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Old 2nd October 2008, 06:18 PM   #13
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Good observation Ed! I hadnt thought of that potential, but well placed. I am inclined to agree with Manolo though, the anthromorphic hilts were indeed quite different.
This still seems to be a vestigial reference to some external influence, and as with many such features often occurring in edged weapons, defies any practical explanation.
Trying to discover practical applications often brings almost bizarre ideas into play, such as the suggestion, still held some by some possibly, that the cleft in the shashka was to use as a rifle stand to support the barrel (much like the separate component I believe arquebusiers used).
It seems there are drilled holes in at least one side of the cleft in Manolo's example (I cant see the other). That only increases the mystery.

The mystery remaining is the well asked question, why would a weapon that clearly follows the general shape and features of mid to latter 19th century forms be classified as an 1800 or even 1810 model? The cutlass misnomer seems understandable, and as I have noted, these dual purpose weapons were more likely to be used in the 'fascine' property by sappers than to serve as an onboard cutlass, with those 'high seas' combat days gone by.

Kisak, is there an identification resource cited for these pieces? As I noted earlier I don't seem to have Swedish references, so it would be helpful for myself and others who would like to pursue the study of those weapons further.

On the observation on the Hafstrom weapon designs of the 19th century, these sound interesting and I'd like to see examples of some of these to discuss. I've really never heard of him or the designs, but it sounds fascinating. It does seem that in many cases, neoclassic designs and decorative features are incorporated into edged weapons, I believe primarily due to thier profound traditional iconic status, especially during the 19th century. Good examples are the French sword designs such as the swords of the early 19th century recalling the gladius, and copied in the U.S. M1833 artillery officers sword.
If I'm not mistaken, the blade on the M1848 fascine knife has distinct similarity to bellied blades of ancient Mediterranean weapons such as the falcata and kopis. Even the term 'fascine' recalls the profound Roman symbolism in the fasces, though in modern parlance refers to the more utilitarian bundles of sticks and branches used in constructing emplacements.
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