EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
history of the sabre
Extremely colorful montage!!! and colorfully written text as well!
Seeing these wonderful photos brings back happy memories of reading in all of these books about the fantastic tales of dashing horsemen of Eastern Europe (your library seems most impressive!).You seem rightfully proud of your heritage and you have done a great job of presenting all this material.
I agree with the note that it is amazing that you can put together so much information and especially illustrations! I recognize so many of the illustrations but get frustrated when I can't find the source...a couple I did locate for future reference for the readers and I think it is important to note or caption these illustrations:
Photo B: is an officer of Bans Cavalry Regiment under Col.Nikolai Lodron, 1697
This appears in "Croatians in the Thirty Years War 1618-1648" by V.Vuksic & D.Fischer (Military Illustrated #63,Aug.1993). Obviously this antedates the period of the article but apparantly the illustration refers to a later event while costume remains standard.
* It is important to note that the Croatians and Hungarians often served together as mercenaries, especially in the 18th century for Austria and in the famed Pandour regiments.
Photo 23: A painting titled "Officer of the Imperial Guard Charging ,1812" by Theodore Gericault (1791-1824). Obviously a Napoleonic French officer and the original hangs in the Louvre. It is one of my favorite paintings, and a copy hangs in my den directly in front of me. It is to me one of the most exciting and quintessant cavalry paintings.
I know it would take a lot of room to add these notes to the illustrations but it would be very helpful and informative to what you have already completed.
***Thank you for noting my article on the Marine Corps mameluke sabres!!!
There has been considerable debate on the overall history of the development of the sabre and much of what exists remains speculative.However the period you focus on with the proficiency of Eastern European cavalry and thier direct influence on British and German cavalry at the end of the 18th century is extremely exciting and colorful, as you have well described. Rivkin's note that this influence did certainly predate the Napoleonic period is correct, with various sabres in use by some German states and the British M1788 sabres which precluded the M1796 sabres (considered the first regulation pattern).
* The schiavona actually more Balkan than specifically Eastern European, and evolved as a heavy straight sword with fully developed basket hilt used by Dalmatian mercenaries in the service of the Doge of Venice (the term loosely means Slavonic in that dialect).
* 'scimitar' is an early term for curved sabre that evolved from transliteration and does not actually refer to a distinct sword form, although it often appears in literature as a descriptive term (see Burton, "Book of the Sword" 1884, p.126. Burton allows use of the word, but in the Victorian period its use by writers was commonplace.
TVV's note on early arrival of curved sabres in Europe is also well placed ;with nomadic tribes especially Avars by 7th c. and these were known to the Franks as well with the curved sabre of Charlemagne. The more complete dynamics of the actual evolution of the curved blade is less clear, with Turkestan considered a likely region which may hold early evolution of these.
Another interesting resource for this topic is:
"Polish Sabres: Thier Origins and Evolution" by Jan Ostrowski
In "Art, Arms and Armour" Vol.I 1979-80, Ed. Robert Held, pp.221-237