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Old 4th April 2019, 04:28 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
The routes operated a little differently, hajj caravans were organized from key cities such as Kano. This is more of a late 18th and early 19th century phenomenon. Prior to this typically a hajj was organized by a ruler who would take an entourage but was far less common for the average person.

It was typical for a notable figure such as a merchant or religious scholar to lead the caravan and typically this included stops in the main cities of the lands they passed through to acquire letters for safe conduct and to solicit alms.

This is not to say that some commerce didn't occur but there was some degree of reliance on charity as mentioned.



Thank you Iain, it is always good to get your perspective as I don't think anyone has studied the dynamics of these North African regions with the tenacity you have. I would understand the Hadj situation as being more a 'modern' matter (18th-19thc) and it makes sense that Hadj caravans would be guided by religious or notable figures. I had thought that the sale of personal items (brought intentionally for such purpose) would take place as well as seeking alms. Still, the point is the movement of often regional types of weapon into areas where they are not commonly known.
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Old 4th April 2019, 05:35 PM   #32
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In line with Iain's comment, here's an excellent reference in West African hajj.

"The Hajj From West Africa From a Global Historical Perspective (19th and 20th Centuries)." African Diaspora 5:187-214. 2012.
Baz Lecocq

See pages 191-192 for 20th cent. long cycle pilgrimages w/labor migration and that during the 19th Cent. merchants, the wealthy, etc. were the primary pilgrims.
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Old 5th April 2019, 03:15 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Edster
In line with Iain's comment, here's an excellent reference in West African hajj.

"The Hajj From West Africa From a Global Historical Perspective (19th and 20th Centuries)." African Diaspora 5:187-214. 2012.
Baz Lecocq

See pages 191-192 for 20th cent. long cycle pilgrimages w/labor migration and that during the 19th Cent. merchants, the wealthy, etc. were the primary pilgrims.


Thank you for sharing this reference Ed. It is most helpful for those of us who wish to continue researching this topic.
BTW: Your next installment on kaskaras shared in separate thread is OUTSTANDING!!!
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Old 5th April 2019, 01:46 PM   #34
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Thanks, Jim. Other forum members added good comments and illustrations to the original thread that I integrated into the final piece. Lee Jones gets all the credit for turning it into a polished document.

Several other very informative conversational threads on various subjects over the years could be combined, extracted, edited and turned into similar reference documents. We have a tremendous about of expertise on the EAA Forum, with much of it scattered about. But who will bell the cat?

Best regards,
Ed
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Old 5th April 2019, 06:49 PM   #35
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Pitt Rivers museum at item 1929.12.3 suggests that the Manding Sword with its broad leaf head scabbard which is probably a crocodile head form originated in Sudan with a type of kaskara and further more that it evolved as a non combat mark of a high tribal dignatory and was never a fighting weapon … They claim that the non existant guard is evidence of this. This would indicate that it found its way across the width of Africa on the sub Saharan highway and with various waring factions and trading caravans as well as the obvious reverse movements particularly to hajj by Manding caravans in force. SUDAN TO MANDING country? That's 3000 miles!

The Manding curved with its European blade (French or German) as only a badge of office for Manding men of high standing in their tribal society...they were not weapons. this is further enhanced since the Manding hilt and scabbard are beautifully and expertly fashioned by master leather smiths adding baldric straps with added exuberant detail.

Then came the Europeans blades... then the movement both ways as trade and war moved connected Manding or via factors such as Swahili middlemen and/or Omani slave, ivory, rhino horn and hide dealers the blade then started to attract attention from the Omani side.

These African societies which were both Islamic … Omani and Manding also used an Oral tradition and were both very involved in trade of equal items in huge volume. Their swords were hugely similar and both Omani longhilts and Manding were for swagger not war. The fighting was done by spear and guns mainly> I maintain that the curved was simply put together with the already famous Omani Longhilt from the straight Omani Dancer and with its own scabbard and given the Terrs Shield >>>Associated parts all from the same source; The Omani dancer ...And blade from the Manding Sketches of Omani slave factors on Zanzibar prove the curved was linked to them and the Terrs slung about their shoulders how that was awarded to the curved weapons accoutrements.

Therefor because of Religion, Trade, War and a common tradition in swords used for badges of office and by a parallel involvement in trade for the same commodities and slavery the answer would seem to me to be yes to the original question.

In fact the Omani Curved Sword on its Omani long hilt is still produced today and although not usually danced with like the flexible straight Sayf (THE OMANI DANCER)probably because of safety>>>it does get used in the Funun in neighboring Countries like the UAE.

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Old 5th April 2019, 11:38 PM   #36
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To see the dimensions of the flambouyant sayf against the dancer and to view the dancer against the so called Omani curved Kattarah. Also illustrated for interest is a shot with the Dancer, The curved Kattarah, and the Sayf Yamaani...and above is the Mandinka curved sword ... see below...

The curved so called Omani Kattarah has a single cutting edge and point on an open Long Omani Hilt and the blade is quite stiff with a thick back edge ...and given the Omani Scabbard and Terrs … It follows the Manding as being warlike looking but actually not for fighting and like the dancer it has no guard. Enters the Omani scene around 1856 via Zanzibar.

The Dancer however, is the fore runner with the classic open Long Hilt and a flat spatulate tipped very flexible blade and round tip with razor sharp edges and uses the Terrs... used to greet the Sultan and as a pageantry sword dating from about 1820 1830 and designed for the ruler Saiid Sultan also known as Said the Great... of Zanzibar fame..

It goes to show that sword form, as many people know it, does not automatically follow in every country and just because it looks like a battle sword doesn't mean that it is.
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Old 6th April 2019, 01:51 AM   #37
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REFERENCE;
A. http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/ind...a-26/index.html

QUOTE'' GambiaGambiaDress sword from The Gambia, Africa. Collected by W. D. Canol and owned by George Scott. Given to the Museum by Mr. Scott's niece, Majorie T. Cam in 1929. SEE BELOW

This sword is a 'dress sword'. It was worn as a status symbol by a wealthy or high-status member of the Mandinka, a large ethnic community of West Africa. One way of concluding that it was never used in combat is due to the complete lack of guard for the hand.

The Art of War
This high-status sword from The Gambia demonstrates the widespread African practice of importing European sword blades and supplying them with a hilt and scabbard of local style. The blades of such Mandinka dress swords are usually are usually those of curved French cavalry sabres, reflecting the economic networks of European colonial influence. These swords were the exclusive prerogative of Mandinka men of importance or social standing and were intended to enhance their impressive and martial appearance.

The most significant artistic feature of the sword is the very high quality of dyed and woven leatherwork to be seen on the scabbard and baldrics (wearing straps). The result is particularly striking, and represents a strong culture of dyed, tooled and plaited leatherwork in much of West Africa. The geometric pattern of woven fibre is especially representative of decorative material culture in this region.

The flaring leaf-shaped lower portion of the scabbard is said to represent the head of a crocodile and can also seen on the scabbard of the straight kaskara sword of the Eastern Sudan, on the opposite side of the continent's Sudanic belt. Some scholars think the most plausible explanation for the unusual scabbard form appearing in two places over 3000 miles apart is that it was carried westward across the Sudan by successive waves of Islamic warriors over the last one thousand years''.UNQUOTE.
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Old 6th April 2019, 07:47 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
The routes operated a little differently, hajj caravans were organized from key cities such as Kano. This is more of a late 18th and early 19th century phenomenon. Prior to this typically a hajj was organized by a ruler who would take an entourage but was far less common for the average person.

It was typical for a notable figure such as a merchant or religious scholar to lead the caravan and typically this included stops in the main cities of the lands they passed through to acquire letters for safe conduct and to solicit alms.

This is not to say that some commerce didn't occur but there was some degree of reliance on charity as mentioned.



Thank you Iain, that sounds like a most reasonable description of the Hadj caravans, and honestly I had not considered that these would have operated independently and likely via perhaps different routes than commercial ones. Obviously their ajendas would be different.
I think that with these caravans comprehensively however, the diffusion of these regional weapons, however incidental, would constitute some notable presence over time. Obtaining safe conduct is a good point, and the barter of these weapons even as novelties seems a good likelihood.

Again, I think that weapons which in effect are 'exotic' or foreign and worn as swords of 'distinction' would present an admired convention to individuals in these transactions. This might be compared for example to English merchants and dignitaries proudly wearing Ceylonese kastane, or Moroccan 'nimcha'. With these, much as with the long hilt kattara and Manding sabres these were swords of distinction, not necessarily for fighting. Just as with European court swords and small swords, in a situation they could likely be pressed into use.
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Old 7th April 2019, 09:17 PM   #39
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Reference;
A. http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/what-is-a-takouba


The question is still only about two thirds answered since no mention of the Tuaregs. Therefor ~ if as has been accepted on the thread there was indeed a cultural understanding between Mande and Sudanic regions via trade religion and war... what was the relationship with the other important part of the question at #1 >>>>The part about Tuaregs? From atkinsons-swords I include viz;

Quote"The Tuareg hang sheathed swords from their shoulders or wear them low at their hips. This leather and metal scabbard is decorated with cutwork and stamped, pierced and engraved designs. The takuba has been adopted for wear by prosperous men of numerous ethnic groups in Sudanic Africa. The smiths, “Ineden”, who make and mount these swords are predominantly of Negroid Sudanic African ancestry, and form a separate caste which has its own secret language “ténet”. Members of the blacksmith caste do not intermarry with the Tuaregs and are often regarded as possessing dark mystic powers".Unquote.

Paragraph 4 of reference poses a question of how much was this sword a weapon and how much was it for prestige and show? Is it related to the MENDING sword?

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Old 8th April 2019, 07:07 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Reference;
A. http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/what-is-a-takouba


The question is still only about two thirds answered since no mention of the Tuaregs. Therefor ~ if as has been accepted on the thread there was indeed a cultural understanding between Mande and Sudanic regions via trade religion and war... what was the relationship with the other important part of the question at #1 >>>>The part about Tuaregs? From atkinsons-swords I include viz;

Quote"The Tuareg hang sheathed swords from their shoulders or wear them low at their hips. This leather and metal scabbard is decorated with cutwork and stamped, pierced and engraved designs. The takuba has been adopted for wear by prosperous men of numerous ethnic groups in Sudanic Africa. The smiths, “Ineden”, who make and mount these swords are predominantly of Negroid Sudanic African ancestry, and form a separate caste which has its own secret language “ténet”. Members of the blacksmith caste do not intermarry with the Tuaregs and are often regarded as possessing dark mystic powers".Unquote.

Paragraph 4 of reference poses a question of how much was this sword a weapon and how much was it for prestige and show? Is it related to the MENDING sword?


As my own website has been referenced I will respond. Firstly, the question asked has several flaws.

1. The takouba is not exclusive to the Tuareg

2. It does not originate with the Tuareg

3. Perhaps the most important point, it is disingenuous to conflate a sword associated with societal rank and swords which were not used for combat.

Associating swords with class position and restrictions on who can carry them is a practice found throughout the Medieval world. You cannot assume that a sword is not a combat weapon simply because it also serves as a symbol of rank. The same applies to the Manding swords and sabres.

To be clear, the takouba was a combat weapon, there is a multitude of sources for this including colonial accounts of its use. there are still occasional disputes between Fulani herders and farmers over land rights which see swords used.

The Manding sword form and takouba are only related in so far as they occasionally share trade blades.

I have already made clear in previously posts in this thread the nature and origin of curved blades in takouba mounts.

Just to touch on one last flawed assumption in this thread, lack of a guard has never precluded combat use, from the shashka to the Maciejowski choppers.

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Old 8th April 2019, 08:05 PM   #41
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Iain thank you for addressing these talking points, as it helps if we can arrive at common perception in consideration of them. As you have noted, lack of guard does not render any edged weapon non combat worthy, as in any such combative interaction often parry or defense was with shields etc.

In considering swords equated with prestige, rank, station etc. while not necessarily in accord with combat weapons, they are indeed often in the same or similar form with those that were. As I said earlier, at any time circumstances might call for these 'parade or status' type weapons to serve as weapons of opportunity and as required. Their functionality might be less than optimal, but we cannot presume that their use was discounted regardless.

In the famed 'battle' with Blackbeard in 1718, Lt. Maynard's 'dress' small sword broke in his attack on the pirate. He was pretty much saved by the action of his men. Typically in military cases, officers would have their fancy or dress/parade swords , but took similar 'fighting' swords on campaign.
In ethnographic cases, persons of rank were typically protected by their bodyguards etc. but if overrun or attacked, these swords of rank could be used in some degree.

In many cases, the embellishment of swords of state or status, might have hilt décor which precluded the reasonable grasp of the weapon in action. Things such as highly ornate creature heads and other decoration (such as on many kastane) would impair normal grasp for combat.

Thank you as well for the reminder on the takouba form, which is a long standing development of a standardized generality which indeed diffused throughout Saharan and Sahelian regions which expected variation in degree. The trade blades which travelled throughout all of these regions varied as well. It is reasonable to note that these blades could be used on these variant weapons, and that curved blades would be used by Manding and Tuareg or whomever chose to use them.

The origins of the takouba itself I would understand being unclear, and it seems even its range of use as indeterminate as the boundaries of the Tuareg or any of these tribes. I don't think there can be any question as to its use as a weapon, though as anywhere, the advent of firearms did have some effect by the 19th c.
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Old 9th April 2019, 07:06 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Iain thank you for addressing these talking points, as it helps if we can arrive at common perception in consideration of them. As you have noted, lack of guard does not render any edged weapon non combat worthy, as in any such combative interaction often parry or defense was with shields etc.

In considering swords equated with prestige, rank, station etc. while not necessarily in accord with combat weapons, they are indeed often in the same or similar form with those that were. As I said earlier, at any time circumstances might call for these 'parade or status' type weapons to serve as weapons of opportunity and as required. Their functionality might be less than optimal, but we cannot presume that their use was discounted regardless.


Hi Jim,

I think we are still misunderstanding each other a little on this topic.

My point is not that so called parade or status weapons (usually highly embellished) can also serve as weapons.

Rather, normal, functional, swords often serve to denote the rank or social position of the bearer. A Medieval knight carried a sword, it was a sign of his position, this was not a parade weapon but still had a duel function of being both a weapon and a symbol of status. The takouba is much the same as is the Manding sabre. One role does not rule out the other. Simply put a sword which indicates a status is not necessarily a sword that differs from any other piece of the type. The sword form itself in the case of something like the takouba, was the status symbol in certain groups like the Tuareg, no parade versions needed.


Quote:
The origins of the takouba itself I would understand being unclear, and it seems even its range of use as indeterminate as the boundaries of the Tuareg or any of these tribes. I don't think there can be any question as to its use as a weapon, though as anywhere, the advent of firearms did have some effect by the 19th c.


The origins are rather more clear than previously thought, as this forms part of an upcoming publication I don't want to reveal too much, but perhaps sufficient to say even modern day Tuareg have a pretty good idea where it came from as confirmed with primary field research.

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Old 9th April 2019, 07:21 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
As my own website has been referenced I will respond. Firstly, the question asked has several flaws.

1. The takouba is not exclusive to the Tuareg

2. It does not originate with the Tuareg

3. Perhaps the most important point, it is disingenuous to conflate a sword associated with societal rank and swords which were not used for combat.

Associating swords with class position and restrictions on who can carry them is a practice found throughout the Medieval world. You cannot assume that a sword is not a combat weapon simply because it also serves as a symbol of rank. The same applies to the Manding swords and sabres.

To be clear, the takouba was a combat weapon, there is a multitude of sources for this including colonial accounts of its use. there are still occasional disputes between Fulani herders and farmers over land rights which see swords used.

The Manding sword form and takouba are only related in so far as they occasionally share trade blades.

I have already made clear in previously posts in this thread the nature and origin of curved blades in takouba mounts.

Just to touch on one last flawed assumption in this thread, lack of a guard has never precluded combat use, from the shashka to the Maciejowski choppers.



I never said anything about your 1.2. paragraphs...
The third point I made about 3; I rather think stands since I think it is precisely that; the Manding sword was not a war weapon but a badge of recognition, swagger and prestige... despite its European Cavalry Blade.

In your last paragraph the detail about the guard was not an assumption as it is clearly stated in the Pitt Rivers museum reference thus at worst can only be described as a guide... Open hilted swords are not all intended as weapons of war which is what my notes are centred upon... Certainly the Omani open hilt identical on the Sayf and the so called curved Kattarah were never intended as weapons. That has to be included since the Omani historical situation is tied to the question at thread opener.
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Old 9th April 2019, 10:16 PM   #44
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Iain, I don't think we are too much off the same page, but thank you for reiterating. I thought what I had said was pretty much what you elucidated so clearly I agree. Actually going back to the medieval analogy, the very fact of owning a sword was a mark of prestige or status.

With the origins of the takouba, these details are not particularly clear to me, and probably a great percentage of those who study arms, but knowing what lengths you have taken to learn these answers, your work is anxiously looked forward to. It seems clear that blades were entering North Africa through various points, and from some antiquity. However the exact nature of the blades and how they were mounted is what is unclear. Obviously variations would occur locally across regions and with tribal preferences.

With the Manding dilemma, I think the point being made is that by and large, the Manding (various tribes) were primarily traders, not warriors....and in these capacities the swords, effectively embellished, were status oriented.
By the same token, the Omani swords (long hilt) were as described with the flimsy bladed dance versions...….similar merchants swords of distinction...were not intended as weapons of war. We have resounding evidence of this from numerous sources....however, with the long hilt sabres with such hilts, we know that they were worn in similar capacity to the Manding. While not expecting to use them in combat, just as with those of the Manding they 'could' be used. However, unless being attacked by raiding parties etc. the expectation of such 'opportune' use would be negligible.

The use of sound and serviceable European blades on these sabres, just as on the long hilt merchants versions of the dance swords, was based more on the renown of the European blade types as well as availability through the trade networks in which they were always present.

As far as open hilted swords (no guard), this condition is not a determining factor for a combat weapon, as it depends on the expected warfare manner. The shashka; yataghans; SE Asian daos etc etc. all are without guard, of course as these are not expected to be used in sword to sword combat.
The issue with the long hilt type Omani swords (as described by Demmin and Burton) is that the hilts are contrary to presumed manner of use.
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Old 10th April 2019, 07:53 AM   #45
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Jim and Ibrahiim,

As you are both making much the same argument I'll respond jointly.I don't want to reopen the question of the Omani swords and their purpose, I think there's been plenty of discussion on that in the past! However, With that in mind, regardless of the function of the Omani examples, that has little bearing on the Manding examples unless a connection has been established, which frankly I haven't been convinced of yet. A single entry from the Pitts Museum is hardly a conclusive record of how these were used. With that being said, attempting to draw parallels is unfortunately sounding like confirmation bias.

Briefly regarding guard-less swords, it would be rather a shock to historical users of dha and dao I think to learn their swords were not intended for sword on sword combat! Not to mention a multitude of other historical examples. some of which I already mentioned. I am quite happy to agree to disagree as that is a topic perhaps much larger than the intended scope of this thread. Suffice to say we appear to have different views on guardless swords and status swords within this particular culture.

In any case I think there is plenty of information given in the thread to let readers make up their own minds and it is certainly an interesting topic and an enjoyable one where some interesting ideas have been raised.

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Old 10th April 2019, 04:10 PM   #46
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it is an interesting thread and since Burton got the Omani sword almost completely off target considering and logging it as well as a strange spear point sword as Zanzibari but noting that he couldn't fathom how this could be used as a weapon..About the latter remark he was right. On Zanzibar there was of course frenetic activity and his Book of the Sword didn't wait for detailed correction as he had other things in mind like discovering the source of the Nile. Reports from expert witnesses in the field at that time underline the switched blade format that happened to Omani Long Hilts blending with the European Cav which was no weapon in this form. Thus the temptation to consider from other expert advice including Pitt Rivers that the Manding weapon was no battle sword...although given the right set of circumstances who knows what would happen in a melee? …I agree that anything would be thrown at the enemy ...as may have happened at the charge of the 21st at Omdurman.

It seemed therefor that the battle sword brilliantly described in your website and a benchmark for Kaskara needed to have the question framed about its battle use...when perhaps its psychological and Alam like inspiration seemed to loom large. I do however see that so many swords were used to arm the Ansari that this must have been a battle Sword albeit dripping with Quranic thuluth script ...but through no fault of its own hardly used with 50 yards of a British soldier not through the want of trying but by shocking and useless tactics on the command side of the Ansari..

Frankly to me if a weapon has a point and is rigid and has sharp edges plus a crossguard it is well on the way to being a battle sword but the indicators on the open Omani Longhilts are totally different. Not to labour the point I have made before it ...the long hilt Omani ...is governed by a set of rules as to its use in The Funun...The Omani traditions. Nowhere does it mention actual fighting. However, it carried a psychological pageant based socio religious historical following and people used it to support and salute the Sultan at Eid celebrations and at weddings.....

Rather like a modern British Wilkinson is used on todays parade grounds. With the caveat that the British sword was originally a battle sword but the Omani Straight Open Longhilt was designed and built under the orders of Saaid The Great ruler 1804 to 1856 as a strictly Pageant only accoutrement. Pageants not war.

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Old 10th April 2019, 07:27 PM   #47
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This truly is an interesting discourse, and actually I don't think we are 'worlds' apart overall.....the matters of whether a sword was combat oriented or not basically seems circumstantial. Clearly the long hilt Omani 'dance' sword (which has become so contentious over years here) is quite misunderstood and with the flimsy blades is an exception.

Iain, I must apologize for my clumsy wording re: the dha and dao included in my comment toward guardless swords ……..what I meant was 'sword to sword' combat. I don't know SE Asian sword technique but I was not aware that they 'fenced'.....I know in China of course the jian is used is such manner, but think there is a guard of sorts. Whatever the case, trying to sort out how each sword is used, or whether each type is battle worthy pretty much strays from the whole gist of this thread.

It seems quite clear that trade routes moving westward from hubs in the east may have carried the style or convention of the open (without guard) hilt as far as Mali and environs. That these were swords of distinction possibly could have inspired Manding traders to adopt and use similar types which became the sabre we are familiar with now,
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Old 11th April 2019, 08:35 PM   #48
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Earlier we had a series of maps appear outlining geographically the situation facing movement East or West and between Zanzibar and the Manding situation. Here is the linking map I was looking for with the vast Tippu Tip region based on The Falls Region..where he had 10,000 slaves and supported not only his own labour requirements at his herb farms on Zanzibar but also in co operation with the Omani Slavers and Ivory and Rhino traders welcomed in the Falls region and through the Zanzibar Hub worldwide.

Would this strategic position not be a stepping stone both ways from and to East and West African entrepots and or a trading centre rather like a small Hub in its own right?
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Old 12th April 2019, 05:17 PM   #49
Jim McDougall
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Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Earlier we had a series of maps appear outlining geographically the situation facing movement East or West and between Zanzibar and the Manding situation. Here is the linking map I was looking for with the vast Tippu Tip region based on The Falls Region..where he had 10,000 slaves and supported not only his own labour requirements at his herb farms on Zanzibar but also in co operation with the Omani Slavers and Ivory and Rhino traders welcomed in the Falls region and through the Zanzibar Hub worldwide.

Would this strategic position not be a stepping stone both ways from and to East and West African entrepots and or a trading centre rather like a small Hub in its own right?



I have always wondered just how slaving worked in that it was a predominate activity in the west (the 'Slave Coast') as well as far east, in Darfur and to the southeast in Zanzibar. While slaves were transported by ship out of the west and east, I am wondering just how much, if any, direct interaction between slaving factors in these regions there was.

While of course, an unpleasant topic, and seemingly outside the scope of this discussion, the reason I think there may be relevance is that these movements and possible contacts might account for some of the diffusion of these weapons. We have determined that the Hadj caravans often operated quite different routes and composition from those of traders, were there such caravans of slaves operating independently as well?

It has been noted that trade routes typically move north to south/vice versa, so is it possible that diagonals of other caravan routes intersected at varying points contributing to further diffusion of goods etc.?

It does seem that the complexity of caravan networks, realizing the varying contexts of their purposes, add to the conundrums of direction of movement in influences and types of weaponry. I think the best semblance we might have of consistency or indigenous origin of a form is the preponderance of the form in a given area.
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Old 13th April 2019, 03:17 PM   #50
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Jim,

I can't say much about other areas, but since Greater Sudan (Darfur to Ethiopia) in the 19th Century would be an intervening area between Oman and Manding, it may be relevant. Of course slaving had been endemic for centuries due to the non-Muslim (Christian and animist) populations south and east of Egypt.

But before I go there, have we considered the possible role of the Portuguese shipping trade. They were active with trading and slaving concessions in both West & East Africa especially in the 16th & 17 centuries. Local people from both regions could have become part of ship crews and even staff and exposed each other to their material culture.

Slaves (men, women and children) were often used regionally as farm & household labor. Arabised Sudanese didn't do labor, but used slaves. Many even used for slave armies and not exported. Of course, many were walked to Cairo for military service there. Annually several young boy slaves were castrated and shipped to Cairo as eunuchs. Remember the Mamluks were themselves slaves from the Balkans and later the Russian steppes.

The Ottomans from 1821 onward made government sponsored raids mainly to replenish their military. The catchment area for Darfur and eastward were the Nuba areas in S. Kordofan. They were preferred as soldiers. (Nuba were the Mahdi's riflemen.) Many tribes from the upper Nile were not considered as good laborers or soldiers. Those not used regionally went to Cairo.

The Funj raided heavily in the Ethiopian borderlands and preferred their women. Many were shipped to Egypt as well as to Arabia via Red Sea ports.

Walking slaves to either coast was logistically complex and lots of losses resulted. Ivory was carried on camels and was a more efficient export commodity.

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Ed
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