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Old 14th June 2021, 03:04 PM   #1
ausjulius
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Default gorgrian Khevsur "shashka"

well i dont recall these georgian khevsur swords being discussed on here but i find them curious, like yatagan meets shashka.

here is an article on these odd swords
unfortunately only in russian..
https://docplayer.ru/46695176-Zapadn...ruzhiya-1.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXuZC63VWJg&t=502s

i find these swords so odd , im very curious how they handle.
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Old 14th June 2021, 05:52 PM   #2
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unfortunately only in russian..
You can download this work of Vakhtang Kiziria and Irakly Bakradze in English by the link here:

https://www.academia.edu/14723908/SW..._EDGED_WEAPONS

If you have any problems - write to me, I will send it to you.
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Old 14th June 2021, 05:55 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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These are among the most intriguing Caucasian swords ever, and the actual form was used in mid to latter 18th c. though a degree of them were produced later as 'of the type'.
They are termed western Georgian 'palash' (=straight blade) and according to Kirill Rivkin ("Arms and Armor of the Caucusus", 2015, p.202, fig. 109...one of the most superb references to Caucasian arms...period!)...these were primarily Imerethi c. 1780s; or perhaps Dadiani of Mingrelia.

They seem to have been deemed a sword for royalty or high status individuals.

The curious 'skirt' on these have been supposed to be to protect the scabbard from chafing etc. from the body and trappings of the horse, and replaceable as required (better than replacing scabbard).
King David II of Imerethi had one of these.

I have never found any sort of explanation for the profoundly canted hilt, but presume it lent directed force to the draw cut (?) which was typically carried out with curved saber blades.
It is notable that many Tatar sabers (known as 'ordynka' ) had unusually canted hilts in this manner, but unsure of this influence being significant.

Note: These are not related to Khevsur swords, though Khevsur swords are somewhat within Georgian scope. The Khevsurs are a people situated high in Caucusus mountains above Tiflis (Tblisi) and are quite remote from Georgia proper.

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Old 14th June 2021, 11:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
You can download this work of Vakhtang Kiziria and Irakly Bakradze in English by the link here:

https://www.academia.edu/14723908/SW..._EDGED_WEAPONS

If you have any problems - write to me, I will send it to you.
nice, thanks,
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Old 15th June 2021, 02:43 AM   #5
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This form looks like it would be prone to turning in the hand during use with that canted hilt.
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Old 16th June 2021, 04:55 AM   #6
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These swords usually are exhibited under the moniker “ Kabiani Khmali”, sword with a skirt.
In fact, their real name is unknown; the one we call them now was invented in the early 1900 or around, long after they went out of fashion, just on the basis of their appearance. And it stuck:-)

What is interesting about them is :
A. They were worn edge up
B. They had no guard

Bakradze and Kiziria view them as members of the “ shashka-like” sabers.
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Old 16th June 2021, 05:13 AM   #7
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This form looks like it would be prone to turning in the hand during use with that canted hilt.
I am not sure: their grips are not round, but rectangular.
This was one of the three ways Georgians prevented the turning problem: the other two were a grip that was oval, and the last one was gradual widening of the grip from the pommel to the crossguard.
I never had the privilege to own or even handle a sword with the first and the last variety, but shashkas have oval grips as a rule and most of the kindjals have rectangular grips.
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Old 1st July 2021, 06:53 PM   #8
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I owned one of these skirted sabers many years ago. The grip was of rectangular section and did not turn in the hand when it was swung, in fact, ergonomically, the form would be difficult to improve on. The blade was long, slightly expanding toward the distal end, with radiused, clipped tip. The scabbard was of the same type shown in the first image. It had a paper museum label on it attributing it in Russian to a Georgian general and dated in the 1820s. I don't remember his name now.

These swords were virtually all made in and around Tbilisi. At the minimum, none of the examples pictured in this thread can be attributed to Khevsuria.
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Old 2nd July 2021, 03:07 PM   #9
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As everyone else said those are not khevsur swords but western georgian imereti to be specific, and it was mostly nobility weapon used from horse back, in other words a cavalry sword which may explain the reason for the shape and the angle between the hilt and the blade.


I don't how much you know about using swords from horse back but basically it is about pointing your sword at the target "if you are going for a thrust" or lining your sword blade with the target "if you are going for a cut" moments before it reaches it and the power source for the attack would be the speed of the horse, so if we leave cutting for a side and focus on thrusting, being on a horse means you are higher than your target with a normal hilt that is in line with the blade you may need to bend your wrist to do the thrust but the problem with that is you may injure your wrist which is not something you would like to happen while fighting, with an angle similar to this you can keep your wrist in more straight with your arm which could prevent or reduce your injury, at least that is what I think.


We also see similar angle between hilts and blades in swords used by nomadic people wich used swords from horse back, and that is why I think that is the reason for such sword design
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Old 2nd July 2021, 04:44 PM   #10
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As everyone else said those are not khevsur swords but western georgian imereti to be specific, and it was mostly nobility weapon used from horse back, in other words a cavalry sword which may explain the reason for the shape and the angle between the hilt and the blade.


I don't how much you know about using swords from horse back but basically it is about pointing your sword at the target "if you are going for a thrust" or lining your sword blade with the target "if you are going for a cut" moments before it reaches it and the power source for the attack would be the speed of the horse, so if we leave cutting for a side and focus on thrusting, being on a horse means you are higher than your target with a normal hilt that is in line with the blade you may need to bend your wrist to do the thrust but the problem with that is you may injure your wrist which is not something you would like to happen while fighting, with an angle similar to this you can keep your wrist in more straight with your arm which could prevent or reduce your injury, at least that is what I think.


We also see similar angle between hilts and blades in swords used by nomadic people wich used swords from horse back, and that is why I think that is the reason for such sword design

This is a resounding analysis of combat from horseback! and I simply must ask where you attained this experience. While I did some fencing (a zillion years ago) and even some stage combat....none was ever 'mounted'.
As cavalry training with horses and swords ended before WWII in the military, no experience there was available either.

Regarding these swords and use in Khevsuria, it must be remembered that although there is a notable degree of diffusion throughout Georgian regions as Caucasian in general, however the Khevsurs are an animist people living extremely remotely in the Caucasian Mountains. I recall research on them back in the 90s, and there was precious little known of them. Other than the cursory material in Lebedynsky (in French) and Astvatsaturnian (in Russian), there was zero.
When I reached a public affairs official at the Soviet embassy in Washington to ask for information on Khevsurs, he acted like I was nuts, and never heard of such people.

What we have learned is that as remote as the Khevsurs were, there would of course be an incidental case of a 'novelty' weapon finding use in Khevsuria, there was no prevalence or preponderance of these there. Also, the Khevsurs were not particularly known for being mounted for combat (though the appearance of them fully armored in Tblisi in 1917 and mounted is noted in Halliburton's "Seven League Boots". )

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Old 2nd July 2021, 05:09 PM   #11
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A
We also see similar angle between hilts and blades in swords used by nomadic people wich used swords from horse back, and that is why I think that is the reason for such sword design
I agree 100% with you. It's a "push sword", and the hilts from Central Asia/ Turkic / nomadic populations have something in common. Early Ottoman and persian swords have also the same kind of hilts. Then if you look at Indian pata, they are too long and too heavy to be used by pedestrians, the transversal hilt and protective guard were also very good for charges, and very protective for wrists.
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Old 2nd July 2021, 11:07 PM   #12
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I have to ask, what is meant by push sword Kubur, does this mean 'thrust'?
The nomadic tribes of the Steppes used the 'draw cut' in their sabers of course, but the Ottomans (and I believe Persians) had straight thrusting swords (called mec) used for the thrust. These same type swords were heavy thrust swords which were worn under the saddle with narrow blades called estoc (colloquially tuck).

The Tatars had sabers often known as 'ordynka' which has a deeply canted pommel in this manner in many cases. Many of these had narrow needle points, which I always thought were for thrusting through mail. However I think slashing cuts were favored with these? The rest were typical saber blades.

I do not recall the thrust swords called 'mec' having 'canted' (angled) hilts but would welcome knowing of that character in examples.

With the 'pata' these were primarily transverse grip large daggers (katars) from South India which evolved into the well known 'pata' sword. While the later evolved 'katar' is seen with 'armor piercing' (bolstered point)blade, the katar and the pata, were regarded as 'slashing weapons'.

In references it seems that the Mahrattas , who it seems were the early users of the pata, were against the thrust, and used the pata in slashing cuts. In more modern use of the pata ceremonially they use two in a kind of windmill fashion in demonstrations.
In Indian artwork, mounted riders, Mughal and Rajput are seen, but it does not seem these were used in the thrust, particularly as Rajputs typically fought dismounted.

The basket guard of the pata did provide good hand protection, and acted as a combined vambrace and gauntlet, but I think the use was in slashing cuts.
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Old 3rd July 2021, 10:08 AM   #13
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I have to ask, what is meant by push sword Kubur, does this mean 'thrust'?
Sorry Jim, I should have said thrust.

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The rest were typical saber blades.
In fact, I was just refering to the sword posted, but also to the similarities with Persian and Ottoman hilts from 15-16th c., even if they had typical saber blades, so maybe two uses, slashing and thrust, if I'm not mistaken yelman is done for thrust.

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In Indian artwork, mounted riders, Mughal and Rajput are seen, but it does not seem these were used in the thrust, particularly as Rajputs typically fought dismounted.

The basket guard of the pata did provide good hand protection, and acted as a combined vambrace and gauntlet, but I think the use was in slashing cuts.
For the pata, I know that I'll be alone on this one... as all specialists and collectors think that they were used in slashing cuts. I don't believe in that. Were katar and rapiers used in slashing cuts? I have a pata, it's too long and too heavy for slashing cuts, plus as you wrote in Indian artwork, mounted riders, Mughal and Rajput are seen with pata.
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Old 3rd July 2021, 11:12 AM   #14
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if I'm not mistaken yelman is done for thrust.
Hi Kubur,
My reading is that the yelman would assist in cutting, attempting to bring forward the centre of percussion, quill point blades were a feature on some European blades to try and get the best of both worlds cut and thrust. Photo of a British quill point heavy cavalry sabre first quarter 19thC.
My Regards,
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Old 3rd July 2021, 05:31 PM   #15
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Sorry Jim, I should have said thrust.



In fact, I was just refering to the sword posted, but also to the similarities with Persian and Ottoman hilts from 15-16th c., even if they had typical saber blades, so maybe two uses, slashing and thrust, if I'm not mistaken yelman is done for thrust.



For the pata, I know that I'll be alone on this one... as all specialists and collectors think that they were used in slashing cuts. I don't believe in that. Were katar and rapiers used in slashing cuts? I have a pata, it's too long and too heavy for slashing cuts, plus as you wrote in Indian artwork, mounted riders, Mughal and Rajput are seen with pata.


Thank you Kubur, I thought that thrust was what was meant, but wanted to be clear.

The swords used across the steppes by nomadic tribes were originally long straight swords, but the prevalence of slashing cuts from horseback often in movement led to the evolution of the saber or curved blade. As these tribes, moved westward some of these sabers developed the widening at the tip, which we now term the yelman.

While these Turkic tribes spread into varied regions, the yelman remained with those moving into what is now Turkey (giving us the kilij type saber known as the pala, while the kilij itself had less of this feature.

In Persia however, the sharply radiused to point blade known as the shamshir, clearly without yelman, was the preferred form.

Here I would point out that the yelman was not (as sometimes presumed) added for thrusting, in fact as I was told by a Polish fencing master and arms historian regarding Polish sabers used in 17th c, the yelman was to add weight to the distal end of the blade to add impetus to the slashing cut (as previously noted by Norman). There were examples as Norman pointed out with the British in the ever present effort to combine cut and thrust, with these 'quill points'.

The Polish expert also noted, almost humorously, that in fact the 'yelman' was termed 'the feather' expressly regarding its purpose to add weight to the cut. Here I would note that East European sword blades and forms were adapted from the Turkic models, which of course included the yelman.


In the type of combat typical of mounted forces, the thrust is seldom used as the dynamics and movement inherent in those situations mostly negate the potential for thrusting, as well as leaving the rider either momentarily or longer , without a weapon, and wide open for being attacked without defense. Again, this is the purpose and advantage of cutting blades, and the human inclination long standing, of hacking cuts with swords.

Although the thrust was, as long agreed, far more deadly, it had those kinds of drawbacks in application and opportunity.

The Ottoman's and cases of others, typically used sabers in slashing cuts, not for thrusting, but as I mentioned, there were some narrow (rapier like) bladed swords known as 'mec' used in dismounted fighting (in Europe these were the estoc, mounted under the saddle, also called a 'tuck').


With the 'pata', you are hardly alone, and there is always consternation about the use of these distinctive transverse grip weapons. In reality, it very much 'depends' on regional preferences in accord with tribal or ethnic circumstances as well as of course, the time period and circumstances. While it is possible they may have found thrusting use, it was most likely incidental and not usual.
Here I would add that in material on the khanda (Hindu basket hilt, also 'firangi') at European contact, the introduction of European blades (firangi) in addition to enhancing the hilt provided some blades of rapier form. While these were used in some cases on the Indian khanda, they were more a novelty as 'the thrust was virtually unknown in Indian swordsmanship (I cannot recall the exact references but think it was Pant, 1980).


As noted, the transverse grip is an anomaly in the character of most edged weapons, and its development is unclear though long studied. It is generally thought it evolved from perhaps the cases on shields (held transversely) which had spear points on the boss, and could be used for stabbing. This also was seen on the Indian parrying wesapon called the madu (joined opposing blades for alternate slashing) with a central stabbing blade.

The katar (actual term jamhdhar) developed in southern India, where these transverse grip daggers were perhaps intended for both slashing and stabbing (they had triangular blades) but evolved into heavier bladed form to which a gauntlet type 'hood' was added for hand protection.

As the form diffused into regions to the west, with the Mahrattas, and blades became longer, the PATA evolved as a sword rather than the katar, which remained in dagger accord.
As I had noted, the Mahratta disdained the thrust, considering it abhorrent and for lack of better explanation, unworthy of the skills of a warrior.

As the pata came into presence with Rajputs as well as in cases, Mughals, the use of them seems to have retained the slashing preference. While it is known these are seen in miniatures (art) held by riders on horseback, these depictions characterize parade or ceremonial situations typically. In battle situations (noting the typical license in such artwork) I do not recall seeing them shown in thrusting, and would be skeptical if they were.

The use of a sword in a thrust in a 'charge' is suspect on the face of it.
At impact, the rider would be either unhorsed by the dynamic result of the impalement of the target at best, or weaponless in the least result.
The lance was used as a shock weapon, and expected to be lost in the initial collision with enemy forces, where in the melee they were useless anyway.

I realize I have turned this into a bit of a treatise but I wanted to express my own understanding of these areas in hopes you and others might find the information useful if agreed, or of course add views opposing if not.

It is a lot of material, bit I think salient in the understanding of the curiously angled hilts on these Georgian (and Tatar) sabers.

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Old 3rd July 2021, 06:49 PM   #16
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Cut versus thrust, the eternal argument. My contribution is that Brevet Major William Stephen Raikes Hodson, one of the deadliest swordsmen in history, preferred to cut from horseback, but regarded the thrust as the best technique when on foot.
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Old 4th July 2021, 08:10 AM   #17
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It is a lot of material, bit I think salient in the understanding of the curiously angled hilts on these Georgian (and Tatar) sabers.
OMG you're a guru Jim.I think it's very salient in the understanding of the sword posted and I hope that other members will enjoy reading your prose as i do.

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Hi Kubur,
My reading is that the yelman would assist in cutting, attempting to bring forward the centre of percussion, quill point blades were a feature on some European blades to try and get the best of both worlds cut and thrust. Photo of a British quill point heavy cavalry sabre first quarter 19thC.
Thanks Norman, I didn't know these quill point swords. For me, the yelman provides two sharp edges for thrust as by definition sabers have only one sharp edge. You have some daggers with the same shape too.
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Old 4th July 2021, 12:02 PM   #18
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The "quill point" on a George IV 1822 patt. NCO sword. In this case I thinks it's to aid the thrust. These 1822 NCO swords retained the fullered blade with a quill point until the end of the pattern being in use, quite distinct from the commissioned officers version
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Old 4th July 2021, 01:54 PM   #19
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The "quill point" on a George IV 1822 patt. NCO sword. In this case I thinks it's to aid the thrust. These 1822 NCO swords retained the fullered blade with a quill point until the end of the pattern being in use, quite distinct from the commissioned officers version

Hi,
Quill points survived in Infantry swords, e.g. this French quill point 1845/55 pattern infantry sword of mine is dated 1915 and yes I would think this was to give strength to the point. In the case of cavalry swords I would suggest the original idea was to bring forward the centre of percussion to give the best optimum cut and reach. There is no doubt in my mind that a yelman originally intended to better serve the cut, even British 1796 L.C. sabres have a 'pseudo yelman' in that the blade is wider at the tip and these blades were well known for their cutting ability. Some yelmans even have a weighted section see the photograph of an Austrian sabre of mine which does not have a sharpened back edge, there is no doubt a fashionable element to this sword but believe me it's still a limb remover. A lot of yelmans are double edged which no doubt helps in the thrust but it also helps for upward/backward cuts on horseback. I have a Wilkinson P1821 cavalry officers sword on which the CoP is marked on the spine of the blade and the spearpoint is sharpened on both sides. No doubt fashion contributed to a degree the continued use of the quill point into the 20thC and the yelman on European swords of the 19thC.
My Regards,
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Old 4th July 2021, 10:19 PM   #20
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Kubur, I thank you so much for such kind words.

Regarding the yelman, as I noted, its original purpose in the slashing sabers of the 17th and 18th century was to add weight (kinetic energy) to the cut.

As Norman and David have further explained, as the importance of the thrust became well recognized, there were efforts to utilize the point widening with sharpened edges on both sides, what is known as a clipped point in most sabers and single edged swords.

With the widened point (yelman) on the Turkish swords, which are too wide for any thrust penetration, these provide cutting surface for a back stroke, a cut made at the end of another with a turn of the wrist, simply in reverse.

The 'quill points' were popular in the period of innovation with British swords, from the time of the 'sword scandals' of 1780s until the 1820s, where the
new blades had spear points but still key cutting edge.

With the 1796 swords, while the light cavalry had the heavy 'psuedo yelman' Norman mentions (called a hatchet point)....the straight heavy cavalry swords also had a curve at the point of 'hatchet' form, but not widened.

When the 'Scots Greys' were being sent to Belgium in what became the famed Battle of Waterloo, they were ordered to grind down the points of their swords to a spear point. We may presume this was in response to the recognition of the importance of the thrust, however, the swords still in action, were used in hacking cuts only during the battle.
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