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Old 10th June 2022, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default Deccan tulwar

Usually, there is a major difficulty to attribute bladed weapons to Deccan Sultanates.
But here is an unquestionably Deccani tulwar, also sold by Czerny's for 3400 euro + the usual 30% fee etc.
The inscription clearly identifies Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah of Golkonda and the date 1095H ( 1543) is exactly the year of his coronation.
The quillon block is strange: I tentatively think about Chinese influence. Any opinions?
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Old 12th June 2022, 07:52 PM   #2
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The 'Deccan' attribution is indeed often difficult, not only in weaponry but in definition itself, whether geographic, cultural, religious or linguistic. Loosely it is largely the central area of the subcontinent. It seems that 'Deccani' attribution only became a focused denominator in the last few decades, and even then it is agreed that distinct characteristics are hard to define.

However, the 'langet' shape in the hilt structure of this without the expected quillons seems to align more with the khanjhar daggers of which many are attributed to Deccan, but perhaps more with Mughal favor.

While there is a degree of similarity or feel of the Chinese jian, it seems more to align with the khanjhar dagger in the same manner many full size swords have resemblances to dagger forms in similar contexts.

It seems much of Mughal styling aligns with Persian or Ottoman, but it would be hard to define Chinese influences specifically as they filtered through so many cultural designs and fashions, which in turn were adopted by them.

Attached Deccani khanjhar : from "Arts of the Muslim knight",(2008) #209
late 16th c.
Chinese jian, online Wiki
Tulwar, personal coll. attributed to Deccan, shamshir form hilt
blade British M1788 light cavalry, poss. EIC.
Koftgari added .
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Old 12th June 2022, 08:41 PM   #3
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I haven't seen this style of hilt with a tulwar-style disc pommel before. I've seen something similar on a few pistol grips, though; see attached (listed as "North India, 19th century").
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Old 12th June 2022, 10:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by werecow View Post
I haven't seen this style of hilt with a tulwar-style disc pommel before. I've seen something similar on a few pistol grips, though; see attached (listed as "North India, 19th century").

Conversely,
Here is a Chinese sword with 'parrot head' style hilt in jade,;late 18th c. The Qianlong emperor (1735-1796) had an affinity for 'foreign' styling etc.
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Old 13th June 2022, 02:20 PM   #5
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There was no direct influence of Chinese culture to Indian one in the 16th century, only indirectly through Iran and Central Asia. If something of Chinese appeared in the Deccan, it first had to appeared in Iran.
In the 18th century, jade hilts were sent from India to China as court gifts. In China also tried to copy them, but such items were very different from the Indian originals.
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Old 13th June 2022, 02:53 PM   #6
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The original silver decorations and the hilt itself are quite old and it was made by the hand of an induist master, not a muslim one. Decorations and inscriptions in gold are applied to the finished handle, and in a good way an examination is needed, whether the style of the inscription corresponds to the 16th century. And the subject as a whole needs provenance.
In any case, inlay-work would be much more appropriate, than false damascening.
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Old 13th June 2022, 04:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mercenary View Post
There was no direct influence of Chinese culture to Indian one in the 16th century, only indirectly through Iran and Central Asia. If something of Chinese appeared in the Deccan, it first had to appeared in Iran.
In the 18th century, jade hilts were sent from India to China as court gifts. In China also tried to copy them, but such items were very different from the Indian originals.
Well noted, the 'filters' I mentioned indeed included Iran and Central Asia, and the diffusion of these influences in either direction were well traveled via 'the Silk Road'.
Also well noted on the 'court gifts' aspect, which I had not thought of. It would seem many variant sword types with 'hybrid' features reflecting other culturally oriented weapons in the diplomatic gift genre account for many of these anomalies. This makes them extremely interesting of course, and understandably desirable for serious collectors.
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Old 13th June 2022, 04:59 PM   #8
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Well noted, the 'filters' I mentioned indeed included Iran and Central Asia, and the diffusion of these influences in either direction were well traveled via 'the Silk Road'.
Exactly! And "the Porcelain Road" in XII-XV century.
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Old 14th June 2022, 11:09 AM   #9
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That's strange...
Are we to believe that Chinese influences jumped over India (despite having direct border and multiple maritime exploits) to Iran and only then,- from Iran, and only in the XVI century,- reached India?
First 4 voyages of Zheng He ( a born Muslim from Yunnan prominent family) in the beginning of XV century involved visits of his enormous trade and gifts fleet to India.
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Old 14th June 2022, 06:17 PM   #10
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1. Active bilateral contacts in the 18th century did not lead to the appearance of Chinese weapons in India or imitation of them , but very doubtful sporadic contacts in the 15-16th century did it?
What other Chinese artifacts at that time did not just end up in India, but influenced traditional culture and were borrowed as phenomenon?
2. The humanitarian visits of the fleet in the 15th century could not yet lead to a change in the cultural or any other landscape.
The Chinese Buddhist monks who traveled through India in the 5th-7th centuries would not be a much worse example.
3. Comparison of the guard on an Indian saber with the guard on a straight Chinese sword, the shape and decor of which have completely different semantic connotations besides the fact that Chinese sabers had completely different guards? Seriously?

It just seems from a postmodernist point of view that someone can sail somewhere and sell something there and everything will change at once. It is impossible to apply such an approach to the historical past and especially to traditional societies.
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Old 14th June 2022, 06:35 PM   #11
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Active Chinese trade in Kollam ( Malabar Coast) was mentioned by Ibn Battuta in XIV century.
Most likely, it started well before that, if it was “active” then:-)
“Postmodernist” is a fancy word beloved by some contemporary literature critics and defined as “ an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of skepticism toward what it considers as the grand narratives of modernism, an opposition to epistemic certainty and the stability of meaning, and a doubtful perspective towards the usefulness of ideology in changing social systems.” ( see Wikipedia), but what on Earth does it have in common with our topic of discussion?

Chinese traded with India well before XVI century, and any trade results in the appearance of novel things and modifications of the old ones. Had it not been for McDonald’s, you would not have mile long queues to “Vkusno i tochka” in Moscow:-)

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Old 28th June 2022, 12:44 PM   #12
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Just to put a cherry on top, see Elgood’s chapter on European swords in Deccan( “Sultans of the South” p.218).
On p.223 he cites Simon Digby that evidence by Fakr-i- Mudabbir in in Delhi early 13th century suggests “… a trade in arms extending through the medieval Islamic world from Europe to China”.
And further he brings several examples of Indian preference of European , including English , blades.
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Old 28th June 2022, 10:00 PM   #13
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Just to put a cherry on top, see Elgood’s chapter on European swords in Deccan( “Sultans of the South” p.218).
On p.223 he cites Simon Digby that evidence by Fakr-i- Mudabbir in in Delhi early 13th century suggests “… a trade in arms extending through the medieval Islamic world from Europe to China”.
And further he brings several examples of Indian preference of European , including English , blades.
I see. It is very similar to the case of the translation of Jahangir-name and the term of "phool-katara". There is nothing in Adab al-habr wa'l-shaja'a (by Fakr-i- Mudabbir in Delhi early 13th century) about trade from Europe to China. Moreover, there is nothing about the superiority of European blades. On the contrary, the author of the manuscript calls Indian swords the best of all kind of swords. Where did you find "several examples of Indian preference of European , including English , blades" in the 13th century?

Yes, the author of the manuscript names some kind of swords known to him: Sinhalese, Khazar, Byzantine, Yemeni, Kashmir, Chinese and even Russian. But, firstly, the manuscript itself is largely a fantasy text (the sword was invented by Jamshid), and secondly, as it is usually in the case of medieval Persian-language manuscripts, it conveys not actual and reliable information, but retells the beliefs and legends of the past or information from previous manuscripts.

Besides, how does this prove that in the 16th century there were Chinese swords in the Deccan or, for example, Russian or Khazar ones? A cherry on top

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Old 29th June 2022, 12:35 AM   #14
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I see. It is very similar to the case of the translation of Jahangir-name and the term of "phool-katara". There is nothing in Adab al-habr wa'l-shaja'a (by Fakr-i- Mudabbir in Delhi early 13th century) about trade from Europe to China. Moreover, there is nothing about the superiority of European blades. On the contrary, the author of the manuscript calls Indian swords the best of all kind of swords. Where did you find "several examples of Indian preference of European , including English , blades" in the 13th century?

Yes, the author of the manuscript names some kind of swords known to him: Sinhalese, Khazar, Byzantine, Yemeni, Kashmir, Chinese and even Russian. But, firstly, the manuscript itself is largely a fantasy text (the sword was invented by Jamshid), and secondly, as it is usually in the case of medieval Persian-language manuscripts, it conveys not actual and reliable information, but retells the beliefs and legends of the past or information from previous manuscripts.

Besides, how does this prove that in the 16th century there were Chinese swords in the Deccan or, for example, Russian or Khazar ones? A cherry on top
Indeed, Fakr-i-Mudabbir's m/s does not extol the superiority of Indian or Chinese blades. Please read carefully: Elgood simply quotes Digby's interpretation of Mudabbir's text as indicative of trade of Mosliem societies with China. Elgood mentions Indian preference for European ( and, after 16 century, British) blades in several other places of his chapter. Elgood's chapter or other sources do not even address the issue whether there were Chinese swords in Deccan in the 16 century. But we just have enough evidence of direct Chinese-Indian trade well before that. Did it include swords or just decorative elements is not well known and deserves investigation by professionals. Neither I nor you can claim this title. Professionalism requires full-time immersion in the subject, adherence to the facts, ability to admit one's errors and respect for the real "gurus". Without the first, one is just a dilettante, but lack of the latter 3 characteristics implies fakery and arrogance that are incompatible with true professionalism.

Please pay attention: in my first post I just asked a very simple question: was the sword of Qutb Quli Shah influenced by Chinese examples? I expected a professional answer. Regretfully, your unsupported and unsupportable pronouncements were quite unhelpful.

One is entitled to his opinions, so please feel free to present them. However, they better be based on facts to be taken seriously.

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Old 29th June 2022, 05:28 PM   #15
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Professionalism requires full-time immersion in the subject, adherence to the facts, ability to admit one's errors and respect for the real "gurus". Without the first, one is just a dilettante, but lack of the latter 3 characteristics implies fakery and arrogance that are incompatible with true professionalism.
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One is entitled to his opinions, so please feel free to present them. However, they better be based on facts to be taken seriously.
I agree with you completely.But I'm still trying to understand the quote you provided:
Quote:
According to Simon Digby, the evidence given by Fakr-i-Mudabbir in Delhi in the early thirteenth century suggests "a trade in arms extending through the medieval Islamic world from Europe to China" with European blades usually being considered sharper and better than Indian ones
Is it correct?

So I have a question. How from the text of the source, which clearly says that of all the existing swords, the best are Indian ones, someone brings out that the best are European (!) and at the same time you add "including English"? The manuscript told about Firangi swords, and there is no mention of "English swords".

But Russian swords are mentioned there (Rusi swords). Then can I conclude, if the rules of science are the same for everyone, that Russian swords were known in India of the 13th century (the author of the manuscript testifies that all the swords he mentioned are good enough), and that in the 13th century a trade of Russian swords was extending through the medieval Islamic world from Europe to China?
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Old 30th June 2022, 04:22 AM   #16
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Rus has nothing to do with the current definition of Russia: Rus were Normans .
In the 13 century “ Russia’ as a state did not even exist: there were smal solitary city-states ruled by local princes who were all ( except the North) vassalls of the Golden Horde. Local swords were Norman , changed to Mongol sabers, and Peter I tried to convert Russia into a part of Europe and tried to rearm his army with European weapons. The Cossacks armed themselves with Ottoman and Persian sabers. In the early 19 century,as a result of Russo-Caucasian war, shashkas were introduced: aristocracy, royal family included, were prone to carry real Caucasian shashkas, but for the unwashed masses a saber was created and called
“ shashka” despite having nothing common with the original one.
Thus, Russia as such never had a truly national, original sword. Even in the 13 century:-)
As to the sentence you ask about, open the Elgood’s chapter and re-read it. Hopefully, it will help you clarify its meaning.
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Old 30th June 2022, 12:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Rus has nothing to do with the current definition of Russia: Rus were Normans .
In the 13 century “ Russia’ as a state did not even exist: there were smal solitary city-states ruled by local princes who were all ( except the North) vassalls of the Golden Horde. Local swords were Norman , changed to Mongol sabers, and Peter I tried to convert Russia into a part of Europe and tried to rearm his army with European weapons. The Cossacks armed themselves with Ottoman and Persian sabers. In the early 19 century,as a result of Russo-Caucasian war, shashkas were introduced: aristocracy, royal family included, were prone to carry real Caucasian shashkas, but for the unwashed masses a saber was created and called
“ shashka” despite having nothing common with the original one.
Thus, Russia as such never had a truly national, original sword. Even in the 13 century:-)
As to the sentence you ask about, open the Elgood’s chapter and re-read it. Hopefully, it will help you clarify its meaning.
You change the topic every time and run away from the discussion. It's not serious. If you want to discuss all the scientific theories of the origin of the Rus, and not just the Wikipedia article, let's go to the relevant forums, here it's offtop.
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Old 30th June 2022, 08:16 PM   #18
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There is nothing in Adab al-habr wa'l-shaja'a (by Fakr-i- Mudabbir in Delhi early 13th century) about trade from Europe to China.
Yes, the author of the manuscript names some kind of swords known to him: Sinhalese, Khazar, Byzantine, Yemeni, Kashmir, Chinese and even Russian. But, firstly, the manuscript itself is largely a fantasy text (the sword was invented by Jamshid), and secondly, as it is usually in the case of medieval Persian-language manuscripts, it conveys not actual and reliable information, but retells the beliefs and legends of the past or information from previous manuscripts.
Ya'qűb ibn Ishâq al-Kindi could have sued Fakhr-i Mudabbir for plagiarism. And easily won the case
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Old 30th June 2022, 08:40 PM   #19
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Rus has nothing to do with the current definition of Russia: Rus were Normans .
Local swords were Norman
Thus, Russia as such never had a truly national, original sword. Even in the 13 century:-)
In the 13th century, the Normans were the people of the Channel Islands off the coast of France.
Perhaps you called the Normans the ruling class of the English kingdom? Then you can really speculate about English swords in 13th century India
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Old 1st July 2022, 01:42 AM   #20
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In the 13th century, the Normans were the people of the Channel Islands off the coast of France.
Perhaps you called the Normans the ruling class of the English kingdom? Then you can really speculate about English swords in 13th century India
Serge, let's say that Normans are Varangians, what will change from this?
Have you already found a solution to the problem with the old 500-year truth that does not fit into a convenient system? In whose favor is your decision?
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Old 1st July 2022, 01:56 AM   #21
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You change the topic every time and run away from the discussion. It's not serious. If you want to discuss all the scientific theories of the origin of the Rus, and not just the Wikipedia article, let's go to the relevant forums, here it's offtop.
I am not changing the subject: it was you who mentioned “Russian” swords of 13 century. I just clarified that while we can legitimately speak of swords manufactured in Russia after ~ 15-16 century, we cannot speak of original Russian national swords at all. Rus of pre-Christian era or around referred to Norman ( or Viking, if one prefers) people. Throughout history, people of what is now called Russia always used swords that either came to them from elsewhere or were modeled on foreign ideas and examples.
That was all. Just let’s be more precise in our definitions.

After all, we clearly distinguish purely Hindu weapons from the imported Islamic or the European ones even though the latter two were ubiquitous throughout the subcontinent. AFAIK, no Hindu citizen of India has any inferiority complex about it.
Weapons moved and the vanquished or just subjugated adopted the weapons of the victors. The only exception that I can come up with is the popularity and adoption of Caucasian arms by the victorious Russian Empire.
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Old 1st July 2022, 02:12 AM   #22
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In the 13th century, the Normans were the people of the Channel Islands off the coast of France.
Perhaps you called the Normans the ruling class of the English kingdom? Then you can really speculate about English swords in 13th century India

Yes, post 1066 Normans became the ruling class in England, and that is still felt by the double definitions of certain things in the English language.
There were no Brits in the 13 century India, so it is a moot point.
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Old 3rd July 2022, 11:26 PM   #23
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Serge, let's say that Normans are Varangians, what will change from this?
Firstly, when talking about the swords mentioned in the treatise of the 13th century, it is completely incorrect to use the concepts of "Normans" or "Varangians". By this time, the Normans and Varangians had already gone down in history for 200 years. Therefore, when discussing the treatise, the only correct solution would be to use the term that the author used (of course, if there is no goal to mislead the interlocutors).

Secondly, neither the Normans or the Varangians, nor any of the inhabitants of the North of Europe invented any special sword design. The design of their weapons belongs to the Carolingian sword. In addition, as modern research shows, most of the swords used in Northern Europe were made in the Lower Rhine region (on the territory of modern Germany), where metallurgical and weapons production flourished since the time of the Roman Empire.
Today, researchers of ancient weapons are unanimous in their opinion that the Carolingian sword is a direct descendant of the spatha, the long sword of the cavalry of the Roman Empire. In turn, the design of the spatha was borrowed by the victorious Romans (Attention! Drum roll!!!) from the Gauls they defeated! This is indisputable, it is possible to discuss only the moment in time at which the borrowing occurred.

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Have you already found a solution to the problem with the old 500-year truth that does not fit into a convenient system? In whose favor is your decision?
Arthur, thank you for not forgetting about the complexities of my choice. But now the truth is different - you asked this question not because you want to help me (if you did, you would have asked me this question in another thread and on another forum), but because Ariel needs your help now. And it's true - he needs help.
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Old 4th July 2022, 12:40 AM   #24
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First 4 voyages of Zheng He ( a born Muslim from Yunnan prominent family) in the beginning of XV century involved visits of his enormous trade and gifts fleet to India.
The advances in maritime archeology over the past 20 years have made speculation about Zheng He's fleet irrelevant. No weapons for trade or gifts were found on Chinese ships. It was found on Japanese ships, but they did not reach the coast of India.
Cross-cultural influence took place in other ways. This was especially true in the 14-16 centuries.
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Old 4th July 2022, 12:56 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Mercenary View Post
In the 18th century, jade hilts were sent from India to China as court gifts. In China also tried to copy them, but such items were very different from the Indian originals.
As a result of the war of 1791-92, Nepal became a vassal of China and was obliged to pay an annual tribute. Trophies captured in Nepal form an important part of the Qianlong Emperor's collection. It also includes Indian-made items.
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Old 4th July 2022, 04:40 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
The advances in maritime archeology over the past 20 years have made speculation about Zheng He's fleet irrelevant. No weapons for trade or gifts were found on Chinese ships. It was found on Japanese ships, but they did not reach the coast of India.
Cross-cultural influence took place in other ways. This was especially true in the 14-16 centuries.
I had to go to a big review by Sally Church doi:10.2307/40727457.
She discusses the plausibility of the claim that Zheng He’s flotilla contained 450 feet long trade ships.
Everything is based on old documents and technical speculations.
Obviously, maritime archeology would have been decisive, but there is no mention of ever finding actual ZH’s vessels.
Where did you get your information from? Is it possible that maritime archeologists found much later ships? How many of them were found, if any?
ZH’s flotilla was composed of 317 ships. What is the minimal number of ships to be examined to be certain that the entire armada did not carry weapons as gifts?
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Old 4th July 2022, 04:46 AM   #27
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Double
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Old 4th July 2022, 05:54 AM   #28
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Firstly, when talking about the swords mentioned in the treatise of the 13th century, it is completely incorrect to use the concepts of "Normans" or "Varangians". By this time, the Normans and Varangians had already gone down in history for 200 years. Therefore, when discussing the treatise, the only correct solution would be to use the term that the author used (of course, if there is no goal to mislead the interlocutors).

Secondly, neither the Normans or the Varangians, nor any of the inhabitants of the North of Europe invented any special sword design. The design of their weapons belongs to the Carolingian sword. In addition, as modern research shows, most of the swords used in Northern Europe were made in the Lower Rhine region (on the territory of modern Germany), where metallurgical and weapons production flourished since the time of the Romans

Viking age ended in 11 century. The earlier origin of “Varangian” sword are irrelevant to our discussion. What counts is an incontrovertible fact that it was Vikings ( Normans, Norsemen, Varangians , Rus or whatever other name you wish to employ) and not Gauls, Romans or any other part of Western Europe, but invading or invited Scandinavians who brought their swords to what now is called Russia. They gave rise to early sovereigns of Russian principalities, and much later Russian aristocracies boasted about their descent from Rurik. Prince Igor was actually Ingvar, Oleg was Helgi, Olga was Helga, all crucial personalities of early history.
When al Kindi in the 9 century spoke of “Rus” swords, he actually referred to “Varangians” (see above).

Armies of Russian princedoms were armed with “Viking” type straight double-edged swords for quite some time after the 11 century. Mostly they were unsigned, and the only Viking-type sword signed in Slavic letters “ koval Ljudota” (smith Ljudota)was found near Poltava ( Ukraine).In the 13 century, having been conquered by the Mongols, they have adopted the weapon of their conquerors, i.e. curved single-edged saber. Subsequent contacts with Islamic armies only strengthened this practice. It was Peter I who did his best to “cut a window to Europe” and remake his military according to European fashions.

Have I misled you? Sorry if you think so.
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Old 4th July 2022, 07:02 AM   #29
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The advances in maritime archeology over the past 20 years have made speculation about Zheng He's fleet irrelevant. No weapons for trade or gifts were found on Chinese ships. It was found on Japanese ships, but they did not reach the coast of India.
Do I understand correctly that reliable evidence of the import of weapons from China to India will appear only when maritime archaeologists find Chinese ships with these weapons in their holds? Otherwise, all this can be attributed to myths and legends?
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Old 4th July 2022, 12:34 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
Firstly, when talking about the swords mentioned in the treatise of the 13th century, it is completely incorrect to use the concepts of "Normans" or "Varangians". By this time, the Normans and Varangians had already gone down in history for 200 years. Therefore, when discussing the treatise, the only correct solution would be to use the term that the author used (of course, if there is no goal to mislead the interlocutors).

Secondly, neither the Normans or the Varangians, nor any of the inhabitants of the North of Europe invented any special sword design. The design of their weapons belongs to the Carolingian sword. In addition, as modern research shows, most of the swords used in Northern Europe were made in the Lower Rhine region (on the territory of modern Germany), where metallurgical and weapons production flourished since the time of the Roman Empire.
Today, researchers of ancient weapons are unanimous in their opinion that the Carolingian sword is a direct descendant of the spatha, the long sword of the cavalry of the Roman Empire. In turn, the design of the spatha was borrowed by the victorious Romans (Attention! Drum roll!!!) from the Gauls they defeated! This is indisputable, it is possible to discuss only the moment in time at which the borrowing occurred.
I don't know why you needed to write such a long text about the origin of the Carolingian sword with well-known information. But thanks for that.
The question was, what would change in the meaning of Ariel's message if we used any of these terms, including the term used by the author of the treatise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
Arthur, thank you for not forgetting about the complexities of my choice. But now the truth is different - you asked this question not because you want to help me (if you did, you would have asked me this question in another thread and on another forum), but because Ariel needs your help now. And it's true - he needs help.
This question was related to the first one. I wanted to say that by juggling terms whose time boundaries are somewhat blurred, you are not completely honest here. Just as you are not completely honest in another thread on another forum. It was an analogy, not a question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
Ariel needs your help now. And it's true - he needs help.
You flatter yourself too much here.
But at the same time you flatter me, so I have absolutely no complaints about this part
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