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Old 31st July 2008, 05:09 PM   #18
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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This question posed by Ariel has evolved into some great discourse on a topic that remains quite unclear in so many instances, the chronological and typological development of various sword types. In this case the focus is on the connection between the Nasrid espada jineta and the more recent Omani kattara of 17th and 18th century form. As seems to be agreed, the nimcha of Moroccan form as well as the Zanzibari form are separate developments but also with unclear developmental explanation.

It is great to have both Marc and Gonzalo in this discussion, and I am enjoying having the complexity of this field of study concerning the history of
Hispano-Moresque Iberia and North African Maghreb, being brought into perspective. I think everyone is bringing up excellent points, and it is most interesting seeing the balance of plausibity and probability in motion as the discussion continues.

What I think is most interesting is that the atavistic interpretation of various ancient and classical weapons presents a profound challenge in trying to establish the direct lineage of many relatively modern forms. As is noted, there are distinct gaps in the chronology that defeat such attempts, as well as the absence of archaeological or reliably provenanced examples.

It seems that the elaborate espada jineta was a form in itself of limited production, and as noted in my earlier post, made exclusively for important figures or for in some cases presentation, probably not made in large numbers. These seem to have been sumptuously decorated and the dramatically downturned guard seems to be more aesthetic than practical.

As I mentioned, it seems that in many cases, classic weapon styles are fashioned in later times recalling those early weapon forms. Obviously it would seem these are intended to instill nationalistic fervor in being produced in such forms, and certainly profound reverence is intended in the case of the Qajar 'Revival' arms and armour. In this sense, the Omani kattara appears to have been intended to represent the distinctly elaborate espada jineta, though extant examples of these have been relieved of whatever valuable application covered them.

I am inclined to think that the jineta and kattara are distinctly related elaborately fashioned swords that are not chronologically connected, rather the kattara more likely an atavistic reflection of that earlier grandeur.What would be most interesting would be to discover more on the early Granadan swords used by the rank and file, and just how much they might have influenced the general form of the Nasrid jineta hilt.

The gently downturned quillons on many crossguards on medieval broadswords seem to be a matter of deviation in style not particularly exclusive to either Muslim nor Christian swords. It is clearly present on the Ferdinand sword, which is very much like the crab claw hilts seen in Italy and Germany. The developing quillon arrangements in these crossguards of course do seem to have led to the hilt forms that later influenced the nimcha style hilt.

These are simply my own interpretation of what I understand from what has been discussed, and I look forward for more in the discussion.

Thank you guys!

All the best,
Jim
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