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Old 15th July 2019, 09:33 PM   #1
Khelben
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Default Origin of this Yataghan? (With pictures!)

Hi! New to the forum. The first time I tried to post it apparently all of my attachments failed to upload (Too Big) and I didn't notice. I think I am still in a "moderators must approve your threads" phase, and so I hope they will just delete that one. I have thus resized the images to fit the forum's limitations, and this time around it accepted them.

So, I received this Yataghan when my dad died, along with several other swords and Bayonets. He thought it was a Turkish Yataghan, but I suspect that was largely more of a "Turks had Yataghans" thing, because upon looking for something comparable, mine is quite different, particularly in the hilt.

I'm looking for some help identifying what the source of this sword could be, with it's more westernized looking hilt.

Is it a Turkish export to be sold to Europeans? Has someone replaced the original hilt with a new one? What am I looking at here? Have any of you guys seen one like this before?
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Old 15th July 2019, 10:58 PM   #2
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To me, based on the blade and bolster, this looks like a Greek yataghan that was rehilted at some point, with the hilt being inspired by bayonet brass hilts such as those on the Chassepot bayonet.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 16th July 2019, 03:08 AM   #3
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Thanks. That's very helpful.

Is there a database I could look through to identify the maker's mark, that you know of, or are there not good records for that sort of thing?
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Old 16th July 2019, 08:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
To me, based on the blade and bolster, this looks like a Greek yataghan that was rehilted at some point, with the hilt being inspired by bayonet brass hilts such as those on the Chassepot bayonet.

Regards,
Teodor


I disagree with Teodor, I don't think that each time we have a yataghan with silver niello work it has to be Greek. I could have been done in any place from Turkey to Bosnia.

what is very intriguing are the 4 dots, are they rivets? Can you do more photos and close-ups?
It looks like a replacement hilt, but the tang was reworked too.
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Old 16th July 2019, 03:51 PM   #5
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Please see http://atkinson-swords.com/collecti...han-turkey.html where another circular mark can be viewed on a Yatagan. The example at web is Ottoman.
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Old 16th July 2019, 06:28 PM   #6
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Anything is possible, and there was a lot of movement of blades and even craftsmen within the Ottoman Empire. However, decorative techniques and motives were based on regional preference, and the shape and decoration of the bolster is associated with Greece. The style of the blade, with the upturned tip is also a Cretan and Greek characteristic. So based on this, it seems most likely that this yataghan was made in Greece. Where it was used and subsequently rehilted is hard to tell, at least for me, but at least we can make an educated guess on where it was originally produced.

Teodor
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Old 16th July 2019, 08:51 PM   #7
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I agree with Theodor on 100%.The style of work is Greek
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Old 16th July 2019, 09:05 PM   #8
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In my novice opinion this is neither Greek, nor Turkish but most likely Balkan yatghan.
The blade might be Turkish but then re-hilted in the Balkans.
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Old 16th July 2019, 10:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
The style of the blade, with the upturned tip is also a Cretan and Greek characteristic. So based on this, it seems most likely that this yataghan was made in Greece. Where it was used and subsequently rehilted is hard to tell, at least for me, but at least we can make an educated guess on where it was originally produced.
Teodor


MMMMm i would like to believe you but i don't know where you got your information's. Please look at a reference book like Arms of Greece and you will see that it's not true. Books are always the answer. If someone can translate Russian we will see, maybe Teodor is right...

Second point for Kelhben here is a list of stamps similars to yours.

Kubur
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Old 16th July 2019, 10:09 PM   #10
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Maybe this one
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Old 16th July 2019, 10:59 PM   #11
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I also agree with Teodor: rehilted Cretan yataghan.
As to attributing it to the Ottoman Empire, let’s not forget that in the early 19 century Balkans, Crete, Greece were all parts of it.
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Old 16th July 2019, 11:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
MMMMm i would like to believe you but i don't know where you got your information's. Please look at a reference book like Arms of Greece and you will see that it's not true. Books are always the answer. If someone can translate Russian we will see, maybe Teodor is right...

Second point for Kelhben here is a list of stamps similars to yours.

Kubur


Astvatsaturian attributes these to Eastern Anatolia, based on the niello and similarities to niello decoration on arms from Georgia. It is a book full of great pictures, but the conclusions are based on the author's guesses, which she admits herself in the book. Not being able to read Russian does not really detract much, to be honest.

In Elgood's book I do not recall yataghans with this shape to the bolster as attributed to areas outside of Greece, and there are plenty of examples in the chapter dedicated to arms associated with the Greek War of Independence. But it would be a good idea for me to go through the book again.

Teo
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Old 17th July 2019, 04:47 AM   #13
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Looking through Elgood's book, in the chapter on yataghans on p. 146, figure 167 shows a yataghan with a similar bolster described by Elgood as originating from Crete or Southern Greece. He does not show that many yataghans of this type, unfortunately - the other one in the same chapter just has a date, no attribution. Lord Byron had a smaller dagger of the same type.

Teodor
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Old 17th July 2019, 04:55 AM   #14
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Astvatsaturian’s book is based exclusively on the materials from the State Historical Museum ( Kremlin) and, in a smaller part, from St. Petersburg collection ( Hermitage? I am too lazy to check her book). She tried to develop systematic classification of yataghan origins based on decorative elements. But the final product reminded the tongue-in cheek passage from the Borges’ scheme allegedly taken from an ancient Chinese manuscript about classification of animals: “ those belonging to the Emperor, suckling pigs, frenzied, sirens, fabulous , etc...”
Really good specialists lived in Istanbul’s Topkapi and Askeri Muze, and in Yugoslavia. But she could not go there: Turkey was a NATO country and Yugoslavian Tito professed independent view of socialism, being a traitor of Lenin-Stalin’s dogma. Thus, for example, anything with niello was viewed by her as coming from Eastern Anatolia due to her belief that Soviet Caucasus was the cradle of niello-ed silver ( like the current example). Maria Shercer and Dora
Boscovich could have educated her , but... alas, trip to Tito’s lair of anti-Soviet ideology was out of the question.


On top of that, Astvatsaturian did not know foreign languages and her transliteration of foreign names of weapons was pathetic in its ignorance. There were independent sabers klych and klykh, mech and megg etc. She was a talented , productive and dedicated historian of weapons but she had a misfortune of living and working in a wrong country. Her book about more familiar subject, i. e. Caucasian weapons, is a masterpiece however.

In her defense, even contemporary Turkish books, such as Yasar’s “ Yataghans” are just as bad: every example there is labeled as just “Ottoman” :-)

Last edited by ariel : 17th July 2019 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 17th July 2019, 09:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Looking through Elgood's book, in the chapter on yataghans on p. 146, figure 167 shows a yataghan with a similar bolster described by Elgood as originating from Crete or Southern Greece. He does not show that many yataghans of this type, unfortunately - the other one in the same chapter just has a date, no attribution. Lord Byron had a smaller dagger of the same type.

Teodor


Precisely there is nothing in this chapter to support your assumption on the blade or even the bolster...
I'm ready to be convinced and to change my mind just give me something solid.
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Old 17th July 2019, 02:01 PM   #16
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Don't we have any Turkish forum members with access to Turkish bibliography?

I wonder what happened to Zifir?!

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Old 17th July 2019, 02:11 PM   #17
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For the benefit of Khelben and anyone else who does not have access to Elgood's "The Arms of Greece" here is the page, which shows a yataghan of the distinct style in question, identified as Cretan/South-Western Greek.

Teodor
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Old 17th July 2019, 02:55 PM   #18
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Kubur,
Yataghans, with the exception of Zeibek ones, cannot be attributed by their blades. The latter were produced en masse in unknown centers in Anatolia and the Balkans. Sarajevo is perhaps the only known Bosnian center and the Bulgarian origin of some can be tentatively suspected by their modest appearance . From there they were sold all over the Empire. You may want to re-read Elgood for the descriptions of trade. The blades were then dressed according to local tastes and that usually serves as the only more or less reliable identifier.

If you can provide an unbeatable system of localizing the origin of yataghan blades, you will deserve our undying gratitude. Meanwhile, we shall stick to the decorations, fully understanding their tentative value. We cannot do better than that. Help us. The ball is in your court.
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Old 17th July 2019, 02:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
For the benefit of Khelben and anyone else who does not have access to Elgood's "The Arms of Greece" here is the page, which shows a yataghan of the distinct style in question, identified as Cretan/South-Western Greek.

Teodor


Please note that Elgood says "probably"...

Moreover, as I said after reading his book (I think there is a thread with comments on his book) on the arms of Greece, most if not all the attributions of origin in his book are purely anecdotal. He does not explain why a certain piece may be from one place and not from another and is quite silent about the features that characterise each area.

So I cannot consider Elgood's book as a reference!

However, movement of wares and skills was so wide in the Ottomoan empire that in most cases it will be impossibe to establish with a reasonable level of certainty the origin of some pieces.

Dubito ergo cogito...

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 17th July 2019 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 17th July 2019, 03:02 PM   #20
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Teodor,
Precisely.
The art of niello , according to Circassian master Asia Eutykh, was brought to Caucasus by the Greeks. She traces her name to somebody names Eutyhios.
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Old 17th July 2019, 03:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Kubur,
Yataghans, with the exception of Zeibek ones, cannot be attributed by their blades. The latter were produced en masse in unknown centers in Anatolia and the Balkans. Sarajevo is perhaps the only known Bosnian center and the Bulgarian origin of some can be tentatively suspected by their modest appearance . From there they were sold all over the Empire. You may want to re-read Elgood for the descriptions of trade. The blades were then dressed according to local tastes and that usually serves as the only more or less reliable identifier.

If you can provide an unbeatable system of localizing the origin of yataghan blades, you will deserve our undying gratitude. Meanwhile, we shall stick to the decorations, fully understanding their tentative value. We cannot do better than that. Help us. The ball is in your court.


Teodor so you are saying that your attribution based on the blade shape is not a proof. It is the reason why i like this forum but i generaly avoid endless debates, for me its game over. You dont have any proof that this yataghan is Greek.
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Old 17th July 2019, 03:47 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Please note that Elgood says "probably"...

Moreover, as I said after reading his book (I think there is a thread with comments on his book) on the arms of Greece, most if not all the attributions of origin in his book are purely anecdotal. He does not explain why a certain piece may be from one place and not from another and is quite silent about the features that characterise each area.

So I cannot consider Elgood's book as a reference!

However, movement of wares and skills was so wide in the Ottomoan empire that in most cases it will be impossibe to establish with a reasonable level of certainty the origin of some pieces.

Dubito ergo cogito...


"probably" because this man is clever and modest not like us... the forum members....
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Old 17th July 2019, 03:51 PM   #23
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My last word
as Ariel wrote and as we all know
Greece was part of the Balkans
so expect Epirus work that is very easy to distinguish
its extremely difficult to say if a yataghan is Greek or Bosnian or Albanian...
its the reason why Elgood wrote probably
and the reason why i said toTeodor to be more cautious too...
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Old 17th July 2019, 04:30 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Teodor so you are saying that your attribution based on the blade shape is not a proof. It is the reason why i like this forum but i generaly avoid endless debates, for me its game over. You dont have any proof that this yataghan is Greek.


I think you are confusing my and Ariel's responses.

My purpose here is not to convince anyone of anything or "win" debates. It was to answer Khelben's inquiry, based on the information I have at hand. I completely agree with you that the study or antique arms and armor is not an exact science, when it comes to regional and ethnic attribution. That being said, to me, these yataghans are Greek based on Elgood's attribution and their appearance in Greek context (as opposed to Bulgarian, Bosnian, etc.). If you disagree with the Greek attribution, this is perfectly fine, but it would be nice to produce evidence supporting a different attribution, for the education of everyone here.
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Old 17th July 2019, 05:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
I think you are confusing my and Ariel's responses.

My purpose here is not to convince anyone of anything or "win" debates. It was to answer Khelben's inquiry, based on the information I have at hand. I completely agree with you that the study or antique arms and armor is not an exact science, when it comes to regional and ethnic attribution. That being said, to me, these yataghans are Greek based on Elgood's attribution and their appearance in Greek context (as opposed to Bulgarian, Bosnian, etc.). If you disagree with the Greek attribution, this is perfectly fine, but it would be nice to produce evidence supporting a different attribution, for the education of everyone here.


It's the opposite and it's funny that that you turn my question to you into a question to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
However, decorative techniques and motives were based on regional preference, and the shape and decoration of the bolster is associated with Greece. The style of the blade, with the upturned tip is also a Cretan and Greek characteristic. So based on this, it seems most likely that this yataghan was made in Greece.
Teodor


I used Elgood to demonstrate that your attribution was wrong and i asked you to provide evidence.
You didn't provide any evidences and worst you use the reference that I produced as an evidence and you try to put the ball on my side. I even shouldn't waste my time to write... You are not the first forum member to do that. This is not serious and childish. End of.
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Old 17th July 2019, 05:49 PM   #26
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Oh boy, that escalated quickly. Before the moderators act, I will make one more attempt to clarify my participation and position in this thread - it was in response to Khleben, not personally to you, Kubur. I actually value and respect your opinion, Kubur, I really do, even if we disagree on something.

Back to my response in post 2 - I answered Khleben's question based on my knowledge. It is always good to questions answers to make sure whether correct or not, this is what the forum is for and I do not mid that a bit. So I provided a copy of a relevant figure from Elgood's book, which is the only book that actually makes an attempt to attribute yataghans geographically based on the author's study of museum collections in Greece and the Western Balkans.

At this point, it is really up to everyone reading the thread to make their own conclusions based on the information presented here - and hopefully do so without letting their emotions get the better of them.
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Old 17th July 2019, 08:56 PM   #27
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It is very difficult to tell where the yatagan was produced.Therefore we take into account the style of workmanship.Without any hypothesis and fantasy ... the style of work is Greek!Here's an example some of my Ελληνική λεπίδες
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Old 25th July 2019, 03:25 AM   #28
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Sorry for the late reply. Been a hectic and stressful week, with a bunch of houseguests, and a dead pet.

Here are some additional photos people requested, including closeups of the brass rivets in the hilt, and another closeup of the maker's mark. I'll take a look at the maker's mark catalogue that was linked now to see if I can place it.
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Old 29th July 2019, 02:39 AM   #29
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It is not of course a definite answer but when you consider all the examples coming from Greek region of the Ottoman Empire this Yatagan is indeed Greek in origin. Of course the maker and owner was probably Ottoman Turkish.
The handle on the other hand is a obviously a more recent replacement to the lost silver niello handle. There is no discussion there. And the ha Dule is rather made just for practical purposes and looks hideous in my opinion but they probably just wanted to save the nice blade and keep using it. Or someone made ten handle so they can sell the blade because without a handle it’s usually worthless.
I am also surprised how all the respected and valued veteran members here easily get mad and argue for such a petty topic these swords were sold and traveled across continents along with genre owners initially and later with trades and auctions. I bought a Laz Yatagan from Australia imagine that ))
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Old 29th July 2019, 02:41 AM   #30
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By the way I have a very similar Yatagan which came from Serbia but it never crossed my mind to doubt that it wasn’t Greek origin. Serbian Yatahans along with Bulgarians are almost all walrus or horn handle.
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