Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Origins of Shepherds' Knives and Karakulaks
The official theory on Balkan shephards' knives and karakulaks (or akkulaks, depending on the material used for the hilt) is that they originated from the yataghans, as a shorter, peasant version of the latter. I believe this is so, but this particular blade shape has been known on the Balkans for more than two millennia, as evidenced by the Thracian machairas - see the attached scheme of a tomb dating back to the Vth c-ry BC. What is more, many karakulaks and akkulaks have a stamp on their blades, in the shape of a sun with 8 rays. We all know this was the symbol of Alexander the Great, and it is also found on Thracian coins, such as the one numbered 1 in the attached picture, which was minted by the Odrysian ruler Sevt III. It does not prove anything, but it certainly gives food for thought.