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Old 17th February 2007, 04:24 PM   #31
BSMStar
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Default Three clues...

Let me breach another possibility for the “Genoa” stamp.

Jim, you have pointed out that the sword may have been modified in the Caucus and/or the Chechen region… if so, that would place the sword in Mother Russia.

Being in Russia, it opens to possibility of Cyrillic letters. The backward “N” and the letter “л” (the letter lambda, you see it as the letter “A” without the cross bar) are a give-away. This is clue number one.

The theory that it is just simply to mislead and to look like the word Genoa (due to a Genoan connection) would not make sense if we were “Russian” and living in that region. There is a letter “A” in Cyrillic and I would have to assume that the last letter would have been an “A” and not “л” as it was stamped, if the word Genoa was intended. This is clue number two. Therefore, any local Russian would see the word Seiol and not Genoa. In order for the Genoa theory to work, we would have to assume that these swords were stamped for sale to the West. Only western eyes would be “mislead.”

Jim, you have also pointed out a time frame of the later 1800’s… these opens the possibility (building on your other points) that the sword may have survived the October Revolution (of 1918). This is clue number three. In the new Soviet State, no medals or formal award system existed until after the formation of the Federation (“local” medals started production but were still very difficult to obtain in the field). Decorations for valor in the battlefield usually consisted of items confiscated by the Red Army in the name of the people. Guns, swords, daggers, and even clothing were handed out as decorations, usually with hand written citations. It was not too unusual to have the persons name engraved or stamped on the item (depending on the importance of the recipient, availability to do the engraving and so on).

Therefore, I would like to suggest, there maybe other explanations for the “Genoa” stamp.

Best regards,

Wayne
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Old 17th February 2007, 11:17 PM   #32
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Hi Wayne,
Extremely well written and thought out post responding to the Genoa markings and Caucasian trade blades!
Actually what I was suggesting, and apparantly could have worded better, was that this blade, of uncertain origin appears to have had motif and the 'Genoan' marking added, probably by a tribal armourer in the Maghreb.
The point that I was bringing up about the ' sickle mark' used in linear motif was known to occur on the blades from the Caucusus, and that this much more crudely done representation suggested that these blades must have been known to the armourer. The only other place I know of this linear motif with these sickle marks besides the Caucusus has been an example of sword in India, so it seemed most interesting to see it here in the Maghreb.

My note on the transcribing of words and lettering by armourers or blacksmiths on these refurbished blades simply was suggesting that the obvious errors were a result of being done by a person not able to read the language, and quite possibly illiterate even in thier own language. I'm sure that if I were trying to inscribe something in Cyrillic, the end result would probably even be worse than this ! considering my limited knowledge of Russian.

Thank you for the outstanding and informative post concerning possibilities concerning these 'Genoan' markings and the very impressive deductive reasoning you present to support your observations ! My point could certainly have been presented more clearly, so my apologies for the wild goose chase!

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 18th February 2007, 01:35 AM   #33
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Jim,
Re. the backwards 'N', I was looking at a rather nice Italian 18th century flint sporting gun recently, the lock was signed, And the 'N' was backwards!

Sooo, room for thought......
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Old 18th February 2007, 03:19 AM   #34
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Jim, there is no reason to apologize… your points are well taken and I was just following up on them. My theory is no more correct than any other… I just chose to follow the three clues, 1. the location, 2. the language, and 3.the historical context… but my ideas are still just a theory.

Best regards,

Wayne
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Old 18th February 2007, 11:06 PM   #35
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Wayne,
With all due respect, I can assure you with a 100% certainty that the inscription has nothing to do with Russian. This is a classic mis-representation of the Latin N, not Russian I. It is seen routinely on a multitude of Oriental blades attempting to imitate European origin. There is no place named Saiol in Russia to start with; there is Saiol in Spain and Sayol in Iran. Neither of these places are known for using Cyrillic. There is no word or name Saiol in Russian.
Furthermore, before 1918, any Russian word ending with a consonant had an additional letter Yat after the final consonant. You can see it here
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cyrillic.htm
marked in red.
The presumed "Saiol" does not have it.
Please, can we consider it as an end of story?
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Old 19th February 2007, 12:11 PM   #36
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Ariel,

I would total agree with you, except for the glaring letter lambda at the end of the word (it is not the letter A). Look at your link (look at the 10th century version letter L – I have seen this version of the letter L in WWII Soviet Documents). If we were just debating the Cyrillic “и,” then I would have to agree with you… but where are we seeing the letter A? It may be your opinion that this is not Cyrillic. For me, being a Soviet period collector, all of the letters fall in line with being Cyrillic. Jim has placed the sword in what would be the Russian empire… of course; then again you may be right… Seiol (сеиол) = Genoa (геноа). I will assume that you are the expert and that you are correct. I apology for voicing another option. Consider it the end of the story.
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Old 19th February 2007, 02:20 PM   #37
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BSMstar,
Please try to understand...I am NOT placing this sword in the Russian empire, or anywhere other than the Maghreb!
What I have said is that the markings and motif appear to be 'native' attempts at duplicating the motif from blades I have seen from the Caucusus. I was noting that this suggested that the armourer IN THE MAGHREB who was working on this blade appeared to have knowledge of these Caucasian blades.
This was what was meant by 'wild goose chase' as you were pursuing this sword coming FROM the Caucusus, which it clearly is not.

I hope this will place this line of discussion back on the right track.

The discussion of Russian letters pertaining to this sword is desperately moot.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 19th February 2007, 06:13 PM   #38
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My apologies Jim,

I was thinking a bit out loud, me thinks… I do not think the sword was made in Russia, I think this trade sword could have made its way in that direction. With the possible influences that you pointed out, I was trying to point out another possible “influence.” While the stamped letters could be anything or nothing… I was entertaining the notion that it could be something along that line of reasoning. When adding the clues, I vocalize your meaning more strongly than intended... again I apologize.


Ariel,

I am only stating an opinion that may have some validity (I have not said that anyone else is wrong)… if you believe that it is unlikely… I do not have a problem with that. Just give some supporting data that disproves my theory that these are Cyrillic letters. I would hate to dismiss outright, what may be a more interesting history with this sword.

To definitively prove the letters are not Cyrillic, one must know the history behind this specific sword (have a traceable and documented record of who has owned this sword and where they lived would leave no doubt).

Were North African trade swords being stamped with Cyrillic letters (out of North Africa)? If so, what test can one use to tell the difference North African Cyrillic like letters and true Cyrillic letters (how do we know that they did not travel to Russia where there is a large number of Islamic countries/states)?

Maybe if someone could post other examples of this exact stamp (that are known), since I am not familiar with this stamp being a common old “forgery.”

Best regards,

Wayne
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Old 20th February 2007, 12:48 AM   #39
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Wayne,
I appreciate your inquisitiveness, but this is not Cyrillic: just a poor and worn out G that looks like C and A that lost (or never had) a horizontal bar. Not a Cyrillic L. And, please, remember the absolute need for a letter Yat (see my earlier post) that is not there. It is like a famous dog: the absense of barking was the decisive evidence...
Genoese blades were very popular in North Africa. Moroccans even had a straight-bladed Koummya named Genoui ( or Janwi, depending on transliteration) meaning "Genoese"
What you got here is a classic Moroccan Nimcha (or Saif, if one prefers it) with a Genoese or pseudo-Genoese blade . Many of those were made in Germany or Styria and just marked Genoa to uphold the tradition and the value: market analysis was used even then! Yes, shashka blades marked Genoa were made in Circassia and marked as such. But the blade of the Nimcha in question has nothing to do with shashkas: it has a vestigial Yelman, "Indian" ricasso ( most likely an imitation of European military sabers) and a single, centrally-located, narrowish and deep fuller. None of those are features of a Circassian or any other Caucasian or Transcaucasian shashka. We do not need to know the history of this particular sword: the blade tells us the entire story.
There were Caucasian blades in Arabia proper and you can see 2 here:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4137
See the difference?
I have a Nimcha with an old blade marked (very illegibly) O N I N I and sporting the markings of "eyelashes".
The bottom line: nice Moroccan Nimcha, definitely not a "clunker', but nothing unusual about it. Born and bred in North Africa

Last edited by ariel : 20th February 2007 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 20th February 2007, 02:48 AM   #40
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No problem Wayne! You are most definitely thinking , and again, you are doing well at using deductive reasoning. In this case however, the sword is what it is, just as Ariel has very well explained.
There were indeed many trade blades that carried spurious 'Genoan' markings found throughout the Maghreb. What made this blade unusual is the linear sickle mark motif, and the backsword profile, and as again, Ariel has noted, has nothing to do with the slightly curved, shashka type blades often found with the Genoan mark.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 20th February 2007, 03:20 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
this is not Cyrillic: just a poor and worn out G that looks like C and A that lost (or never had) a horizontal bar.


Well, the only reason I have stood my ground is because from the beginning, I saw no evidence of this. The bottom of the letter C shows no evidence of wear to the degree of loosing the bar that makes the letter "G." That area is clear and sharply stamped... it is a "C" and not a "G" as seen in the enlargement below. Since the old Lambda look like an "A" with out the cross bar (which I have seen written through WWII)... creates what can be all Cyrillic letters. When I showed this to a Russian the other day, he did not have a problem with this being a transliterated name. But, then again... maybe you are right.

I have no debate on the origin of the sword... just the stamp. And the stamp may well not be Cyrillic, but something strikes me as being very odd if it is not...
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