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Old 4th December 2004, 10:51 PM   #1
eftihis
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Default Black sea yataghan, again!

Hallo,
I couldnt resist sending the photo i found in the book "The industrial heritage of costume design in Turkey" by Pr. Onder Kucukerman. On page 60, there is the photo showing "clothing of muslim villagers and townspeople", in Trabzon 1870. This city is in Laz area of the black sea, or "Pontos" as we call it in Greek. I have also seen before a photo of a Greek -Christan Laz wearing the same yataghan.
By the way, i am sending some photos of black sea yataghans from the Athens military museum.
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Old 4th December 2004, 11:33 PM   #2
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This is wonderful!
This picture is exactly what was missing from our discussions over the years and represents the final proof of the origin of the mysterious "Laz Bicagi"!
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Old 5th December 2004, 01:09 AM   #3
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Ummm, not trying to cause trouble, but are we sure that this is 'final proof' of the origin of this type of yataghan? Could it also mean that the weapon had been around long enough to have been adopted as a traditional weapon of the Laz? Or, if the Laz had been joined by peoples caused to relocate because of political changes in the Caucasian regions, would they not have adapted and/or modified their weapons over time? Sorry, just nagging questions.
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Old 5th December 2004, 02:21 AM   #4
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VERY GOOD PICTURES THE WARRIOR TO THE RIGHT DEFINITELY HAS ONE BUT THE ONE IN THE CENTER APPEARS TO HAVE A KINJAL , DID THEY USE THEM IN THAT AREA ALSO?. NICE MUSEUM PICTURES , WAS THERE ANY ACCOMPANYING INFORMATION WITH THE SWORDS THERE?
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Old 5th December 2004, 05:03 AM   #5
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Yes, these are definitely Laz people. But they never relocated - contrary, Turkey conquered their area. I would guess they adopted turkish yataghans.
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Old 5th December 2004, 05:11 AM   #6
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btw eftihis - is it your kindjal I just got off e-bay ?
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Old 5th December 2004, 05:33 AM   #7
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Thumbs up Outstanding !

I feel great pride after watching this particular enigma comming to a happy end... I would like to emphatise with all of you who joined the ,,Black Sea yataghan,, discussions over this two years and thank the ,,heroes,, ... BRAVO !!!
Next on the list : the Afghan LOHAR !!!
And if we knock that one down as well we are going ,,academic,, with the Forum !!!
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Old 5th December 2004, 07:52 AM   #8
eftihis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
VERY GOOD PICTURES THE WARRIOR TO THE RIGHT DEFINITELY HAS ONE BUT THE ONE IN THE CENTER APPEARS TO HAVE A KINJAL , DID THEY USE THEM IN THAT AREA ALSO?. NICE MUSEUM PICTURES , WAS THERE ANY ACCOMPANYING INFORMATION WITH THE SWORDS THERE?


The sign in the museum says "turkish swords", but you cannot count on their descriptions, they are very generalised, and lack specific information.
All these belonged to the "Saroglou collection". He was a wealthy officer in the Greek army at the end of 19th and beggining of the 20th century, and created a really huge collection of western european, eastern, Japanese and exotic weapons also. He donated everything uppon his death to the Grek army, and his house is today the officers club of Athens. (his collection stayed there for many years and now in in Athens war museum).

If you like, i can start a new thread sending photos from the collection.
Rivkin, yes, the kindjal you bought was from me, i hope you liked it!
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Old 5th December 2004, 03:29 PM   #9
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Concerning kindjals - these guys are kind of georgians, so kindjals are must have.

eftihis: Well, there were certain flustrating moments,
but yes, I like it a lot, we are trying to identify it right now. Would you know how it appeared in Greece ?
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Old 6th December 2004, 02:30 PM   #10
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Red face ops!

Well, I was away for 1,5 month and I found a bright new forum, and a solution in an old mystery!!!

Well done Lee

Well done Eftihis

And big shame on me!!!

Shame on me because I have more than 3 years to visit Military Museum of Athens. Since then I have learn a lot and I could find interesting things to share with you.

Shame on me because I have a calendar (2002) with Saroglou Collection and I thought that that was all. But no, as Eftihis notice it is more. Black Sea yataghans are an example. So I have to go and see it.

Anyway. I love the new features of this forum...
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Old 6th December 2004, 02:48 PM   #11
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Longfellow,
Just wanted to agree with your very astute and well placed observation. While it is extremely exciting to at last have pictorial evidence showing one of these mysterious sabres being worn by an individual of an identifiable group, it is by no means conclusive as to the origins of these weapons.
It is well known these geopolitical regions were constantly in flux , and various groups were diffused continually into other areas, so your note on the possibility of these weapons being introduced to the Laz from elsewhere has key plausibility.
The most important factor in this new evidence is that it soundly places these weapons in this cultural sphere and suggests against previous claims to North African ancestry for them.
Best regards,
Jim
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Old 6th December 2004, 03:50 PM   #12
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I have no doubt that it was brought to Laz by Turks. Yataghan is not a genuine caucasian weapon.
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Old 6th December 2004, 04:21 PM   #13
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Rivkin,
You're right, the yataghan is definitely not a Caucasian weapon, and this has been emphatically noted by contacts there. These recurved sabres are not yataghans in the true sense in that the yataghan typically has a forward or downward curved cutting edge, these have a bellied /convex cutting edge.
While these are established in Turkish regions they seem to be more aligned with Armenian/Kurdish association and reflect certain Persian influences.

The term yataghan is used in various cases in a very generic sense, such as with the so called Khyber knife, which is actually a large short sword and often colloquially termed 'Salawar yataghan'.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th December 2004, 05:48 PM   #14
Yannis
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Default maybe...

I dont want to sound like nationalist or something but I am thinking this:

Black Sea has habitants since the most ancient times. You may have heard of Jason and his Argonautes. It is the ancient Greek myth about the exploration of the area. This myth is prehistoric. Before Homer.

Also, as we know the origin of yataghan comes from kopis, the ancient greek sword.

Laz are lowland Caucasians. Their traditions, music and dances are quite the same with Pontic Greeks, that never moved from the area till early 20th century after a turkish aggression (but this is another story).

Also the hilt of a Black Sea yataghan reminds me the antenae hilts of other ancient swords.

My point is that this sword didnt ever left the area. After Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Turks... it survived somehow against all odds.

Like in Pontic Greek language they have survive homeric words lost in modern greek.
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Old 6th December 2004, 06:58 PM   #15
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Yannis,
Good points! The Greek influence has remained very distinctly in many elements of the cultural spheres of Central Asia, the Black Sea and Northern India. You are also on target about the influence of the kopis on the yataghan and a number of related weapons, but again the dynamics are somewhat different with convex vs. concave cutting edge.

The Caucusus, Georgia in specific, has been well established as the Colchis of Greek legend and the tales of Jason and his Argonauts. These legendary adventures place early presence of Greeks in these regions, as evidence of many early Greek settlements and trade posts which endured for considerable centuries in the Black Sea littoral. This established ancient influence does however seem to elude most of the more recent weapon forms in the Caucusus which correspond more to other influences from nomadic tribal diffusion which are also relatively more recent.

Your note on similarity of the hilt to the ancient antenna swords of the surrounding regions (i.e. Hallstadt, Burton fig.284, scramasax which has similarly curved blade as well) is also well placed, and it has been suggested that the general form of these horned 'yataghans' may recall such ancient ancestry in the Assyrian 'sapara' (Burton fig.221).The 'horned' theme on the pommels of these has equally been suggested to represent totemic value as found in tribal symbolism in these regions. The more obvious association to the Ottoman crescent does not seem applicable, and there are a number of variations in the shape of these pommels.

Excellent observations Yannis ! and nothing at all 'nationalistic' about being proud of a wonderful country which provided such rich heritage that reached a magnitude that prevails worldwide!!
All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th December 2004, 07:17 PM   #16
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Great discussion,

I have included a scan from BRON I UZBROJENIE TATAROW (I can't find the italic font) Fig 66 on page 117. This Tatar blade, which most likely was made in the Black sea region, crossed with a standard Yataghan would look very similar to the Black sea yataghan (at least in my opinion).

Jeff
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Old 6th December 2004, 07:54 PM   #17
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Hi Jeff,
Excellent!! Thats exactly the mail piercing point of predominantly Tatar sabres, especially the 'ordynka' as previously mentioned, and seems to be present on most of these 'Black Sea yataghan' blades in the most commonly seen form. It has always been a puzzle why this feature appears as well on the 'flyssa' of Algeria, which is obviously considerably distant geographically. This seems to have drawn early comparisons between these and the mysterious yataghans that as yet elude any distinct connection.
Thank you for posting this!
All the best,
Jim
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Old 7th December 2004, 04:33 AM   #18
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I would say that majority of Laz today identifies themself as "brave turks". They have little loyalties towards gurdzhu or pan-megrelian nationalists.

In the process of turkish assimilation they've adopted turkish lifestyle. Whether their yataghans are part of it or not, is hard to say, but the connection with egyptian is far too thin (and btw usually pro-egyptian theorists use Herodot and the battle of Kodesh - the first recorded battle with georgian mercenaries figthing in it).
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