Gorbunov V.

Abstract: The article describes the long blade weapons for melee of Turkic horsemen – kilich, translated by linguists as a sword , but it is likely that it also meant the sabre because there is no separate term for this type of weapon in early Turkic written monuments. In the basis of the study is the analysis of Archaeological materials originating from the territory of Central and Middle Asia, where we studied the monuments of Turkic culture. Despite the fact that series of long blade weapons of the Turkish culture is small, it covers all stages of existence of the community. Its analysis makes it  possible to outline the main trends in the development of this weapon of Turkic cavalry. During the formation of the Turkic ethnos (460-552 years) single-edged swords with the straight hilt and pommel hook, some of which supplied with rectangular cross-guard were used. During the existence of the first Turkic khaganate (552-657 years) single-edged and double-edged swords with a straight handle, without crosshair or with rhomboid-hexagonal cross-guard were used. Emergence of the sabers came to the period of the second Eastern Turkic (682-744 years) and Turgesh khanates (699-756 years). The first samples had one-and-half-edged blade and a straight handle without the cross-guard. After the settlement in the prairies of Central Asia the rule of the Uyghur khaganate (745-840.), the Turkic set of bladed weapons included one and half edged swords and sabers with rectangular cross-guard. In the period of great power of the Kyrgyz khaganate (840-950) among the Turks there was a change of sabers due to the tilt of the handle, the appearance of the holder with pull tab at the base of the blade and cross-shaped cross-guard. At the final stage of the existence of Turkic culture (950-1100 years)  new changes in the long-bladed weapon were not observed. In general, the development of Turkic swords and sabers came to  increasing the length of the blade  (from 60 to 80 cm), the transition from a straight to an inclined handle and equipped with cross-shaped, which also increased its length (from 6-7 to 10-11 cm). Its evolution was aimed at creating structures optimal for use in a cavalry battle. It resulted in the basic requirements for such weapons: not too heavy, a sufficient length and an emphasis on slashing strike for the sword and cut-and-slash strike for sabers. The thrusting function with all its importance remained additional for equestrian warrior.

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