Kiziria V.

Abstract:The author makes an attempt to put a type of a Mingrelian stabbing dagger of the 19th century in the cultural context. It is done on the basis of the historical data and specific circumstances of putting into practice both stabbing and cutting in the Caucasus communities, as well as on the experience of modern reconstruction of possible ways of the dagger use in a close fight. Historically the stabbing and the cutting were differentiated in the Caucasus cultural tradition. In the fights between the members of the community the stabbing, as a more mortal blow, was prohibited while the cutting was only allowed. That is extremely significant, for instance, that the stabbing wasn’t practiced either in games, or in sport duels, or in traditional dances with weapons. A specific type of a dagger intended exclusively for cutting was created. Along with it, as primary sources of the time show, the prohibition didn’t work in the combats with foreign foes or in case of life defense. Consequently, there were both multi-purpose daggers intended for cutting and stabbing and mostly stabbing ones. These types of daggers had differences in the sizes and proportions of the blades as well as in their general construction (a handle, fullers, etc.). On the basis of the analysis of the available information on the weapon construction, its dimensions, balance, and the rest characteristics the author considers the Mengrelian dagger to have probably belonged to the members of the Mengrelian community of the 9th century who were involved in crime, mostly in  horse-stealing, which was the only possible occupation for the many. The specificity of the work connected with fighting stipulated the creation and existence of the mostly stabbing dagger. Such specific features of its blade as a narrow and elongated tip of rhomboidal strengthened cross-section quite often, and the balance point moved close to the handle make its use as a cutting weapon difficult but reinforce its stabbing and piercing qualities.

Keywords: dagger, Mingrelia, satevari, stabbing, stroke, the Havsurs, cutting, blade.