Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Long yatagan (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21074)

estcrh 5th February 2016 12:18 PM

Long yatagan
 
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I was wondering if this yatagan was a typical type that I have not seen before or just an an anomaly. It is really a sword and not a short sword, the cutting edge is 34 inches and the total length is 40 inches, it has a very concave, Turkish ribbon blade with a T handle. For size comparison I have shown it next to another yatagan with a 24 inch cutting edge and a total length of 31 inches. Has anyone seen another yatagan of the same shape and size.

mahratt 5th February 2016 01:26 PM

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This is a fairly well-known type of yataghan.

Emanuel 5th February 2016 02:26 PM

Hi Eric,

These big ones are associated with the Zeybeks. Have a look at this thread:
3 large yataghan (T-spine, T-pommel, Turkish Ribbon)

and this one

Zeibek Yataghan with T-shaped pommel
I love the Turkish ribbon pattern on these.

Emanuel

TVV 5th February 2016 04:19 PM

Nice yataghan. I have noticed that yataghans from Asia Minor tend to be longer in general.

Kubur 5th February 2016 05:24 PM

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They are also called Bashi Bouzouk or Bashi Bouzouk.
Mercenaries and warriors
It,s also the favourite insult of captain Haddock in Tintin...

estcrh 6th February 2016 12:23 AM

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Thanks for the replies, while I have seen most of the old photos posted and a few similar T handled examples, what I was really looking for was to see one with a similar measurement. In the old photos you get an idea of length but no real details and the T handled one from Artzi has the same shape but it is obviously smaller.

I think a 40 inch/106.6cm sword is very long especially when not meant for mounted use. I am 6ft+ and have a long reach, this sword still seems unwieldy. The Zeybeck/Zeibek or Bashi Bouzouk/Bashi Bouzouk in the photos do not look very tall, what I was really interested in is the upper limit to the size of yatagan, I would like to verify that there are others of this size or was this just made extra long for a very tall Turk.

Below are various types of swords showing the size differences.

Emanuel 7th February 2016 02:56 PM

The threads I linked asked the same question regarding size. Longest ones posted were in the 90+ cm so your example 100+ seems the longest yet. Turkish ribbon also points to older manufacture. Any date on the blade?

drac2k 7th February 2016 03:11 PM

Great swords, wonderful pictures and I really like the long katar or is that a pata ?

estcrh 8th February 2016 09:54 AM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
The threads I linked asked the same question regarding size. Longest ones posted were in the 90+ cm so your example 100+ seems the longest yet. Turkish ribbon also points to older manufacture. Any date on the blade?
Emanuel, there are two gold marking on one side of the blade.
I have posted your T handled yatagan here and another long one.

The bottom one is 35 inches or 89cm total length, blade length is 29 inches or 74 cm.

The middle one according to your measurements has a 28" (71cm) long blade and the top one of yours has a 29" (74cm) blade that is 1.3cm thick at the base.

Emanuel 8th February 2016 01:34 PM

Thank you.
This thread was also linked Any larger yataghan?

That thread showed 3 long yataghan
- 71cm blade
- 92cm overall
- 73cm blade
The last one you posted looks like an old one with the twist core and gold inlay cartouche. Oldest date I came across on mine was 1826 I believe. I can't make out anything in your cartouche.

Emanuel

estcrh 8th February 2016 02:34 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
Thank you.
This thread was also linked Any larger yataghan?

That thread showed 3 long yataghan
- 71cm blade
- 92cm overall
- 73cm blade
The last one you posted looks like an old one with the twist core and gold inlay cartouche. Oldest date I came across on mine was 1826 I believe. I can't make out anything in your cartouche.

Emanuel
Here is your yatagan with integral bolster and no T handle that is dated 1239/1826, Turkish ribbon construction, brass inlay, 24"(60cm) long blade and 1cm thick.

estcrh 9th February 2016 02:11 AM

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Overall length 92 cm.

estcrh 9th February 2016 02:48 AM

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73 CM BLADE.

ariel 9th February 2016 11:40 AM

Your 1826 yataghan sports a "usual" blade.

What is interesting about Zeibek yataghans is their length, almost complete lack of decoration and the form and proportions of the blade. They do not have this elegant double-curve and the widening of the blade in the distal third, but are rather simply curved down, of relatively uniform width, often have a T-section and look relatively skinny vs. their exaggerated length. Also, similar to Bulgarian Karakulaks they have an integral bolster.Also, the triangular plates by the handle are very simple, unlike almost any other example.

This makes me believe that by and large Zeibeks did not use mass-produced blades from the Balkans and other large centers, but have created their own separate pattern of the entire weapon that was produced locally from the beginning to the end.

And you are right: the length must have made Zeibek yataghan clumsier than the classic one for a non-mounted warrior.

Did they use them on horseback? Like Caucasian shashkas? :-)

Very interesting......

Thanks for starting this discussion.

estcrh 11th February 2016 09:55 AM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
the length must have made Zeibek yataghan clumsier than the classic one for a non-mounted warrior.

Did they use them on horseback? Like Caucasian shashkas? :-)

Very interesting......

Thanks for starting this discussion.
I have been wondering what the purpose of this type of blade was, I can not recall seing a Zeybek on a horse, but it seems to me that Causasian/Circassian were not usually pictured on horses either, also would a concave blade be useful on a horse? Here is a comparison with a 600+ yr old Japanese tachi which had about the same amount of curve, just in the opposite direction. Tachi were used by mounted samurai and they were also longer and more curved than the later katana.

ariel 11th February 2016 07:01 PM

"Smiley face" in my post:-)))

No, of course, Yataghan is not a cavalry weapon. But when we talk about yataghans as "long knives" we may well remember the Zeibek example: ain't no knife.

Emanuel 11th February 2016 08:58 PM

Ariel, if by "usual" you mean usual Zeibek, then I agree. The blade has the same narrow profile and fat T-section, twist-core and substantial integral bolster.

This construction still makes me wonder as no Balkan-produced yataghan have integral bolsters. I agree with your long knife comment. The Balkan yataghan may indeed be long knives with thin blades, but these thick Ioanian ones are all sword.

estcrh 12th February 2016 03:14 AM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k
Great swords, wonderful pictures and I really like the long katar or is that a pata ?


That is a good question which relates to the yatagan swords being discussed here. Just as the yatagan sword is related to the yatagan short sord/knife, the katar gauntlet sword is obviously related to the kater push dagger. The kater gauntlet sword is not as closely related to the pata as the kater in my opinion even if they are similar looking.

Here are three discriptions of these long gauntlet katar swords by three different dealers.

Quote:
Very Good Very Long 18C. Hooded Kattar

A very old version of the famous Kattar (Katar). A development stage between the Pata, the long gauntlet sword and the Kattar, the short push dagger. Very long and narrow blade 38 inches long. The cross bars are shaped like small balls. The handle is protected with a steel hood terminating in a styled monster head shaped tip. 44 inches total length. Very good condition to age. Well patinated .


Quote:
Deccan South Indian Hindu rapier type katar

A scarce long 'rapier' bladed katar from South India, Vijayanagar. The hilt fully protected by steel guards, and bars, the uppermost decorated with a monsters head finial. There are faint designs of chiselled engraving visible beneath the patination. The long mounts supporting a thick stout tapering blade, possibly of wootz steel. Dark original uncleaned patina overall. 16th/17th century.


Quote:
A fine & rare Tanjore Pata
Late 16th or early 17th century
A very rare sword
Southern India

An exceptional and very rare Tanjore Pata sword.

This fine example measures 106cms long and has a blade length of 90cms from the tip to the guard.
The hooded guard is approx 18cms long when measures at the side bars and it stands 10cms tall from the base to the top of the demons nose.
There are large ball grips within the hood, secured to the side bars but spin freely on their inner pins.
Supporting the hood is a four bar arrangement being centrally secured to the hood by a spiral domed final and decorative bars running down to the side bars.
Atop of the hood is demon like face bearing its teeth.
The long blade has well defined beveled cutting edges and a strong medial ridge and hollow forged fullers running through to the 12cms long thickened armour piercing tip. It is supported at the hilt with a 24cms long decorative languet pinned in three places with the two upper pins mounted through brass spiral rosettes that resemble eyes.

A very fine, large and rare fighting sword from the Southern Indian states, dating from the 16th -17th centuries and in exceptional condition for its age.

estcrh 12th February 2016 05:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
"Smiley face" in my post:-)))

No, of course, Yataghan is not a cavalry weapon. But when we talk about yataghans as "long knives" we may well remember the Zeibek example: ain't no knife.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
Ariel, if by "usual" you mean usual Zeibek, then I agree. The blade has the same narrow profile and fat T-section, twist-core and substantial integral bolster.

This construction still makes me wonder as no Balkan-produced yataghan have integral bolsters. I agree with your long knife comment. The Balkan yataghan may indeed be long knives with thin blades, but these thick Ioanian ones are all sword.


These very long yatagan were swords, while certainly not "cavalry" weapons they would have been useful to someone who rode horses and just how did the zeybek get around, did they walk everywere or did they ride horses. There must have been a reason that they were developed and used, just as the katar gauntlet sword was developed for a reason.

ariel 12th February 2016 07:03 AM

We have a tendency to believe that every peculiar construction of an Oriental weapon is a very well-thought feature cleverly invented by the locals to adapt to their unique circumstances and to fulfill a specific function.

There are, however, many examples of Oriental weapons that were just clumsy from an ergonomic or engineering point of view. While Europe always aimed for maximal functionality, the Orient gave much more emphasis to metaphysical, sacral, artistic or just exaggerated forms. Examples from India are abound, but the same tendency was seen elsewhere. Usually such examples were a dead-end model and tended to disappear quickly or to persist as ceremonial implements. Think Indian Bank with extremely curved ( almost 180 degrees ) blade, or Laz Bichaq, or Dhu-l-Fakar with two blades, or just a Shamshir with exaggerated curve.

Is it possible that the clumsy construction of the Zeibek Yataghan is just yet another example: too long and unwieldy for the infantry and too mechanically unsound for cavalry slashing?

After all, Zeibeks were quite an isolated and closed group with pretty unique appearance and clothing; why not their idiosyncratic weapon?

Kind of Ford Edsel or AMC Gremlin, or BMW Isetta of their day: a failed attempt:-)

Sancar 13th February 2016 02:17 AM

I hope you allow me put some historical context to the discussion: zeybeks were mostly active at the end of 19th century-early 20th century in Western Anatolia as irregular rural militia at best, but in reality mostly as cutthroat bandits. They can be likened to "cowboys" in American wild west. So as you can see, they mostly lived in a time period where importance of a bladed weapon faded quite fastly.

In that era, zeybek or town folk gentry, most people carried those so-called "zeybek yatağan"s as part of their costume,and as a sign of prestige(like court swords-smallswords) so the blades got longer and longer, well in to the 20th century. ;)

ariel 13th February 2016 03:02 AM

Fully agree.
This just strengthens my belief that this peculiar yataghan had very limited fighting ability and was neither a "long knife" nor a "sword".
Neither fish nor fowl:-)

There was very little need to improve it from the engineering point of view. Its clumsiness was of no relevance to an owner. Just " mine is longer than yours":-)

estcrh 13th February 2016 08:58 AM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sancar
I hope you allow me put some historical context to the discussion: zeybeks were mostly active at the end of 19th century-early 20th century in Western Anatolia as irregular rural militia at best, but in reality mostly as cutthroat bandits. They can be likened to "cowboys" in American wild west. So as you can see, they mostly lived in a time period where importance of a bladed weapon faded quite fastly.

In that era, zeybek or town folk gentry, most people carried those so-called "zeybek yatağan"s as part of their costume,and as a sign of prestige(like court swords-smallswords) so the blades got longer and longer, well in to the 20th century. ;)


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Fully agree.
This just strengthens my belief that this peculiar yataghan had very limited fighting ability and was neither a "long knife" nor a "sword".
Neither fish nor fowl:-)

There was very little need to improve it from the engineering point of view. Its clumsiness was of no relevance to an owner. Just " mine is longer than yours":-)


I think that some research will prove that your beliefs are just not accurate. Both modern and period accounts relate that zeibeks (zeibeck, ziebek, zeybek) were much more than what you are mentioning. Evidence shows that they were in fact employed during certain military conflicts as irregular troops.

The brutality and atrocities committed by these irregular troops (including the zeibek) is well documented. I have no doubt that the yatagan swords being discussed are weapons and not "part of their costume, and as a sign of prestige", at least during the periods of military conflicts between Turkey and its neighbors during the 1800s.

After their job as defacto soldiers came to an end they most probably assumed the role being mentioned but they were previously most certainly fighters with a vicious reputation. There is no reason to assume that zeibek weapons from their period of military employment were anything other real weapons and not some kind of prop or "sign of prestige". The long scythe type blade would work perfectly for mowing people down.


References.

The War Correspondence of the "Daily News," 1877-8, Continued from the Fall of Kars to the Signature of the Preliminaries of Peace: With a Connecting Narrative Forming a Continuous History of the War Between Russia and Turkey, Volume 1, Archibald Forbes, Januarius Aloysius MacGahan Macmillan and Company, 1878.

The Liberation of Bulgaria: War Notes in 1877, Bliss, Sands and Foster, 1894.

The Armenian Crisis in Turkey: The Massacre of 1894, Its Antecedents and Significance, with a Consideration of Some of the Factors which Enter Into the Solution of this Phase of the Eastern Question, Frederick Davis Greene G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1895 - (Armenian massacres, 1894-1896).

War in Bulgaria: A Narrative of Personal Experiences, Volume 1, Valentine Baker Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1879 - (Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878)

Crisis of the Ottoman Empire: Prelude to Collapse 1839-1878, James J. Reid Franz Steiner Verlag, 2000.

The Making of a Novelist: An Experiment in Autobiography, David Christie, Murray Chatto & Windus, 1894.

Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Volume 83, Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons Ordered to be printed, 1878.

ariel 13th February 2016 01:20 PM

They must have been great "irregulars", but as weapon engineers they got " gentleman's C-"

And, true: they dressed funny:-)

And what about their habit of holding their heavy yataghans in their teeth? Their dentists must have been busy 24/7.

Timo Nieminen 13th February 2016 08:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
I think a 40 inch/106.6cm sword is very long especially when not meant for mounted use. I am 6ft+ and have a long reach, this sword still seems unwieldy.


How heavy is it?

estcrh 14th February 2016 03:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
How heavy is it?

Timo, it weighs about 1.5lb / .68kg

Timo Nieminen 15th February 2016 12:57 AM

I haven't yet met a sword of less than 700g that I felt was unwieldy. Not an unusual length for an infantry sword.

That said, a very light-hilted sword (which some would say "blade-heavy" instead) will feel different. Differently-wieldy, at least. (I feel this with my shorter (27" blade) and lighter (400g) yatagan.)

I wonder exactly what role the ears play when you're moving it around at speed (note to self: swing my yatagan around at speed and see).

estcrh 15th February 2016 05:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
I haven't yet met a sword of less than 700g that I felt was unwieldy. Not an unusual length for an infantry sword.

That said, a very light-hilted sword (which some would say "blade-heavy" instead) will feel different. Differently-wieldy, at least. (I feel this with my shorter (27" blade) and lighter (400g) yatagan.)

I wonder exactly what role the ears play when you're moving it around at speed (note to self: swing my yatagan around at speed and see).
I am just used to shorter swords, this particular yatagan when held with my arm fully extended has a reach of around 5 ft, I am sure there was a technique behind its use. Maybe European infantry swords had a similar length but it is unusual for most 19th century Indo-Persian and Japanese swords to be this long I think. Seeing that the zeybek were an experienced military force I can not believe that they would choose to use a sword that was not suitable for fighting and was just for looks/intimidation etc.

Timo Nieminen 15th February 2016 07:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
I am just used to shorter swords, this particular yatagan when held with my arm fully extended has reach of around 5 ft, I am sure there was a technique behind its use. Maybe European infantry swords had a similar length but it is unusual for most 19th century Indo-Persian and Japanese swords to be this long I think. Seeing that the zeybek were an experienced military force I can not believe that they would choose to use a sword that was not suitable for fighting and was just for looks/intimidation etc.


32-33" of blade is common for British infantry swords, and some other countries issued similar. At the same time, 35-36" might be seen on cavalry swords.

Moving away from military swords, you can find rapiers where the blade alone exceeds the total length of your yatagan. Now those would be unwieldy in the cut (but would also weight twice as much as your yatagan, as well as being longer).

About 95cm total length looks typical for Persian shamshirs, so not that different. Also not too hard to find Indian swords of similar length (e.g., khandas and tulwars) but these are perhaps longer than usual for the types (but some types were often quite a bit longer, e.g., firangi, pata). You might not call those infantry swords, but they were used on foot.

As for technique, try this:

Start with the hilt back, near your shoulder. Hold the sword with a fairly relaxed grip. Elbow downwards, forearm approximately vertical. Then push the sword forwards. Don't make a big effort to swing the sword. Put a little effort into swinging it, and a lot of effort into just moving it forwards. As your arm approached full extension, your hand will slow down, and the hilt will slow down. Let the sword pivot about where the ears are against your hand, and its forward speed will convert into a fast rotation into the target. Maybe as the blade is about to hit the target, you should tighten your grip on the hilt and help push the blade into the target. After hitting the target, pull down on the ears, draw-cutting across the target.

Emanuel 16th February 2016 04:02 PM

Timo,

I have similarly-sized tulwar and kirach with relatively heavy blades compared to the handle. I could see these used with the same technique leading with the hilt and letting the sword pivot into a draw-cut.


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