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Old 16th May 2005, 04:21 AM   #1
TVV
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Default Mystery Weapons from Bulgaria

The ethnographic edged weapons from Bulgaria are not that well studied. This is probably partly due to the fact that a big part of them is of course generally described as Ottoman, and while Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule for a significant part of her history - almost 5 centuries to be exact from 1398 to 1878, this is probably not quite correct for the purpose of the study of those weapons. There are some differences between certain weapon types from that part of the Balkans where Bulgaria is now and the rest of the vast Ottoman Empire, yataghans are what comes to mind, but also knidjals, bichaqs, khanjars, etc.
Also, there are certain weapons that are typical of Bulgaria only, and that have been receiving almost zero attention. One of them is the shephard's knife, for which I promise to make a thread here soon, and another type is the mystery, the topic of this thread.
Actually, I have to admit: the main reason I am starting this thread is to try to see if there is some information on these unknown (to me at least) weapons. I have been able to gather pictures of a few specimens, unfortunatelly none of which are in my collection. The first spcimen is a short sword, or an oversized kama, for which I have some provenance. It belongs to a very good friend of mine, who collects historical edged weapons and firearms, and according to him it is his family's relic, as the earliest of his predecessors he can trace back to acquired it from a Turk he killed with an axe. This is believed to have happened in the 17th or early 18th century. While this of course can never be conclusively proven (I have no reason to doubt his story, as long as it was passed to him correctly), here is a picture of the weapon among some other blades and scabbards that I hope do not distract too much:


The scales on the handle are made of horn, and to some extent resemble those on kindjals from the Caucasus, however the blade has a central rib rather than a fuller and overall this does not look like anything from the Caucasus I have personally seen.

The second item is a kama-like weapon, in the collection of another fellow collector in Bulgaria. He has no idea of what it could be, and he only vaguely believes there is a similar weapon in a museum in the town of Samokov, which is a very small town hidden in the Rila mountains that was a metallurgy center during the 16th, 17th, and 18th century, and lost its significance in the 19th century. Unfortunately, as of right now I do not have a picture, and the last time I was in Samokov happened to be more than 10 years ago, a little before my interest in edged weapons formed, so I do not remember anything. Here it is:


Again, double edged, horn scales hilt, and this time there are two decorative fullers (I do not know if I should even call them fullers) close to the edges, and a most extraordinary guard. It is hard to estimate age with any certainty.

Finally, here is a similar kama that sold on eBay recently that I am still kicking myself for not bidding on:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...item=6517611858

It is of cruder and most probably later manufacture than the previous two, but its sheath has survived. It is deffinitely not a Bulgarian version of a Caucasus kindjal, and to prove that here is a small picture of a typical Bulgarian kama, which is the local version that developped based on the Caucasus kindjals and kamas:



You can perhaps see the obvious differences.
So here is the question: does anybody know anything about these weapons? They most deffinitely came from Bulgaria. As of their age, nothing is certain. One needs to keep in mind that Caucasus kindjals arrived in Bulgarian lands with Muslim Circassians that the Ottomans relocated from the Caucasus (I believe nowadays Chechnya and Dagestan) to areas with troublesome Christians in an attempt to act as a counterforce to the latter. The three weapons that I have posted are certainly not derived from the Caucasus kindjals and therefore they should be earlier, probably dating back to the 18th century or maybe even earlier, to the 17th. Are they derived from western daggers/swords? Or are they atavistic medieval forms that survived in this corner of the Ottoman Empire for quite a long time? Has anybody seen something similar in neighboring countries (Radu, Eftihis, Yannis, Erlikhan)? Maybe someone here will have some clues, and it is possible that the three weapons turn out to not be from the same group and even to have very little in common, who knows? Whatever the case, I am eager for your opinions and respones.
Best regards,
Teodor
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Old 16th May 2005, 06:07 AM   #2
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Default Bulgarian Kama

The dagger shown in the last photo Which you describe as a typical Bulgarian Kama is interesting. We came across a similar dagger which we could not identify and placed it more to the middle east, east Turkey or Syria, mainly because of the brass frame and the decoration style on the grip. See below:





The Bulgarian attribution is a refreshing information. Do you have more details as to its origin: Written material? Museums? Etc.
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Old 16th May 2005, 06:48 AM   #3
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Yes, actually the last photo from my previous post was taken in the Bulgarian National Museum of Military History by my father (the person you can see in the reflection on the glass cover). Here is the whole photo of this dagger together with a few other kindjals, the little sign next to it you can barely see reads "Kama, Balkan Type" in Bulgarian:


If I am not mistaken, sometime ago on this forum there was a dagger of the same type posted that had markings of a cutlery in the town of Gabrovo, Central Bulgaria. I found it, unfortunately the pictures are long gone:
http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002483.html
Perhaps Ariel has kept them or has a similar one?

I do not have any written material, since, well, there has been very little material on Bulgarian edged weapons from that period, just one book called "Weaponry of the Past" by Nikola Daskalov and Viara Kovacheva, Sofia Press 1989, in English, but unfortunately it is mostly on firarms and has just a few examples of edged weapons, among which none exactly like this particular one.
But yes, this particular brass frame is Bulgarian, I am absolutely sure about it. The circles decoration is not untypical of the Balkans at all, I have seen it on Bulgarian, Greek and Bosnian pieces.
I hope Ariel wil read this and support it with further examples, and possibly provide some clues as to the three mystery items.
Regards,
Teodor
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Old 16th May 2005, 03:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
The scales on the handle are made of horn, and to some extent resemble those on kindjals from the Caucasus, however the blade has a central rib rather than a fuller and overall this does not look like anything from the Caucasus I have personally seen.


Central rib is characteristic to kidnjals from Georgia, usually relatively late ones - 1850 and later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
You can perhaps see the obvious differences.
So here is the question: does anybody know anything about these weapons? They most deffinitely came from Bulgaria. As of their age, nothing is certain. One needs to keep in mind that Caucasus kindjals arrived in Bulgarian lands with Muslim Circassians that the Ottomans relocated from the Caucasus (I believe nowadays Chechnya and Dagestan).


No. Circassians are from Circassia, Kabarda, Adighe (the lands named after their individual tribes) and so on.

My ignorant opinion would be - one of the kamas (last photo) shown are actually much closer to turkish kindjals than to circassian ones (many red dots - coralls? on the hilt). The top kindjal is also more southern then circassian, and may be even more of a georgian/armenian type. In light of this I would think that probably kindjals came to Bolgaria with turks and turkish trade rather than with circassians alone. That explains the range of sizes and styles we see - some are more like turkish, some are like georgian, some can be circassian.

Concerning the balkan kama with many fullers - I'm lost here - have no idea where it comes from.
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Old 16th May 2005, 04:29 PM   #5
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Teodor,
Excellent thread! Thank you for posting this. You're right, Bulgaria is seldom described specifically and often falls under the 'Ottoman' umbrella, as do many 'Balkan' weapons. This a a great idea to get specifics that may help differentiate, like the example with the circle and dot motif on the grips.
This particular motif seems to occur often on Afghan weapons. One that comes to mind is the folding lohar discussed a number of times in recent years.
Best regards,
Jim
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Old 16th May 2005, 11:09 PM   #6
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Rivkin, you are right: kindjals came to Bulgaria before the Circassians with trade, and also let us not forget that some came not via the Ottomans, but via the Russians in the Russo-Turkish wars. However, the number of kindjals in Bulgaria certainly increased after Circassians were relocated to the Balkans.
I absolutely agree with your observations on the kindjals in the last photo I posted: there is a big variety among them and my guess is that this was the purpose of the display: the curators wanted to show together as many different knidjal types as possible. To be honest with you, the top one that looks Armenian as you point out (or Persian?), the one with the central fuller and the koftgiri on blade, is not one you would find easily in Bulgaria. The vast majority of what I have seen owned by collectors, offered for sale or in museums are kindjals with an off-centered fuller and very little in terms of decoration, and the already mentioned smaller kamas with a hilt encased in brass that are typical Bulgarian.
Interesting discussion so far, thanks to all participants, hopefully we will get some more clues about the three mysterious weapons I started the thread with.
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Old 17th May 2005, 08:49 PM   #7
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interesting. i am not sure if this type can be a Bulgaria or Balkan specialty, as i know similar ones currently offered by a seller from a western Anadolu town in Turkey. close to Izmir. They took my attention because of your post, and asked from where he found these kamas, and replied "from local villages". But I agree especially the upper one is not in the classical known Turkish kama hilt form. it is nearly completely same with yours. could be a regular Russian army kama, brought back by a Turkish soldier after 1877 war?
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Old 17th May 2005, 10:24 PM   #8
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I highly doubt it is Russian. Here is another example, which belongs to a different friend of mine, and which he inherited from his grandfather:


I do not know if this type of kamas are Balkan or Bulgarian, but they are relatively late, I would say from the end of the 19th century and quite abundant in Bulgaria. How a few of them could end up near Izmir I do not know: trade, wars, and that can be not only the Russo-Turkish wars, but also the Balkan War, and in WWI there were Turkish troops passing trhough Bulgaria as allies too. Let us not forget that unfortunately there have been many Turkish immigrants to Turkey from Bulgaria throughout the years, from 1878 to the 1980s. Izmir has always been a big city and an important port in the area and certainly the area around it would have attracted people seeking jobs and dwellings.
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Old 18th May 2005, 01:39 AM   #9
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EXTREMELY interesting and informative posting.
I have to admit to being initially confused with the spelling of "kama" as opposed to "qama", with the former also being a Chinese weapon similar to a lohar, usually used in pairs, unless I'm mistaken.
TVV, your observation about the central ridge vs fullers and the unique guard on the one kama were both well made.....I've seen the steel guard that's folded back into the blade itself before, I believe on some late Roman era pieces dating to about 400 AD.
This is one of those threads that I'll be following closely and hoping to see more unfold, as regions like this that have been closed off or inaccessable to most of us for most of our lifetime have been all but forgotten and are just now coming into the light.
As to the "dot within a circle" motif, that has to be the single most discussed blade/hilt decoration ever by now.... I just did a quick walk-through of my own pieces and found it on the blades of my Pakistani fighting axes, the bronzework on my chora and khyber knife, on the blade of my Persian axe/American Indian tomohawk, on the bone hilt and brass haft of my lohar and on the bone hilt of my knife from Crete (somehow, calling it a Cretan knife just feels wrong, even if it is spelled different than cretin ) and I clearly remember it on several pieces from elsewhere in India in the past.
I suspect it's just because it's one of the easiest designs to punch or burn, needing only a steel or metal tube and a punch or nail, as opposed to other designs that require more complex tools to incorporate.
Mike
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Old 18th May 2005, 08:19 AM   #10
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Yes. Can reach Izmir villages by many ways. Still,what I think is, brass hilted samples look similar, and mass produced to me. About the one of your friend like Samakov museum, I agree it belongs to an older era for sure. I havent seen similar samples here. The fullers seem not to come together some distance before the tip as it is supposed to be. Could be shortened?
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Old 18th May 2005, 06:07 PM   #11
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Thanks Mike for your interest, your observation about the circle and dot motif is great: it is too common to be a secure way of identifying specimens.
Erlikhan: yes, ot could be shortened, but I do not think it is likely, as the two fullers seem to converge towards the tip, and if only the tip of a bigger sword were used, then the guard would probably rule out that option as it seems an integral part of the blade. Unfortunately I do not have this qama in my collection to examine it better, but I will ask the same question to its owner.
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Old 21st May 2005, 10:46 AM   #12
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Fascinating thread, TVV and Erlikhan you brough some fascinating info, completely new to me and yes indeed many arms of our Eastearn European panoply specially in the Balkans are far too quickly identified as Ottoman Turk, when at least two thirds of the Empire was really out of Turkey and not directly and solely influenced by Istanbul's "Sublime Porte" and many weapons were based on strong local facture and design, I see also examples from Transylvania (powder flasks, saddles and scimitars) Bosnia and Croatia (daggers) Albania (daggers, pistols and muskets) Greek peninsula and its Islands (daggers and yathagans) that were catalogued simply as Ottoman, which is not wrong in many cases since the region mightve been part of the Empire but it is the complete mist and unrecognition to the nation that created them that sometimes frustrates me ...
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Old 21st May 2005, 08:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erlikhan
Yes. Can reach Izmir villages by many ways. Still,what I think is, brass hilted samples look similar, and mass produced to me. About the one of your friend like Samakov museum, I agree it belongs to an older era for sure. I havent seen similar samples here. The fullers seem not to come together some distance before the tip as it is supposed to be. Could be shortened?


Erlikhan, I checked with my firend and he provided the following information: the guard is part of the blade and they have been wrought together, which is absolutely extraordinary for a steel weapon from that period. As Conogre pointed out, the only thing that is somewhat similar are certain bronze weapons more than two thousand years ago. The fullers converge, but 3-4 cm before the blade tip disappear. It does not look like it has been shortened.

Radu, thanks for your interest in the thread. I too myself often wondered of the reasons behind the almost complete lack of information on weapons from the Ottoman times in Bulgaria, while weapons from other parts of the Empire, such as the Arabian Peninsula have been well studied and do not fall under the general Ottoman description. I beleieve the main reason is quite stupid and political: 15 years ago a pro-Russian, anti-NATO totalitarian government in Bulgaria seeked to deny everything in our history that had to do with the 5 not so glorious centuries that we spent under the Ottomans. Weapons were no exception and they were associated with the Turkish, who then were "The Enemy". Now that we are no longer following certain pan-slavic myths and reevaluating our history, yataghans and other weapons are no longer frowned upon. Also, 15 years ago the collecting of any type of weapons was of course prohibited, but currently edged weapons are allowed for people to own with no restrictions. This certainly contributes to the increase of interest in all weapon types and they will gradually become better studied.
To conclude, I would not blame the western scholars for lumping Bulgarian weapons with the rest of the Turkish arms, as they had no access to Bulgarian museums and written research in Bulgaria on these weapons was almost absent. It is Bulgarian communist historians and archeologists that are to blame.
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Old 23rd May 2005, 12:09 PM   #14
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interesting . about the "Ottoman period- etnoghraphic weapons of Balkan peoples else than Turks" subject, according to my opinion, just opinion open to all corrections, matter is densely related to 1-religion 2- distance to Istanbul and how much direct the control over the land is.
Peoples like Albanians and Bosnians which entered Islam became politicaly equal citizens who could carry edged weapons. They continued to have and develop their own characteristic etnoghraphic arm styles under Ottoman rule,and we all know their characteristics from plenty of definite samples. Croatians,Hungarians were distant to Istanbul, total time under rule was relatively short, Turkish civil colonisation less or none, and control was weaker or indirect, which let their characteristic arms live too. western part of today's Romania was like that too. But , when it comes especially to Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece , as the control was direct, land strategically critical, Turkish colonisation was dense even reaching to 30-50s of the total population countrywide , local Christian people were not let to carry weapons,especially long ones I am sure strictly forbidden with perhaps very little exceptions. The environment wasnt suitable for the local types to live and evolve. For example, as all samples I have seen of what is called Greek yatagans and daggers carry clear Islamic prayers, dragon head and Turkish figures, I have to think they'd better be counted still of Turko-Islamic origin having geographical nuances, ordered by mostly Moslem customers to Turk or any other local Moslem or Christian craftmen. But of course this was till 1800s. Then, with the decrease and fall of Ottoman authority, rising nationalism and interest to ethnical roots, any model could be fastly recreated, developed ,modified using Turkish ones, or national types of pre-Ottoman middle age, any other types etc. This could explain the lack of characteristic national weapon samples from Ottoman era of before 19th c. in these Balkan countries. A good sample which can be attributed directly to these people must have some Christian religious or national signs. Are there such numerous samples that I dont know?
regards

Last edited by erlikhan : 23rd May 2005 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 23rd May 2005, 07:06 PM   #15
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Great points, Erlikhan. However, there were Christians who were permitted to carry weapons, for example some Christians occupying minor administrative positions, such as being in charge of high mountain passes, etc. Also, even before the 19th century there were quite a lot of outlaws in the Balkans, some of them Muslims and deserters from the Turkish army, and some were Christians. The latter are sometimes romanticized as rebels but the truth is the great majority of them had no nationalistic or revolutionary sentiments and took up arms with plundering as their sole motivation and attacked Muslims and Christians indiscriminately. There were also a number of small unsuccessful rebelions and uprisals, whose participants used a variety of weapons.
When talking about Bulgarian types and variations of edged weapons I am not trying to separate them into Christian and Muslim examples, on the contrary, I believe the same weapon types were used by both Christians and Muslims, which can be evidenced by photographs of Bulgarian haiduts and revolutionaries, posing with kilidjes and yataghans. What I was trying to state in the begining of this thread was that in the lands that are now Bulgaria the edged weapons looked a bit different to the ones in Anataolia, who looked different from the ones in Greece, etc. There were local preferences in design and decoration, and there were perhaps one or two weapon types that are found in this region only, such as the mystery wepons from the start of this thread. And even those may not be Christian at all.
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Old 25th May 2005, 09:57 AM   #16
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I see. Do you think geographical differences of weapons from Bulgaria carry some signs or characteristics coming from pre Ottoman local styles? just as an idea, there are Pomaks in Bulgaria. Moslem Bulgars as far as I know? I dont know if they used to be efficient in military, but they should carry arms much more freely and perhaps could continue some kind of native Bulgar style, not? If they have own tribal weapon models, could be interesting to examine them.
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Old 25th May 2005, 08:07 PM   #17
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I have to add that these kamas are very similar to greek ones of north Greece. They were used from guerilla fighters of greek Macedonia before the liberation of 1913.
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Old 25th May 2005, 09:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erlikhan
I see. Do you think geographical differences of weapons from Bulgaria carry some signs or characteristics coming from pre Ottoman local styles? just as an idea, there are Pomaks in Bulgaria. Moslem Bulgars as far as I know? I dont know if they used to be efficient in military, but they should carry arms much more freely and perhaps could continue some kind of native Bulgar style, not? If they have own tribal weapon models, could be interesting to examine them.


The Pomaks are not famous for military exploits. However, there were quite a lot of Turks in Nortehrn Bulgaria, who often joined the Ottoman army as irregulars and they certainly carried a huge amount of edged weapons of all sorts. Those were Turks who lived in Northern Bulgaria for a few centuries and probably they had their own style preferences.

Yannis: it is hard to see from the photo much as of the style of the kindjal's hilt. It appears a bit bigger then the ones more typical of Bulgaria, and this style of small qamas was characteristic for Central Bulgaria, and my current research shows that it became popular only after 1878. It is very likely that some made their way into Macedonia though, as the VMORO fighters equipped themselves with all sorts of weapons, pretty much everything they could get their hands on. Maybe after his visit to Skopije, Erlikhan will tell us about what he found out about the edged weapons in this part of the Balkans.
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Old 26th May 2005, 06:03 AM   #19
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I wrote similar, not the same. I will post photos soon. And I am not talking about VMORO but the greek guerillas like the man in the photo Ioannis Martzios
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Old 27th May 2005, 01:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannis
I wrote similar, not the same. I will post photos soon. And I am not talking about VMORO but the greek guerillas like the man in the photo Ioannis Martzios


I am sorry, I probably misunderstood your post as the thread is dedicated to weapons from the lands that were once ethnically Bulgarian, which is obviously not the case with the photo you posted as it is from a different, although close, geographic area. My fault.
But you are right: similarities are sure to exist, and since I love edged weapons from the Balkans, I will appreciate it when you are able to post pictures of similar daggers.
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Old 27th May 2005, 03:47 AM   #21
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I'm really surprised to see such "caucasian" models being worn by greeks, bolgarians and other balkan nationals.
The reason being that I don't remember straight kindjals being popular among ottoman forces, I always thought they actually started to appear more towards the end of XIX century (there are probably 6 million circassians in Turkey today, so this is being one of the most important reasons).

I'm also surprized to read that circassians left an imprint on bolgarian society - I always thought that anti-circassian feelings were prevalent among balkan nations.

Are there any shashkas in Bolgaria ?
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Old 27th May 2005, 07:27 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkin
I'm really surprised to see such "caucasian" models being worn by greeks, bolgarians and other balkan nationals.
The reason being that I don't remember straight kindjals being popular among ottoman forces, I always thought they actually started to appear more towards the end of XIX century (there are probably 6 million circassians in Turkey today, so this is being one of the most important reasons).

I'm also surprized to read that circassians left an imprint on bolgarian society - I always thought that anti-circassian feelings were prevalent among balkan nations.

Are there any shashkas in Bolgaria ?


Rivkin, you are right in believing that Circassians were not welcomed by Bulgarians in a period of rising nationalism and liberation struggles, as they were brought to the Balkans to strengthen Ottoman authority, and they indeed acted as irregulars in the Ottoman army. However, Bulgarians in those times were fond of Cossacks, whom they associated with the Russians, and at the end it was Russia that brought liberation to Bulgaria after almost five centuries under the Ottomans. Therefore, kindjals and qamas may have not necessarily been associated with the Circassians only, but with the Cossacks too.
I also think that Christian outlaws and revolutionaries did not care that much about the origin of their weapons, as I have seen pictures of Bulgarian revolutionaries with kilidjes, yataghans and kindjals. As weapons were not that easy to obtain even for the ones residing outside of the Ottoman Empire, in Wallachia for example, I guess any good weapon would be used by them.
As far as shashkas, there are shashkas in Bulgaria, but not so many of Caucasus origin. They came into Bulgaria mainly through Bulgarian revolutionaries who excaped to Russia and lived and/or studied there. Some came with the Cossack regiments during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. In the years immediately following the liberation there were many Russian officers stationed in Bulgaria, as the young Bulgarian state did not have its own officers. In the war of 1885 with Serbia, there was no official sword pattern in Bulgaria and Bulgarian officers and cavalry used the Russian shashka patterns. Many shashkas, mainly of the dragoon pattern were captured during WWI in the Eastern theater. As a result, there are plenty of shashkas in Bulgaria, but most of them are military issue ones, and not so many are what we would consider ethnographic.
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Old 27th May 2005, 08:23 PM   #23
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Rivkin,there are enormous number of nice silver scabbarded kindjals currently in Turkish market but all came after 1990. Before, kindjals were rare and sold for a few thousand dollars each, still being brought illegally from Soviets. I havent seen any quality sample originating from Turkey. Only very simple and quiet Turkified ones. So I think Cirkassians, Chechens etc. didnt continue their tribal arts in Turkey and they didnt in Balkans as well. Not strange?
But still, I have a shashka,which has Ottoman tughra on each silver piece, and the scratches done by the Istanbul mint office to take sample and test its grade upon the producer's wish to gain customer trust. it must show, 1- this shashka was produced before 1850's, when most part of Caucassia was Ottoman soil or under their influence or 2- it was produced for or by local Caucassians here after they migrated to Turkey. Post occupation Caucassian arms carry Russian mint stamps instead, not?The fullers look like the ones made by more developed tools of late 19th-early 20th c to me, and I would like to see your opinions.
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Old 28th May 2005, 04:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erlikhan
Rivkin,there are enormous number of nice silver scabbarded kindjals currently in Turkish market but all came after 1990. Before, kindjals were rare and sold for a few thousand dollars each, still being brought illegally from Soviets. I havent seen any quality sample originating from Turkey. Only very simple and quiet Turkified ones. So I think Cirkassians, Chechens etc. didnt continue their tribal arts in Turkey and they didnt in Balkans as well. Not strange?


By 1850 Circassians were pushed out of kindjal market by dagestan, so it's not a big surprise that circassian production of kindjals was insignificant. There were very few chechens among muhajars.

I've seen quite a lot kindjals that looked turkish to me - mostly with coralls in the hilt. However, I thought that kindjals like this one are also Turkish ?
http://www.buyit-sellit.com/image.p...picture=59028-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by erlikhan
But still, I have a shashka,which has Ottoman tughra on each silver piece, and the scratches done by the Istanbul mint office to take sample and test its grade upon the producer's wish to gain customer trust. it must show, 1- this shashka was produced before 1850's, when most part of Caucassia was Ottoman soil or under their influence or 2- it was produced for or by local Caucassians here after they migrated to Turkey. Post occupation Caucassian arms carry Russian mint stamps instead, not?The fullers look like the ones made by more developed tools of late 19th-early 20th c to me, and I would like to see your opinions.


Very interesting sword. I'm not a shashka person, but I would try to make an opinion, but I need photographs: the hilt, koftgari on bith sides of the blade, niello on the scabbard.
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Old 28th May 2005, 10:57 PM   #25
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Rivkin, the one you show is pure Turkish. Classical hilt form. Several cities in Turkey had kindjal production and special models. Azeris had kindjals too. Coral was mostly preferred by eastern Turkey and Azerbaijan. I meant the samples from local Circassian villages as being simple and Turked ,not all kindjals. http://www.pbase.com/erlik1453/inbox . You can see other pictures except tughras in this link. Can you guess which tribe it is?
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Old 29th May 2005, 03:08 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erlikhan
Rivkin, the one you show is pure Turkish. Classical hilt form. Several cities in Turkey had kindjal production and special models. Azeris had kindjals too. Coral was mostly preferred by eastern Turkey and Azerbaijan. I meant the samples from local Circassian villages as being simple and Turked ,not all kindjals. http://www.pbase.com/erlik1453/inbox . You can see other pictures except tughras in this link. Can you guess which tribe it is?


Interesting shashka. Now I probably should not say anything, because I _don't_ collect shashkas (and there are people here who do), but this one looks to me as a circassian. The niello is a little bit like dagestani, but not a classical dagestani, and the density of all those leaves and branches is much smaller than it should be for a dagestani ornament. I would vote for circassia, and this one is quite a rare item - unusual fullers etc.
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Old 8th August 2005, 01:28 PM   #27
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Reviving this old thread, here are two qamas I recently acquired in Bulgaria. The small one to my knowledge dates back to the early 20th century, maybe even the end of the 19th century. It is of a type known as a "bachelor's qama", as it was worn by unmarried young men after they became 16. This was of course only possible after 1878, for bfore this date Christians were not allowed to carry weapons that openly.
The big one is a replica, and I am posting it here only to confirm if I am right in assuming it is of a typical Turkish type, based on blade shape and scabbard decoration. It is a well made replica I bought for a little less than $50, and perhaps something to watch out for on eBay in the near future, as with the current prices for qamas and kindjals one can only wonder how long it will take for copies such as this one to turn up there, offered as authentic, of course.
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Old 8th August 2005, 04:54 PM   #28
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Although I have nothing to add to this thread at the moment, I just wanted to say that in reviewing this thread and the excellent information and contributions this has been an exciting learning experience!
The weapons of these regions have always been as noted, superficially classified as 'Ottoman' or 'Balkan' at best, and it is fascinating to see the constructive observations shared here. I also admire the very courteous and professional tone of the discussion.
Thank you very much gentlemen, and especially you Teodor for opening this thread and the outstanding manner with which you presented these weapons.You opened with objective statements, and presented important data supporting them as well as your own observations on the weapons.

Nicely done
All best regards,
Jim
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Old 26th March 2006, 09:31 PM   #29
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Recently I stambled onto a collection of russian articles concerning the balkan war - it seems not only there were a large number of circassians fighting on the ottoman side, but russian empire have used a very significant number of caucasian mercenaries. On the attached picture supposedly one can see osethian officers from the campaign.
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Old 26th March 2006, 10:23 PM   #30
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I guess you mean the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, and not the Balkan War.
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