Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
My view on defining the origin of weapons from the Balkans prior to the the formation of nation states in the 19th century is a little different - I base it on geographical areas. We have very little information on who the maker and the owner was. We have actual information on the full name and the place where those people lived in probably 0.1% of the time. The other 99.9% we either have no info or just a first name, such as Hassan, Ahmed, Ibrahim, etc.
What we do have is differences in the style of the hilt, the bolster, the scabbard and sometimes even the blade, based on regional preferences, evidenced in general form, as well as in decoration motives and technique used. We can use these decoration motives to determine the origin of pretty much any ethnographic items, from carpets to yataghans. This is augmented by period images, ideally photographs and the appearance of items in a specific geographic context: for example concentration of similar items in museum collections - what one would find in Zagreb is different from what one would find in Athens.
Since we are not dealing with regulation patterns, the lines would not be 100% clear, but we can still look at a yataghan and based on its features place it within a Geographic region as the place where it was made. So to me, a Greek yataghan is one made in what historically has been referred to Greece, and the ethnic origin of the smith, the hilt maker or the wearer does not change that.