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Old 19th August 2017, 06:49 PM   #12
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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This work by Ariel is really sort of a 'textbook' or classic example of serious arms study in depth analysis and investigative deduction. What I appreciate most is the well structured, thought through and well referenced detail as he explains the development of his theory.

These kinds of situations regarding 'what to call' a certain weapon form are very well known in studies of ethnographic weapon forms where instances of transliteration, and misunderstanding of linguistics or phonetic characterization become established terms in 'western' use. These kinds of situations occur even with European arms through vernacular terms or lore pertaining to various persons, events or places associated with certain form or style in a weapon, (i.e. Pappenheimer; colichemarde etc.).

It seems this instance, with 'karud' recalls the circumstance which I would call 'the scimitar syndrome' where a phonetic corruption of a word or term results in term use for a form of weapon being used, rather vaguely, where there is no particular weapon in actuality existing.
The term scimitar is generally held to drive from Persian (again) 'shamshir', referring of course to these often deeply curved sabres. According to Burton (1884, p.126), the word resulted from Greek interpretation and with their not having a 'sh' sound in their language. From there it entered the European context which evolved into 'cimiterre' and 'sauveterre', finally into scimitar.
Indirectly it presumed to describe Turkish sabres and broadly oriental forms of sabre but in broadly collective way. The term 'scimitar' became a romantic description used dynamically by writers to portray exotic, flashing, curved sabres of basically non specific form. It is essentially a word to describe a type of sword which did not specify a certain form, only that it was a curved sabre of exotic form.

The 'name game' has been discussed often on these pages, and while there is a notable polarity in the article being examined by Ariel and his in depth analysis of it here, the end result is a comprehensive and most constructive look at these situations.

As has happened with various sword forms such as 'kaskara'; 'nimcha'; and 'flyssa' among others, none of these is known regionally by those terms, and the list goes on. These have become 'collectors terms' which in turn have become key semantically in the discussion and description of these distinct forms in the world of arms scholars.
To try to change these at this juncture would be not only counterproductive but disastrous as we could no longer simply use the known term.

While still using these various terms in the capacity in which they have become known in 'our vernacular' , it is wonderfully appropriate to have the background historically available, not only in the development of these weapons, but in the etymology of the terms they are called by.

I always applaud the courage of authors in publishing their work, and here both Dmitry and Ariel for venturing into this analysis of not just a weapon form, but the etymology surrounding it.
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