Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 29th July 2019, 12:18 PM   #1
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,623
Default Definition of a Greek yataghan?

Dear All,

I wasn't sure to open this thread and then today I decided that it might be useful for collectors.

According to what I read previously on this forum a Greek yataghan is a silver dressed yataghan with niello work... This statment is mainly a copy and paste of assumptions from dealers and it is not supported by litterature. This idea behind is mainly supported by the fact that niello work should be connected to Orthodox Christians (from Greece to Russia). Of course this idea is a nonsense, first because Muslims, Christians and non-Muslim were doing niello work such as the Jews in Morocco or Yemen. Second because this niello art work found his origins in the Byzantine empire and of course the Ottoman (Turkish) unherited of this technique and the skilled craftmen in the empire.

1/ As I explained previously using Elgood.
There is no Greek yataghan as such.
In his chapter on yataghans - and in fact in his whole book - Elgood shows very clearly that Greek arms and armour were Ottoman arms made in the Balkans, mainly Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia... plus of course Turkey.
Greeks used Ottoman weapons. It's the reason why in his chapter on Greek yataghan Elgood shows many kind of yataghans from the classic walrus ivory ones to the silver dressed. Choosing only one silver dressed yataghan pictured by Elgood is not accurate to demonstrate something. The forum members can have a look at this chapter to see the variety of yataghans depicted.

2/ Nevertheless sometimes you can find some proper Greek yataghans as the ones pictured in this thread.
For me a Greek yataghan is a yataghan produced for a Greek customer (sometimes done by Greek craftmen but not always).
You can see here that the niello work is different from the Turkish niello work as such as the iconography: with characters, churches...


Kubur
Attached Images
  

Last edited by Kubur : 29th July 2019 at 01:55 PM.
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 12:22 PM   #2
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,623
Default

Of course some yataghans are directly connected to Greek styles and regional traditions such as Epirus and Crete. And these yataghans are clearly Greeks.
Attached Images
     
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 01:32 PM   #3
Ren Ren
Member
 
Ren Ren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Russia, Moscow
Posts: 92
Default

The first yatagan has an inscription in the Slavic language - Serbian or Bulgarian Approximately "this knife worked hard".

Last edited by Ren Ren : 29th July 2019 at 01:52 PM.
Ren Ren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 01:56 PM   #4
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,623
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren
The first yatagan has an inscription in the Slavic language - Serbian or Bulgarian Approximately "this knife worked hard".


Corrected thank you!
Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 04:39 PM   #5
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,638
Default

Kubur,
Nobody in his right mind would deny that yataghan is an inherently Ottoman weapon. You are creating a straw man and continue to beat it mercilessly.

However, the Empire was vast and included many ethnic and tribal groups that utilized their own ideas of construction and/or decoration ( see Zeibek yataghans with T-like pommel and integral bolster, North African ones with karabela-like handle, smooth round corals from Foca or Bulgarian Karakulaks). Hope you might agree with that.

Furthermore, nobody is insisting on purely Christian use of niello. The only point I have introduced here is the statement of Asia Eutykh ( a Circassian master) that this technique was introduced to the Caucasus by Greek masters. That is entirely possible, because Circassia was a semi-vassal of the Crimean Khanate with its major Greek colonies and armourers that supplied Circassia with weapons and with the abundance of Greek colonies all over the North-Eastern shore of Black Sea.

You yourself show " Greek yataghan". I would cautiously suggest that where is one, there must have been more:-)

With all due respect, few people would disagree that yataghans with slender blades, silver handle with small ears , deeply crenellated silver plates at ricasso and profuse niello decorations likely belong to Crete. Similarly, there is a strong suspicion that yataghans with thin and rounded ears were actually made ( you can call it decorated) in Greece. After all, if Greeks could develop their own style of sabers from Epirus, they must have had people proficient in (at least) making handles for their bladed weapons.

While there is no information on blade manufacture in Greece proper, the decorative workshops and individual masters were still present there. But insisting on the primacy of the blade as a defining factor would make all yataghans with Balkan-made blades (traded all over the Empire including Anatolia), Balkan, but not Turkish, weapons. And that would be just silly.

Ms. Gozde Yasar in her book about yataghans defined each and every example as " Ottoman", without any attempt to pinpoint the exact origin of each. Whereas she is correct from the geopolitical point of view, this approach negates the multiethnicity of their origins.

And, as a final point: where is the evidence that yataghan was truly invented by the Ottoman Anatolian Turks? Just do not bring Yataghan Baba as a proof, please. There are no existing examples before those of Bayazet or Suleiman,
but soon thereafter there was a sudden profusion of yataghans all over. Don't you think that this strongly suggest adoption of yataghans from somewhere else? Are yataghans truly Turkish?
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 05:24 PM   #6
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 4,638
Default

Couple of years ago, a friend of mine, Mr. Sergey Samgin from Russia and myself were schmoozing over the Internet about the origins of Yataghan. As a result of it, we published a paper in the " Waffen-und Kostumkunde:#1, 2016.
Here is the PDF.

This is just a hypothesis, but at least it seems to agree with actual objects and timing.

Perhaps, it can add some fuel to the flame of our collective discussions about the subject. Sorry for the quality of illustrations but that's the scanner I have access to :-(((((
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Genegis of yataghan.pdf (2.15 MB, 80 views)
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 09:18 PM   #7
Kubur
Member
 
Kubur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,623
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
And, as a final point: where is the evidence that yataghan was truly invented by the Ottoman Anatolian Turks? Are yataghans truly Turkish?


I totally agree with your last point. Who said that yataghans were invented by Turks? In fact I was discussing the attribution to Greeks of some yataghans that might have been Turkish in fact.

To me yataghans were originally from the Balkans, despite - as Marius wrote - that we don't have any evidence of continuity since the Bronze Age. But we don't have either the evidence of the opposite. The absence of clues is not an evidence....

Cherry on top your article is very convincing or at least disturbing... But we all know that a lot of things came from the East... so why not...

Kubur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th July 2019, 12:59 PM   #8
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,280
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel

Ms. Gozde Yasar in her book about yataghans defined each and every example as " Ottoman", without any attempt to pinpoint the exact origin of each. Whereas she is correct from the geopolitical point of view, this approach negates the multiethnicity of their origins.

And, as a final point: where is the evidence that yataghan was truly invented by the Ottoman Anatolian Turks?


1. On contrary. The fact that Ms.Gozde Yasar defines every example as "Ottoman" does not negate the multiethnicity of their origin but asserts it. Moreover, it clearly hints to the futility of trying to precisely geographically locate a particular blade since both skills and styles knew no borders within the empire. Last but not least, let us not forget that until 1922 the whole Southern Turkey was inhabited by a numerous Greek minority so it wouldn't be surprising if some Turkish swordsmiths would have produced "Greek" style yatagans for their Greek customers.

2. Is there any single piece of evidence that the yatagan, or a yatagan type of sword was used anywhere else before it appeared with the Ottomans?
If not, then I take the fact that the oldest historical examples of yatagans are Ottoman Turkish, as good enough evinence that the Ottoman Turks invented the yatagan (whether or not inspired by the ancient Greek kopis).

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 30th July 2019 at 01:36 PM.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th July 2019, 04:54 PM   #9
TVV
Member
 
TVV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,286
Default

My view on defining the origin of weapons from the Balkans prior to the the formation of nation states in the 19th century is a little different - I base it on geographical areas. We have very little information on who the maker and the owner was. We have actual information on the full name and the place where those people lived in probably 0.1% of the time. The other 99.9% we either have no info or just a first name, such as Hassan, Ahmed, Ibrahim, etc.

What we do have is differences in the style of the hilt, the bolster, the scabbard and sometimes even the blade, based on regional preferences, evidenced in general form, as well as in decoration motives and technique used. We can use these decoration motives to determine the origin of pretty much any ethnographic items, from carpets to yataghans. This is augmented by period images, ideally photographs and the appearance of items in a specific geographic context: for example concentration of similar items in museum collections - what one would find in Zagreb is different from what one would find in Athens.

Since we are not dealing with regulation patterns, the lines would not be 100% clear, but we can still look at a yataghan and based on its features place it within a Geographic region as the place where it was made. So to me, a Greek yataghan is one made in what historically has been referred to Greece, and the ethnic origin of the smith, the hilt maker or the wearer does not change that.
TVV is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 05:34 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.