EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Marc, thank you so much for the link to the Gladius resource!
Chevalier, its good to see you posting on this! and especially contributing a very interesting observation. I have also seen the comment on 'Tizona' being of late Roman form. It seems that in the references I have seen it is unclear whether the mounts on the El Cid sword are original to the period of his use of the weapon.
Concerning the jineta, as Marc and Ariel have shown, more work is needed to determine the course of development and possible influences.
Ariel, I'm glad to see you coming in on this! The 'nimcha' does present problems in determining the direction of the diffusion of the multi quillon arrangement that is distinct on the Moroccan nimcha. In an excellent article by Anthony North ("A Late 15th Century Italian Sword", Connoisseur, Dec. 1975, pp.238-241) a sword with this quillon arrangement is presumed Moroccan but turns out that it is actually 15th century Italian. I cannot locate my copy of the article, but noted it to show the long standing of confusion on this subject.
I remain inclined to believe that the Italian hilts of this arrangement were diffused with Venetian traders in the 16th century into Meditteranean trade centers, and likely adopted by Arab armourers. It seems that the same basic quillon form may have found its way further east via Arab traders to Sinhala (Ceylon, Ar.=Serandib) resulting in the distinct Sinhalese kastane hilt, of which earliest known examples date into early 17th century. Clearly the same diffusion with Arab trade routes brought the hilt form to Morocco, which is as you note, a key point in the development of various interpretations of it.
It seems to me that Italian swords and blades seem to have generated a great deal of influence, certainly through thier trade. The familiar 'sickle marks' found widely on trade blades (incl. the 'gurda') trace back to Genoa; the cinquedea is considered the likely source for the pommel on the Moroccan Koummya; the s'boula form we have discussed with the T or I hilt
(the 'Zanzibar' swords) appears to have evolved from European, possibly Italian baselards (further from Switzerland).
All best regards,