Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Marc, this is a remarkably clear and informed analysis. I just want to question a small part of your statement: "their dropping quillions seem to owe more to the Persian/Sassanid typologies "
The most exhaustive and partisan argument in favor of this hypothesis comes from Mr. Khorasani's book " "Arms and Armour from Iran" (Chapter 10, pp. 198-206). However, the actual pictures of Sassanian swords shown by him do not present a single example of a domed pommel and drooping quillons. He shows 2 schematic drawings of staright-bladed swords with curved handles ( Mameluke-type or Topkapi-type, attributed to the Prophet and companions) and drooping quillons than are kept in Russian museums ( ~17th century). The reason behind using them as a support for the "sassanian" theory is obscure.
Do you have any support for the Sassanian origin of the " straight blade/ domed pommel/downturned quillons" influence on the Zenetes/ pre-Islamic Arab swords?
Furthermore, he enumerates several arguments why the so-called Revival Qajar swords " revived" not the Arabian early and pre-Islamic traditions, but rather Achemenian/Sassanian one. The gist of it is that " It is highly unlikely, that Iranians, who fought the Arabs for centuries to gain their independence, would have imitated Arab straight swords". This argument, in my opinion, is weak and disingenious: Iranians willingly adopted the most salient elements of Arab culture: writing and religion. " Reviving" old Arab weapons would, in their mind, only bolster the sentiment that they, the Shias, were the true inheritors of the True Islamic Creed.
I fully agree with your final interpretation.
The only unanswered part of my question relates to the Nimcha-type quillon block. I fully understand Jim's position re. Italian influence, but I am still wondering whether even there the influence went from Africa to Europe or vice versa. Indeed, if there is a straight line between Arabia proper and Moorish/ Iberian constructions, the Moroccan/ Algerian Nimchas fall right in the middle.
My 5 cents....