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Old 11th July 2022, 12:21 PM   #1
ariel
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Perhaps, we need to modify the name: Yataghan Karadeniz ( Black Sea yataghan) might be more inclusive and accurate.
In the last issue of the Russian journal " Historical weapons study" there is a big paper on the weapons of the Adjaro-Gurian region. It is located in the South-West Georgia and North-East Turkey adjacent to the Black Sea.
It is populated by several ethnicities : Shavsheti Machakheli, Adjara, Lower and Upper Guria, eastern Lazistan (currently part of Georgia) and a part of modern Turkey. Due to historical re-arrangements part of it , i.e. the southernmost part of it is included in the Trabzon area in Turkey. The population is sufficiently linguistically and religiously diverse to define it as multinational.

We traditionally (well, actually only for the past ~30 years at the max) attribute Yataghan Karadeniz exclusively to Trabzon Laz and even call it Laz Bicagi.
But the article of Dvalishvili and Talantov for the first time address the previously the " undiscovered country" of the entire Adjaro-Gurian region, and here are old pictures of specifically- defined Gurians carrying this peculiar weapon.
See pis of 3 Adjarians and pay attention to the leftmost one. The second picture with 2 Gurians does not need a commentary.
And, BTW, what we traditionally call " Surmene knives" ( after the Turkish town of Surmene) were also widespread in the Georgian part of the Adjaro-Gurian area and locally known as " Baba Kamas".

Interestingly, even Russian weapon gurus with their unrestricted access to Caucasian weapons never ventured into the entire South-West Georgia and missed the whole story of the apparently, highly developed weapon culture and manufacture. It took the astonishing " private researcher" Levan Dvalishvili to address that issue. My hat is off to him!

So, here is my modest suggestion to use a term Yatagan Karadeniz instead of specific " Laz " attribution of it as Laz Bicagi.
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Old 11th July 2022, 01:19 PM   #2
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We all know that weapons "travel" very easily. For example, in the last topic, participants posted photos of Pontic Greeks with Laz Bichak.
If you carefully read the article, then there is such information: "The Lazistan sanjak included: Batum, Lower and Upper Adjara, Machakheli, Gonio, Hopa, Arkhave, Hemshin, Atina." That is, to put it simply, at that moment Adjara is part of Lazistan.

"A large center for the production of weapons was in Trebizond, located in central Lazistan, not so far from the Adjara-Guria center for the production of weapons. This center of production must be mentioned in our study, also because most of the craftsmen in Trebizond were Laz. This was directly mentioned in 1837 by the English officer Douglas Stevens, who visited the border territories of the Ottoman and Russian empires for the purpose of intelligence. First he visited the regions of Western Georgia, and then Lazistan"

So it's not worth "reinvent the wheel" coming up with a new name, instead of the quite appropriate "Laz Bichak"
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Old 11th July 2022, 03:40 PM   #3
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Concerning " Baba Kamas" :

in many slavic countries :

Kama means knife
Baba means grandmother….

but baba also is used in “ baba Jaga “ : a magical wild dark witchy deadly woman

When citing names one has to incorporate the cultural and linguistic significance in order to explain the item ‘ s name and understand.

This is quite typical for many slavic regions and countries to give nicknames, which in oneway might symbolize something with regards to the use or nature of the object or another way gives a touchy, sometimes kind, sometimes mischievous or quite serious or slightly humoristic name to a deadly weapon.
A “ Granny ‘ s knife “ or even “ the witch’s dagger “ is quite sarcastic or ironical in a way for a deadly weapon….

FYI : Not only objects but also people have met with this change of name …
(think of the Ossetian Ioseb Jughashvili or the Croat Josip Broz)
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Old 11th July 2022, 04:19 PM   #4
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In 1878, according to the San Stefano agreement, everything including Guria and Adjaria but excluding the southernmost part of Lazistan ( around Trabzon) was returned by the Turks to Georgia, at that time the part of Russian Empire. Large part of Lazistan joined the general Adjaro-Gurian region in Georgia. Georgian Laz are Christian, Turkish Laz became Moslems.
Both pictures specifying the ethnicities of people shown there are signed in Russian i.e. clearly indicating locations of studios: Russian-controlled Georgia.
The reason I cited that paper is to show that the so-called Laz Bicagi was not
endemic to southern, i.e. Turkish, Lazistan. It co-existed with Adjaria and Guria contemporaneously. I leave the question of its original invention to Mr. Dvalishvili.

One needs to pay close attention to historiography; ignoring it leads to careless and often illiterate statements. I could bring examples but do not wish to embarrass their author.

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Old 11th July 2022, 04:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp View Post
Concerning " Baba Kamas" :

in many slavic countries :

Kama means knife
Baba means grandmother….

but baba also is used in “ baba Jaga “ : a magical wild dark witchy deadly woman

When citing names one has to incorporate the cultural and linguistic significance in order to explain the item ‘ s name and understand.

This is quite typical for many slavic regions and countries to give nicknames, which in oneway might symbolize something with regards to the use or nature of the object or another way gives a touchy, sometimes kind, sometimes mischievous or quite serious or slightly humoristic name to a deadly weapon.
A “ Granny ‘ s knife “ or even “ the witch’s dagger “ is quite sarcastic or ironical in a way for a deadly weapon….

FYI : Not only objects but also people have met with this change of name …
(think of the Ossetian Ioseb Jughashvili or the Croat Josip Broz)

Just a digression:
Kama is not Slavic, it is Turkish for dagger.
Baba in Russian is either a peasant woman or a grandmother.
Baba in Turkish is “father”, buyuk baba is “grandfather”.

And the only way for a grandmother to become a grandfather is to grow a pair of testicles:-)))
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Old 11th July 2022, 05:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
Just a digression:
Kama is not Slavic, it is Turkish for dagger.
Baba in Russian is either a peasant woman or a grandmother.
Baba in Turkish is “father”, buyuk baba is “grandfather”.

And the only way for a grandmother to become a grandfather is to grow a pair of testicles:-)))
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
Just a digression:
Kama is not Slavin, it is Turkish for dagger.
Baba in Russian is either a peasant woman or a grandmother.
Baba in Turkish is “father”, buyuk baba is “grandfather”.

And the only way for a grandmother to become a grandfather is to grow a pair of testicles:-)))
If you go to the Balkans my dear friend….

1. Kama is used for knives…be assured! Not only now but since centuries actually.
It might be of Ottoman origin, but like English has many Latin and French words…languages evolve….you wouldn’t call office not an English word but French, now would you…?

Latest formal use of kama was the Kama Division of the SS which existed out of Albanians, and had the knife as their symbol, similar by the way as the Handcar SS division from the former Yugoslavia had a handcar as symbol and nothing to do with Turkish….although the name originates from it….
Just look up the dictionaries of these countries !

2. Concerning baba… in Serbo- Croatian, now Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian…baba stands for grandmother…
Geographical places like Babin Zub in BiH and Babin Kuk in Croatia clearly stand for grandmother….
Zub = tooth and the rock resembles a tooth of a grandmother without any other teeth than just one corner tooth

https://27crags.com/crags/babin-zub


Kuk = hip and has an equal function ….and actually a beautiful holidayplace for well to do people.
Nicknames…just creative way of people with language !
Babin is genitiv of baba

and instead of making a silly sexistic remark, you’d better check your statements with reality:again check a simple translator online…

https://www.contextualdictionary.com...n-english/baba

https://www.contextualdictionary.com...n-english/BABA

https://glosbe.com/bs/en/baba

Last edited by gp; 11th July 2022 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 11th July 2022, 08:26 PM   #7
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OК, we agree on the meaning of “ baba” in Slavic languages and by definition on its meaning in Turkish. My joke was never sexist, I can assure you as a professional endocrinologist.

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Old 11th July 2022, 09:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
OК, we agree on the meaning of “ baba” in Slavic languages and by definition on its meaning in Turkish. My joke was never sexist, I can assure you as a professional endocrinologist.
discussing weapons is what I was doing with regards to " Baba Kamas"

Explaining it might be nicknamed "grandmother's knife " based upon the tradition in the Slavic world to find nicknames one way or another.

Apologies if you didn't get my explanation...nor was it my intention to insult you on the "baba " translation, moreover just to enlarge your knowledge from a limited perspective which it was appaerantly. Sorry my dear friend !

Bottom line, short and simple: one ought never exclude the influence of language and culture....What means one thing in Russian, might mean something complete different in Serbian.

Last edited by Battara; 13th July 2022 at 02:52 AM. Reason: personal attack
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Old 12th July 2022, 10:32 AM   #9
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Nor do many do think your "grandmother-grandfather" remark to be my personal grievance but of rather bad taste to insulting.
FYI: I invited some institutions in the Balkans to join here but they are not amused as scolars, publicists and some of them being female .

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Old 12th July 2022, 10:43 AM   #10
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back to kama's ..... although the word dates back to Ottoman times but actually Armenian origin , see # 25 of http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...highlight=kAma but in & after WWII I found out recently, it was used also not only by the SS brigade kama but also Tito' s resistance and later in Balkan countries: officially in the JNA / Yugoslav Army since 1951 untill recently during the tragic events in Bosnia.

First resistance to and later collaborating the occupation of Serbia in WWWII f.i. this kama or qama by Draze Michalovic Cetniks:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=27648

In the book "Hladno oružje Srbije, Crne Gore i Jugoslavije 19-20 vek" (Melee /cold (steel) weapons of Serbia, Montenegro and Yugoslavia 19th-20th century) by Branko Bogdanović, you can find this illustration (page 143)


And on pages 48-49 the text says that after WW2, hand to hand combat got special attention and was under Soviet influence. At the beginning of the 1960s, the Army got a new homemade knife (kama) M.1951 (j), based on the Soviet army knife (NR)40.
The price of a single M51 knife was 25 dinara (cca 7 DEM), according to a price list from 1.7.1970.
It was meant for the soldiers (fighters) belonging to scout, saboteur and paratrooper units.
Its fiery baptism was 4 decades after being made (by then regarded as old, and mostly given to units of the Territorial defense - Teritorijjalna obrana /TO/), in the hands of the enemy of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).


During a brief conflict (The Ten-Day War), in June 1991, the Territorial defense issued this knife to all soldiers/fighter who were issued the M56 submachine gun - because of lack of M56 bayonets.

the No. 69 stands for Military workshop No.69, Zagreb, Croatia

FYI; the text in the book mentions "kamom"which is dativ for kama in Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian
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Old 12th July 2022, 12:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post

And, BTW, what we traditionally call " Surmene knives" ( after the Turkish town of Surmene) were also widespread in the Georgian part of the Adjaro-Gurian area and locally known as " Baba Kamas".
Interesting here is the fact that taking into consideration:


1. the word "kama" originates from Armenia
2. looking at the geography map of the region:

- Armenia
- Georgia and hence the Adjaro-Guria part (migration of the Laz people called Mingrelian)
- Turkey and its Laz region

looking at the geopolitical changes through the centuries ( even from the Persian an Roman times) and explained in this article:
https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/13727/gg

it seems no claim to a certain territory can be made and determination of items is quite "challenging"due to the interaction during the centuries.

Are Laz Gurians or are Gurians Laz people or are there many more we can call Laz people(s)...?

Last but not least Surmene knives come now..or at least the last century....from the Trabzon region...and....according to these maps....that is or was part of Lazistan;
so no surprise about the "Grussian " / Georgian connection
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Old 12th July 2022, 12:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt View Post
We all know that weapons "travel" very easily.....

So it's not worth "reinvent the wheel" coming up with a new name, instead of the quite appropriate "Laz Bichak"
looking at all the above, I have to agree witth "uncle"/ dzadyushka Mahratt and would like to leave the name as is.

I like the fact that the Armenian name for a nail is used for the type of Surmene kind of dagger but quite well understand its similarity with a sharp 9 inch nail compared to the size of a yataghan type of swords, which folks would have carried in that time in that erea and hence resulting in a kind of humoristic version name given to it.


But than again I might be mistaken and look forward to your input and advise....

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Old 12th July 2022, 02:07 PM   #13
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Your ire seemed to be raised by his comment "And the only way for a grandmother to become a grandfather is to grow a pair of testicles;.)))"
While this may seem silly to you, the "smiley face," would indicate that it was a joke. You also stated that women would be offended by this comment, but isn't that a sexist assumption on your part that men wouldn't be offended too, LOL.

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Old 12th July 2022, 06:27 PM   #14
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I have enjoyed the linguistics and the history lesson. I hadn't realized the Gurians and the Mengrelian peoples were Laz. So Laz were a Circassian people? Or were the terms interchangeable? Were the Adyghe considered Laz? Did the Gurian and Mengrelian bicagi differ as much as their kindjals did? For that matter I have always wondered if the Gurian kindjal was primarily used to settle disputes within the Gurian group, as, I have read, stabbing in the larger Caucasian culture was considered bad manners if the person was in your ethnic group. The same way Vietnam era Marines used an entrenching tool to settle inter-platoon disputes, or in my Dad's generation it was considered bad manners to shoot a friend with a caliber larger than .25 and above the waist? These little etiquette quirks to keep social groups from falling into chaos are interesting and a good segue.

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Old 12th July 2022, 07:32 PM   #15
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Perhaps the posts about the "baba kama" should be separated into a separate topic, where GP can continue his posts about the slavic meaning of "baba" about a weapon from an area with no Slavic speakers. I personally have very little interest in that particular discussion.
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Old 12th July 2022, 08:15 PM   #16
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I took it to be he was chiming in on Ariel's "is this the correct name?" and suggesting there was a possibility of a neighboring influence?
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Old 12th July 2022, 09:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp View Post
.. looking at the geography map of the region:
gp, thank you very much for these maps!

Dear colleagues, you can all see how complex and time-varying the political and ethnic map is in the Eastern and Southern Black Sea region! This is a real paradise for ethnographers and linguists, it is a lot of difficulties for historians, and it is a real curse for experts in ethnic conflicts. There is probably only one other equally complex region in the world - Southwest China with adjacent areas of Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Tibet. In a related topic, Ariel asked why Russian scientists have done so little to link museum objects and their ethnic origin? In Russia, historians of weapons prefer to use descriptive names in the literature with reference to geographical origin. The ethnic name, if specified, is used as an optional one. In particular, the knife, persistently referred to as "surmene", is called the "circumpontian knife" (циркумпонтийский нож). This term is derived from the Greek word "Pont" (short for "Pont Euxin" - the Black Sea) and the Latin "circum" - around. Lazistan does not have a monopoly on the design of this knife - a similar type was found along the entire coast of the Black Sea, possibly with the exception of its Western part (the territory of modern Bulgaria and Romania). The peoples who lived there spoke languages ​​belonging to at least four different language groups. Therefore, it is highly doubtful that the name "surmene" (and equally "baba kamas" ) was borrowed by all of them.
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Old 12th July 2022, 10:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
gp, thank you very much for these maps!
you're welcome Ren Ren !

I stumbled upon this youtube film which also shows some interesting maps ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZqomyEdoFU
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Old 12th July 2022, 11:56 PM   #19
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Ren Ren,
Thanks for the clarification re. ‘Surmene” knives called by Russian historians ‘Circumpontian” to stress that those knives did not belong specifically to the town of Surmene, but were endemic to the entire Adjaro-Gurian areal. Perhaps, there was some justification to using geographical rather than ethnic attribution. It might be difficult to strict separation of ethnicities: for example, Meghrelian and Laz languages are just mutual dialects.

According to Dvalishvili, Laz were premier cutlers of the area, but in 1878 they largely migrated to the Ottoman Empire as “ mukhajirs”. Their names were modified from the original Georgian to Turkish.

A large part of Guria belonged to the Russian Empire well before that moment. Perhaps this is the reason why the so-called “Gurian” kindjals stayed separate from the rest of SW Georgia to the point that their kindjal with minor modifications was adopted by the Russian Black Sea Cossack Host.
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Old 13th July 2022, 01:14 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=Interested Party;273367]I have enjoyed the linguistics and the history lesson. I hadn't realized the Gurians and the Mengrelian peoples were Laz. So Laz were a Circassian people? Or were the terms interchangeable? QUOTE]

No , they were separate, but likely very close. As I mentioned already, Mingrelian and Laz languages were just mutual dialects.
Around 15 century unified Georgian kingdom collapsed and on its ruins separate small kingdoms and principalities were establishes: Kartli, Kakheti, Imereti, Megrelian, Gurian etc. Perhaps that was the reason for the appearance of “ nationalities”, although there are obvious linguistic differences between several.

Last edited by Battara; 13th July 2022 at 03:05 AM. Reason: for continuity
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Old 13th July 2022, 02:43 AM   #21
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Folks I am close to closing this thread. I don't care who starts it, but if anyone starts with the personal insults again, and if anyone responds in kind, not only will this marvelous thread close, but the combatants will also take a "vacation". This is your only warning. I have edited this to keep the content.

For those of you who chose to stay on topic and not get sucked in, thank you so much.

Now back to the topic please.

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Old 13th July 2022, 09:11 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
gp, thank you very much for these maps!

Dear colleagues, you can all see how complex and time-varying the political and ethnic map is in the Eastern and Southern Black Sea region! This is a real paradise for ethnographers and linguists, it is a lot of difficulties for historians, and it is a real curse for experts in ethnic conflicts. There is probably only one other equally complex region in the world - Southwest China with adjacent areas of Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Tibet. In a related topic, Ariel asked why Russian scientists have done so little to link museum objects and their ethnic origin? In Russia, historians of weapons prefer to use descriptive names in the literature with reference to geographical origin. The ethnic name, if specified, is used as an optional one. In particular, the knife, persistently referred to as "surmene", is called the "circumpontian knife" (циркумпонтийский нож). This term is derived from the Greek word "Pont" (short for "Pont Euxin" - the Black Sea) and the Latin "circum" - around. Lazistan does not have a monopoly on the design of this knife - a similar type was found along the entire coast of the Black Sea, possibly with the exception of its Western part (the territory of modern Bulgaria and Romania). The peoples who lived there spoke languages ​​belonging to at least four different language groups. Therefore, it is highly doubtful that the name "surmene" (and equally "baba kamas" ) was borrowed by all of them.
Thank you very very much for this contribution: so if I make a kind of interpretation of “ Lazistan does not have a monopoly on the design of this knife “ it could well be that the design of a Surmene dagger could have washed up at the shore of Bulgaria & Romania during the Ottoman period ? And hence “entered” the former Yugoslavia; through the connection Bulgaria-Macedonia and travelled more up north to Serbia and Bosnia…? Specially taking into consideration that hardly anything is written about the small arms like kamas, bichaqs and such…
Reference to my reply in the bichaq thread:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...4&postcount=86

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...4&postcount=96

Or do you think I am wrong and the assumption is incorrect? And just a silly speculation…? Or still a possibility as I originally was and am convinced there was an interaction…?
Being no scolar myself…just a simple collector with a few books and small library on Ex Yu and BiH Ottoman cold weapons…

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Old 13th July 2022, 06:33 PM   #23
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I think that it is quite possible that there was an Ottoman influence at a time when the Black Sea was an inland sea of ​​the Ottoman Empire. But I also propose to pay attention to the Greek influence, which lasted for two thousand years more than the Ottoman. Greek communities existed in all the notable ports of both the Black Sea and the Adriatic coast. I was told that the Greek community has always been a prominent part of the ethnic picture of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I would also like to draw your attention to the islands of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. There were very interesting designs of knives, of which only the knives of the island of Crete are well known. A friend of mine visited Cyprus about 10 years ago and through his perseverance met one of the last blacksmiths who made traditional knives that were somewhat popular with local butchers. These were very curious knives in a characteristic style, where, if desired, one could find both features of the Ottoman influence and structural elements that had existed in the Hellenistic world for about 2000 years.
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Old 14th July 2022, 02:31 AM   #24
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AFAIK, all Balkan bladed weapons were at the very least heavily ( or totally) influenced by their Ottoman counterparts. The obvious exceptions are Croatia ( partially) and Slovenia ( largely free). Those two stayed within the borders of Western Christian dominance, whereas the rest were totally or at the least significantly influenced by Islam and 100% controlled by the Ottomans. All historiographic and iconographic sources confirm that crucial distinction.
What artistic signs of Greek military tradition are we talking about? Greece was a Roman province for ~6-7 centuries and under Byzantine rule for yet another millennium. After that it just happened to fall into the Ottoman division of the Balkans. Overall, between 2nd century BC and 19 th century CE Greece was just a province of mighty foreign empires. It still was viewed with high respect and largely defined intellectual and partly artistic/cultural spheres, but militarily it was totally subsumed by all of them. Look at the pictures of Greeks during their War of Independence: they wear traditional Greek garb, but carry Ottoman weapons.


Greece was a cradle of human civilization in virtually all spheres: science, medicine, art, architecture, literature, drama, history etc., but militarily its influence withered away since Alexander the Great. It was, perhaps, far too small a country to sustain any military might and dictate world-wide weapon patterns vs. humongous Empires of the New Era.

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Old 19th July 2022, 01:37 AM   #25
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I think Ariel has a good point here of Ottoman influence being in the entire region.
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Old 7th August 2022, 10:52 AM   #26
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Quote:
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AFAIK, all Balkan bladed weapons were at the very least heavily ( or totally) influenced by their Ottoman counterparts. The obvious exceptions are Croatia ( partially) and Slovenia ( largely free). Those two stayed within the borders of Western Christian dominance,

I was not aware that Slovenia produced any weapons; can you give me some more info, details and if possible examples and pictures ? thnx ☼
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