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Old 8th November 2011, 10:20 PM   #1
Martin Lubojacky
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Default Heavy old sword from Kano

Allow me to come back to my very first thread in this forum - to http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6376

That time I found in Kano heavy sword with the pommel which is typical for the Tebu daggers and swords. Now, 3 and half years later, I found nearly identical sword, again in Kano - No. 1 on the picture below. Total length is 74.5 cms. Blade is again of lenticular profile, very heavy, width 6.4 cms, max. thickness 6.5 mm (in the middle) - and again - if you fillip it, it nicely sounds, like a bell.

In the former thread we tended to Tebu swords. But Tebu swords, which could even be much longer than this sword, have usually been much slimmer and lighter. I know that so called "Tebu type" daggers are common and they can be found nearly anywhere in Sahara or Sahel nowadays, even on the Mediterranean south coast, I know there are varieties - e.g. some of them have (or had) pommels with circumferential "T" hem (see picture of soldier on the cover of the book). Nevertheless, since I did not see this specific "heavy and hefty" type otherwere, I started to ask about its origin in Nigeria. After some time it was told me that it was (allegedly) "former and original Fulani sword from the beginning of 19th century", which was (allegedly) used as a weapon during Fulani Jihad (when they defeated Hausa kingdoms) pararelly with other types of weapons or swords, and that, later, it was (among Fulanis) driven out by Takouba type of sword.... - It may be, that I asked so a long time, that I earned "fairy tale" to be satisfied.

And, last but not least, when I keep this sword in my hand - I feel simmilarity with Roman gladius. It is known about me that I have andless phantasy, but - yet, the shape is simmilar and I think even the weight could be....(and the third Roman line of defence against Garamants went through Sahara.....)

But let me step back on the Earth: I made comparision photo with some other swords - No. 2 and 3 were brought from Maroua and recent finds - No. 4 should be from Adamawa, Local Government Gonbi, Kilba people, and sabre like (No. 5) is allegedly Fali. (but I think all this short swords - maybe except No. 2 - would not have any chance in battle against No. 1)
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Old 9th November 2011, 12:26 AM   #2
Iain
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Hi Martin,

I think I have seen most of these swords before but thanks for the new pictures and interesting stories about them.

I have a few comments and ideas...

First about the large supposedly Fulani sword from Kano. I think the story you were told might not be a fairy tale. The Fulani inside Hausa states did not enjoy the same privileges as the Hausa and often engaged as pastoral herders and livestock owners. The usually lived in separate sections of towns and often had their own villages. In Gobir, they were forbidden to carry arms, the city where Usuman dan Fodiyo grew up.

Perhaps one theory could be that this style of sword was derived from the arm daggers and was simple and easy to make for the Fulani. The takouba of the Hausa would perhaps not be something they normally used if their access to weaponry was legally restricted? Of course it would then be logical that they would adopt the takouba as they conquered Hausa states.

The two swords from Maroua are of course fantastic weapons and I think I have mentioned before that the shorter one is maybe from the Mudang people. I remember from older pictures you showed some years ago there was still some material on the hilts of these two swords? Was it just rust? Or leather? A pity it could not be preserved.

As for what would work in battle... I think like most weapons, much of it is about the user, maybe as much as the weapon.

Best,

Iain
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Old 9th November 2011, 08:15 AM   #3
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi Iain,

Thank you. There was no material on handles of those two swords. If it was there, I would do my best to preserve it. Maybe you think about this http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12296 or another one (I cannot find the thread), which belongs to my friend, now.

Best regards,
Martin
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Old 9th November 2011, 11:02 AM   #4
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Hi Martin,

I was thinking of this photo and I thought it was the same swords.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attach...id=41037&stc=1


I wanted to write a little more about why the Fulani were militarily different from the takouba using Hausa. During the Jihad and particularly at the beginning, the Fulani did not have heavy cavalry or even foot soldiers with heavy spears for countering the cavalry. They relied on archers and very basic infantry. This could be seen particularly in the early battles with Gobir. The Fulani often made good use of the terrain and high ground to make it very difficult for the heavily armored Gobir cavalry and Tuareg mercenaries.

This again gives me a reason to see how this style of sword could have been popular, like a big knife really. The Fulani were really not a strong military force to start with, but they were excellent with tactics and their use of the bow is a little like the English against the French in Medieval times.

Best,

Iain
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Old 9th November 2011, 02:36 PM   #5
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi Iain,

yes, the two swords are the same. And you are right (I apologize) - there was an iron roll around the grip of the heavier sword. I removed it, since I wanted to see the state of the iron grip and I decided to clean it, then. Then we can see the handle of iron mace from Rhoumsiki, I think, and the first heavy sword from Kano.

You have deep knowledge about the relationship between Hausa and Fulani. I think your info really support what "the elders" in Nigeria told me about this heavy knife-style sword.
Regards,
Martin
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Old 9th November 2011, 05:29 PM   #6
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Hi Martin,

Thanks for confirming, I was just wondering what the material was.

There is a great online resource about the Fulani Jihad here: http://www.webpulaaku.net/defte/hasJohnston/toc.html

Very good read!

Best,

Iain
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