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Old 18th November 2022, 04:40 AM   #1
ASPaulding
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Default Two Kilij for comments

These are the first Kilijs I have ever collected. They are quite diffrent. The larger one is much heavier then the other. I think the blade is a trade blade based on the eye lash mark. The cross gaurds are similar and the grips may be rhino horn? But the quality of the blades are much diffrent. The smaller one seems to be superior. I can not translate the inscription but the way it feels is dramatically diffrent then the larger blade. Please give any opinion you may have. Thanks
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Old 18th November 2022, 04:42 AM   #2
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A few more photos.
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Old 18th November 2022, 03:37 PM   #3
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I'm assuming they are from the same time frame. 19th century maybe. My question is the hilts Rhino or Buffalo horn. Also can anybody translate it for me.
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Old 18th November 2022, 03:57 PM   #4
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Beautiful swords. Interesting that they handle so differently though. It looks like the larger one has a much less pronounced T-section.

A nice Ottoman kilij is at the top of my non-western-European sword wishlist but so far I have not managed to spot one near my price range. One day, though.

In the mean time I have a little (77cm) sword from Georgia with a kilij blade, which I suspect is a fake (picture attached for reference). But either way, it is lovely in the hand even though the balance is almost 20cm from the grip. I lack good scales but it weighs only about 600gr. When I received it it was packaged in styrofoam and the package felt so light compared to what I was expecting that for a second I thought I accidentally bought a miniature or a plastic sword.

Since this is the only kilij-bladed sword I've ever handled, I'm very curious if it resembles the real ones in terms of weight and balance. Can you post some stats on the length, blade thickness, weight and POB of both swords?
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Old 18th November 2022, 04:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by werecow View Post
Beautiful swords. Interesting that they handle so differently though. It looks like the larger one has a much less pronounced T-section.

A nice Ottoman kilij is at the top of my non-western-European sword wishlist but so far I have not managed to spot one near my price range. One day, though.

In the mean time I have a little (77cm) sword from Georgia with a kilij blade, which I suspect is a fake (picture attached for reference). But either way, it is lovely in the hand even though the balance is almost 20cm from the grip. I lack good scales but it weighs only about 600gr. When I received it it was packaged in styrofoam and the package felt so light compared to what I was expecting that for a second I thought I accidentally bought a miniature or a plastic sword.

Since this is the only kilij-bladed sword I've ever handled, I'm very curious if it resembles the real ones in terms of weight and balance. Can you post some stats on the length, blade thickness, weight and POB of both swords?
I posted photos of the measurements. I have never done point of balance before but I'm assuming use your finger and balance it then measure from the gaurd. So the small one is approximately POB 10cm at 648 grams and the larger one is POB 14.5cm at 1430 grams.
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Old 18th November 2022, 04:55 PM   #6
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Your Kilij blade does not look like a fake to me.
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Old 18th November 2022, 05:00 PM   #7
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Thanks!

That's quite a substantial weight difference for such similar looking swords. The length difference can't account for all of that so I guess that implies that the longer one is also significantly thicker (aside from the T-section at the back)?

My knowledge is still somewhat lacking but IIRC the earlier ones are generally longer than the more recent ones, so aside from the handling characteristics there may also be an age difference between them.
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Old 18th November 2022, 05:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by werecow View Post
Thanks!

That's quite a substantial weight difference for such similar looking swords. The length difference can't account for all of that so I guess that implies that the longer one is also significantly thicker (aside from the T-section at the back)?

My knowledge is still somewhat lacking but IIRC the earlier ones are generally longer than the more recent ones, so aside from the handling characteristics there may also be an age difference between them.
Also I believe there is a significant length difference between a Kilij vs Pala Kilij. I have seen a few examples of the Pala versions in the shorter length. I definitely have a lack of knowledge thou.
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Old 18th November 2022, 05:24 PM   #9
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Your Kilij blade does not look like a fake to me.
I'm not entirely sure whether it is, but there are some things about it that give me pause:

First of all, I bought it off of ebay when I first started collecting. I've never found another sword with Georgian mounts with a kilij blade since then, and I've only ever seen swords with grips that look like it on ebay (i.e.: same style of very simple leather grip wrap, same style of crossguard with the same decorations). The crossguard and pommel have a very different surface texture to it than any other sword I own, and it also sounds different if I tap on it with my fingernails (at first I thought it might be made out of something other than steel, but it rusts).
And it has etchings on it on each side that look kind of washed out, but the bluing is still there, which is weird as it wears away easily (as shown by a bit at the start of the yelman in the last picture that I accidentally rubbed away a bit when cleaning off a small red rust spot when I first got it EDIT: Actually, the first pic I posted was the seller's, and it seems that spot was already rubbed away, so maybe I'm mistaken). In other words it looks kind of like the etchings were made to look worn, if that makes sense. And speaking generally I've never seen an pala blade that was blued before (although the naval markings may explain that oddity).

And having looked through Rivkin's Arms and Armor of Caucasus I did not come across anything that looked quite like it.

But I am still a bit of a novice at collecting, so I can't say for sure.
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Old 18th November 2022, 05:40 PM   #10
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I honestly don't know what type of blade that is. I wish I could be of more help.
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Old 18th November 2022, 10:34 PM   #11
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I may be wrong but I usually associate a kilij with a thinner blade while the pala is later (19c for example) with a wider blade like the two you show here. None of these are fakes and look honest to me.

The six sided star is the "Seal of Soloman" and is talismanic. The "eyelash" on the other pala I usually associate with Indo-Persian blades.

Regarding the pala with the silver koftgari on it, the blade looks to me to be made of "sham wootz" which is a form of wootz made in Turkey.

As far as the Turkish and Arabic is concerned, I'll let someone else tackle those.
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Old 19th November 2022, 02:28 AM   #12
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Like I said I'm somewhat of a novice but as far as I understand it a kilij is just a general Ottoman single edged, curved cutting sabre and the pala is a subset of that which refers to the highly specialized, relatively short 18th-19th century form with the T-section blade and raised yelman that is specialized for slicing (draw cuts), rather than chopping.

EDIT: And just to add, regardless of whether my example is old or not, it is one of my favorite swords to hold. It's both super light and due to the POB it still feels like it could cut like a beast if I sharpened it even slightly. Also edge alignment is trivial with that curve and grip, and the sound is fun.

EDIT 2: Mine is about 2-3mm wide (no significant distal taper that I can detect with my €2 calipers - while quasi inebriated because it's Friday), with the T-section being about 6-7mm.

Last edited by werecow; 19th November 2022 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 19th November 2022, 04:21 AM   #13
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Just found somebody engraved intials on the larger one.
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Old 19th November 2022, 05:31 AM   #14
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There is a date within the cartouch: 1264 H. It corresponds to 1877-8 Gregorian.
Simple fighting Kilijes ( Palas) from the last years of the Ottoman Empire.
Very nice set.

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Old 19th November 2022, 05:59 AM   #15
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Is there any significance to the substantial difference in the two blades? i.e. is the larger one a cavalry example, or just an earlier development perhaps?
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Old 19th November 2022, 06:02 AM   #16
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The small (77 cm) Pala is interesting. It has an inscription in Russian that was severely damaged by polishing and I can recognize only letters, but not words.
The reverse (?) has an Orthodox cross and also damaged dates. I think I can make sense out of it, however: 1877-1878. These are the dates of the penultimate Russian-Turkish War, a Caucasian one. Russia won and received Kars and Ardahan. The last one was WWI if one discounts recent skirmishes in Libya and Syria. Obviously, this one was made after the war, likely as a souvenir.
The greatest (IMHO) consequence of 1877-78 war was the acquaintance of the Russians with rotating vertical grill of thin cuts of lamb that now we know as Gyro ( Greek) or Shwarma ( Arabic). The Russians called it Shashlik a la Kars and it was considered by them an exotic delicacy. Now it is a street food all over the Middle East. Regretfully, many places use cheap turkey meat.
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Old 19th November 2022, 02:14 PM   #17
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As mentioned earlier both are good old swords, as someone said most likely 19th century. I really like the smaller one, good untouched condition. I would call both Pala swords. I have one myself that is abot 85cm and 1100 grams. The smaller of yours seem very light and short, could it be for a child or youngster?

As someone mentioned in earlier post the smaller one may well be sham wootz, but I have seen exampes with twist core pattern welded as well.
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Old 19th November 2022, 05:10 PM   #18
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Thank you all for your feedback. The only question I have is about the grip material? And on the scabbord, what are the little springs and what is the purpose? Thanks
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Old 19th November 2022, 08:37 PM   #19
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The "springs" are a typical Ottoman scabbard stitch. From SBG forum:

Quote:
That scabbard stitching thing: It used to be called ,, Türkenleiter '' in old German language texts.
Think I found the term on an Austrian site dealing with old Austrian texts.
Which makes sense as they had to deal with Ottoman Turks quite a lot.
The term was explained as: Turkish Ladder, referring to a ladder to Heaven (or Hell, depending on where one stands in a conflict),
The spokes of said ladder are the stitches, guiding the souls of fallen Turks to the ,,Other Side''.
It is not known (I think at this point) where the term originated, on the Christian side or the Turkish.
It can be seen on many a French (private order) scabbard dating from after the Napoleonic adventure in Egypt, but also here and there on German and British scabbards from that period and later. Never cought on as a wide spread fashion though, more like an extra.
and

Quote:
So according to Osman, who also asked a historian friend of his because he wanted to be sure about a couple things (the names of the symbols as well in the koftgiri) the Ottomans had no specific name for the style, but it was not adopted until the 1790's and only continued until the early 19th century and was a quite rare style reserved for the highest quality scabbards. Interesting that the French and Germans would adopt it in a limited fashion, Ottoman fashion seemed to have a huge effect on the West whenever encountered, I'm sure it was considered exotic.
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Old 19th November 2022, 09:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
The small (77 cm) Pala is interesting. It has an inscription in Russian that was severely damaged by polishing and I can recognize only letters, but not words.
The reverse (?) has an Orthodox cross and also damaged dates. I think I can make sense out of it, however: 1877-1878. These are the dates of the penultimate Russian-Turkish War, a Caucasian one. Russia won and received Kars and Ardahan. The last one was WWI if one discounts recent skirmishes in Libya and Syria. Obviously, this one was made after the war, likely as a souvenir.
The greatest (IMHO) consequence of 1877-78 war was the acquaintance of the Russians with rotating vertical grill of thin cuts of lamb that now we know as Gyro ( Greek) or Shwarma ( Arabic). The Russians called it Shashlik a la Kars and it was considered by them an exotic delicacy. Now it is a street food all over the Middle East. Regretfully, many places use cheap turkey meat.
Interesting. You are definitely correct about 1877-1878. As for the other inscription, I can't make heads or tails of the top line atm, but I think the bottom line is "война 1877" (which google translate tells me means "war 1877").
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Old 19th November 2022, 09:15 PM   #21
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Wow, what great information. Thank you
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Old 19th November 2022, 09:18 PM   #22
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My friend that speaks Arabic translated a few words on mine. He made out three names. Adam, Joseph and Malek.

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Old 20th November 2022, 01:43 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werecow View Post
Interesting. You are definitely correct about 1877-1878. As for the other inscription, I can't make heads or tails of the top line atm, but I think the bottom line is "война 1877" (which google translate tells me means "war 1877").
You are correct: "war".
With your clue I seem to be able to read a part of the upper line: "А?типов турец[кий] ?" , ie. name ("A?tipov tur [ kish?]").

Last edited by ariel; 20th November 2022 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 20th November 2022, 03:43 AM   #24
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I really wish I could help you with your sword. I have found a few that resemble it. Some from when Bulgaria was part of the ottoman empire and a couple from Russia. Hopefully somebody else may have some input.
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Old 20th November 2022, 04:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
You are correct: "war".
With your clue I seem to be able to read a part of the upper line: "А?типов турец[кий] ?" , ie. name ("A?tipov tur [ kish?]").
I think you're right about турец[кий] but I think the first word is different. I've taken another picture with slightly different lighting, maybe that helps? If not I might try doing a rubbing of it one of these days.

Maybe it starts with "ЗА" (FOR or PER according to google)? And I can see the remains of the rest of the date as an 8 at the end of the bottom row.

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I really wish I could help you with your sword. I have found a few that resemble it. Some from when Bulgaria was part of the ottoman empire and a couple from Russia.
That is interesting in itself, as I haven't really seen anything very similar in the (admittedly brief) time I've been collecting. Do these have kilij blades? If you have pictures or links I'd appreciate it.
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Old 20th November 2022, 04:46 PM   #26
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I'm trying to search through my history to find the examples. Here is a link to an old 2004 post that I found last night wih some great information.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=727
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Old 20th November 2022, 05:43 PM   #27
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I am reading the inscription as "За Отличие въ Турецкой Войне", meaning "For Distinguishment in the Turkish War". To me, it is suspicious.
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Old 20th November 2022, 05:48 PM   #28
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It definitely seems like there has been a few Russian-Bugarian Ottoman inspire swords from that same time period. All are just diffrent in there on way. Yours looks like a Shamshir grip and gaurd while the blade is a Kilij. Is it possible your blade was modified to resemble a Kilij? I know nothing of the capabilities of modifing a blade. I once had a sabre that was straightend and modified to look like a 17th century Walloon.
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Old 21st November 2022, 02:32 AM   #29
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i looked at the better pics and suddenly it dawned on me: ” за отличие в турецкой войне”.
I was so proud of myself and scrolled down the page to publish my momentous discovery when I saw Teodor’s post….

Well, I got silver:-)))


Or, as the Russians used to report the results of a duel between the American and the Russian runners: “Our runner came second and the American one came barely before the last”.
Say whatever you want, the handle and the crossguard are typical Georgian.
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Old 21st November 2022, 02:12 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV View Post
I am reading the inscription as "За Отличие въ Турецкой Войне", meaning "For Distinguishment in the Turkish War". To me, it is suspicious.
Ah, cool! But yeah, that does sound like the kind of thing you'd put on a forgery or tourist piece. Maybe some cheeky Georgian thought he did OK in that war and etched his own (or a war trophy) blade? P

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i looked at the better pics and suddenly it dawned on me: ” за отличие в турецкой войне”.
I was so proud of myself and scrolled down the page to publish my momentous discovery when I saw Teodor’s post….

Well, I got silver:-)))


Or, as the Russians used to report the results of a duel between the American and the Russian runners: “Our runner came second and the American one came barely before the last”.
Hah, well I consider it a collective effort.

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Say whatever you want, the handle and the crossguard are typical Georgian.
True. Although the kilij blade is not very typical if I'm not mistaken? Perhaps it's a remounted blade.

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Yours looks like a Shamshir grip and gaurd while the blade is a Kilij. Is it possible your blade was modified to resemble a Kilij?
I doubt that. It's got the typical T-section and it isn't an overly clunky one. It seems it was made this way, at least.
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