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Old 10th July 2007, 07:39 PM   #61
eftihis
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Erlikhan,
Interesting observation! I do not know the names of these people and the exact date of the photo. The photo is from a book regarding the Pontic Greek guerilla war and uprooting from Pontos during 1920s. It could be a photo from a group that was using whatever they had, or it could be an older studio photo. The description states "Greek guerillas from Trabzon area" However, it could be possible that the photo is older than the 20s, and the wealthiest and more respectfull person which sits in the middle had the means or the authority for the more modern weapon (he also has nicer knifes) and the other were standing withwhatever they had there. MAybe they were all guerillas latter and this is an earlier photo.
Recently, they were on sale on ebay other photos of Pontic Greeks which i attach below.
The first has a date 1898, and the weapons reflect the mix of that era of change! A Martini rifle together with a flintlock pistol.
The second photo shows for sure guerillas on the countryside (their names on the back of the photo) and the weapons are more modern. Nice trabzon kamas always thought!
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Old 10th July 2007, 09:57 PM   #62
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Wonderful photos, Eftihis. Since some of these photos are studio photos I wonder if some of the archaic flintlock weapons were included there for the purpose of additional decoration? 1898 really is late for flintlock pistols, and the man pictured obviously has access to modern firearms as evidenced by the Martini rifle. Maybe he thought that a pistol with silver decorated butt will enhance his picture more than an unadorned revolver?
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Old 10th July 2007, 10:04 PM   #63
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Eftihis, in 1920s, fllintlock weapons should be too out of age, just antique pieces even then. They are unpractical and risky to depend on against armed enemies. 1898 sounds more logical,..perhaps.. But studio or countryside, if these are original pictures of period warriors, I don't think these though guys would like to look funny and ridiculous at all. If they preferred to get pictured with flintlocks, it means it was not very odd for their environment. So we can accept flintlocks continued in use upto the last of 19th c. in some far parts of Turkey. I had watched some documentary films from 1921, showing workers in Turkish armory workshops, repairing,sharpening and preparing yataghans to equip soldiers, collected from civilians and brought there in big bunches, any kind of,from ordinary horn hilts to ivory ones at least 40-50 years old in 1921, as well as modern bayonets and swords in Turko-Greek war. Perhaps some examples of a very high limit of shortage,poverty and "whatever they had" as you say.

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Old 10th July 2007, 11:45 PM   #64
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Let me draw your attention to one small detail in the photo that Eftihis so kindly provided. The blade in that example, while sheathed, is obviously not as dramatically curved as one often finds. Notice the lack of the large swell in the center of the scabbard. I believe this to be a variant with typically split horn hilt but fairly regular saber style blade. I once had a similar example which had the typical Black Sea Yat handle but a saber blade with shallow curvature but typical fullering often found on these examples. So, interesting that you have 2 distinct Black Sea Yat blade profiles, greatly recurved and saber style with little curvature yet both with same handle.
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Old 11th July 2007, 12:11 AM   #65
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Outstanding Rick!!!
These photos are great, and as you have observed that these had variations. As I mentioned in my most recent post, there are a number of types from the same general regions, and it would be great to see illustrations of them. There are examples of these extremely recurved blades with sabre type hilts and vice versa.

As I mentioned I am hoping that we might consider the horned hilt in discussion. B.I.had mentioned in an earlier post on this thread that a distinguished member of the board of the Askeri Museum in Istanbul had completed a map detailing regional locations of many of the variations.
It would be most interesting to know details of that map!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th August 2007, 08:44 PM   #66
Tatyana Dianova
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Today I've got a new book "Edged Weapons in the Collection of the Russian Museum of Ethnography" and found there a couple of interesting examples. The first one was aquired during the museum expedition to Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1934 and is attributed to Kazakhs. The origin of other 2 is unknown.
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Old 6th August 2007, 09:59 PM   #67
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That is a beautifully photographed album but its content is severely lacking in terms of accuracy.
As to the "Black Sea Yatagan" per se, it is interesting that these weapons migrated about as they did, however this should not be taken as an indicator of origin.

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Old 13th September 2007, 05:59 AM   #68
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More on this legend sword. This photo shows the Pontian ancestors of a Greek family, around 1900. Look the hilt
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Old 13th September 2007, 12:44 PM   #69
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You can definitely see the curve of the blade and the pudgey scabbard, as well.
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Old 21st January 2008, 02:22 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eftihis
Erlikhan,
Interesting observation! I do not know the names of these people and the exact date of the photo. The photo is from a book regarding the Pontic Greek guerilla war and uprooting from Pontos during 1920s. It could be a photo from a group that was using whatever they had, or it could be an older studio photo. The description states "Greek guerillas from Trabzon area" However, it could be possible that the photo is older than the 20s, and the wealthiest and more respectfull person which sits in the middle had the means or the authority for the more modern weapon (he also has nicer knifes) and the other were standing withwhatever they had there. MAybe they were all guerillas latter and this is an earlier photo.
Recently, they were on sale on ebay other photos of Pontic Greeks which i attach below.
The first has a date 1898, and the weapons reflect the mix of that era of change! A Martini rifle together with a flintlock pistol.
The second photo shows for sure guerillas on the countryside (their names on the back of the photo) and the weapons are more modern. Nice trabzon kamas always thought!


Artzi has a new Kindjal on his site and has graciously gave me permission to reference it here. He even put a " Not for sale" sign for the duration of our discussions.
Many thanks!
OK, here it is :
http://www.oriental-arms.com/item.php?id=2883
This is a typical South Caucasian/North Turkish kindjal, usually attributed to Minghrelians,Gurians etc. As Eftihis shows , these kindjals were also worn by Pontian Greeks, and earlier posts ( Erlikhan?) had a picture of a Laz family displaying similar weapons.
What is so specific about them? Square pommel and relatively blunt tip.
But the interesting part for our discussion is the scabbard, ie leatherwork.
Tirri in his book noticed similarities between the leatherwork on Laz Bicagi's scabbards and Danagil knives. This was one of his main arguments in attributing the BSY not to the Black Sea area, but to North Africa.
But here we have a typical Caucasian weapon, kindjal, from a very defined area, North Turkey, with the same leatherwork. That is yet another argument in favor of ( already well established) Caucasian provenance of Laz Bicagi. Interestingly, Artzi's example has it leatherwork dyed green; exactly the color used on most Laz Bicagis ( see, for example, post by Tim on this thread and dated Oct. 12, 2005)
Once again, thanks to Artzi for his help.
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Old 21st January 2008, 04:09 PM   #71
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Thanks so much for you commentary on this! I saw it on his site but was waiting for it to sell before asking about it. What with my own BS Yatagan, I am very interested in the origins of Tirri's in particular. I do have a question though. Earlier in this thread I think it is mentioned that the similarity between African leather work and that of Tirri's yatagan could be explained by Laz pirates traveling to N. Africa, and perhaps incorporating local decoration. This would also explain the relative rarity of this sort of leather work on this particular weapon type. My question is, why could this new kinjal not also be an example of this sort of cross-culturalization? I gather from your post that this leatherwork appearing on kinjal is also uncommon to see, and surely such a weapon could have travelled just as the BS yatagan.

Of course this is rather playing the devil's advocate, and begs the question: How does one actually prove that this leather work is in fact Causcasian, and not a direct influence from N. Africa? How many weapons, or must it appear on items that would not possibly have travelled?

Your continued posting of your expertise is invaluable to those of us who are far less studied, and greatly appreciated!

--Radleigh
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Old 21st January 2008, 06:39 PM   #72
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I agree Radleigh, Ariels expertise is indeed much appreciated, and I have often been impressed by his continued research on this transcaucasian mystery weapon. My own research on the Black Sea yataghan began about 1995 when I obtained my first example. I was extremely excited as it did appear to be an extremely rare form, and only mentioned (and illustrated) in very obscure references.Most of my research was secondary, spent in reconfirming provenance of the weapons in the early article from 1941 (Denmark) and contacting Gerhard Seifert, the author of the 1962 "Schwert Degen Sabel" who surprisingly told me that the information from his book on these 'Kurdish/Armenian yataghans' as he captioned it, was obtained from the author of the 1941 article.
Through the years, more examples surfaced, and by the time I encountered Tony Tirri in Baltimore (just prior to publication of his book) I was pretty much astounded by the fact that he based his theory of North African origin on these by a single example, which did indeed reflect compelling similarities to African weapons.

There is a long and interesting trail of posts and threads on these fascinating weapons, which has been even more fascinating to me as added to my own research of years prior to these forum references and Tirri's book. I think Ariel did indeed prove conclusively the origins of the BSY, which was extremely exciting for me when my own conclusions were validated.

It is not often that a mysterious ethnographic edged weapon with such a vaguely represented past has its ancestry so plausibly revealed, especially given the intense diffusion of these weapons in times of diaspora and geopolitical flux. It is times like these and with these kind of results that I am reminded of why we all band together in our serious study of these weapons to resolve errors often found in published material, and properly preserve the true history of these weapons.

Thanks again Ariel for the tenacity and continued research supporting the findings on these fascinating weapons!

All very best regards,
Jim
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Old 21st January 2008, 07:02 PM   #73
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Hi Jim! Thanks for your response. I don;t want to misrepresent what I'm asking here. I think based only on what's on the forum it is clear that, as a form, the BS yatagan is a Caucasian weapon. I'm more interested specifically in Tirri's one example, and why it (and mine, and this kindjal) have such decoration as to think they are N. African. I guess my question is whether it is more likely that this mode of decoration developed indeppendently as a rare form of decoration in the Causcuses, or whether it developed because of N. African influence, or whether these weapons originated in the Caucuses and were decorated in N. Africa.

By no means am I suggesting Ariel's (or your) attribution as to the origin of this weapon as a type is incorrect. I'm just trying to determine if there is a real reasaon for the orginal source of the confusion.

Thanks for all you do here as well, to be sure!

--Radleigh
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Old 21st January 2008, 08:30 PM   #74
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Hi Radleigh,
I didn't mean to sound as if there was any negative connotation in your post, which there was decidely not, I simply wanted to concur with your very positive comments on Ariel and his observations.

I very much like your very well placed questions in trying to find the possible explanations for the similarities in decoration and if there are identifiable links to support such influences. This is one of the key elements of the serious study of ethnographic weapons and thier development as well as thier diffusion and influence.
Thank you for the very kind words, and please do maintain asking these kinds of questions on weapons as they appear here on the forum. This is the kind of approach I always hope for as weapons are posted. I look forward to hearing answers from those here who are known to be highly knowledgable on weapons of these regions.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 21st January 2008, 09:02 PM   #75
Jens Nordlunde
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Gentlemen,

I have, over the years, read about your Black See yataghan, and I have started to wonder, when is a yatagan a yatagan and when is it a yatagan?

The yatagan blades seem to be more and more artistic, so could you please give a clear definition of what such a blade looks like.
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Old 21st January 2008, 09:32 PM   #76
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Very good observation Jens, the term 'yataghan' on these swords is somewhat misapplied, and it seems that the application of the term derives from the 1941 article where these were identified as Kurdish-Armenian yataghans. Obviously the term itself seems to have a quite general use in some cases, as for example, the 'Salawar yataghan' which actually refers to the 'Khyber knife' . These typically huge knives are of course actually short swords, with a huge butcher knife blade shape with has nothing remotely to do with the forward curved yataghan blade.

As is so often the case, terminology in the study of ethnographic weapons is confounding, to say the least!

It should be noted that these 'Black Sea yataghans' with horned hilts, have blades that sometimes deviate from the most common needle point, recurved blades to heavier and slightly curved blades. For that matter, the horned hilt is also not always present as the examples sometimes have an almost kindjhal like pommel.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 22nd January 2008, 12:29 AM   #77
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OK, guys, many thanks for the compliments, but they are misplaced.
The Black Sea origin of the BSY was known to many ( Artzi, for sure!) well before my trip to Istanbul. The presence of similar specimens in the Askeri Muze was also mentioned by others.
My only "contribution" was asking a young curator there the local name for it, and reporting here that it was Laz Bicagi. Beyond that, I added zilch to the issue.
As to the term "yataghan", it also comes from the origin: "Black Sea Yataghan" is a literal translation of "Karadeniz Yataghan". Astvatsaturyan in her book "Turkish weapons" shows a gorgeous example with ivory handle ( BTW, more "ear-like" than the usual horns) from the collection of the State Historical Museum. The caption reads (in exact translation) " Yataghan of original form". I already had a short fistfight with a non-Russian enthusiast who wanted to announce an Earth-shattering theory that this type of sword was in fact an "Ur" yataghan, based on the literal translation of the word "original". In fact, Russians use the word "original'nyi" to indicate " unusual".
As the mouse said after barking at the cat and frightening it into immediate retreat " It is nice to know foreign languages"

BTW, can the moderators permanently attach a picture of Artzi's kindjal to this thread? Hope he does not mind.
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Old 22nd January 2008, 06:34 AM   #78
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Old 22nd January 2008, 01:21 PM   #79
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Dear Artzi,
You are a prince!
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Old 22nd January 2008, 04:16 PM   #80
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Artzi, thank you very much for posting this extremely impressive kindjhal, which indeed shows the green leather as seen on the large elliptical scabbards sometimes seen on the BSY scabbards. Please excuse the inadvertant omission of your research into these interesting weapons in my previous comments. Naturally your position on these was indeed well known on these many years before Ariels visit to Istanbul, and I was remiss in not mentioning Lee's notes on the weapon from his own visit to Istanbul.

Ariel, I appreciate your notes bringing this to my attention, as well as your very gentlemanly modesty. My compliments were meant to address more specifically your attention to the continued pursuit of resolution concerning the many questions pertaining to these mysterious swords.
I would like to thank you additionally for the explanation of how the term 'yataghan' came to be applied to these as well. Your attention to detail is very much appreciated, as I wondered the same thing that Jens had noted.

All very best regards,
Jim
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