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janti 23rd June 2007 10:01 PM

Circassian Weaponry
Hi all, here you can find very good explanation about circassian weaponry.

ariel 23rd June 2007 11:24 PM

If you are really interested in Caucasian weapons, you must get books by Astvatsaturyan and Miller. The short blurb you referenced is not very informative.
I am at a loss why you classified these Ottoman ( whether Turkish or Balkan is debatable, as you saw ) kindjals as Circassian? No doubt, they were influenced by the Caucasian design, but to claim their specifically Circassian origin you might want to offer better evidence. Any inscription with Circassian name? Just because Circassians were dispersed across the Ottoman Empire , including Jordan, is not an evidence: Caucasians served as mercenaries in Turkish military for ages and constituted substantial proportion of Egyptian Mamelukes. But these were Circassians, Daghestanis, Georgians, Armenians and many more. Any of those ( and, likely, all of them) brought Kindjals to the Ottoman and Persian spheres of influence. Also, the borders as we know them now, were not always the same: sustantial proportion of historic Georgia and Armenia are now Turkey.
I, for one, would be very interested in your further clarification: always ready to learn something new.

janti 24th June 2007 02:49 AM

Dear Ariel , my origin is Circassian and i am living in Türkiye .I think i didnt get you wrong and pls dont take me wrong :) , if we are talking originality of qama ( kindjal )

1-First of all Circassians are otokhton people of Caucassia.

2-Circassians after the big exile

went allover Ottoman lands. But they are never been mercenaries in Turkish ( Ottoman ) military. And there wasnt any Georgian or Armenians soldiers.

3-Pls try to find Circassian Mamelukes and also pls. try to find out who is (1382-1517) Sultan Seyfuddin Berkuk and his origin.
And eng. book of sir William (The Mameluke of slave dynaste of Egypt—London 1896)

There is 23 Circassian Sultans in Mameluke state ;

1)Sultan Seyfuddin Berkuk 1390

2)Berkuk's son Sultan Ferej 1398

3)El müçtehid el halife bilal 1412

4)Şeyh Mahmud 1412

5)Muayyed's son Sultan Ahmet 1221

6)Ebul Feth tatar 1421

7)Sultan Barasbiy 1422

8)Barasbiy's son Seyfuddin 1422

9)Barasbiy's son Yusuf 1438

10)Naue Çakmak 1438

11)Çakmak's son Osman 1453

12)Sultan İnal 1453

13)İnal 's son Ahmet 1461

14)Sultan hoşkadem 1461

15)Sultan Balabay 1467

16)Temariğe 1467

17)Eşref Kaytbay 1467

18)Kaytbay's son Muhammet 1495

19)Kanşaue Eşref 1498

20)Eşref Janbulat 1499

21)Kanşaue Eşref 's son Tumanbay 1500

22)Kanşaue Ğur 1500

23)Tumanbay 2. 1516 – 17

4-Did you heard about Circassian qama ( kindjal) dance , which is been traditional since nearly 400 years ?

5-Do you know anything about Asya Eutykh? She is Circassian and she lives in Maikop capital city of Adyga republic. If you not pls. read and visit the link at the below.

'' Grandfather’s old tools appeared to be of use. In all sources I found only the words that Circassian toreutics is a dead craft, recollects Asya. The consequences of Caucasian war appeared to be very difficult for Circassians. They lost their motherland, whole tribes left for Ottoman Empire. The masters went with them but they failed to retain the art on that foreign land. At the end of 19th century Dagestan jewellers and smiths started to visit Circassian auls. They got to love the Circassian ornament but managed to work out their own fashioning style Circassian-nakysh. But this art has also died out. All eutykhs are craftsmen though their ancestral art is lost, currently they are engaged in what is available now. In Turkey eutykhs weave silk carpets. In Jordan I got acquainted with a man from Eutykhs family line who makes pictures depicting his distant motherland, stains and decorates with a golden silk thread. Nobody has passed him any traditions, but a desire of needlework is felt. I also could not escape this genetic call. ''

And finally you adviced to me book of Astvatsaturyan lets take a look together what Astvatsaturyan told about Asya Eutykh' works.

''This art seemed to belong only to the past. Then, suddenly, Asya Yeutykh appeared and once again the Circassian designs were revived, this time, featuring modern works - cavalry swords, daggers, belts, women's adornments. Sometimes, the artist repeats old compositions but basically, she creates new, personalized compositions using traditional ornamental elements. It's a real revival of the Circassian jewelry art. All of those who love this art greet the artist with joy and hope and wish her good luck and success.

Emma G. Astvatsaturyan''

I am sorry for my broken eng. its taked a very long time to write all of this . And i am just trying translate to eng. some documents for more evidence.

Circassian couldn't write they'rs own history cause they have been fighting 400 year for freedom.And some who came to Caucasia later , have been good relation with Bolsheviks they owned Circassian weapons ,dresses,music etc.

If you need any more further clarification for yourself , i would love to help you by sharing the truth.

Wish you Best

ariel 24th June 2007 04:42 AM

Dear Janti,
First of all, many thanks for directing me to the Asya Eutykh' s site. This is the first time I heard about her. She is indeed astonishingly good! Her renditions of old weapons are by far the best I've ever seen. We have been treated on this and other sites to the works of contemporary Persian masters; they cannot even be mentioned in the same breath with her! She is an Artist; her reconstruction and reinterpretation of old Circassian art is beyond belief!
I am well aware of the history of North Caucasus and the tragic struggle and exile of the native peoples in the middle of the 19th century.
We are in complete agreement that Circassians were very prominent Mamelukes; although your assertion that they never served the Ottomans strikes me as strange: Ottomans were nominal owners of the entire East Black Sea lands ( Circassia included) up to the Kuban River until at least 1774 ( Kuchuk-Kaynarji agreement). Prior to that Kabarda was a vassal of the Crimean Khanate that in turn was a vassal of the Ottomans. They also served in the Persian military; this led some contemporary Persian nationalists assert that the Russians stole away Circassia from her rightful owner, Iran ( balderdash, of course). I am also surprised at your statement that Georgians and Armenians did not serve foreign powers: even Georgi Saakadze ( The Great Mouravi) served both Turkey and Iran, and Armenians constituted a significant portion of the Persian military together with other Caucasians, Tajiks and Turks ( yes, paradoxically :o ). Native Persians were always in the minority in their own armies, being mostly bureaucrats and merchants.
We are also in complete agreement that Kindjals and Shashkas were originally native Circassian weapons and were adopted later by the Daghestainis.
All this, however, does not answer my question: why do you view the 2 Kindjals shown on this site as Circassian? Astvatsaturyan in her book stes that true Circassian Kindjal are rare and mostly datedmid-late 19th century. They may be defined as Circassian either by a typical ornament or by a Circassian name of the master. To the best of my understanding, neither is present there.
I still think they are North Turkish; some attribute them to the Balkans. But Circassia?

janti 24th June 2007 04:37 PM

Dear Ariel ,
You said ;
''Circassians served as mercenaries in Turkish military for ages and constituted substantial proportion of Egyptian Mamelukes.''.

What i am saying is they are never been mercenaries in Turkish army .All Circassians were not a Muslim . Mostly They have been forced to serving, and the others served for islamic relationship.

Firstly i should say i have no problem with Georgians , My disapproval is for why allways keep saying the other caucas nationalites cultural equipments like belongs to Georgians.Caucassia not only mean Georgia. The truth is when russian tsar set up Caucassian corps Thiblis he ordered to his army to wearing-using Circassian uniform. Actually Georgians have a traditional uniforms, belts and swords , but not a qama. Qama is originaly belong to Circassians uniforms.It could be thin ,thick, big ,small ,short or long its depends to masters art plesuare.

If we are talking about originality we must say this qama is Circassian origin but structered-copied in Trabzon , Georgia ect.
In Trabzon we knows to many master for dagger but not for qama.Thats not mean they cant do, they can do it but it could not be original.They can do also indian or persian daggers can we say Trabzon dagger to that persian dagger.Of course not, they are could be only well copied format. Thats what i mean.

And pls. excuse me for my wrong information about that small qama , i just sended the photos to Jankat Devrim he is the master of Circassians equipments .He says that small qama is unusual , probably made toy for young boys, there is no qama for ladys.

ariel 24th June 2007 05:36 PM

We are getting somewhere...
Again, Qama is undoubtedly of Circassian origin. From there it spread to Georgia and Daghestan. With thousands upon thousands of Caucasians ( Circassians included) fighting all around the Middle East, it penetrated to Turkey, Egypt , Balkans, Sudan, Arabia proper and Persia. In each place it acquired local characteristics and stopped being "Circassian". Thus, a straight dagger made in Trazon and decorated according to local tastes is no longer a Circassian Kindjal; it becomes Turkish.
The same is true about curved saber: originally of Central Asian origin, it mutated into unmistakably Indian Tulwar, Persian Shamshir, Turkish Kilij , Polish Karabela and a host of European cavalry sabers.
Finding a genuine Circassian Kindjal is a difficult task: due to exile and voluntary emigration, the local population dwindled to almost nothing and the manufacture of weapons almost ceased. Whatever old ones were left, they were recycled. And all kinds of mass-producing shops by Omarov, Guzunov, Koshtoyanz etc. took over......

janti 24th June 2007 06:30 PM

Dear Ariel ,we are agree in most case
In Turkiye lives 7.000.000 caucassian about 5.000.000 Adgyha and Abhazian Circas lives in different citys of Turkiye.And thousands of them has a qama from theyrs great grandfathers.In that case we cant say there is no original qama.

The qama ( not small one :) )is on this photo is genunie Circassian qama.
In jordan to many diffrent decorated local taste qama you can find .But nobody calls them Jordanian qama or Caucasian qama they are only says Circassian qama nobody cares where its been made because the format is Circassian format.In circassia you can find diffrent size qama's its all depends of attack or war fighting in that consept.

By that reason no one could be sure about the qama made in Balkan or Caucassia.

What i am trying to do is, not forgetting the truth and originalities of nationalities cultur ,even they have been assimileted. Thats what i think is, humans duty to talk about reality.Pls. Just think about Red indians.To many different shape and size arrows red indians used.We couldnt call to if Red indians arrow made in Georgia this is a Georgian arrow.

Its plesuare for me to have a nice argument ,Thanks a lot for sharing some good information.

ariel 25th June 2007 03:58 AM

Yes, we do agree on the facts but not on interpretations.
The issue whether to classify a weapon based on its historical point of origin or on its actual place of manufacture ( with unavoidable cultural modifications) is a philosophical one, ie is a Yataghan still an Ottoman weapon even though it was made in Italy.
Rather like an age-old argument whether it is a blade or a handle that determines the ethno-cultural source , ie is a Shamshir still a Shamshir even though it sports a Tulwar handle.
Much ink had been spilled on both questions, and to no avail....
It is so nice to deal with Koras... Wait, which one is Tibetan and which one is Nepalese? :confused:

janti 25th June 2007 02:27 PM

Dear Ariel ,

''Yataghan still an Ottoman weapon'' ,''Shamshir'' ect.

You see they named by orginal names. When you say yataghan everone knows its a Ottoman weapon. So this names belong to original languages why qama is named kindjal ?

Why every one calls to yoghurt to yoghurt. You can make it even in your home, so why we are not calling to yoghurt salted stiff milk ? :) Or Arabs named Leben so why we are not using this name ?

''It is so nice to deal with Koras... Wait, which one is Tibetan and which one is Nepalese? ''
Kora is original name and you see what we are calling to them Senegalies kora ,Tibetan kora ,Nepalese kora ,ect.

If we are not using original name ( qama ) ,Isnt that better calling to Circassian kindjal ( qama ) made in Georgia or Balkan , or qama made in Georgia ,Balkan , Trabzon, ect.

Why i am sensitive on this seccuation is , just thinking after 100 years everyone goingto call kindjal, Balkan kindjal ,Georgian kindjal ect. But specially Georgian kindjal cause Georgians are Caucassian native .It will be, act unjustly to history.And this kind of mistakes helps to assimilation Circassian traditional cultur.

By that way, are we going to let assimilation of Native culturs ?

Kiziria 10th June 2008 10:44 PM

It seems to late to join into this discussion. But just incase Janti would come back, I want to say a few words about origin of caucasian daggers.
Dear Janti it is clear that you are patriot of your people and Circassian culture. It is very good. But you should study archeology and ethnography of caucasus and transcaucasia. I would advise you to find and read works on so called Coban or Koban archeological culture, Kolchian culture, Culture of Kura-Arax region. The point is that you will see that shapes of bronze blades dated thousands years before our time, are of similar and same shape as those carried by our grandfathers. And it is through all the caucasus.
Impossible to say who was the first to create them. No scientist or serious researcher would claim origin in Cirassia, or Kolchis or Iberia, or Armenia. But fact is those daggers were in use for thousands of years. Beside you should know that beside word "qama" , there are other words that mean certain type of dagger and their are certainly not of Circassia origin, for example georgian "satevari" , which is much older word and was used in medieval poetry and legends. Qama is foreign word for Georgians and appears in Georgia only in 18 century. It came with north caucasian weapon smiths that came to work in Tbilisi,capital of Georgia. Other people of Caucasus also have native names for dagger. I can speak for them as well if necessary.
Another fact I want to point out is that daggers in different Caucasian region has slight but important differences in shape, length and width. For example. Purely Eastern Georgian daggers are shorter,stronger and more rounded, that makes them more cutting and chopping than trusting weapon. And that reflects on style of fencing with daggers. Dear Janty world of caucasian weaponry is huge and open for studies.Trust me it is not as simple as you might imagine. Daggers were evolving in Caucasian regions and though might appear similar to untrained eye , are in fact have distinctions that could place each dagger's "origin" into Circassia, Georgia or Daghestan and so on.
My request is that before making claims about origin of caucasian dagger, please study some historic materials, approach this seriously please as it is very serious and sensitive topic for all Caucasian nations.

ariel 11th June 2008 02:07 AM

Interestingly, Elgood, in his monumental book on Indian arms mentions the sword called Chircas and defines it as a Circassian sword used by Uzbeks.
Was it a pra-ancestor of the Bukharan swords or Afghani shashkas?
Even more interesting, did Circassians serve in the Turkic military from the ancient Uzbekistan ( or what was then viewed as the land of Uzbeks), an ancient enemy of Persia?

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