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Old 21st February 2010, 07:19 AM   #1
laEspadaAncha
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Arrow Appearance of the Kukri in Classical South Indian Culture

Appearance of the Kukri in Combat in Classical South Indian Culture


It is believed by many that the kukri came into existence as a derivative evolution of the kopis first introduced to the Indian subcontinent by the Macedonian troops during Alexander the Great's campaign in the 4th Century BCE. Today, everyone tends to associate the iconic kukri with Nepal, and with good reason - the famed Gurkha warriors carry it with distinction to this day. But deep in the south of the Indian subcontinent there exists evidence of the widespread use of the kukri in the Dravidian cultures of Classical India nearly a thousand years ago.

The Hoysala Empire was a South Indian kingdom that thrived in modern-day Karnataka between the 10th and 14th centuries. During the height of the empire's high classical period, it was centered around Halebidu, site of the Hoysaleswara temple complex, home to the ruling family. The temple architecture is remarkable, and probably best known for the use of relief sculptures, or friezes, that form an integral part of the temple structure. Completed in 1121 C.E., these friezes provide an incredibly detailed (not to mention visually stunning) window into Hoysala culture and history, including warfare. When I visited the temple in 2008, I took my time to traverse the entire perimeter in search of visual clues that might provide a window into the arms and armor of South India in her antiquity.

My efforts did not disappoint. Several sections of friezes depicted scenes of war, scenes that likely portrayed either epics from Hindu mythology or possibly the internecine warfare that took place between the Hoysala and the contemporary Kannada civilizations competing for regional influence at the time of the temple's construction (such as the Kalachuri and Chalukya). Given the tendency of civilizations to portray historical events through the filter of contemporary references, it seems reasonable to expect that even if these reliefs did portray scenes from Hindu epics, they would most likely depict contemporary arms in use at the time.

Of note was the fact there were the different sword forms shown attributed to the Hoysala: both a straight blade and a forward-curving blade that could only be a kukri. It would appear as if the two forms coexistence simultaneously. Possibly they corresponded to different classes of warriors? This would not require a large stretch of reason considering the continued existence of the caste system today. Furthermore, some of the battle scenes depict both sides fighting with kukris, which would seemingly indicate the kukri saw widespread deployment and use in the region during this period.

Another relief sculpture show what clearly appears to be a flanged mace, which seems to indicate the use of such weaponry preceded the introduction of armor. Archers are depicted with what appear to be longbows. Another scenes proved enlightening with regards to the tactics used at the time.

Without further ado, I have below hosted and posted about a dozen photographs I shot in 2008, and welcome any and all discussion pertaining to the subject at hand. I hope you find this as interesting as do I.

Do to the number of images, I will post the remainder in a second post immediately following this one.


Photo of Hoysaleswara Temple

See the people on the far right for scale


Photo of the Friezes



Relief Sculptures Featuring the Kukri (Including Close-ups of Battle Friezes)



(note the warrior armed with the mace)




Battle Frieze Featuring Kukris in Combat

(note the right-facing warrior with the kukri immediately in front of the elephant on the left of the panel)

Last edited by laEspadaAncha; 21st February 2010 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Too tired to proof-read my own work last night
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Old 21st February 2010, 07:21 AM   #2
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Pt. II:


Relief Sculptures Featuring Straight-Edged Swords





Flanged Mace in Combat



Close-Quarter Tactics



Hoysala Archer
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Old 21st February 2010, 08:10 AM   #3
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laEspadaAncha, Thanks for sharing...beautiful temple carvings and examples of southern Indian weapons.....I saw the Hoysala temples back in 2000..definitely a must see if you are in the area.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 04:27 AM   #4
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Hi Nathaniel,

Glad you like 'em and that you had a chance to experience the beauty of Hoysaleswara temple firsthand... Did you make it over to Belur as well? While commissioned by the same ruler and built within a couple decades of each other, the differences are as remarkable as their similarity. The Dravidian architecture of the south is truly distinctive and different from anything else in the world.

I had always been under the impression the flanged mace evolved as a response to armor, but the relief above clearly shows they were in use at the time. It also intrigues me to see the kukri so far to the south, and makes me wonder just for how long it had been in use before these temples were built...
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Old 2nd March 2010, 05:33 AM   #5
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Post A Vijaynagar Frieze

Hello,

Here is a frieze from a 'Veeragallu' - 'Hero Stone' which is dedicated to a war hero who fell in battle from early Vijaynagara times - (1336 - 1565 A.D.)

Notice the reverse curved sword here. Yes, this type of sword was a predominant type down South. Malabar and Coorgi weapons like the 'Ayda Katthi' and 'Maplah Katthi' are still made with reverse curved edges.

Nidhi

P.S. Notice the horseman, he has a katar at his waist and his horse wears trappings similar to those worn by European knights!
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Old 2nd March 2010, 08:57 AM   #6
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Namaste Nidhi,

Where is the frieze in your post located? Can you post a larger copy of the image? I'd really like to see the depiction of that katar in detail...

I have Coorgi friends and my wife's family is coastal Kannada... I've been on the lookout for a nice ayudha katti for almost 13 years, and always make time to take up the search when we're back in India... I'll also be on the hunt for a good pichangatti on my next trip.

Anyway, to your knowledge, has anyone ever published anything on when the southern kukri evolved into the ayudha katti? Unlike the visible "kukri kink" I found in the 12th C. friezes in Halebidu, the 15th C. example you post seems to more closely resemble the ayudha katti in form...

Thank you for posting that - before coming across these friezes a couple years ago, I had always assumed the ayudha katti to have been a (later) southern adaptation of a northern weapon, and had no idea the Indian kukri in its classical form had preceded it in the kingdoms of the south.
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Old 2nd March 2010, 11:20 AM   #7
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Smile The frieze

Hello,
This is from the local museum at Shimoga in Southern Karnataka, where I am based. The museum has several more friezes where the reversed blade is depicted. There is also one from the 14th C.A.D. This frieze is actually from Huliyal in Southern Karnataka.

I do not have a larger snap but the zoom option on any photo editor shows the katar very well with it's twin grips too!

As for your question about when the Southern kukri 'evolved' into the Ayudha Katthi', I am not sure if there was any such evolution. The reversed curved blade has been around here since the 13th C.A.D. as can be verified from dated temple architecture and I wouldn't be surprised if it was around several centuries earlier too. The reverse curved form is seen on long and short edged blades - swords, daggers (chillanum blades), ayudha kathi (medium sized blade), etc.

I have an intersting reverse curved piece from the Bikaner armoury. It from it's Southern hilt style and brass construction would most probably have been brought over from the South to the Bikaner armoury after Adoni fell to the Mughals.

Nidhi
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Old 2nd March 2010, 01:40 PM   #8
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Nidhi, thank you for posting the picture, it is the earliest image I have seen of a katar, and it looks as if it is fully developed.

Is a katar shown on the frieze from the 14 C.A.D.?

Jens
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Old 2nd March 2010, 03:23 PM   #9
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Post Katar

Jens,

This particular frieze is from the 14th century AD(1300 -1399) as per the detail provided by the museum curators and I agree with it seeing the particular hair styles of the warriors, and clearly shows a katar in the horseman's waistband.

Yes, this 14th C piece is the earliest representation of the Katar I have seen till date in S Indian sculpture.

The other 14th C piece whose photograph I do not have at this moment, only shows a reverse curved sword and no katar.


Nidhi

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Old 2nd March 2010, 05:06 PM   #10
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Nidhi,

Thank you for clarifying this. It is most interesting, as Ibn Batutta in 1332, in his memoirs, described how a friend of his was killed with a katar at the south west coast of India.

The katar shown on the frieze is fully developed, like we know them to day, so that it was fully developed at that time, must mean it is older than 14 century – very few weapons, if any at all, have been unchanged, or almost unchanged, for such a long period.

Jens
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Old 2nd March 2010, 07:04 PM   #11
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Hi Nidhi,

Regarding what I perceive as an evolution of form, the (what appears to be a) bichwa you show above, while indeed 'reverse-curved,' is much later than the examples depicted in the friezes, is it not? I have always been under the impression that the recurved daggers, such as the bichwa and chillanum, are indeed an indigenous development within the Indian subcontinent, while the forward-curved blades are not.

Maybe this is conjecture, though it is most certainly supported by the known introduction of the forward-curved kopis to India in the 4th century BCE. By contrast, at least AFAIK, there is no documentation - in art or history - of the introduction of a recurved blade form from elsewhere outside India. I am thusly cautious about the use of "indigenous" in the description of the ayudha katti (in the form we recognize it today). The "indiegenous" people of North America in truth migrated across the Bering Straight at one point in antiquity.

It is for this reason I look to answer the question regarding the possible evolution of form: the temple friezes in Halebidu are the earliest depiction of the kukri I have seen in South India. The frieze from Shimoga - according to the curators as per your post - were constructed a good two centuries later. I guess one could argue it is a matter of semantics, but I would tend to disagree - as the "kink" of the ayudha katti occurs on the interior (cutting) edge, while the "kukri kink" in addition occurs on the spine - IMO the clear identifying factor in the Hoysala friezes. The depictions on the friezes in Shimoga and Halebidu illustrate this difference nicely IMO.

On the other hand, I think the hilt treatment depicted in the Halebidu sculptures does more somewhat resemble the ayudha katti in its modern form, but that itself begs the question: is typology more closely tied to blade form, or hilt form?

So anyway, you mention you are based in S. India... B'lore? Maybe you'll consider getting together for a temple day trip upon our next return...

Regards,

Chris
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Old 2nd March 2010, 07:34 PM   #12
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As a footnote, I think that the dynamics evolution of form of both art and weapons follows the same pattern as linguistics, with regards to divergence (from a common influence) over time. In the absence of any formal study on the evolution of the kukri in S. India, these artistic architectural treasures (which predate all but the very earliest illustrated manuscripts - and how many of those from the pre-Mughal South survive to this day?) are probably the best historical depictions and documented chronology we have of contemporary weaponry at the time.

Here's a close-up of both the ayudha katti and the katar in the Shimoga frieze. Maybe I don't have the eyes as you or Jens, but I am unable to discern the detail of the katar from the photo, aside from its general dimensions. What does surprise me is its rather diminutive size...





Note the fuller shown in the katti above... also the classic Indian treatment of the langlets on the straight-edged sword in the same frieze.
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Old 2nd March 2010, 09:18 PM   #13
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Lightbulb The Khukri and others

Chris,

Thank you for your detailed notes here. The Shimoga frieze as per my understanding shows a medium length recurved sword and certainly not a bichwa as can be understood from the way that the grip is clutched.

I agree with you in full measure that many forms what we call 'indigenous' may not be so and you have rightly narrated the case of the 'Indians' of North America. Here it is very important to know if we have older representations of the Khukri in Nepali or Eastern Indian art and can show it's time trail. I am not sure if Spiral is around but he can surely help us here.

Much of the Nepalese nobility had origins in North India after the Muslim incursions and weapon form transfer may have taken place from India to Nepal too.

You raised a very important question here of typology and if we can relate it to hilt or blade form. I'd go with the blade any time as it is the one distinguishing factor for an edged weapon, but others would have their own views.

Chris, temple friezes are the most important method to understand Indian weaponry and it's evolution over time and this is an aspect that has not been studied very hard so far. So your thread is an outstanding piece to understand this evolution.

I have attached a pic of the frieze with the katar highlighted for you. I intend to visit the museum again later this week and take better and more pictures of this frieze as it is undoubtedly an important one from both the sword as well as the katar perspective. Maybe we shall be clearer here with better pictures of both.

Nidhi
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Old 2nd March 2010, 10:41 PM   #14
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Hi Nidhi,

The bichwa I mentioned was in reference to the second photograph you posted (of the piece from Bikaner armory) - not the first photograph of the ayudha katti in the frieze...

Thank you for taking the time to highlight the details of the katar (though as best as I can ascertain, the separation of the crossbars seems to be somewhat exaggerated in the overlay). I still don't see the level of detail in the frieze as do you or Jens, but as mentioned, I am surprised at the katar's rather diminutive size. I have a European-bladed example that dates to the 17th C., and am familiar with the 19th C. Rajastani forms, but the katar depicted in the frieze appears noticeably smaller than either. Of course, as hinted to throughout this thread, much can change over the course of several centuries...

I will look forward with anticipation to the photographs following your next visit to Shimoga.

Anyway, regarding this thread, I am most grateful to see others with an interest joining in the discussion...

So I'm still waiting to hear if you are based out of B'lore... if so, it would afford me the rare opportunity of treating you to California cuisine at one of my favorite B'lore restaurants. In fact, if you can name the restaurant, I'll treat you to a Kingfisher (what's another Rs. 300 charged for a Rs. 40 beer?) as well. I'll even give you a hint - it's off Museum Road...

Regards,

Chris
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Old 3rd March 2010, 01:41 AM   #15
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Hello

Thank you for these photos. I'm very interested in the khukri origin question and associations with the Macedonian kopis. I don't think we can discount parallel development of the same shape in India prior to Macedonian incursion. Similar problems often give rise to similar solutions despite wide geographic separation and isolation. India also experimented with some very complex and extravagant blade shapes.

Elgood (Hindu Arms and Ritual) shows a number of friezes from Mamallapuram (p83) dating from the mid-seventh century, that depict forward curving blades with recurved edge. There are also a number of 15th-16th century swords with similar characteristics. These are all sword sized and they straddle a fine line between convex curve and recurve. I'm sorry I don't have access to a scanner at the moment.

I've edited the pic with the katar a bit, it's somewhat more visible. I doesn't seem that diminutive. In proportion to the rest of the figure it's as long as his thigh so fairly long.

Nice discussion!
Emanuel
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Old 3rd March 2010, 02:13 AM   #16
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Hello Emanuel,

Interesting! I guess I'll have to add Mamallapuram to my list of destinations the next time my wife and I return to India... Those reliefs you reference would predate the temple at Halebidu by half a millennium. Do you happen to recall if those friezes also depicted a kink in the spine as well, or was the forward curve / convex / recurve limited to the cutting edge?

It just goes to show how thin my reference library is... thank you for the reference to the text, as well as for the better enlargement.

Regarding the katar in Nidhi's photo, if I mimic the angle of the knee (approximating stirrup position based on that depicted in the frieze), I measure approximately 7-8 inches / 17.8-20.3 cm in vertical drop from my belt line to the bottom of my thigh. I guess as per my exposure to the weapon, a 7 inch katar blade still seems rather diminutive to me...

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 3rd March 2010, 04:31 AM   #17
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Lightbulb Blade lengths and Beer

Quote:
Originally Posted by laEspadaAncha
Hi Nidhi,
So I'm still waiting to hear if you are based out of B'lore... if so, it would afford me the rare opportunity of treating you to California cuisine at one of my favorite B'lore restaurants. In fact, if you can name the restaurant, I'll treat you to a Kingfisher (what's another Rs. 300 charged for a Rs. 40 beer?) as well. I'll even give you a hint - it's off Museum Road...
Have sent you a PM.

Chris, katar blades only 7 inches in length are not a rarity. I have seen blades even 5 inches long forged along with the grip. Generally Indian blades were shorter than the foreign ones(originally longer sword blades shortened down) that are seen in profusion later.

You may want to check this out:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...m=110468708718

Thanks for the clearer snap, Emanuel.

Nidhi

Last edited by olikara; 3rd March 2010 at 04:52 AM. Reason: Added some more info
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Old 3rd March 2010, 07:19 PM   #18
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Hi Chris,

Perhaps you should clarify what you are looking for and how you are defining khukri. The kink is present in some form or other...the mid-axis of the blade is angled forward. The treatment of the spine is irrelevant I think, some have a very strong angular "kink" while other have a very smooth and gentle wide-angled curve. The example in the frieze is of the latter variety. Many of the 16th century pieces have a very strongly angled spine. I'll scan the pages when I get home tonight or tomorrow.

Attached are some pictures from "El Armamento Iberico" Fernando Quesada Sanz. It shows examples of the Greek kopis and the Iberian falcata, very similar weapons, very khukri-like, but both developed differently. The kopis is suggested to have developed from the Egyptian and Sumerian kopesh/sappara, themselves developed from an axe, while the falcata is thought to derive from celtic knives.

Also check out Spiral's pictures from the Kathmando National Museum You can see that the old 18th century khukri are often large, sword-sized and have a very smooth spine, no "kink" as in British pattern and post-WWI khukri.

I look at khukri as a branch of a general stream of experimentation in blade design that may have started with Macedonian incursion, earlier, or later, both independent and related. It's very hard not to see the kopis as a direct ancestor, but the falcata shows the possibility of a parallel development, so we shouldn't rule out the same with the khukri/South Indian blades.

Food for thought...

Emanuel
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Old 3rd March 2010, 07:42 PM   #19
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Just to throw in another wrench in the question, here is a shot of a 5th century BC Greek cup showing a Greek soldier fighting a Persian. Notice the Persian, not the Greek is wielding a kopis-like sword. The cup, help in the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig museu (# BS 480) is dated to 480 BC, over a century earlier than Alexander. At the time the Persian Empire extended to the Indus River, so we may consider this form of sword having being known in India much earlier than Alexander's incursion.

Food for thought...
Emanuel
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Old 3rd March 2010, 08:12 PM   #20
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Hi Emanuel,

Thank you for both the links and for posting those illustrations!

I wondered the same thing about the early kukris, given the progression of 20th century military-pattern kukris transition from the more rounded spine to the more contemporary "kinked" angular spine... Then I found an earlier Indian kukri that had the angular kink lacking from the the more gentle curves of contemporary Nepali kukris, and upon viewing the friezes at Halebidu couldn't help but make the association.

I do think that my labeling of the swords / knives depicted in the friezes at Halebidu may have been prematurely presumptive. Persistence and luck paid off when I found this example online, with a Southwest Indian attribution:



This is a far more distinct example of an ayudha katti than I have previously seen, and indeed IMO a close match to the weapons depicted in the friezes at Halebidu.

Furthermore, in form it appears to have characteristics that significantly distinguish it from both the kukri - whether derived from the kopis, earlier Persian influences, or of independent origin - as well as from other expressions of the ayudha katti I have seen in print and on line. The distinctiveness of this particular example, would, IMHO, lend credence to Nidhi's suggestion of the existence of the forward-curved ayudha katti as an indigenous form.


And thank you for that most enlightening last post.

Regards,

Chris
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Old 3rd March 2010, 08:47 PM   #21
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Hi Chris,

This is type of sword in Elgood's book, a 16th century "flamboyant" sword. This is also why I asked about your definition of "khukri". Attached is an illustration from Rawson's The Indian Sword. Are all khukri?

I would say they all share certain characteristics with the khukri, but only the Nepalese type, with its unique set of characteristics (the cho and kaudi, for example) is a khukri .

The swords in this frieze panel you showed is very similar to the flamboyant sword, but obviously much earlier, Rawson actually shows one on right column...compare to the adya katti.

Cheers,
Emanuel
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Old 3rd March 2010, 09:46 PM   #22
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Hi Emanuel,

Of course they're not "all" kukris, I am by no means suggesting any and all forward-curved Indian blades should be labeled as such. I am very familiar with the ayudha katti in its recognized form (in the 3 1/2 years I've spent in country since 1997 have always been on the look out for one). The kora is another distinctive forward-curved blade that no one would mistake as a kukri derivative.

I would however - as has the author - consider the latter five examples illustrated in the right-hand column ("forward-angled") to share enough common characteristics to consider the existence of common influences in their respective origins. However, as mentioned in an earlier post, the 12th C. weapons depicted in the friezes at Halebidu (as well as the example I posted above) are IMHO distinctive enough to merit consideration of - as you and Nidhi have suggested - an independent origin. The 18th C. kukri illustrated here (similar in design to an early Indian kukri in my possession) seems to more closely match the kopis in form than the aforementioned katti depicted in Hoysala art.

Anyway, another great illustration... I would say, based on those forms, the sword shown in my earlier post more closely resembles the Hoysala example (as well as the swords shown in the friezes at Halebidu) than the 16th C. "flamboyant sword" in your illustration (aside from maybe the hilt treatment).

Speaking of which, the illustration you posted (as well as its source) is previously unknown to me and the first attempt at a documented typology of forward-curving Indian edged weapons I have seen - IMO, alone worth the price of admission... thanks for the same.


Regards,

Chris

ETA: I just realized your reference to the "flamboyant" sword was regarding the photo I had included in my previous post, and have edited my post to reflect this.

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Old 27th March 2010, 12:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
Just to throw in another wrench in the question, here is a shot of a 5th century BC Greek cup showing a Greek soldier fighting a Persian. Notice the Persian, not the Greek is wielding a kopis-like sword. The cup, help in the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig museu (# BS 480) is dated to 480 BC, over a century earlier than Alexander. At the time the Persian Empire extended to the Indus River, so we may consider this form of sword having being known in India much earlier than Alexander's incursion.

Food for thought...
Emanuel
I agree with you consideration, Emanuel, but fo the sake of precision, the warior is not persian, but Saka, a people from Central Asia which was used by the persians as mercenaries. Neverthless, there are many representations of persian warriors, made before the time of Alexander, using a kopis-like weapon. I know this and other Greek ceramics vases from this time, with similar representations. I know, also, from which book this pics were taken. There are, also, archaelogical findings from Khotan, which show very antique knives with downcurved blades similar to the khukris. I am following the trial of this weapons, and it does not point to Greece. And the classical sources seem to mention this fact, as mentioned on Burton´s The Books of the Sword.

The flacata appears on the 5th Century BC, before Alexander, but I personally do not think those weapons, the falcata and the kopis, were derivated from the kopesh, which, by the way, some archaeologists consider it originally Cannanite, and not egiptian. The Lycians also used a downcurved sword, more like the kopesh, and they were not a semitic or african people, as neither were the Cannanites.

The problem in studying this weapons, is the fact that there is but few archaeological research on India and Central Asia, and few historians-archaeologists studying the weapons from this area, in comparison to what has been made in Europe. It was not Burton, or Lord Egerton, who said that the khukri was derivated from the Greek kopis, supposedly carried into which now is actual Pakistan by Alexnder´s troops, but an specialist in occidental swords, without giving any argument. Burton only stated the mutual resemblence of this weapons.

Regards

Gonzalo
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Old 3rd April 2010, 04:45 AM   #24
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My aim in making the precision about the ethnicity of those warriors on the above representations, has no other purpose than to point to a possible relation among the downcurved swords and the cultural complexes of Central Asia and India. Otherwise, the precision would be irrelevant, unnecessary or maybe even pedantic. It is interesting the fact that, although the Greeks are always represented brandishing a kopis without guards, the Saka sometimes are represented with a downcurved sword with a crossguard with straigh quillons. The Kopis and the falcata have a kind of substitute of a guard, formed with the widening of the blade and the hilt on the side of the edge, in the point of their convergence, but they don´t have independent crossguards added to the sword, at least, as far as I have seen.

Obviously, the morphologies of the Near East-North Africa "sickle" swords, is very different from the downcurved swords from the Iberic Peninsula and from those found on the Greek representations.

Interestingly enough, Fernando Quesada Sanz, the world´s highest authority on the falcata (and he is not only a well intended knowledged amateur, but an archaeologist and a historian using scientific methods), states the following points:

1.- The machaira-kopis was an exotic weapon in Greece (meaning, foreign to Greeks). This, based on several arguments grounded on antique texts and a wide study of the iconography of this weapon (which includes 54 antique representaions of the machaira-kopis), and also on the military uses of the sword among the Greeks.
2.- The procedence of the falcata seems to point to a italic weapon, specifically etruscan, since the etruscans also had their own version of the machaira-kopis, different from the Greek. Though, unfortunately, it seems nobody has noticed it, except for the archaeologists. I can add that the etruscans, as other peoples from Europe, including from the Iberic Peninsula, are NOT what is commonly known as European Indo-Aryans, though they were-are pefectly "white" caucasians. Other influences from the etruscans can be seen on the disc-shaped cuirasses and some kind of puñales (poignard, as the english does not have an equivalent name, and dagger would not be the proper word).
3.- Based on the work of M. Gustin on the antique European one edged swords, Quesada Sanz points the origin of the falcata in a type of sword from La Téne, latter evolved on Central Europe.


By the way, the illustration showed above represents not only the evolution of the falcata and the machaira-kopis, but the possible evolution of all one edge sabres in Europe, and is related to the conclussions of M. Gustin (Fernando Quesada Sanz, Arma y Símbolo: La Falcata Ibérica, Instituto de Cultura Juan Gil-Albert, Colección Divulgación, No. 12, Alicante, España, pág.194).

4.- Quesada Sanz denies the Persian and Cimmerian-Scythic (or from the Noth-Pontic Steppe) origin of the machaira-kopis, based in the lack of archaeological evidence, and also because the 60% of the representations of this weapon appear on the hands of "exotic" personnel, as Persians, Troyans, giants and amazons, and in 17 cases where Greek warriors appear brandishing this weapon, in 14 of them they are fighting against the same exotic foes, so the representations are more or less symbolic or mythical.

Although with all due respect I don´t agree with this last statement, it is interesting to see where all those references points to. After all, some advancements has been made to identify those amazons and the people who, migrating to the west, is associated with the detonation of La Téne Period. And the lack of archaeological evidence is not a proof that something has occured, or not occured, only that there is not scientific proof of it, for the moment. And the same apply to the statement that the downcurved swords from Asia have a Greek origin. The intersting point in all this, is the fact that nobody has said the opposite: that the use of the swords in general, and the downcurved swords in particular, could be originated in Asia, Central Eurasia and the Near East. And why not? After all, they had the older civilizations, an older and more advanced metallurgy, and Central Asia, using the words of Doctor David Nicolle, influenced with its most advanced military technology all Europe at least since the roman times (if not before). Just see the juggernout (an Indian word), represented by the "barbarian" Asian conquerors when they appear on the occident or the near East, crushing all the European armies, like the Huns, Mongols, Turks (all kind of türkic peoples) and Tatars did. Interestingly enough to study them with a more sober, un-biased and scientific approach. You also have to take on account that the Asians, Neareasterners and Egyptians made science before the Greeks (the Greek "invention" of science is a ridiculous myth, though maybe they invented the systematic philosophy), and the Greek culture in more related to, oriented to, and interested in, Egypt, the Middle East and Persia, than to the rest of Europe, where a cultural void existed in this sense.

We have to make more research, beginning with the antique documental and iconographic sources, understanding their bias, motivations and limitations.
Gonzalo G is offline   Reply With Quote
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