Originally Posted by ariel
the question: are there any Balkan swords with recurved blades dating back to the 1st milennium?
The answer to this question is no, as far as I know, as far as weapons are concerned. Once the Romans conquered the Balkans, they did not adopt any of the great variety of Thracian blade shapes. Then the Slavs and Bulgars came, each with their weapons suited to their style of warfare.
However, I do not consider karakulaks to be a pure weapon, as many of them are more of a utility tool than a fighting knife/short sword. The earliest dated karakulaks are from the 1830s, and there is nothing prior to them, which makes sense, as they do not exactly seem like an item that would be passed from generation to generation. There might be earlier examples, as the yataghan had been known in the Balkans since the 16th century, but being simple, undecorated weapons, no examples of karakulaks prior to the 19th century have survived, as perhaps noone deemed them worthy of preservation.
Of course, there is nothing to prove a direct link between Thracian machairas and 19th century karakulaks, but when one considers the striking simialrity in the solar symbol, often found on karakulaks' blades, especially the same number of rays, it is still an interesting coincidence.