

I know, for example, that the ruling class during the Cordova Caliphate originated from Damascus, and were part of a group called the Umayyads. The Umayyads were the first great Muslim dynasty to rule the Empire of the Caliphate (ad 661-750), centered in Damascus. It was in the later part of this rule that the Caliphate, with the help of the Berbers, overthrew the Visigoths in Iberia.

However, a religio-political sect, the Hashimiyah, denied the legitimacy of Umayyad rule over the Caliphate. In 749 the Hashimiyah, aided by western Arab provinces, proclaimed as caliph Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who thereby became first of the 'Abbasid dynasty. The last Umayyad of the Caliphate, Marwan II, was defeated in 750. Members of the Umayyad house were hunted down and killed, but one of the survivors, 'Abd ar-Rahman, escaped and established himself as a Muslim ruler in Spain (756), founding the dynasty of the Umayyads of Córdova. Two hundred years later the political situation would be right and the Umayyids would again claim the Caliphate (although there would actually be three of them: the original one, moved from Damascus to Bagdad; the heterodox caliphate of the Fatimids in Tunis; and the Caliphate of Cordova).

So in theory I am looking for information on weapons employed by the Umayyads and their Andalusian supporters during the 10th century.

Thank you, Oliver, and everyone else, for your help.

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-19-2000 15:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Leaf,
Glad to have you with us! The study of history is one of the most important elements of the study of weapons, so one need not be a collector to be well placed in this forum.
The area of history you are studying is fascinating, and in my opinion, one of the foremost authorities is Dr. David Nicolle,Ph.D, who has written a number of titles for the Osprey Man at Arms series.
The most pertinant to your study would be,
"Armies of the Muslim Conquest", 1993,series title #255, ISBN 1 85532 279X.
and, "The Armies of Islam: 7th-11th Centuries", 1982, ISBN 0 85045 448 4. series #125 (this may be hard to find, possibly interlibrary loan).
Another title in the same series is :
"El Cid and the Reconquista 1050-1492" series #200. Im not certain of the author.

As noted, the weapons of early Islam were generally the double edged broadswords of the period. A good overview of these is covered by Anthony North in "Swords of Islam" which is chapter 11 in Swords and Hilt Weapons, ed. by Michael Coe, 1989. This material is also covered by North in his book "Introduction to Islamic Arms", 1985.

An interesting title that is of course more historical, and you probably already know is:
"The Quest for El Cid" by Richard Fletcher, 1989.

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-19-2000 15:15     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Leafe,
Sorry about the misspell on your name!!
Anyway, all the best and welcome again!!
Jim

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Leafe
Member
posted 06-19-2000 16:00     Click Here to See the Profile for Leafe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, my name is Leaf. My first name is Eric and so I go by Leafe. So I didn't notice the seeming error.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 06-19-2000 19:42     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Leafe:

Welcome!
Nice field of study you've got there...

The swords called "Jineta", also wknown as hispano-moresque swords, were mainly from 14th-15th centuries. Back in the 10th century, the muslim common soldier was likely armed with a light armor (cooton robe or leather armor, with an iron cap), a spear and a ligth shield, very probably of the variety known as "adarga", a light leather shield used by the tribes of north Africa and that spread throughout all the Peninsula. The more sophisticated armor, mainly chainmail, was reserved to the aristocracy or to the professional mercenaries who made aliving of the continuous state of warfare that teared the Peninsula apart, like El Cid himself.

Anyway, I would suggest to follow Jim McDougall's advice for bibliography. It always pays.


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Living and trying to learn

Marc

[This message has been edited by Marc (edited 06-19-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Marc (edited 06-20-2000).]

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-19-2000 23:01     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Marc has noted, the 'jineta' (espadas a'la jineta) were swords typically associated with the 14th-15th centuries.A sword of this type now in the Alhambra in Granada is attributed to Boabdil, the last king of Granada in the 15th c. These swords with long drooping quillons were apparantly an ancient class of Moorish swords prior to this highly romanticized association. Calvert ("Spanish Arms & Armour", 1907) notes that there is some question on the veracity of the attribution of this elaborate sword to Boabdil, that the hilt is 'modern' and the blade is from the 'Berber District'. In any case, another good reference I found that may be very helpful is the chapter by Abdel Rahman Zaky, "Medieval Arab Arms" which is in "Islamic Arms & Armour" , ed.Robert Elgood, 1979. This would better answer your needs and has great illustrations of 9th -10th c. Arab swords. Again, interlibrary loan!

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 06-20-2000 07:47     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for the records:
This is an image of a (very bad!) reproduction of a jineta sword. It's just a tourist item, but it will give you an overall idea baout how they are.

Sorry for its size, is the only one I found in the net, and I don't have right now the capabilty of processing it and posting it afterwards...

There are some really fine examples of Jinetas in the Armerias Reales in Madrid and in Paris, according to Tüssack and Blair's "Encyclopedia of Arms and Armour". I've seen pictures of some of them, and the hilts tend to be really a jewelry work of art. In fact, I've seen some period illustrations (paintings and tapestries) from the nazari reigns of southern Spain in the 14th and 15th century depicting people that was carrying swords that would fall into the denomination of the jineta type. The people depicted were sultans and high aristocrats, and they seemed to carry such swords as a symbol of rank. This would explain why the guards ar so ellaborated. In the representations, those swords were shown as having a circular guard (i.e. a vertical disk, where the handle and the blade are attached to the SIDES of the disk... I don't know if I'm explining myself...), that could be a representation of the Jineta guard (such stylization would be consequent with the style of the paintings)

Regarding the questioning of the attribution to the sword in Madrid to Boabdil, can't really comment about that without seeing the sword up close (I hope to visit the Armerias Reales soon) and the arguments used to justify each POV... but given that I've seen some sallets and pieces of armor of german style attritubed to Boabdil, too, it would not shock me the slightest that its posession of this sword was questioned.

But what seems quite sure is that this style of sword was in fashion in the 14th and 15th century moorish Spain. How really common were they, i don't know, but I would say that not much. The Jinetas seem to be a rank item, and the surviving example tend to conform to the category of luxury items.

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Living and trying to learn

Marc

[This message has been edited by Marc (edited 06-20-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Lee Jones (edited 06-20-2000).]

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philip tom
Senior Member
posted 06-21-2000 01:26     Click Here to See the Profile for philip tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marc,
Excellent intro to the jinete! Thanks for posting the picture; even though it is of a touristic specimen, it's most instructive re: visually establishing the form.

Leafe,
Jim's list of references is by and large good as a general introduction. I do have some problems with North's article on Islamic weapons, in the anthology SWORDS AND HILT WEAPONS, due to a number of factual errors. I would recommend the following as substitutes--the works are unfortunately OP but are well worth hunting for, and I've known people to still get lucky with them on Bibliofind:

Nicolle, David, EARLY AND MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC ARMS AND ARMOUR, Caceres (Spain): Instituto de Estudios Sobre Armas Antiguas, 1976. Article in English w/Spanish summary, one chapter devoted entirely to armes-blanches, illus. w/line drawings based on actual specimens and period artwork.

Nicolle, David, ARMS AND ARMOUR OF THE CRUSADING ERA, 1050-1350: ISLAM, E. EUROPE & ASIA, London: Greenhill 1999 (IN PRINT!). Almost 600 pages, lavishly illus. w/clear drawings, has separate chaps. on all geographic areas of Islam, including Al-andalus, N.Africa & Muslim Sicily, etc. Highly recommended for someone w/your interests!

Zaky, AbdelRahman, "Medieval Arab Arms", in ISLAMIC ARMS AND ARMOUR, ed. Robt Elgood, London: Scolar Press 1979. Dr. Zaky was a foremost expert on the medieval Arab sword, and his article, well-illus. w/photos, is MUST reading.

These should suffice to get you started. Let me know if there is any more specific material you need later on.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 06-23-2000 13:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Philip tom:

I'm very interested in getting the one of the articles you mentioned above. In particular:
"Nicolle, David, EARLY AND MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC ARMS AND ARMOUR, Caceres (Spain): Instituto de Estudios Sobre Armas Antiguas, 1976. Article in English w/Spanish summary"

Could you tell me where was it published? It dosen't seem to appear in the issues of "Gladius" (The regular publication of the Instituto de Estudios Sobre Armas Antiguas)that I got...
In any event, thanks a lot for the information!

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Living and trying to learn

Marc

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philip tom
Senior Member
posted 06-23-2000 14:13     Click Here to See the Profile for philip tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marc,
The book was published by the folks at GLADIUS as a special publication, not part of the periodic journal. As you know, GLADIUS has been defunct for a decade or more, I think it's because its founder and chairman, Anna Brunn Hoffmeyer, might have passed away. The Nicolle book has a publication date 1976, so it's definitely in the "antiquarian" class. You might comb Bibliofind, or else contact specialist booksellers like Ken Trotman in the UK, or K. E. Skafte in Denmark. Be forwarned, that Skafte's prices are high, despite the convenience of being able to pay w/personal check. If you are in academia, a cheap alternative would be interlibrary loan.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 06-24-2000 13:16     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Philip Tom. That's what I thought.
So, I can look for a book with that title, "EARLY AND MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC ARMS AND ARMOUR", by David Nicolle, or is this an article and the book has another title? I'm sorry to bother you...

BTW, just for if you're interested:
indeed, Mrs. Ada Bruhnn Hoffmeyer sadly passed away, around 1991. The administration of the Instituto de Estudios Sobre Armas Antiguas was handled to the Spainish Research Council. GLADIUS was discontinued, being number XVII the last issue.
But recently (and I mean about four months ago), a new issue (number XIX) came out. Number XVIII never was published. They pretend to keep publishing it, and issue at least one number each year, or so told me the lady in the Research Council who handles that publication. She told me that there is enough material in the Instituto to keep going for quite a time. We'll see, but I suscribed just in case.

Thanks again for all the information, I'll try my local antique bookstores to see if that particular book turns out. In any event, I'll try to visit the Instituto this summer, I always can look there for a copy.

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Living and trying to learn

Marc

[This message has been edited by Marc (edited 06-27-2000).]

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-24-2000 21:14     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marc,
I would like to subscribe to the new Gladius also! May I have the address and details. Do they offer index and or copies of back issues?

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philip tom
Senior Member
posted 06-25-2000 01:30     Click Here to See the Profile for philip tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marc,
Yes, look for it under that title. You might also want to know about another one of Nicolle's works, which has some useful info on early material, ISLAMISCHE WAFFEN, Graz: Verlag fuer Sammler, 1981. Text is entirely in German. It's a general introduction, but has some gems like a line drawing of a 9th-10th AD sword hilt from Egypt, and a rather nice glossary of Arabic, Turkish, and Persian arms and armor terms.

I'd like to subscribe to the "new" GLADIUS--please forward the full particulars (current address, contact person, fees, and payment instructions). I'm sure there are a lot of enthusiasts out there who'd like to get on the bandwagon.

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Lee Jones
EEWRS Staff
posted 06-25-2000 07:13     Click Here to See the Profile for Lee Jones   Click Here to Email Lee Jones     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know that Ken Trotman, Ltd. carries copies of the new Gladius, or they did when they exhibited at the Park Lane Arms Fair this past February. I did not see the Nicolle monograph in their current catalog, although the Elgood book is there.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 06-26-2000 10:36     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gentlemen:

The publishing of GLADIUS is now being handled by the Publishing Department of the Spanish Research Council (known as CSIC :"Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas"). The CSIC is the Spanish government's own organism of investigation, detached from the universities and covering all areas. Or trying to.
The Hoffmeyer Institute is now part of the CSIC, and as such its official publication goes now through the same conducts that any other of the centers. You'll have to contact the Publishing Department. Give me a couple of days and I'll give you all the data you need: address, phone, e-mail and a contact name. I warn you, it's topical government bureaucracy, so don't expect too much brightness involved, as a rule...
Number XIX was a special issue. Thicker, bigger and printed in a best quality paper. It came out in a limited print of 1000 exemplars, and was sold out really fast. Specially if we take into account that it was distributed free to anyone who asked for it, as a promotion. They said that are thinking in making a reprint, given the success, but we are speaking of a governmental scientific publication center, here. So, profit is not a driving goal Advantage: prices are not outrageous. Inconvenient: they publish following academic rules, not business-based ones.

As an orientation, price of annual subscription (1 issue) is about 30-35 USD+H&S. They do not have an index, AFAIK, but you can ask. They do have some past issues in stock, but I'm not sure of the actual price. Not far than the regular issues, thou. And once they are finished, there's no more. If you want an index, I suggest to get number XVII that has an index of all the former issues. This data is three months old, but that should not have varied much.

Philip Tom, thanks for the additional info. I have to say that my German is...errr... limited (to be polite) but there is a good bunch of Nicolle's books translated to Spanish, so this info will be very useful.


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Living and trying to learn

Marc

[This message has been edited by Marc (edited 06-27-2000).]

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Scott Bubar
Senior Member
posted 09-03-2000 14:11     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Bubar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a new member at NetSword looking for info on swords of the Nasrid period. Among other suggestions, I referred him (?) here.

In looking for material, I came across this image of a "Jineta" sword from Cal Poly's Moorish_Spain site:

quote:
Nasrid period, 15th century
Sword: gilded bronze, cloisonné enamel, and steel
L. 38 1/4 in. (97 cm)
Scabbard: wood, leather, gilded bronze,
and cloisommé enamel
L. 31 3/4 in. (80.5 cm)
Staatliche Kunstsammlugen, Kassel

Thought you might be interested.

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Marc
Senior Member
posted 09-04-2000 04:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc   Click Here to Email Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Scott. It's a really nice piece.
I've been in the Madrid this summer, and had the opportunity to visit the Armeria Real and the Army Museum, where I saw some really fine examples of this type of sword.
Many of them show a fine damascus watering on the blade.
They are beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, are they?

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Living and trying to learn

Marc

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