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Old 9th April 2019, 05:00 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default Khodami Knives-Why Are They Called This?

These familiar knives we have been discussing here for nearly two decades, are also more frequently termed Bou Saada knives from South Algerian regions where they are often found. These have been compared to Corsican and Genovese (Genwi) knives also termed 'vendetta knives'. These areas being colonially French and being French tourist destinations might offer some connection perhaps, but these knives diffused across the Sahara remain a puzzle...….this curious name notwithstanding,

So KHODMI...…..what is it? a tribe? a place?
These are from Morocco as much as Algeria, so Maghrebi would be an understandable designator......but Khodmi seems to stand.

Ideas? Examples?
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Old 9th April 2019, 07:48 AM   #2
Iain
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Khodmi is a word simply meaning knife in Algerian Arabic. Afraid there's nothing really more too it.

See "A Sociolinguistic Comparison Between Algerian and Maltese" by Nassima Kerras, PhD and Moulay-Lahssan Baya E., PhD
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Old 9th April 2019, 02:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Khodmi is a word simply meaning knife in Algerian Arabic.


Algerian Arabic or Kabyle - Berber???
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Old 9th April 2019, 02:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Algerian Arabic or Kabyle - Berber???


The etymological source of the term wasn't given in the reference I found, which was examining Algerian as modern language incorporating both Berber and Arabic and basing the term on the French colonial practice of considering it under the umbrella of "Algerian Arabic".

I'm not familiar with any particularly similar word in other Berber dialects such as Tamazight. Sadly I haven't found many good resources for Berber dialects and dictionaries online.
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Old 9th April 2019, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
The etymological source of the term wasn't given in the reference I found, which was examining Algerian as modern language incorporating both Berber and Arabic and basing the term on the French colonial practice of considering it under the umbrella of "Algerian Arabic".

I'm not familiar with any particularly similar word in other Berber dialects such as Tamazight. Sadly I haven't found many good resources for Berber dialects and dictionaries online.


Thanks very much Iain, I was hoping you would help out as your acumen in seeking these 'dialetic' matters in North Africa has always been amazing. After all you were the one who FINALLY found the source for the term 'kaskara' when nobody else could, or frankly even asked.

The fascination with the 'name game' around here has sort of conditioned me to seek more on weapon terms, and ask why? I know it may seem trite to many, but for me its fun to learn more and satisfy curiosity.

We have seen terms used in a general sense in other cultures with swords such as kilij; tulwar; and of course sa'if…...all generally used for 'sword....not otherwise specified' (as Lee once noted). However in certain cases there seem to be deeper meanings or colloquial instigations.

My initial search for these knives inadvertently I came across the word/term 'khodmi' has to do with certain Islamic metaphysic beliefs often known to prevail in North African tribal folk religions. In this case the word describes a kind of Angelic presence of a personal nature rather than the more universal host of Angels. These are of protective character against the djinn and it seems that many examples of 'khodmi' knives have apotropaic geometrics and symbols on their blades.

As we know that the flyssa, also of course of Berber origins, has in its characteristic decoration a field of apotropaic and personal devices which are protective in this same manner.

Is it possible that these knives, typically referred to as Bou Saadi, for the regions where they became well known through examples hawked to French tourists, might perhaps have been colloquially known to tribal persons as 'khodami' for the talismanic values held in them personally?

We have seen these kinds of colloquialisms have become ingrained in 'collectors parlance' through transliterations and assumption in accounts of travelers and western writers. Is it possible this 'local' term became used in these dialects as a term for the apparent range of variants of these purposeful knives?

I realize this entails a good deal more in depth study, but possibly readers out there might have some insight into this topic from personal experience in these regions.

I would ask the forbearance of those who might consider this suggestion unseemly or unlikely, and would note that it has been prompted not only by the coincidental finding of this term, but by the other cases of such applications on other edged weapons with such talismanic properties in North African regions.
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Old 9th April 2019, 05:37 PM   #6
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To be honest Jim, the source I found referenced the term in regards to vocabulary of the kitchen like forks and knives!
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Old 9th April 2019, 11:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
To be honest Jim, the source I found referenced the term in regards to vocabulary of the kitchen like forks and knives!


LOL! Well I guess if I use the term knife...……..in our everyday parlance in Texas it could refer to a paring knife in the kitchen, or a Bowie knife of larger proportion irrespectively. So the term khodmi could be equally used to refer to any knife in Algerian or broader Saharan regions regardless of tribal affiliation.
Point well taken.
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Old 10th April 2019, 03:28 PM   #8
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As already indicated the term Khidma and Khodaamah are Arabic words certain to be Algerian or Moroccan or closely influenced; possibly also a term used in Malta which has a language very much influenced by Arabic..In Arabic the word Khidma is used for service... or assistance which nicely describes the knife somewhere between a general purpose and work knife.
Kadaamah/Khodaama is the head servant in the household. Khodmi would mean my helper..
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Old 10th April 2019, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
As already indicated the term Khidma and Khodaamah are Arabic words certain to be Algerian or Moroccan or closely influenced; possibly also a term used in Malta which has a language very much influenced by Arabic..In Arabic the word Khidma is used for service... or assistance which nicely describes the knife somewhere between a general purpose and work knife.
Kadaamah/Khodaama is the head servant in the household. Khodmi would mean my helper..



Thank you for that detail Ibrahiim!
Less than the 'metaphysical' angle I was looking toward, but this is more of an Occams Razor solution
I'd still like to see more examples of these, and look at some of the geometric devices and symbols on them.
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Old 11th April 2019, 09:57 AM   #10
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The rascal (i like it thanks Jim!) has to add some facts:

Bou Saada is a place
Khodmi is a Berber name
There is no khodmi in Morocco
Moroccans have Janwi (from Genoui, Genova).
The problem is most of the collectors mix the janwi with the Sbula / sboula.
The Sbula is a long straight dagger, two edges (from lebel bayonet or others)
The Janwi is very similar to the Khodmi, short, with one edge reinforced to stab people.
They are the North Africans versions of the Corsican daggers and the Italian styleto or Genovan knives...

on the pic, to the right one sbula and to the left one janwi
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Last edited by Kubur : 11th April 2019 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 11th April 2019, 12:49 PM   #11
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Here a good example of Moroccan Genoui / Jenoui

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?p=170043

and here the Algerian khodmi
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Old 11th April 2019, 03:00 PM   #12
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Wow! Rascal!!! You have really nailed it......…...I could not have asked for a more concise and well illustrated spectrum of these Maghrebi knives!!!!
While my theory of the 'mystical' character of the term was kinda fun, it is good to know more on the terminology and differences, as well as the true etymology on these (thanks again Ibrahiim for that input as well).

These are the kinds of results I always hope for in these questions, and its great to learn more of these topics.
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Old 11th April 2019, 09:47 PM   #13
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I sold a khodmi a few months back and spoke with the purchaser. He collected a number of these as he was from the region of production in Southern Algeria explaining that "Khodmi mean Knife in the native Amazigh language," from which is "Berber" or Tamazight and part of the Afroasiatic languages of Northern Africa.

-Geoff
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Old 13th April 2019, 04:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Mansfield
I sold a khodmi a few months back and spoke with the purchaser. He collected a number of these as he was from the region of production in Southern Algeria explaining that "Khodmi mean Knife in the native Amazigh language," from which is "Berber" or Tamazight and part of the Afroasiatic languages of Northern Africa.

-Geoff



Thank you Geoff for this input, especially the specialized perspective from persons from the regions we are discussing. While we have various entries from dictionaries and other circumstantial references it is interesting to have insight from someone native to these regions.
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Old 21st April 2019, 03:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Here a good example of Moroccan Genoui / Jenoui


another Good Moroccan Jenoui al genoui

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=khodmi
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