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Old 10th December 2012, 07:06 PM   #1
SLS
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Hello, dear Forum Members.
I recently aquired this knife, so I would like to present it to you. It comes from Romania, from the Northern part of Muntenia (Wallachia). I have not gathered enough information about it yet, I hope to do so in the near future. Anyway, as you can see, it is hand forged, no signs of file work, bone handle...I left it uncleaned, for now - there is also a question regarding the blade, that would be the presence of blood stains on top of it (different rust colour). The object was not advertised as being blood stained, I just developed a sensitive relation to this idea.
Lenght - almost 37 cm.
So, in short, a rather rare item around here - could be an 18th Century Haiduc's or peasant's weapon, rather than a regular soldier's...Still in doubt.

thank you

S.L.S.
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Old 10th December 2012, 08:02 PM   #2
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SLS,

This type of knives are quite common in Bulgaria, and were probably quite wide spread from Wallachia to the Aegean. They are referred to as shepherd's knives, though I suspect they were used by all kinds of farm workers. I would definitely clean the blade to prevent it from further corrosion.

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Teodor
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Old 10th December 2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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Thank you, Teodor.
Yes, I have noticed some similar knives from Bulgaria... It's a very valuable information, thanks again. I am very interested in finding tools, weapons from this area - peasant, sheppherd communities. I should do a bigger research on this topic, considering that there are some bulgarian communities here, in Romania. There must have been lots of (other than cheese making) changes between the two sheppherd cultures...Considering that sheppherds used to travel really a lot...

Sașa-Liviu
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Old 10th December 2012, 09:16 PM   #4
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...what I forgot to ask, Teodor - the ”pommel” on this type of knife is different comparing to the bulgarian ones I saw, which seem to have a more curve, ”yatagan-like” hilt. Is there any way to trace the knife based on this thing? Its place of ”birth” and so...If, of course, we exclude Wallachia.

thanks, again

Sașa-Liviu
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Old 11th December 2012, 12:26 AM   #5
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Sasa-Liviu,

Treasure hunter (the archaeologists do not publish such mundane items) finds suggest that knives of similar form and construction were used in the Balkans since at least late antiquity. They are certainly of a utilitarian nature and the massive pommel could be used as a hammer or pestle, for example for cracking nuts, etc. Since collectors and dealers (especially dealers) want to present these as shepherds knives, used by shepherds for self defense, one version is that the pommel was used for cracking open the skulls of lambs in order to gain access to the brain, a delicacy.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 11th December 2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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Hello, again, Teodor.
Pommel in question could be used for smashing various things, no doubt about that . What interests me is the shape and its possible link to a certain place or period.
”Balkan” is indeed a vague term sometimes - I can only think that Romania is rather ”Balkan-influenced”, to a certain extent, than a real Balkan country (it is, of course, a Carpathian one, and the Carpathian Arch is full of surprises as well).
I noticed your interest and knowledge towards Balkan blades and I wonder - is there any study on this topic you could recommend? I do not seem to find much online resources about the non-military weapons of the area, so I would gladly appreciate any hints.

thanks,
Sașa-Liviu

p.s.
As for the cleaning...well, there is a strong patina on the blade - I only removed the new/red rust and oiled the surface. I guess that would be enough for now.
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Old 11th December 2012, 07:40 PM   #7
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Sasa-Liviu,

The best book on Balkan weapons is "The Arms of Greece and Her Balkan Neighbors" by Robert Elgood. It concentrates on the Western and Southern Balkans only, but is by far the most thorough study on the subject. It is quite affordable and I highly recommend getting a copy.

Apart from Elgood's book there are various other supplemental books:
- "Turetskoe Orujie" by Astvatsaturian deals with Ottoman Arms in general, including a good deal that would be found on the Balkans.
- "Weaponry of the Past" by Kovacheva an Daskalov is a book about antique arms from Bulgaria from the Ottoman period, with some limited passages about karakulaks and other edged weapons, but still focuses mostly on the manufacture and decoration of firearms.
- There are Turkish and Croatian catalogues of yataghans, from the Askeri Museum and the Croatian History Museum in Zagreb, respectively. Not much info, in Turkish and Croatian (almost no English), but a great deal of pictures, with good quality pictures in the Turkish book.

There could be more books: the above are just the ones I have and therefore could comment on. You can probably add more to the list. For example there has been a small book circulating on eBay, in which the author has published his collection of edged weapons, mostly knives and daggers.

Regards,
Teodor
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