14. Scimitars, Sabres and Falchions

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14. Scimitars, Sabres and FalchionsAuthor(s): D. H. GordonSource: Man, Vol. 58 (Feb., 1958), pp. 22-27Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and IrelandStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2795551 .Accessed: 09/09/2014 11:22Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. .Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserveand extend access to Man.http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=raihttp://www.jstor.org/stable/2795551?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspNos. 13, 14 MAN FEBRUARY, 1958 avail without other refinements in the production being provided for in after-treatment of the waxes. Each arrow- head has a delicately tapered bronze peg on the base plate of the mould. These pegs form socket cavities in the wax casts, the centre two-winged cavity being the deepest. While such cavities might be filled with clay in a slip condition, much care would be needed to exclude the air trapped inside them. It cannot therefore be assumed that the time needed to do this in the case ofjewellery could be afforded in arrowhead-production. In order to eliminate this tedious delay a wetting agent would be used to reduce the surface tension of the water in the clay slip and to wet the surface of the wax. The production efficiency of the mould would be pointless unless all post-wax-casting operations were equally efficient. Functional design. The core of clay filling the socket cavity of the Asiatic arrowhead stood vertically upon its base inside the mould, its point vertically over the base so that the molten metal could flood down from the sprue above the point, delivering equal pressure all round it, and so avoid breaking it in the undirected rush of metal. The air found its way out through the pores of the clay mould. The sprue was tapered above the point of intersection of the wings to a narrow which facilitated the removal of each arrowhead from the rest by cutting with a chisel. This arrangement ensured that the delicate barb would also fill, and that the whole would solidify on cooling from the bottom upward. The thicker sections, cooling last, would supply liquid metal to replace loss due to shrinkage and prevent cracking or fault of spongy metal. (In the socketed celt, to be described in Part III, this order was reversed. At the top was the socket with its much stouter section and the metal flowed down one side of the core suspended within the mould.) Form andflotw. The flow of wax in the bronze mould is slowed down as it loses heat to the walls of the mould. The form of its interior will produce a sinmilar effect upon the flow of molten bronze in the clay mould replica of its form. It is not at all likely that this time-saving tool for the reproduction of waxes was designed by craftsmen ignorant of the close correspondence between the effect of the form in bronze upon the flow of wax and that of the same form in clay upon the flow of bronze. Despite the great difference of comparative temperature between wax and bronze- something like io5o0 C.-the flow of bronze could be regulated to that of the wax by raising the temperature of the clay mould when burning out the wax. The passage of the fluid wax/bronze might be varied in the mould form, so long as the gates or narrowings were short enough not to reduce the fluidity of wax/bronze and prevent it from reaching the bottom as it flowed down the sides of the core to make a liquid reunion there. Division of labour. My brief experimental work had informed me that, were I an experienced Asiatic arrowsmnith with a bronze mould like this one-and a few skilled assistants-, I might confidently undertake to deliver IO,OOO arrowheads in a week. The s,ooo archers of an Asiatic army might well be provided with a hundred arrowheads each, or half a million in all, in a month by half-a-dozen smiths' shops with similar moulds (524,I60 might be cast from two tons of bronze). At a guess, the craftsmen engaged in each separate operation under the master arrowsniiths may well have been: i, a wax-moulder; 2, a wax-finisher with a hot tool joining the waxes up for group casting; 3, a mould-maker, dipping the wax groups into a clay slurry and thickening them up as they dried out; 4, a foundryman putting the moulds through a fire to burn out the wax; 5, a second foundryman melting the bronze and pouring the moulds; 6, a fettler, breaking open the mould when cool and cleaning off the clay; 7, a finisher, cutting off the jets and runners to be returned to the crucible and sharpening the wing blades by whetting them on a sandstone. The finished arrowhead (Plate Cj) would now be ready to be fitted with flighted shafts produced by another specialized industry. SCIMITARS, SABRES AND FALCHIONS* by COLONEL D. H. GORDON Hingham, Norfolk IA This is an attempt to clarify thought and ex- 14 pression with regard to a certain particular weapon type, by defining the purpose which governed its basic form, even though this might from time to time assume a different appearance. The whole range of this weapon type can be covered by three names, each con- temporary with progressive alterations in shape, which are kh.p.sh (vocalized khopesh or khepesh), machaira and yataghan. The first two are as a rule translated as scimitar and sabre respectively, and a yataghan being of more or * With three textfigures less contemporary use is a Turkish weapon well known by that name. Sir Flinders Petrie in his book Tools and Weapons puts the matter quite clearly. Of the kh.p.sh he says: 'the peculiarity of the type is the deep hollowing of the back, and the pro- jecting of the edge far in advance of the handle. By its great curvature it was intended for a wiping cut.' Of what he terms the 'Recurved Knife' Petrie says: 'The motive of it is to combine two forms, a convex edge for a wiping cut and a hollow edge for a heavy cut.' I Mrs. Maxwell- Hyslop, dealing with the kh.p.sh, states: 'In its most 22 This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspFEBRUARY, i958 MAN No. I4 primitive form it must have attempted to combine the advantages of the battle-axe and the cutting sword,' and to protect the hand the curved edge of the blade was pro- jected far in advance of the handle.' 2 Now these are the points that characterize the style of weapon with which we are dealing: the combination of convex and concave in the blade, with the leading, convex, portion projecting ahead of the user's hand when gripping the hilt. So it will be as well to state at once quite categorically that this wholly precludes the use of such terms as Sichelschwert or Sickle- sword when speaking of this class of weapon. Sichelschwert and scimitar are not synonymous. The kh.p.sh type of sword is seldom sharpened on the inner or concave portion, in fact only one such actual instance is known. But one must not think in terms of superficial appearances; a sickle shape does not make a sickle-sword, which presumably indicates a sword the concave margin of which, like that of a sickle, was sharp and used as the effective cutting edge.3 To follow the development of this type, designed primarily as a cutting weapon, let us use the known contemporary terms of khopesh and machaira, a justification for vocalizing the former in this way being proposed below. There are indications from monuments in Babylonia that the earliest form of the khopesh was a curved wooden blade armed with sharp flints, as a crook-headed weapon or sceptre held by Ashur-nasir-pal has flanges indicating this ancient use of flints. Curved objects in the hands of leaders or deities on the earliest sculptures, such as that held by Eannatum in his chariot on the Stele of the Vultures, are clubs, batons (insignia) or even whips but not a form of khopesh. To such extent as is possible, account should be taken only of actual weapons surviving and not of artistic representations, which suffer from a number of handicaps, inexact copying and the limitations imposed by the object decorated being the most common. The earliest actual khopesh yet found are those unearthed by Leon Heuzey at Tello in Babylonia. These came from 'un tombeau de terre cuite en forme de tonneau [qui] mettait de nouveau en presence les deux modes de sepulture qui paraissent avoir ete usites concurrement a la meme epoque.' Of the two, one was sharp on both sides (as remarked by Mrs. Maxwell-Hyslop, this is exceptional), the other was sharpened only on what Heuzey calls 'sa courbe exterieur,' i.e. its convex margin.4 It will be seen that all other known khopesh, whether actual or representational, have the sharp edge on the convex side. Though sickle-shaped these were not sickle-swords. What do the surviving examples tell us that might give some clue to the dating and distribution of this rather peculiar weapon? The earliest known specimens, just men- tioned, are from Tello, where similar weapons are also depicted on monuments. An Early Dynastic period date (earlier than 2340 B.C.) has been suggested for them, but though this may prove correct, the one of the more normal type with a single edge is as developed as, or more so than, ones found at Byblos and Sichem (fig. ia). These latter are similar khopesh of rather primitive form, both having inlaid decoration, the one from Byblos an uraeus and that from Sichem a lotus flower: both are dated to the period of Amenemhat III (C. I820-I776 B.C.).5 It is difficult to believe that the examples from Tello can be 500 to 600 years older than this, though it is astonishing how many weapon types seem to have evolved in Babylonia during the period Early Dynastic III which are not traceable else- where for about 300 or more years. 0 1 Z 3 4 5 6 7' 8 q to FIG. I. EXAMPLES OF THE KHOPESH (a) Tello (after Heuzey); (b) Gezer (after Macalister); (c) Phoenicia, possibly Byblos (after Dussaud); (d) Ras Shamra (after Schaeffer); (e) Tell Retabeh (qfter Petrie); (f) Hittite, Yazilikaya (as indicated by sculptures). Drawings by D. H. Gordon. Scale in inches Then there follow a number of khopesh all of which can be linked as being roughly contemporary within a period of ioo years by the fact that they have an identical style of flanged hilt, with a projection towards the sharp edge of the blade, the whole cast in one piece. The earliest, that from Tomb 30 at Gezer, is dated as earlier than I425 by Schaeffer, but the fourteenth-century dating proposed by Mrs. Maxwell-Hyslop may be closer, as this khopesh was accompanied by what may be a buckle prong of the kind shown by D6rpfeld as coming from Troy VII.6 Similar flange-hilted khopesh come from Phcenicia (Byblos ?), now in the Louvre, unstratified but probably fourteenth- century, and from Ras Shamra, also fourteenth-century (fig. ib-d).7 From Diarbekir in eastern Turkey there is the inscribed scimitar of Adad-nirari I (I304-I267 B.C.), and from Tell Retabeh in Palestine, a khopesh of the time of 23 This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspNo. I4 MAN FEBRUARY, I958 Rameses II (fig. ie) (I292-I225 B.C.), which shows a con- tinuance throughout the thirteenth century to link with examples of the early twelfth century, all known from depictions. One of these is on an ivory plaque from Megiddo (c. 1200 B.C.),8 on which it is shown carried bv a foot soldier; for the rest, there are four examples illus- trated by Petrie from monuments of the XX Dynasty; whether or not any of these represent actual contemporary weapons, there is no direct eyidence for the use of the kh.opesh after II50 B.C. The khopesh is called 'harpe' in French archliological literature; Schaeffer calls the Gezer example 'une belle harpe,' 9 and the one from Ras Shamra is captioned as 'Harpe en bronze.' This is an application of the Greek word a&p-rri signifying a sickle, which, as these scimiitars are sharpened on the convex side, constitutes one of the many misuses, as regards the weapons we are discussing, of words whose primary meaning is sickle. The word &pTrrj is associated in Greek mythology with the weapon of Perseus which was traditionally a sickle of c&5&iiaS. The rescue of Andromeda by Perseus has since classical times been a favourite theme for artists, and this has produced a whole series of weird and wonderful harpes, all of which emanate from the imagination of the delineators. A similar weapon appears in the Hittite country at much the same time. Rock sculptures of processions of warriors at the Hittite site of Yazilikaya show them as carrying weapons of the khopesh type, having the edge of the blade well ahead of the hand (fig. if).io These appear in both the main and the side galleries and so lie within the period I275-I220 B.C. This does nothing to bring this weapon type any lower in date than those already mentioned, but it does extend- its use to Anatolia, a point of some sig- nificance with regard to our next examples of weapons popularly referred to by words associated with sickles. Some time in the first half of the sixth century B.C. a weapon was adopted by the Greeks which they called ,axaipa or KToflS. The machaira is in fact mentioned by Homer, but in circumstances indicating that it was a knife of no great size. The representations of this knife on Greek black-on-red vases generally show it in domestic use as a kitchen chopper, but its size is such that it already nad all the makings of an effective weapon. Though its depiction as a weapon on black-on-red vases is very infrequent and dates not earlier than 530 B.C., the appearance of this type is increasingly common on red-on-black vases from C. 5I0 B.C. onwards. The machaira is essentially that weapon which Petrie calls the 'recurved knife ' and which combines both convex and concave edges along one margin of the blade, having the convex portion in advance of the hand when gripping the hilt. It was distributed all over the Balkan peninsula, and travelled to central Italy, south-eastern Germany and Spain. It is of the type that has usually had the name of sabre attached to it for convenience. In Spain, however, where as regards surviviing examples it is particularly common, it is called the 'espada falcada,' thus indicating that it was a sickle-sword, whereas in fact its shape cannot be said to bear the slightest resemblance to a sickle. The earliest known depiction of the machaira is on the Harpy Tomb from Xanthos in Lycia (c. 540 B.C.), and an origin in Asia Minor appears likely. There are in fact indications with differing degrees of value that this suggestion of Asia Minor as the likely place of origin may be correct. It seems that the areas in which the khopesh was prevalent produced two weapon types, both of which acquired sickle-shaped connotations. It is also for consideration whether the word KTr1TS might not be derived from khopesh. Its normal derivation is from KOrrTco, but it could have been popularly connected with KOTrTco as cutlass is often and wrongly with cutting. Sir John Myres says of the word sft which the Egyptians used for a long straight sword: 'If the Greek xiphos [tipos] is also connected, sf.t may originally have been a Libyan or Sea- raider word.' I" Similarly the Ko1rTS which embodies the same principles as the khopesh may also be derived from it in name. When Herodotus in Book VII described the equipment of the various contingents of Xerxes's army, he says of the Egyptian seamen (89, ii) that they all had long machairai, which Rawlinson, having in mind boarding parties of jolly Egyptian Jack Tars, quite naturally translates as cut- lasses, and he tells us (9I, iv) that the Cilicians were armed with a sword closely resembling the machaira of the Egyptians. On the other hand he states that the Lycians and Carians (92, vi, 93, viii) were armed with the SpErravi), which Rawlinson translates as falchion, and this brings it into the same general category that we are discussing. What have we in the way of actual surviving examples of the weapons that the Greeks called machaira and drepane ? As has been mentioned, there are plenty of instances of the machaira being used to deal a slashing stroke depicted in vase painting, but the swords themselves are very scarce. There is an example in the National Museum at Athens from Epirus, which Pierson Dixon states to be the only one found on Greek soil; it is the stock illustration.12 In the Reallexikon der Vorgeschickte, Vol. II, Plate XLIX, however, a sword of the Certosa period, starting c. 530 B.C., from Sanskimost on the River Save in Yugoslavia is illustrated, which is quite definitely a machaira 243 inches in length, i.e. a trifle longer than the normal Iberian sabre (fig. 2a). Speaking of Iron Age finds in Illyria, Casson mentions this sword from Sanskimost as an almost typical example of a machaira, and observes that all the small knives found at this site are single-edged and of machaira type.I3 The blades, in his fig. 68 from Halos and Chanchitsa, which he claims as being of this type, do not resemble the machaira in any way. In the collection of the Instituite of Archtology, Univer- sity of London, there is a large iron knife with a broad blade, flanged along the back, a true KOTrlS; which being 22j inches long can be classed as a machaira sword. It was found in the high desert near Armant in Egypt and may represent that weapon used by the Egyptian seamen in Xerxes's fleet which Herodotus called machaira (fig. 2b). By far the greater number of existing machairai are Iberian. They would appear to have been introduced some time in the fifth century B.C. by Iberian mercenaries, who 24 This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspFEBRUARY, I958 MAN No. I4 G~~~~~~~~~~ e. 5 id ~ nche-s 0 1 3 4 56 7 "t FIG. 2. EXAMPLES OF THE 'MACHAIRA, DREPANE AND OTHER SWORDS (a) Machaira, Sanskimost (from Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte); (b) Kopis, Armant (Institute of Archa?ology, London); (c) Sword, Fran- conia (after Petrie); (d) Machaira, Tolentino (after Petrie); (e, f) Sword hiltsfrom Chagoula Derre', Talish and Tsalka, Caucasia (after Schaeffer); (g, h) Yataghan hilts (British Museum); (k, 1) Sabres, India; (m, n) Drepane (after Texier and Hass) had encountered them while fighting in Sicily and in Greece itself. Many such have been recovered from tombs in Spain, and they show clearly what a formidable weapon the machaira was (fig. 3a).14 In connexion with that fou-nd at Sanskimost in Yugoslavia, Casson mentions a suggested northern origin for the machaira. It is true that certain iron sabres of the recurved-knife type from Traubingen in Bavaria and from Franconia are of the form which carries the convex striking edge of the blade forward of the hand, but these can be dated as Hallstatt II, Reinecke's Hallstatt D, which places them in the fifth century B.C. and it is probable that they derive from the Greek machaira which seems to have been spreading at that time (fig. 2C).15 Examples which can be dated to this time come also from central Italy, one from Perugia in what was eastern Etruria and one from Tolentino in Picenum (fig. 2d).i6 It- is strange that the machaira did not achieve a more widespread popularity. As noted by Xenophon, it was an excellent cavalry -weapon; especially at a time when mounted men were without stirrups and their horses were small. Nevertheless the fact remains that most if not all of those shown wielding the machaira on Greek and Iberian pottery are on foot. The Iberians used the machaira down to the close of the first century B.C., and though it is probable that there was a continuity of this weapon type in the eastern Mediterranean to produce the yataghan, it cannot readily be traced. Before turning to the question of the yataghan, we must consider the next weapon in the chronological sequence, which has been associated by etymology and by literary, and therefore popular, thinking with the sickle-sword, namely the falchion. The falchion is a literary weapon par excellence, keen-edged falchions abounding in historical romances. The Shorter Oxford and Murray's English Dictionaries describe it in identical terms as 'a broadsword, more or less curved, with the edge on the convex side,' which, except that it is straight, describes quite accurately one of the few existing falchions, a fourteenth-century weapon now in the Norwich Castle Museum (fig. 3b). In spite of its name, which seems to derive ultimately, through fauchion (known as early as I303) and a vulgar Latin falcion (not known but presumed), from falx, a sickle, there is nothing remotely sickle-shaped about it. It is a long straight sword with its blade broadened towards the point, from which a shallow concave scoop extends back for some inches along the rearward blunted margin. In spite of a strong resemblance to the Anglo-Saxon scramasax, the falchion may prove to be an oriental weapon introduced to western Europe by the Crusades. This form of blade, ending in a broadened portion with its sharp edge convex and its blunt one having a concavity back- ward from the point, is popular in the depiction of oriental arms and would without doubt be called a scimitar.17 It is clear, however, that when Rawlinson translated the word drepane as falchion, he did not have in mind the actual historical falchion we have just been discussing, but was considering only how he could translate in weapon terms a word usually applied to sickles and pruning hooks; falchion with its faix derivation was the obvious choice. What was this drepane? Clearly it was to Herodotus something quite different from a machaira, and, in spite of a general literary tradition of nonchalance in such matters, we can take it that here is the closest approach we shall get to the discredited sickle-sword. There are few representa- tions and, to my knowledge, no actual examples of the drepane. If sickle-sword means one having its sharp edge on the concave of a crescentic blade curved back from its handle, then no such weapon existed in ancient times. The drepane, if the two sculptured examples represent it faith- fully, was shaped like a pruning hook. A stele from Koniah (Iconium) in Lycaonia may well show the weapon with which the Lycians and Carians were armed. It is held by a warrior whose whole equipment in every particular is strange, and one suspects bad copying by Texier.i8 The other example is Etruscan; an image of a warrior in painted clay from the temple of Mercury at Civita- Castellana shows him gripping a hooked weapon of exactly the same type as that shown in the Koniah stele'9 (fig. 2m, as). Dated to the early fifth century, this may well be a weapon which evolved in Asia Minor during the preceding century along with the machaira. The yataghan, which must have continued as a direct 25 This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspNo. I4 MAN FEBRUARY, I958 derivation from the machaira, has a wide distribution. Primarily in recent years a Turkish weapon, it spreads from Albania to India. Though normally about 26 inches in length it may extend to 30 or slightly more, making it a cavalry sabre of great efficiency, as exemplified by the Indian example illustrated (fig. 3c).20 Both the machaira and the yataghan are primarily designed for cutting, but in most cases they could quite well have been used with the point, and it is in this respect that they differ from the ancient khopesh and the modem kukri. (a) (b) (c) (d) FIG. 3. A 'MACHAIRA,' FALCHION, SABRE AND YATAGHAN (a) Iberian machaira (British Museum); (b) Faichion, English, fourteenth century (Norwich Castle Museum); (c) Indian sabre (Victoria and Albert Museum); (d) Yataghan (Victoria and Albert Museum) The origin of the well-known Gurkha knife, the kukri, is untraceable. Its type is clearly identical with that we have been discussing. The blade is of machaira type but is more abruptly curved, so that the point normally plays no part in its use as a weapon. Like the K,6rns it is a utility knife, used, in common with the dah, bolo and machete as a slashing knife for jungle clearance. All of these are more- over excellent weapons, and so no doubt was the K6-lrs. Petrie states that the kukri was probably a legacy of the Bactrian Greeks,2I but Sandars, who is very impressed by the elegance and efficiency of the Iberian sabre, is em- phatic that there is no connexion whatsoever between the K6rriS and the kukri, rejecting for the latter any claims to ancient origin. There is not the slightest evidence to sup- port either of these two contentions, but though derivation from the Bactrian Greeks cannot be proved, an early appearance of sabres of this type in India can be dearly demonstrated. A machaira-like sword was in use in India not later than the seventh century A.D. when it appears in the hand of a yoginii in the well-known relief at Mamallapuram showing Durga attacking the Buffalo Demon, and again wielded by a foot soldier in one of the battles depicted in the rock paintings of the Mahadeo Hills, perhaps as early as the fifth century (fig. 2k, 1). The example from Mamallapuram has a typical Indian hilt and so has that on fig. 3C, which has that normal to the Indian tulwar. The yataghan shown here (fig. 3d) is of the kind associated with Persia, Turke- stan and the Caucasus, though its actual provenance is Nepal. It has a modified form of Turkish yataghan hilt, which has as a rule a pommel with wide flaring wings. This form of hilt, described by Schaeffer as 'en forme de deux eventails accoles,' 22 is most interesting as it would appear with little doubt to derive from that which was prevalent during the early Iron Age in north-west Persia (Talish) and the Caucasus about IOOO B.C., a good example being from Ardabil now in the British Museum, a straight cut-and-thrust sword 29-9 inches long (fig. 2e-h). Setting aside the clearly worthless expressions sichel- schivert and sickle-sword, what translations or equivalents have we for ancient or foreign words such as khopesh, machaira and yataghan, always provided that they are con- sidered necessary? The khopesh and similar weapons are classed as scimitars, and this is a reasonable rendering giving an impression of curved oriental swords, which in fact they are. As regards the word scimitar, there are at least fifteen modes of spelling recorded, including in I548 'girded with two swords called cimiteries'; but still earlier in 1540, in Chr. Richerius Thorigneus's De rebus Turcarum, 'cymitharra' is given as the name by which the Janissaries called one of their weapons. Most of the ancient authors who mention the pa&Xaipa are writing in Greek, but it is clear that the Romans knew of this sword and called it macha?ra. Recent writers in English have called it a sabre, a term preferable to the Spanish 'espada falcada' which seems to echo the falcatus ensis of Ovid, apparently a unique literary expression thought up by himself.23 For though Sandars uses 'falx' to denote (a) an object carried by a horseman on an Iberian 26 This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspFEBRUARY, I958 MAN No.14 coin, so cramped by the space available as to be indis- tinguishable but probably a whip, (b) the hooked sword in the hand of the warrior on the Iconium stele, possibly the drepane, but perhaps shown by the sculptor in the reverse position of its actual use, (c) the sword of a Persian shown on a late alabastron, where it almost certainly repre- sents a scimitar with the sharp edge on the convex side, there is no evidence to show that this word was ever used to denote a weapon. In spite of the contrary testimony of the monuments, we must accept Xenophon's classification of the machaira as a cavalry weapon; after all he had more first-hand con- temporary experience than the sculptors or vase painters. That the average machaira, be it Greek or Iberian, was about 23 inches in length would not hinder it from being an effective cavalry weapon at a period when the horses available probably did not exceed I4 hands. Sabre, there- fore, with its established cavalry connotations, is as good a word as we are likely to find. Both scimitar and sabre seem to be words of obscure origin, but there is little doubt that they derive from the East and that their use in Europe is late. The oriental khanjar, a dagger somewhat resembling the yataghan, which Sidney Smith associates with the khopesh,24 is connected with a characteristic etymological tangle. Yule anid Burnell in Hobson-jobson regard hanger as a cor- ruption of khanjar, and, in spite of contrary opinions ex- pressed in various leading dictionaries, it is probable that they are right. The word handjar, also handiarre and haniar, is without doubt true Hobson-jobson for khanjar, one of the essentials being the substitution of familiar syllables for unfamiliar ones. It appears in Knolles's History of the Turks in I603, a date admittedly more than I00 years later than the first recorded mention of a hanger in the Howard Household Books of I48 I-90. It does seem, how- ever, that the word hanger was used in dialect for the sword-frog in which the scabbard hung,25 a sensible use of the word which might have been transferred to the sword itself under the influence of such words as handjar and wllinger. It is doubtful whether the words whinger, quhinger, whinyard, etc., have any connexion with khanjar. The suggestion that they are onomatapceic, imitative of the sound of a stroke, seems a good one. As an expression of sound, whing would be in line with many other sound words ending in -ng, including ding which also has the meaning of striking. It is at any rate clear that not only is the tracing of the nature and development of the weapons we have been studying complicated and confused by those that portrayed them, but even more so by those who have mentioned or described them in their writings. As is always the case, much more remains to be discovered about these early weapons which we may continue to think of as scimitars and sabres. These notes may, how- ever, serve to put any future study on a firmer basis by the clarification of the typological features held in common, by the elimination of the non-existent sickle-sword together with such descriptions as harpe and various inappropriate derivations fromfalx and by the indication of the probable place of principal development, if not of origin, in Asia Minor and Syria. Notes IPetrie, Tools and Weapons, sections 65, 63. Brit. Sch. Archaeol. in Egypt, Vol. XXVIII, 19I7. 2 Maxwell-Hyslop, 'Daggers and Swords in Western Asia,' Iraq, Vol. VIII, 1946, p. 41. 3 This error features prominently in 'Note concerning the dis- tribution of the Sickle-Sword' by P. Lenk-Chevitch, MAN, 1941, 6o. 4 Noupelles Fouilles dX Tello, I9I0, pp. 128f. and Plate VIII, 4, 5. (Note: all line drawings, with the exception of fig. 2k-n, are drawn to the scales indicated as closely as available information permits.) 5 Sichem: Fr. Bohl, Die Geschiedenis der Stad Sichem, 1926, Plate V. Byblos: Virolleaud, Syria, Vol. III, I922, Plate LXV, and Maxwell-Hyslop loc. cit. Plate IV, 34. 6 D6rpfeld, Troja und Ilion, Vol. I, fig. 4I3, calls this object by the non-committal name of 'gerat.' 7 Gezer: Macalister, Excavations of Gezer, Vol. III, Plate LXXV, I6, I9. Phcenicia: Dussaud, Syria, Vol. VII, 1926, fig. I (shows a number of known examples). Ras Shamra: Schaeffer, Syria, Vol. XVII, I937, Plate XVIII. 8 Albright, The Archavology of Palestine, Pelican Books, 1949, fig. 3' (man behind chariot). 9 Schaeffer, Stratigraphie Compare'e et Chronologie de t'Asie Occidentale, p. 197. IO Seton Lloyd, Early Anatolia, Pelican Books, I956, Plate XIV, a. (There are very many earlier reproductions, but this is very clear and easily obtained.) I1 J. L. Myres, Who were the Greeks? I930, p. 590, note I09. 12 Pierson Dixon, The Iberians of Spain, p. 58, Plate VI, b. I3 S. Casson, Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria, pp. 303f. '4 A full account of these sabres with a valuable dissertation on the kopis and machaira is given by H. Sandars in 'The Weapons of the Iberians,' Archa?ologia, Vol. LXIV, I912-13, pp. 205-94, and also published separately. '5 Traubingen: Dechelette, Manuel d'archeologie, Vol. II, Part 2, p. 282, and Petrie loc. cit., Plate XXIV, 34. Franconia: Petrie, ibid., Plate XXVI, I49. i6 Petrie, loc. cit., Plate XXXII, 34, 38. Information from Mrs. Maxwell-Hyslop in correspondence suggests that these similar weapons are not necessarily of one period. The figure on the Etruscan stele of Larthe Atharnie, datable to the seventh-sixth centuries B.C., carries a sword of this type, but the example from Tolentino is a typical machaira, unlikely to be earlier than 500 B.C., and a similar blade is shown on one of the pillars of the late 'Tomb of Reliefs' at Caere. '7 Many artists use a falchion style of sword where orientals are concerned. Botticelli depicts it a number of times, notably carried by Judith and also by Mercury in the Primavera. I8 Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Sardinia, Judava, Syria and Asia Minor, I890, fig. 359. It was discovered and copied by Texier about 1836; it is probably of the fifth century B.C. I9 Von Cles-Reden, The Buried People, I955, Plate LXX. 2o This sword from Hyderabad State is part of the Kitchener Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum. 2, Petrie, 10c. cit., p. 28. 2z Schaeffer, Stratigraphie Compare'e, p. 437. 23 This use offalcatus with ensis in Metamorphoses I, 717, seems to be the only instance recorded in any dictionary. 24 Sidney Smith, Early History of Assyria, p. I37. 25 In J. 0. Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial 'Vords, Vol. I, I846, a hanger is described as 'the fringed loop or strap appended to the girdle, in which the dagger or short sword hung; "Men swords in hangers hang fast by their sides," Taylor's Workes I630.' 27 This content downloaded from 24.36.7.43 on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 11:22:42 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspArticle Contentsp. 22p. 23p. 24p. 25p. 26p. 27Issue Table of ContentsMan, Vol. 58 (Feb., 1958), pp. 17-36Front Matter13. Bronze Age Technology in Western Asia and Northern Europe: Part I [pp. 17-22]14. Scimitars, Sabres and Falchions [pp. 22-27]Obituary15. Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford: 1886-1957 [p. 28]Royal Anthropological Institute: Proceedings16. Some Aspects of Samoan Material Culture. [p. 28]Shorter Notes17. Excavations at Ife, Nigeria [pp. 28-29]18. A Register of Archaeological Field Research in Progress and in Plan [p. 29]19. Horniman Museum Lectures, Spring, 1958 [p. 29]20. Acknowledgment of Grants Towards Publication in MAN [p. 29]Correspondence21. Joking Relationships in Africa. [pp. 29-30]22. The Art, Myth and Symbolism of Arnhem Land. [p. 30]23. Rock Gongs and Rock Slides. [p. 30]ReviewsReview: 24 [pp. 30-31]Review: 25 [pp. 31-32]Review: 26 [p. 32]Review: 27 [p. 32]Review: 28 [p. 32]Review: 29 [pp. 32-33]Review: 30 [p. 33]Review: 31 [p. 33]Review: 32 [pp. 33-34]Review: 33 [p. 34]Review: 34 [pp. 34-35]Review: 35 [p. 35]Review: 36 [pp. 35-36]Review: 37 [p. 36]Back Matter