Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
The second, shorter sword is more interesting. Its scabbard has not been preserved as well, but it is much better made. The hilt is longer, but the blade is shorter: the entire sword outside of the scabbard measures 38 inches (96.5 cm), the blade is 32 inches (81.3 cm) and the sword weighs 1 lbs. 14 oz. (851 grams). It is a European made blade exported to Abyssinia, with the Abyssinian lion crest at the base of the blade on one side and a "knight" mounted figure with sword on the other. There is writing in block letters underneath, but it is hard to make out, I believe the one under the lion is "EMPTOIR EUROPE", and I have no idea for the writing under the knight. The blade has one fuller with the typical floral motives on blades intended for Abyssinia along with images of a native warrior with spear and shield and the knight figure again.
The blade looks like it was modified from its original shape - it kind of looks like a curved sabre blade may have been straightened and flattened. Could it be a Mahdist trophy from the battle of Gallabat? There must have been a good number of Abyssinian blades captured following the fortuitious Mahdist victory and subsequently re-mounted, but until this one I have not really seen that many examples. It is also interesting that this sword has the simple Sudan steel guard, whereas the one with the "Eritrean" blade has a bigger guard with flaring quillons, usually ascribed to Darfur.
Where do you think these swords and their blades are from?