Gorbunov V. (2015). Klinkovoe oruzhie tjurkskoj [Long-bladed Weapons of the Turkic Cavalry]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 2, pp. 28 — 45.

Gorbunov V.


The article presents twenty pieces of Turkish long-bladed weapons found during archaeological excavations in the Central Asia. Notwithstanding the small number of the discovered items, it is possible to state the long-bladed weapons to have been spread widely amongst the Turkish tribes as they were often depicted on the steles. On the basis of the analysis of the preserved samples, the author traces the main tendencies of these weapons development among the Turkish cavalry. During the formation of the Turkish ethnicity, that is 460-552 A.D., the cavalrymen were armed with straight single-edged swords with hook-like pommel and sometimes rectangular cross-guard. In the times of the first Turkish Kaganates (552-657 A.D.) there were used both single-edged and double-edged straight swords with straight handles without any cross-guard or with the one of the complex geometry. During the reign of the second Eastern-Turkish Kaganate (682-744 A.D.) and the Turgesh Kaganate (699-756 A.D.) saber with one and a half-edged blade and straight handle without cross-guard was developed. After the Uyghur kaganate was established in the Central Asian steppes (745-840 A.D.) Turkish set of bladed weapons included one-and-a half-edged straight swords and sabers with rectangular cross-guard. In the period of the grate power of Kyrgyz Kaganate (840–950 A.D.) the saber acquired the handle bent, lugged ring at the end of the blade, and the complete cross-guard. During the last period of the Turkish culture (950 – 1100 A.D.) there was no change in the construction of the long-bladed weapons. Generally speaking, the changing in the development of the Turkish straight swords and sabers presumes the lengthening of the blade (from 60 to 80 cm), the acquisition of the handle bent, and the cross-guards that were also getting longer (from 6-7 cm to 10-11 cm). The Turkish swords were worn and kept in the wooden scabbards covered with leather or birch bark. The scabbards were sometimes additionally fixed with iron or, rarely, bronze rings numbering from one to four. The lower part of the scabbard could have been also provided with metal fittings. The scabbard was hanged at the waist usually with two belts attached with rings and loops but most often with two staples put at the back edge of the scabbard in its center and close to the mouth.

Keywords: sabre, sword, Turks, blade, handle, edge, Kaganat, cavalry