Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Micro-ethnic differences in weapons
We usually discuss differences in weapons belonging to pretty large countries/principalities. Usually, these weapons are very different: North Indian Tulwar vs. South Indian Khanda, Turkish Kilij or Pala vs. Persian Shamshir etc.
But I would like to bring an example of the same weapon coming from 2 adjacent and pretty small principalities of the same country: Georgia.
First is the map of historical 15th century Georgia. Look at the coastal end: Samegrelo ( Megrelia) and Guria. Both are populated by people speaking the same language and belonging to the same religion ( Christian).
Both are small: Megrelia 3,800 sq. mi. ( or, to simplify, ~65x65 mi), Guria is tiny at 785 sq.mi. ( ~40x20 mi). Both had kindjals as their main weapons.
But here the differences start:
The upper one: Gurian kindlal is massive, wide, and has pretty rounded tip. Its blade is hollow-ground. It is a slashing weapon.
The lower one, Megrelian is rather small, narrow, having a very sharp tip, flat panel at the ricasso and a central rib for strengthening the blade : a stabber.
These features imply major differences in their actual use.
Their decorations are also very different: Gurian has scabbard with monstrous iron chapee and square pommel; Megrelian has elegant silver decorations.
These differences were preserved for as long as we know these weapons; these are firm tradition peculiar to the same people occupying the area size of Long Island.
Can we show other examples of similar micro-ethnic construction? I would probably not touch Indonesia/Philippine, because they have not even micro, but nano-differences belonging not only to different islands, but to different villages.