Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
As a rule, Ottoman " kilich" swords ( sabers) were relatively long, with blades > 70-80 cm. Anything shorter than that was conventionally called "bichaq", knife.
In the largest published collections from Askeri Muze and Zagreb the greatest majority of yataghan blades are between 45-55 cm, and this is likely true for most examples in our collections. Often, Turkish sources refer to "yatagan bicagi" ( Kubur, sorry for simplified spelling) both to standard yataghans as well as to the knives of Yataghan form.
There was a thing called Varsak, referring to a "short saber of Crimean origin", but we have no material examples clearly identified as such. Carrying both varsak and bichaq in peaceful times was forbidden, and this is vaguely reminiscent of a story how yataghans became popular ( I.e. they were not formally swords).
Quite some time ago I posted a pic of the so-called bauernwehr, a variant of grossmesser: its blade in form and dimensions was indistinguishable from the Afghani "Khyber knife". It looked like a big knife to Brits, so it became a "knife".