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Old 2nd July 2020, 07:59 PM   #1
rickystl
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Default Greek Kariophili/Rasak Musket

Hello ALL. A new addition to the family. I've always wanted one of these for my collection. But I've never been successful till now. Really happy with this one. The photos are exactly as I received it. Will be an easy, quick clean when I get to it.
While generally built like the others, there are some interesting features with this one. Most of these Greek style muskets show up with imported European flintlocks. This one sports a Balkan/Persian style miquelet lock, not seen as often. The lock is in perfect working order. The barrel is probably the most attractive part. I'm fairly confident the barrel was originally blued. The light bluish/grey patina is the clue. This fading is what happens when a charcoal-blue finish is left without oil. The barrel is 41 1/2" long and about .65 caliber.
There is beautiful chiseling and gold koftgari at the breech and muzzle ends.
There is some signature/writing in gold on the breech plug tang and the more center area of the barrel. (Greek or Latin ?) Maybe one of our Greek members can translate ? The gun is all iron mounted, including the barrel bands - which I believe were also blued as they match the patina of the barrel exactly. The wood ramrod is a later replacement. Due to the size of the ramrod hole I'm sure it originally had an iron ramrod like others. I may have one in my "suff" or I'll have one made.
The iron mounts on the stock and lock are not engraved and undecorated. The wood on the butt stock is punch decorated similar to others you see.
Except for some light rust in the bore, there is virtually no corrosion on any of the iron parts. I can tell the guns has been fired, but seen very little use.

So, a simple cleaning and a old/new ramrod and it will be ready for display.
Picture heavy, so any comments most welcome. And thanks for looking.

Rick
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Old 2nd July 2020, 08:01 PM   #2
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MORE PICS.........
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Old 2nd July 2020, 08:03 PM   #3
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last ones.........
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Old 2nd July 2020, 08:56 PM   #4
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Default Some potted history on the Kariophili

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Old 2nd July 2020, 09:02 PM   #5
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Hi Rick,
A beautiful example of a Kariophili/Rasak. I note that there is no trigger guard which is more typical of the Rasak, but then the two are VERY similar so as you say, maybe one of our Greek Members can sort it out. By the way, I do not think the script on your gun is Greek or Albanian. It looks more like Turkish.
Have attached some pics of my Kariophili which is very plain in comparison with yours.
Stu
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Old 3rd July 2020, 12:13 PM   #6
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Hi Rick,
As has been said previously a really lovely example. On the basis of the script I reckon Rasak may be the correct designation but with the fluidity in that region at that time who knows who the owner may have been and does the designation go with the owner or the maker or some other typifying feature? Here's a few photos of mine identified as a Kariofili by our Greek members. The letter was found by me down the barrel a number of years after I acquired the musket so I wasn't aware immediately of the Greek connection. As you can see from the photos mine is not nearly as nice as yours. A really great catch.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 04:42 PM   #7
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Thanks for the posts and comments.

Hi Stu: That is a very informative short history of the Kariophili musket. Thank you !!
I remember when you first received yours and posted here. It's a very nice, clean example. I remember drooling over it when I first viewed it. It's nice to see one with a trigger guard as many were built without them. Most I've seen do not have the guard, and your's was obviously built with one from the beginning.

Hi Norman. I remember you first posting yours some years back. I especially remember you latter finding that letter with some providence rolled up in the barrel. Talk about added value to the gun !!!

Speaking of values. Have any of you noticed the Greek and Caucasian guns "generally" bring higher prices that other Eastern market guns and accessories ?

The more I look at the barrel on mine, the more Persian or Ottoman it looks. The gold writing looks Arabic to me. Possibly the re-use of an older barrel (?) which would not be uncommon.
One other curiosity is that hole in the rear of the lock plate. Hmmm. Maybe when I remove the lock for cleaning I'll get a clue.

Yes, hopefully someone can translate the writings on the barrel. That could solve part of that mystery.

Rick
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Old 3rd July 2020, 06:46 PM   #8
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Congratulations, Rick! The gun is relatively plain but the fit and finish are outstanding for the place and time. Superb chiseling on that Turkish barrel, too. How's the bore on it? I bet the lock is in perfect working order.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 08:53 PM   #9
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The inscription on the barrel reads, with a misspelling

عاملى (كذا) حاجى شعبان

“Work of Haci Şaban”

The second inscription is very poorly written, and partially concealed. I think the photo is also out of focus. I think it reads as follows, but if you send a better image I might be able to confirm it

(صاحب [و] مالك طوپجو(؟) خوجه (خواجه

“The owner and possessor Topçu(?) Hoca”

Topçu means “artillery officer” and hoca means “master”. Both inscriptions are in Ottoman Turkish
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Old 3rd July 2020, 09:18 PM   #10
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Hi Rick,
It looks as if a number of things have become clearer from the comments above. The script has now been identified as Turkish and you have the translation.
You make mention about the trigger guard (not present on your gun) Elgoods book on Greek weapons shows virtually all Kariophili WITH a trigger guard and the rear of the trigger having a small pierced decoration. Yours however is more like the Rasak, lacking a trigger guard, and a plain "hooked" end to the trigger itself. I am not for one minute suggesting that your gun is not a Kariophili, simply that it has features of the Rasak also.
Once again, you have a VERY nice gun there.
As an aside to Kwiatek's translation above, Topcu has other meanings also, (perhaps notibly) it is also the name of a couple of villages/towns https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top%C3%A7u so if Hoca is translated as "Master" then is it possible that this gun once belonged to the Head Man of the village/town of Topcu? Just a thought............
Stu

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Old 4th July 2020, 02:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Congratulations, Rick! The gun is relatively plain but the fit and finish are outstanding for the place and time. Superb chiseling on that Turkish barrel, too. How's the bore on it? I bet the lock is in perfect working order.

Hi Philip ! Thanks for your comments. Yes, I'm very happy finding this one. The bore appears to have just light surface rust. And the lock works perfectly as is. Again, I can tell the gun has been fired, but not much. Very little barrel/pan discoloration at the breach.

Rick
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Old 4th July 2020, 02:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
As an aside to Kwiatek's translation above, Topcu has other meanings also, (perhaps notibly) it is also the name of a couple of villages/towns https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top%C3%A7u so if Hoca is translated as "Master" then is it possible that this gun once belonged to the Head Man of the village/town of Topcu? Just a thought............
Stu


I think it’s almost certainly a personal name. Hoca is used very commonly as part of names and nicknames (most famously Nasrettin Hoca) or to denote someone who is master of a skill or a profession. Grammatically, it does not make sense to read it as “Hoca of Topcu”, which would instead be written in Turkish as “Topculu Hoca” or “Hoca-i Topcu” or “Topcu Hocası”.

I suspect also that the various villages called Topcu were named after famous artillery soldiers who lived there. -çu at the end of a word denotes a profession (“top” being a ball or cannon).

Interesting pieces, thanks for sharing.
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Old 4th July 2020, 02:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
The inscription on the barrel reads, with a misspelling

عاملى (كذا) حاجى شعبان

“Work of Haci Şaban”

The second inscription is very poorly written, and partially concealed. I think the photo is also out of focus. I think it reads as follows, but if you send a better image I might be able to confirm it

(صاحب [و] مالك طوپجو(؟) خوجه (خواجه

“The owner and possessor Topçu(?) Hoca”

Topçu means “artillery officer” and hoca means “master”. Both inscriptions are in Ottoman Turkish

Hi Kwiatek

Thank you VERY much for the translation. Much appreciated. Shows how valuable this Forum can be.
Yes, the barrel tang screw/hole is partially covering up the script. And the gold overlay is not done quite as well as the other. And yes, that photo does appear to be a bit out of focus. For some reason I'm having difficulty getting the light at the right angle. Here are two more pics of both. See if this helps (?)

Rick
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Old 4th July 2020, 03:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Hi Rick,
It looks as if a number of things have become clearer from the comments above. The script has now been identified as Turkish and you have the translation.
You make mention about the trigger guard (not present on your gun) Elgoods book on Greek weapons shows virtually all Kariophili WITH a trigger guard and the rear of the trigger having a small pierced decoration. Yours however is more like the Rasak, lacking a trigger guard, and a plain "hooked" end to the trigger itself. I am not for one minute suggesting that your gun is not a Kariophili, simply that it has features of the Rasak also.
Once again, you have a VERY nice gun there.
As an aside to Kwiatek's translation above, Topcu has other meanings also, (perhaps notibly) it is also the name of a couple of villages/towns https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top%C3%A7u so if Hoca is translated as "Master" then is it possible that this gun once belonged to the Head Man of the village/town of Topcu? Just a thought............
Stu

Hi Stu

Last night I was reading and studying photos in Elgood's books. And I'm inclined to agree with your last assessments. Overall, the gun was built in the style of a Rasak. And the style of miquelet lock is the most common you see on both Albanian long guns and pistols.
"Work of" could apply to the barrel only. But in this case it would seem to make more sense that it applies to the maker of the entire gun. While the stock and iron fittings do not have the decorative content of the barrel, the overall build quality of the gun is excellent. Only weighs between 6-7-lbs. Would be an excellent gun to carry through hills and mountainous areas.
"The owner and possessor" would obviously apply to the owner of the gun.

So, what do I have ? LOL It wood seem the gun was built by a Turkish gun builder, using a Turkish made barrel, for a Turkish customer, with a preference for the style of the Rasak long guns similar to ones coming from southern Albania and the like.

Kwiatek: Thank you again for the additional clarification.

Rick
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Old 4th July 2020, 06:50 PM   #15
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Thanks for the photo, that’s much clearer, though I am not sure of the reading of “Topçu” now! The name is hard to make out. The fact that it is in Ottoman Turkish does not mean that the owner was necessarily Turkish though as Turkish would have been understood by most people of rank in Anatolia, the Balkans and parts of the Arab-speaking Ottoman domains. Interesting piece, thanks again for sharing
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Old 5th July 2020, 05:58 AM   #16
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Hi Rick,
What ever your gun is....Kariophili or Rasak....it's a real gem and I am sure that there are many on this Forum who wished that they owned it. By the way the weight of my Kariophili is just 6lb so much the same as yours.
Regards Stu
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Old 6th July 2020, 02:48 PM   #17
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Again, thank you ALL for your replies. And a special thank you to Kwiatek for the translations. Much appreciated.

Rick
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Old 8th July 2020, 05:59 AM   #18
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Wonderful acquisition, Ricky! Having never examined one in person (outside a museum) are these normally rifled?

And to the Kariophili vs Rasak debate, just what is the difference? Not having any reference material myself (waiting for a good deal on Elgood) I have always just thought the ones with a miquelet lock without a triggerguard were Rasak and the flintlock with triggerguard were Kariophili. One being "truly Hellenic" the other being Slavic/Balkan/Turkish influenced. But that was always an assumption.
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Old 12th July 2020, 04:08 PM   #19
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"I have always just thought the ones with a miquelet lock without a triggerguard were Rasak and the flintlock with triggerguard were Kariophili. One being "truly Hellenic" the other being Slavic/Balkan/Turkish influenced. But that was always an assumption."

Hi Cyten

That seems to be the general opinion of many. And I can't really argue with that since I am also in general agreement based on reference material and handling other original examples.
The gun styling is very similar to other Rasak guns with the more curved stock and use of a miquelet lock and no trigger guard as mentioned. Maybe influence from Southern Albania (?) where the miquelet lock shows up on 90% of Albanian guns.
What attracted me to this gun was the great condition and completeness. But what had me confused was the barrel. While I could not read the script the decoration on the barrel looked Ottoman to me. Thanks to this Forum we now know the writing is Ottoman/Turkish. What I am not sure of is whether the "built by" signature refers to the entire gun, or just the barrel. But it makes more sense that it refers to the complete gun.
We do know that Ottoman/Turkish gun barrels were held in high regard during this period. Even some higher end European sporting guns show up with Ottoman barrels.

I've never read or seen one of these guns with a rifled barrel. Apparently not a preference for the owners.

Rick
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Old 24th August 2020, 12:14 PM   #20
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a question:

does anyone know the specific year of construction of the Rasak musket?

thank you
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Old 25th August 2020, 05:00 AM   #21
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Greetings.

The "kariofili" "καριοφίλι" is a corruption of the name of the Italian firearms maker 'Carlo e figlio' (that means 'Carlo and son'), the barrels were mostly from Brescia, in 1797 Beretta was awarded a "good service certificate" from Napoleon Bonaparte for supplying barrels for 40.000 muskets manufactured by Brescia for the French emperor's grande armee.

The Rasak was indeed a Balkanian construction as was the Dzeferdar.


Cheers.

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Old 26th August 2020, 06:13 AM   #22
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by the way to this sales collection gallery site there was a Rasak musket that is sold out and had a trigger guard

Last edited by Robert : 26th August 2020 at 06:47 AM. Reason: Linking to a site offering items for sale one more time will earn you a two week ban. Please read the rules..
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Old 27th August 2020, 12:28 PM   #23
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The Greeks instead of the atakti army had and the ieros lohos (sacred band or holy regiment) that had regular, tactic army uniforms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klepht

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armatoloi

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