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Old 31st December 2018, 03:30 PM   #1
Belgian1
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Default My Christmas sword, Mameluk of the Imperial Guard

Hello everyone and all my best wishes for the year 2019 which arrives minute by minute....

This is the last present which I received from Santa Claus on the afternoon of 24 December, I thank Maxime my son , and this pleasant Christmas present has been sold to him for an Middle Eastern origin with rolled up horn handle... Which was not totally wrong, but not quite true either ..... if we can relocate it in the Geopolitics context of (the Middle East area) during the decline of the Ottoman Empire since the Battles of the "French Directoire" to " The Consulat period " and of the 1st Empire with the well known Mamelukes from "Chasseurs à cheval" of the Imperial Guard raised after the Battle of El-Arich in 1799.
Now you begin to know my interest for swords whose identification is more than a challenge to connect it to the history, helped by a reading pleasant time with a glass of Armagnac, more than a simple afternoon on the Internet with a glass of soda to try to find a childish estimation…
So, here is probably a Mameluke officer's sword, from a incorporated Regiment of Mameluke into the Imperial Guard, since 1801 till Waterloo in 1815.
To believe his intriguing European blade of Solingen type for Hungarian Hussars officers, etched "Pro Deo and Patria" and a with ‘’Sacred Heart ‘’, it is possible to consider that this blade was taken after the Battle of Austerlitz, during the fights where the Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard fought against the Russian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire troops , so and also against the Hungarian Hussards.
You undersand, now, why I prefere to read more with a glass of Armagnac near me instead than a Soda, because with Armagnac after some times and some glasses, you can continue to read the history with the closed eyes and ... imagine.
A thing that is certain is that it is a Mameluke officer's sword of the Emperor's army that carries a blade of Hungarian hussars and with or without Armagnac it is a certitude.
What do you think? Except that I do not have to read any more with Armagnac .. or simply that I have to stop Armagnac

Best wishes from Belgium
Fabrice
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Old 31st December 2018, 05:23 PM   #2
fernando
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Fabrice, no Armagnac here but, certainly a coincidence, as you may see HERE my alternative Christmas gift; after i returned the previous one on grounds of being a fake .
... Hoping this one isn't .
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Old 31st December 2018, 07:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Fabrice, no Armagnac here but, certainly a coincidence, as you may see HERE my alternative Christmas gift; after i returned the previous one on grounds of being a fake .
... Hoping this one isn't .


Good evening Fernando,
I am sorry for your sword which indeed seems to be a reproduction. It seems that I had more luck with my Christmas present because it is an authentic Mameluke officer saber of the Imperial Guard. Without any possibility of error. it must be said that it is excessively rare with the scabbard of Mamelouk origin and not of French type manufacture.
I was lucky, because I never imagined to hold in hand "such a legend".
Look at the location of the two rings of suspensions, for they are specially placed for the wearing of the Mameluke sword, and not as for the French officers who made him hang by the rings distant along the scabbard. While the Ottoman Mamelukes incorporated into the Imperial Guard carried their sabers in the belt and the 2 parallel rings were used to pass the cord that wrapped around the sheath. (as in my Saif's photo.)

Happy new year from Belgium :-)
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Old 1st January 2019, 02:21 PM   #4
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I appreciate your openness, Fabrice. Let me however dissect your attribution to the term 'reproduction'.
As well recognized in the thread i submitted, my sword is a "sabre à la Mameluke", not an Egyptian Mameluke shamshir.
So instead of calling it a reproduction i would prefer to label it as a 'genuine' French sabre in an oriental style, so called Mameluke, as it comes in the books.
I do not have the knowledge to judge on your nice example; whether it is a genuine specimen from the Imperial Guard or a basic Eastern Mameluke with a slightly curved European blade i am not able to promptly question, but i am well aware that the price of one is a good couple times more expensive than the other.
I am also surprised with your strict definition of how these swords are suspended. After several searches i see the system of two rings positioned along the scabbard everywhere and, so far, not one with the rings opposite to each other, like in your Saif ... or mine, as shown. But again, i like the knowledge.
Curiously in the painting by Jean-Léon Gérômethe that you show in your initial post, that officer holds a typically curved Mameluke saber with longitudinal rings.
And so does Ismaël, painted by Lassigny in 1805 in which caption one can read how he considered the traditional "Mameluke style to suspend the sabre"; longitudinal rings with the sword turned upside down ... a detail that intrigued me while i was rehearsing a display for my example; which kept turning down on its stand, due its major weight residing in the hilt ... until i saw Ismaël's portrait.

Bonne année .

.
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Old 1st January 2019, 05:43 PM   #5
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Default 1st Empire Mameluk sword

Hi Fernando,
I did not say it was a "fake", but probably a "reproduction" because it has some characteristics observed on swords called "oriental" of the Officers superior 1st Empire, without having the qualities. But in fact it is difficult to judge the real quality of the patterns engraved on the "quillion" with photos. But what is certain is that he is not French of the 1st Empire period, so either a reproduction, or a later model. For my sword, it is indeed a Mameluk sword of the Army of the Emperor, so by this fact, a sword of the Mameluke Unit of the Imperial Guard, before 1806.
Why 1806? The only sabers specially designed for the French Mamluk Unit were made in 1806 by the Manufacture de Versailles at 36 swords and in 1809 at 49 swords and the 2 different types easily identifiable by the handle and the scabbard and designated as type 1 of 1806 and type 2 of 1809. They are the rarest, most wanted and most falsificated swords of all the period of the Napoleonic battles.
And all the Mamelukes of the Emperor's Army were assimilated to the famous "Chasseurs à cheval de la Garde Impériale" and then incorporated in 1815 during the ‘’Cent Jours period’’ to the legendary "1st Régiment de Chasseur de la Garde Impériale’’. Before 1806, the Mamelukes carried their swords to "the Oriental" manner, like the Janissaries wrapped in theire belt or hanged with 2 hanging rings. Swords may have 2 rings along the scabbard and others, probably older, of the first French period of Mamelouk incorporation, had more Oriental traditional type.
The Mameluke swords of the Emperor's Army are so rare and "so little known" that there is still not much documentation available. It is undoubtedly by reading the history of the Campage of Egypt against the Mamluks then the progression of the Mamluks in the Army of the Emperor from 1799 until 1815 that it is, or will be possible to make more comparisons.
The picture of Gérôme's painting represents General Bonaparte with a Mamluk sword, but not a Mamluk style sword, because in 1799 the Mamluk style sword did not exist. But you're right that one with 2 rings along the sheath. It exist the both variants, which depend indoubly of the wish of the warrior or ???? can be also when he rides a camel or a horse ???
So the Regulatory French swords for Mamluks of the 1st Empire that can be observed in some Museums, are part of the only 85 copies officially manufactured by the Manufacture of Versailles in 1806 and 1809 (all marked by the Manufacture). Some other rare sabers very often "badly identified" are authentic swords of Mamelukes of the Campaign of Egypt defeated by Génénal Napoléon Bonaparte and incorporated, later, in Elite Units of the Army of the Emperor. They were then, very few, less 50 seems it.
Let us not forget that the Mamluks were invited by Napoleon on the 18 May 1804, to participate in his coronation. He was extremely proud of them.
So, I will make a classification and 3 types ...
1. Swords of the "Oriental" model of the Mamluks who arrived from the Egyptian Campaign and which must be considered as being of very first period and can present some "arrangement" or "customizations".
2. The 1st Regulatory Model of the Manufacture of Versailles of 1806.
3. The 2nd legal model of the Manufacture of Versailles of 1809.
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Old 1st January 2019, 09:15 PM   #6
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Fabrice, as i said in the first post of my thread, the sabre 'appeared to be' what i described; i knew nothing about these swords. Indeed the only wrong detail was that of the 1st Empire period. However i took notice that such was soon corrected to a (circa) 1830 dating, by corrado26 in post #2 and also by some direct qualified information, confirming its authenticity and production period; reason why i didn't digest the reproduction attribution.
The painting by Gérôme was just an 'en passant'; what does really impress me is the portrait of Ismaël, done in 1805; we can clearly see a suspension ring down by the middle of the scabbard.
By the way Fabrice, how wide is the range of "arrangements" or "customizations" in point 1. of your classification; does it include atypical European blades?
In other words, you have solid information on the 1806-1809 productions but, what evidence do you have that yours is a pre-1806 example ?
Just asking ... don't take it wrong .
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Old 2nd January 2019, 07:44 AM   #7
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I have doubts if the blade of the sabre shown with the motto "Pro deo et Patria" is a French one.
During the revolution of 1789 until 1804 all symbols of christianity have been destroyed and over that and to emphasize this a new revolutionary calender has been introduced. So a sword made during this time by Boutet in Versailles in France cannot have a motto like the one on this blade. It is absolutely unthinkable. In my opinion the "Pro Deo et Patria" is a typically German or Austrian one, so the blade of this mamelucke sword might have been made at Solingen!
A further reason why I doubt that this blade was the blade of an original mameluck sword: Why should a moslem, and mamelucks have been moslems throughout, should have used a blade with such a motto. In case the blade has been a lute of war then the sword isn't an original!!
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Old 6th January 2019, 03:02 PM   #8
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No answers of the owner? Makes me pensif because I was looking forward to an interesting discussion. Obviously I was wrong!
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Old 7th January 2019, 07:29 PM   #9
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Hello Udo,

Deus translates as Allah in an Islamic context; I don't think the word per se would necessarily raise an eyebrow during that period if the blade was deemed desirable by the owner...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 7th January 2019, 09:13 PM   #10
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I think it’s time to re-read post #1 of the thread again, and re-open that bottle of Armagnac!

It’s a beautiful sword which I would not mind having in my collection.
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Old 8th January 2019, 02:33 PM   #11
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
...Deus translates as Allah in an Islamic context; I don't think the word per se would necessarily raise an eyebrow during that period if the blade was deemed desirable by the owner...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
I think it’s time to re-read post #1 of the thread again, and re-open that bottle of Armagnac!
It’s a beautiful sword which I would not mind having in my collection...

Let it be no doubt;Fabrice's sabre is obviously an excellent sword ... with or without Armagnac ; and definitely i wouldn't mind to swap it for my example . Perhaps the issue was to whether its blade is consistent with the hilt where it is mounted on, in the context of such proposed timeline.
We learn that Napoleon brought back in his and his officers luggage from the Egypt campaign (August 1799) a bunch of Mameluke sabres as also some unmounted blades (not hilts), all as expectedly of Islamic nature, those often called Sabres du Retour d'Egypte (Les Sabres portés par l'armée Francaise by Lhoste/Resek). Those were strong curved blades, with a variable pronounced fleche (bow) often with over 10 cms. and Coranic decorations.
Following the steps of such culture, why would a Mameluke trooper (or officer) preferred a blade captured in Austerlitz to that of his reputedly excellent original one; possibly because such one was damaged ? or to honor himself for the new blade capture ... a remote possibility, i am afraid.
Alright, he wouldn't necessarily know that the "Pro Deo et Patria" theme was not such an unique catch, as we may see out there, including in THIS very forum.
But curiously this said inscription may be seen also in more than one existing blades mounted on Mameluke style sabres, as if this was a current procedure.
Food for thought .

.
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