Khaidakov K.S. (2024). Oruzhie Severnogo Kavkaza, istorija, vzaimovlijanie. Kriticheskij vzgljad na ustojavshiesja teorii [Arms of the North Caucasus. A critical view on established theories]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 13, pp. 372 — 431.
Abstract: The article deals with historical events which took place in the North Caucasus in the 13th-19th centuries and influenced the formation of the region’s arms complex. It analyzes such factors as the influence of large states, trade relations, borrowings, as well as the processes of independent evolution of various arms types. Both historical sources and studies by modern authors are presented.
The study concludes that during different periods militarized societies of the North Caucasus adopted arms culture of other states: the Khazar Khaganate, the Golden Horde, Italy, Persia, Egypt, the Ottoman Porte, and the Russian Empire. At the same time, local arms production did not cover necessary needs both qualitatively or quantitatively. In the author’s opinion, most of cold and fire arms used in the North Caucasus were only decorated in local traditions or were remade later by local craftsmen. It is also not quite justified to speak exclusively about Circassian arms, given the small number of surviving historical items – this issue requires further research.
The work considers certain types of sabres, shashkas and kindjals. Information on surviving historical samples used in the region is presented. Historical sources on arms production and its inflow into the region are provided.
The author covers etymology of certain historical terms, their use, development and interpretation at different periods of time. The paper also raises the issue of attributional features of Circassian arms. The author singles out ornamentation and finishing style of Circassian arms as the main feature in the identification of local samples or their imitations in other regions.
Although the author’s conclusions partially disagree with some of the established theories in weaponology, the discussion of complex topics and constructive confrontation appear useful and even necessary for scientific discussion of controversial historical issues.
Keywords: the North Caucasus, Circassia, Adyghe, Caucasian arms, shashka, kindjal, fire arms.