Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Nothern Mexico
This sword has more taper, no central fuller and more space to place the index finger over the quillons and under the blade. This is one of the very few existing jineta fighting swords, so we don’t know how representative is of his type. How can we fill the gap between the Muslim sword from the 10th-11th Centuries backwards with this new type? The only information we have is that the Berber Zenetes arrived in Al-Andalús around the 12th Century, and I quote again the work by Nicolle on the Gibraltar swords:
“A new type of sword and its associated tactics are believed to have been introduced to the Iberian peninsula by Berber mercenaries and conquerors in the 11th-12th centuries, perhaps as a precursor to or early version of the jinete light cavalry tactics clearly introduced from North Africa in the 13th-14th centuries. Light cavalry combat a la jinete was again associated with what western European came to know as the Italian Grip and, according to some scholars, with curved quillons 10. In fact the term jinete comes from Zanata, the tribe from which many of the Berber soldiers of both Granada and Morocco came. Their highly effective light cavalry tactics using minimal armour, light leather shields, relatively light swords and javelins thrown from horseback were adopted first by the native Andalusian troops of Granada, then by their Christian Iberian foes, and eventually by some other European cavalry as well.” Nicolle, Ibid., p.158.
Even if we concur with Marc in the fact that there are vague descriptions of the morphology of the jineta swords, we can establish: first, that the Zenetes Benimerines were the main military force under the Nasrid Emirate of Granada to almost its fall, so it is very likely that their military equipment dominate the military fashion of the emirate; second, the fighting sword already shown corresponds with the description, since it is not a broadsword, but a very tapered one, less heavy and more apt to pierce the evolved plate armor of the Christians (the cuirass); third, the quillons are more narrow and allow the “Italian grip” with more protection to the index finger than those given by the quillons of the traditional Muslim sword, since they almost close on the blade, like the later fingerguards, to which they very possibly evolved in time (see Ada Bruhn Hoffmeyer, Idem., pp.32 and 34); the so-called Italian grip favored a more accurate thrust, which corresponds with the intended piercing action of the tapered blade; the Zenete sword was different to the classic Muslim broadsword, this is why it called strongly the atention in the Al-Andalus and Christian spheres, not only the morphology of the hilt and the quillons was different to the known Muslim broadswords from Al-Andalus, but also the morphology of the blade, and the souces insist that they were lighter; the difference among the dress swords and the fighting swords could be great in the Iberic Peninsula, just see how it evolved the rapier as a dress sword different from the military.