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Old 10th November 2022, 02:05 AM   #1
Peter Hudson
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 136
Default Zanzibar, Saiid The Great and his influence on Omani swords and weapons.

Said Sultan jointly ruled Oman from 1804 to 1806 but took control and killed the other contestant and ruled onwards for more than 5 decades and became famous for the far reaching move making Zanzibar the new Omani capital in about 1830/40.

With the support of Indian Traders who held the shipping answer to development of the Trade Hub he virtually converted Zanzibar to the Spice Islands and as a gigantic hub for Slavery, Rhino Horn, Rhino Hide, Ivory, Giraffe Horn, Salt,Textiles and a host of other goods. Trade between America and Zanzibar included thousands of Elephant tusks destined to be piano keys and Ivory pool and snooker balls.

Spices became so important that the industry of spice farming required a gigantic workforce on Zanzibar of slaves although in its own right slavery provided many slave markets in Stonetown through which thousands of African slaves were transported all over the Indian Ocean up the Red Sea around Arabia up the gulf to Persia and Northern Arabia and onward to India and beyond.

Meanwhile the ruler came up with a plan to enhance his own popularity creating the idea of developing a new design for a Royal Hilt to a Muscat Khanjar ..and closely followed by a Royal Hilt to the Sayf Yemaani often termed the old Omani battle sword which originally came about sometime between the 6th and 12th Century. It was a stroke of good luck that one of his wives was very keen to support both the new hilt designs and the new Royal head dress and the new Royal Cumerbund. ...

The driving force behind these designs was..The Persian Princess Sheherazade...She eventually fell out of favour and ran away with her lover and joined the Persian Army . The ruler had many wives and something like 40 children in total.

In a bid to increase his immage he invented a dancing sword called simply the Omani Sayf. It was to be a flexible dancing implement not a weapon but had some design features taken from the old Omani Battle Sword as well as a scabbard similar to it. It was designed with a long hilt and had a flat spatulate tip and razor sharp edges. To give it a warlike feel it was awarded the same shield The Terrs ... as the Old omani Battle Sword and it was entered into the Traditional Funun in the Mock swords battle which was a show only and a winner was awarded by touching the opponents thumb with his swords flat tip on the oponents non sword hand... one touch ended the contest. The last thing the ruler wanted was people being killed while dancing with this item thus the very flexible blade and it had to be able to have the blade bent back as far as the hilt. In fact the blade was made to buzz and vibrate in the air being held by thumb and forfinger whilst the palm of the same hand slapped the long hilt creating the effect. Unlike the Sayf Yemaani which could run an opponent through and chop through head armour.

It was decreed that this accoutrement was to be hoisted on march past of the Monarch and at gatherings of VIPs as well as at weddings and both Eids. Being included in the famous Funun meant that the item was a part of Omani History forever. Soldiers carried the Sayf as they were required to greet the Sultan in a sort of tribal salute shimmering the blades as they leapt in the air ...For killing people Spears, Khanjars and Battle Swords were used as well as Abu Futtilla .. and Canon. Being included in the famous Funun meant that the item was a part of Omani History forever.

To this day it has the same place in Omani Tradition and I have witnessed thousands of Firqat ...local Militia shimmering past the Royal Dias some throwing and catching their Sayfs by the hilts and many others buzzing their swords in the air...but while they looked very warlike this was only designed to greet their leader in the old way designed by the early Sultan.

My plan is to provide members with several short paragraphs outlining other developments during the Omani Zanzibar situation. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like.

Kind Regards,
Peter Hudson.

Last edited by Peter Hudson; 11th November 2022 at 01:09 AM.
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