Scimitar Swords

Scimitar Swords

Scimitar SwordScimitar Swords have curved blades and are available in two distinct styles. One of them has very wide the blades with deeply curved blades and those which are long and narrow. The length of the scimitar sword blades varied from 30 to 36 inches. These swords were generally used as close contact weapons though they were also wielded from horseback. The name scimitar is thought to have originated from the Persian term shafsher meaning “lion’s claw”, characteristic of its long and curved look. 

Scimitars are Middle Eastern swords which are lightweight, fast and meant to cut the bone of the opponent in light armor. The Europeans invaded the Holy land in their quest for power. During the crusades, siege warfare took place to gain custody of a walled city or castle. The Saracens had expertise in using a variety of weapons though mainly the scimitar sword. It was commonly wielded from horseback and used for slicing the opponent. Scimitar were lighter in comparison to larger heavy weight swords and could be used with ease while riding a horse. 

Scimitar Swords

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A scimitar (/ˈsɪmtər/ or /ˈsɪmtɑːr/) is a backsword or sabre with a curved blade, originating in the Middle East. The curved sword, the Scimitar sabre, is called muhaddab in Arabia and came into use after the Turkish Seljuk migration from Central Asia to Anatolia in the 11th century, popularizing the pre-existing Byzantine sabre designs for cavalry use, which influenced the entire region. The word shamshir is Persian and refers to a straight-edged sword as well as to a curved-edged sword, depending on the era of usage.

The kilij is a scimitar used by the Turks and the Ottoman Empire; it appeared around the 15th century. The kilij is a unique kind of scimitar that has a slight taper down the straight of the blade until the last third of the sword, when it angles sharply and becomes deeper. After the First Barbary War, a bejeweled kilij was presented to the commanding Marine officer, thus beginning the tradition of granting, to all United States Marine Corps officers, the right to carry the ceremonial weapon as part of that tradition.

The Moroccan nimcha is a scimitar used in the late 18th century, and is usually forged using the blades of older swords, dating from as early as the 17th century, and with blades from countries as distant as Germany. This created a wide variety of nimcha, and almost no two are the same. The Afghan pulwar is similar in blade design to the tulwar, but the cross guard on the pulwar angles in towards the blade to catch swords. Many pulwar hilts are engraved with ornamental inscriptions and designs.

The curved sword or "scimitar" was widespread throughout the Middle East from the Ottoman period, with early examples dating to Abbasid era (9th century) Khurasan. The Persian sword now called "shamshir" appears by the 12th century and was popularized in Persia by the early 16th century, and had "relatives" in Turkey (the kilij), and the Mughal Empire (the talwar).

Scimitars were used in horse warfare because of their relatively light weight when compared to larger swords and their curved design. They were good for slashing opponents while riding on a horse. The curved design allowed riders to slash enemies and keep riding without getting stuck as with stabbing that straight swords on horseback would. Mongols, Rajputs and Sikhs used scimitars in warfare, among many others.

Many Islamic traditions adopted scimitars, as attested by their symbolic occurrence, e.g., on the Coat of arms of Saudi Arabia. The earliest known use of scimitars is from the 9th century, when it was used among Turkic and Tungusic soldiers in Central Asia. The scimitar is also used in Saudi Arabia as an executioner's tool for beheading.


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