Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Elgood, in his book, cites Keane's diary of his 1877 travel to Mecca. The beduin who accompanied him, was very proud of his knife: " Rogers!". It was, indeed, Rodgers' carving knife. The beduin proudly gave the point a significant spring, and made a motion of cutting a throat: : " In the name of God! The God is great! Infidel!". Keane " didn't care care to continue the subject" :-)
Further, he noted that "any blade with English characters on it, or even a native blade of well- proven metal obtains that name". It became a synonym of a good blade.
Beauty and mystique of Indian and Persian wootz notwithstanding, European blades became the favorites of the natives throughout the "Orient", from West Africa to India proper. Since the natives used them for their intended battle purposes and definitely knew a thing or two about steel quality, it speaks volumes about comparative mechanical characteristics of the local metallurgical vs. scientific industrial qualities.
Water Scott's fictional description of the superiority of the "saracen" blade of Saladin over the sword of Richard the Lionheart (" The Talisman") hypnotized the minds of the Europeans for centuries.
The funniest thing, this story is still cited in the professional literature as a valid reason to study the metallurgy of "jouhar", the only example of contemporary fiction passed as a valid reference by the reviewers of scientific journals. Truly, a pen sometimes IS mightier than the sword:-)