Talantov S. (2016). Oficerskaja dragunskaja shashka, Zolotoe oruzhie Imperatora Aleksandra III [Dragoon Office Cavalry Sword – the Golden Weapon of Emperor Alexander III]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 3, pp. 76 — 85.

Talantov S.

Abstract: The article tells the story of a cavalry sword, presented by the officers of the 13th Life Grenaderial Erivan regiment to Alexander III who was its most august colonel in chief. The weapon was presented to the Emperor on his visit to Caucasus. This is the cavalry sword mounted with the guard of the dragoon office cavalry sword of the 1881 pattern. Its blade demonstrating an unspecified for cavalry swords type was forged earlier and according to the available sources used to belong to the family of Mengrelian ruling princes of Dadiani. The scabbard hasn’t preserved. After the revolution of 1917 the cavalry sword was lost and only several years ago the author of the article having carried out long and complex investigations managed to find this unique object and have it back to Russia. Now this cavalry sword is on the permanent exhibition in The Tula State Arms Museum. On the ground of the collected data the author reconstructs the history of the weapon preparation for the ceremony of its presentation to the emperor. He also describes this cavalry sword and considerably improves its attribution. Having analyzed the blade and compared it with other samples from different museums and private collections the author pays attention to the mistake made by Tiflis experts of the 19th century who considered it to be very old and even ancient and have been forged in those times when bladesmiths hadn’t known how to make steel. In the author’s opinion the blade of the cavalry sword belongs to the well-known group of blades which were made in the 18th century Europe and are defined with specific proportions and composition of fullers. The blades of such a type were widely spread in Caucasus and often used for Caucasus and Russian weapons. The blade underwent modifications – the shape of the tip was changed in accordance with the requirements of that time. The place where the inscription was made on the blade was also improved in the article. On the grounds of investigation of the inscriptions on the other presented cavalry swords, e.g. the ones belonged to the Grand Prince Mikhail Nikolaevich, the author states that the inscription was most probably made not at the Shaff atelier but by a famous Tiflis master who made inscriptions on the cavalry swords belonged to the Grand Prince as well. Despite of some losses the weapon being anew found reliquary of the Romanov family is a worthful historical piece and is of great interest for the historians and weapon history scholars.

Keywords: shashka, cavalry sword, Alexander III, the Golden Weapon, Caucasus, blade, tip, dragoon office cavalry sword of the 1881 pattern.