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Old 30th June 2019, 04:02 PM   #1
drac2k
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Default Can I call this a shotel;can I call it Ethiopian ?

When I first won this item I wasn't sure what to make of it; a curved blade, a horn handle, an embossed pommel, the double-edged blade had all the descriptions of an Ethiopian shotel. Once I received it, I found that it had certain different attributes than my other Ethiopian swords. It was shorter(the blade is 19" long), The blade was wider(2.5" at its widest), and the curvature of the stout blade was more like a cross between an ax and a sickle than a sword.
Doing some research, I found(on Viking Swords strangely enough), that this weapon is from the Oromo/Galla people of Ethiopia. In regards to the age of the weapon, I don't think that it is an antique, however, I don't think that is new or a tourist item.
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Old 30th June 2019, 04:27 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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The term 'shotel' is of course an Ethiopian parlance term for 'sword' though there has been confusion on its application.
This appears to be a 'gile' which is an edged weapon of Afar tribes situated in and around Danakil regions in Africa, which are in the areas near Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.

This seems a variant form reflecting obvious influences of Ethiopian shotels, but seems with closer affinity to the Danakil types.

It is of course not unusual to see these kinds of hybridization as these influences diffused throughout these regions and may have been favored and applied by tribal craftsmen at their whim. These 'large knives' are often regarded in the sense of the janbiyya daggers of Yemen in their manner of wear and use, while of course not entirely corresponding to the form itself.
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Old 30th June 2019, 10:12 PM   #3
Martin Lubojacky
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This was used by Galla from Wollo, probably Azebo Galla people. Not Afar. I would not call it neither shotel, nor gile. It is genuine, more rare than normal gile or shotel. From my point of view it is antique. (Antique in Africa of course does not mean 15th century ..., But this could be used ca 70 years ago.)
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Old 30th June 2019, 11:19 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
This was used by Galla from Wollo, probably Azebo Galla people. Not Afar. I would not call it neither shotel, nor gile. It is genuine, more rare than normal gile or shotel. From my point of view it is antique. (Antique in Africa of course does not mean 15th century ..., But this could be used ca 70 years ago.)


Thanks very much Martin, that is an excellent description, and I admire your knowledge of the weaponry of Africa! Very good point on the antique classification on these weapons, as they are very much in use as they have been for many generations if not centuries.
It is interesting that the Wollo province of Ethiopia is geographically in regions largely inhabited by the Afar, and the Danakil regions are contiguous to Wollo.
Only someone with your expertise in the ethnography of these regions could specify the unique separation of this weapon as Galla as you have noted.

It is pretty confusing looking at the volatility and dynamics of the geography and tribal integrations of these regions!

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 30th June 2019 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 1st July 2019, 02:28 AM   #5
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Thank you both for your useful information.
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Old 1st July 2019, 07:38 PM   #6
Martin Lubojacky
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Thank you Jim, This knowledge is also thanks to discussions with Roanoa and his archive.
BTW, the handle is is probably from rhino horn (?).
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Old 2nd July 2019, 02:49 PM   #7
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It certainly is horn and translucent, but it seems a bit dark to be rhino , however, I don't know how to tell the difference.
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Old 2nd July 2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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I would say the hilt is definitely rhino. Great silver work.

Thanks Martin - I was thinking it was a gile variant being between a shotel and gile. Never seen this form before.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 12:36 AM   #9
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Thanks for the additional information; once again I'm indebted to you guys!
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