About the Origin of Swords, Decorated with Special Christian Symbols and Inscriptions

Toichkin, D., Toichkina, Y. (2020). About the Origin of Swords, Decorated with Special Christian Symbols and Inscriptions. In Pinter, Z. K., Urduzia, C., & Niţoi, A. (Eds.), Relaţii Interetnice în Transilvania: militaria mediaevalia în Europa centrală şi de sud-est: lucrări prezentate în conferinţele internaţionale Interethnic Relations in Transylvania Sibiu, 2018-2019 (pp. 93-112). Sibiu, Romania: Astra Museum.

Studying of the special set of religious symbols and inscriptions, provide the key for true attribution of the large group of 17th century blades with special design. The decoration of high-quality blades represented traditional Christian plot of angels, crosses and other religious symbols, followed by Latin, Greek or Slavic prayer text. Research of historiography let authors distinguish a few base theories regarded origin of these blades, included “Greek”, “Istanbul”, “Moldavian” and “Lviv”.

Authors analyse five magnificent sabres from Ukrainian museums and other collections. The thorough study of decoration and inscriptions allowed identifying Istanbul Armenian craftsmen as the main manufacturers of these decorations. Further research expanded the range of the main consumers and manufacturers of studied blades: it involved not only Greek and Armenian elites of Istanbul, but also the diaspora outside the Ottoman Empire, where blades and ready-made sabres were included in the process of migration and trade activities of Istanbul’s ethnical communities.

The analysis of the unique specimen from Chernihiv Historical Museum shed light on the problem of Lviv manufacture of sabres with blades, decorated in studied design. Authors concluded that Istanbul armoury tradition, apparently, went beyond the Ottoman Empire: such weapons were manufactured, mounted and decorated in many foreign centres of Armenian goldsmiths particularly in Lviv city. Problem of the Lviv production of sabres also needs further, more thorough study.

Studied materials also indirectly suggest, that artisan arms centres, founded by Greek Phanariots, possibly existed in Moldavia this complicated problem requires a special study.

It should be noted, that the tradition of production of blades with Christian symbols became so famous, that its echoes was revealed in the next imitation and stylization, on the blades of the late 18th and even 19th centuries.

Keywords: Greece swords, sabres with inscriptions, Orthodox symbols on sabres, Ottoman goldsmiths, Armenian goldsmiths, Lviv manufacture of Early Modern Times.


Genre: Історія зброярського виробництва (C), Вивчення холодної зброї та спорядження (C), Міждисциплінарна проблематика у зброєзнавстві (гуманітарна) (C), Регіони: Європа, Регіони: Близький Схід
Series: Interethnic Relations in Transylvania 2020 | Subjects: Статті