Caucasian daggers: description and photo
Daggers as one of the types of cold weapons have been known to mankind since ancient times. Often they were used as an additional weapon or tool in economic activity. It was also the last argument in the political struggle in Europe of the Renaissance or in the East, where the rulers changed like gloves due to secret murders and palace coups. In the Caucasus, it was a mandatory attribute for men: a reminder of responsibility for their words and deeds and the need to protect the honor of the family even at the cost of their own lives.
The first mentions in history
The Caucasian dagger and the time of its appearance is the subject of controversy among many researchers. Archaeological finds confirm the fact that daggers were present in the life of the peoples of the Caucasus in the Bronze Age. One of the most striking examples is the finds from a 10-meter kurgan (meaning the Maykop kurgan on the Belaya River). Scientists at the excavation found a burial chamber, divided into three sectors by wooden partitions. The skeleton of a man with a golden diadem on his head was found in the central or main compartment.Copper daggers were also found among household utensils and jewelry made of gold and silver. Maikop culture already existed around the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. er It is necessary to mention the name of the famous Arab historian Rashid al-Din. He mentions straight short swords, and this is especially interesting. The 13th century Arab historian describes the Tatar-Mongol invasion of the Caucasus and speaks of the fierce resistance that the Highlanders perpetrated. Using the peculiarities of their area, they cut the invaders with “short swords” in narrow mountain passes. Archeological data confirms that the Caucasian dagger in those days was already firmly established among the local peoples due to its qualities and practicality.
The use of the dagger in the battle of the Caucasian peoples
If you read the materials of some researchers, describing the technique of combat on daggers, you can sometimes find out some interesting facts. Let us dwell on two of the brightest. First: the technique of combat was formed around the Middle Ages. She is minimalistic. There were blocks, tricky feints, slashing and stabbing blows. It is especially interesting to learn about the thrust.If you ask the opinion of the proud descendants of the Vainakhs (Chechens, Ingushs), those who have not yet forgotten the traditions and laws of their ancestors, they will explain that stabbing and cranking are unworthy of a male warrior. It was considered dishonorable in the old days. Only chopping blows were allowed. In confirmation of this, it is necessary to recall the wars in the Caucasus in the 19th century. The Chechens themselves at such a relative who stabbed the enemy in battle, looked with disapproval and did not consider this a valor.
The second statement: the peoples of the Caucasus were so strong and skillful in owning a dagger, that the Europeans did not dare to grapple with them hand-to-hand. This is best told to military historians or Cossacks. At least this statement will cheer them up.
Legendary Blacksmith Masters of the North Caucasus
Blades of the Vainakhs enjoyed and deserved fame in the Caucasus. The Europeans also spoke very flatteringly about them. It is worth mentioning at least V. A. Potto, a 19th century military historian, or General D.V. Passek. Diligence, mutual borrowing of advanced technologies of other nations and a creative approach to developing their own unique methods in metal processing very quickly brought Vainakh blades to the leading positions.Such blades cut the tongs, cut the fire like fire and did not succumb to locksmith tools - this can be read from G. A. Vertepov. The fame of the products of skilled craftsmen spread throughout the Caucasus, and not only. Tushins, Khevsurs and other peoples very willingly used the products of masters from the villages of Bolshiye and Malye Atagi, Darto, Dzhugurta and others. It is necessary to mention the names of famous master gunsmiths. This is not a complete list: Hamst, Musradi, Battak and many others. Description of their products and achievements - a separate topic, it will be enough for several books. The Caucasus is not a place where something is quickly forgotten. Now there are masters left who give hope that this noble craft will not disappear. In our time, the most famous masters are Haji Kurbankadiev, Movladi and Movsar Yusopov brothers, Apti Abdulhamidov.
We should also mention the activities of the collector, popularizer and researcher of such noble weapons as the Caucasian dagger - Marat Akhmedov. He is the author of articles and host of his own channel on YouTube, debunking speculation and revealing little-known facts to the general public.The revival of spiritual values and the moral education of the younger generation are impossible without taking into account the experience and developments of the ancestors - this is the absolute truth for all peoples without exception. As well as the achievements of all nations are the foundation for all human civilization.
The servants of the hammer and the anvil occupied a worthy position from ancient times to all nations. Secrets of craftsmanship were carefully stored and transmitted. There have been unremitting efforts to improve the process from simple to complex. A striking example is the famous Amuzgin damask steel. Its main secret is that it is made from an alloy of almost any metal after repeated forging and quenching. Blades are heavy-duty. Bar - billet may consist of an alloy of more than 300 metals. The making of the combat Caucasian dagger itself took place in several stages. The first was that steel was chosen strong, soft and special heavy-duty. Mild steel was used for the main part of the blade, heavy-duty for the substrate, and strong was on the blade.All three metals fell into the forge, and then were processed on the anvil - and this was how the form of the future weapon was created. The second stage is the painstaking work of the incisor: cutting a groove or dale from two sides. Contrary to the generally accepted opinion, the dol (or the bloodstream, as people like to call it) does not serve for abundant bloodletting. Its main functions are to reduce the weight of the blade, balancing, reducing the friction surface and aesthetic. The next stage is grinding and grinding. The ancient Caucasian dagger was made of Damascus steel and damask steel. Such items may turn out to be a pearl in the collection of any museum in the world.
Types of Caucasian Daggers
There are two main types of combat Caucasian daggers: Kama and bebut. The Caucasian dagger Kama is distinguished by a straight double-edged shape, where the edge of the blade narrows sharply, moving to the tip. Usually the blade has two parts, but there are instances with three or even four. Daggers differ in size: small - up to 30 cm, medium - up to 40 cm and large - 50-60 cm. Blades are with burnishing and mirror. Caucasian combat daggers can be compared with gladiuses - ancient Roman swords.The blade width reached 4 fingers.
Another type of Caucasian dagger - bebut - is less common in the works of ancient masters due to lower demand (it served rather aesthetic purposes, emphasizing the status and wealth of the owner). It is distinguished from Kama by the shape of the blade - it is curved and only the inside is sharpened. It began to be widely introduced into the Russian Tsarist army around 1907. At first it was taken up by the police - the lower ranks of the gendarmerie, and then the army - intelligence, machine gunners and artillery.
For storage and carrying blades there is a special case. The sheath of a Caucasian dagger deserves a separate description. Usually they were made of wood, covered with leather, and metal lining could be used as decoration (sometimes there are completely metal sheaths). They end with a ball or a seed-shaped figure. In addition to the aesthetic function, the ball-shaped tip also has a practical use: a leather strap clinging to it, allowed fixing the dagger, which is worth a lot during the battle. Inside the scabbard there is a clip, which is about 4-5 cm from the figure at the end.
The main function of the clip - giving strength and protection of the blade to some extent, especially when hitting the sheath. There is also a top clip. For this kit, in fact, attaches a combat Caucasian dagger to his belt. Special praise is worth the practicality of this weapon. It is expressed in the fact that a sheath or an awl was placed compactly on the sheath in some cases, which was especially convenient when hiking.
The handles of Caucasian daggers are also a topic for another discussion, because the question of the grip on three fingers is touched upon. "Specialists" put forward one more interesting assumption. One version: the growth of ancestors was much smaller. It is not even worth discussing - just turn to anthropology. Another argument, about the small hand of the ancestors of today's Caucasians, is refuted purely logically. Well, it is impossible to live in that harsh land, it is hard to physically work and just keep a more active lifestyle (wars, hikes) and have small arms. Most likely, the solution lies in the very style of the battle, which then took shape in the Caucasus. But in order to surely assert this, more data on the subject of study and more thorough analysis are needed. Handles Caucasian daggers were made of bone or metal plates.Nails on the handle also performed several functions at once. The first is to hold the overlays on the handles, and the second is landmarks or beacons for the hand. They allowed at night to grope and properly grab a dagger.
A few more words about disputes: an elephant or a whale?
The study of photos of Caucasian daggers does not give the full picture for analysis. The weapon must be held in hand, to feel it. Although there are no absolute and perfect forms of martial arts, and everything always depends on the level of individual skill of a fighter, so there is no perfection in blacksmithing. The topic is slippery, because in different sources and with different authors one can meet different opinions about the quality of cold weapons from different peoples of the Caucasus. Antique Caucasian dagger - a long time ago rare. These artifacts are striking in performance and functionality. They unreservedly testify to the high level of material culture and understanding of advanced technologies by the ancestors of various nations. Therefore, a dispute about whose blades were valued higher and were better is inappropriate.
Armenian and Azerbaijani daggers
The photo of Caucasian daggers of the peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan shows how they are similar, but this is only at first glance. Their main difference is in the decoration.But, looking closer, you can very clearly highlight the ornament that adorns not only the handle, but also the blade. The fact is that the Azerbaijanis created a special kind of patterns and ornaments with elements of plant and Islamic motifs (according to the laws of Islamic traditions, one cannot depict humans and animals).
Kubachi (or Dagestan) daggers
One of the distinguishing features of Kubachi daggers is the absence of an additional padding under the cap. Mandatory metal forging the handle at the bottom. In contrast to the Chechen daggers, in Dagestan, continuous sheathing is used, sometimes there are specimens with bone inserts. The decoration of this type of weapon is distinguished by grace and pathos.
In modern times, the dagger has lost the significance that it had in the life of the peoples of the Caucasus in ancient times. This does not mean that the men of the Caucasus abandoned cold weapons. Just now, for convenience, they wear knives that feel free to use.
The Caucasian dagger souvenir is now easy to find in the free market. Most buyers do not consider this product as a weapon: documents should not be issued for it.Therefore, many people, buying souvenirs, do not pay attention to the methods of casting the handle and the cutting ability of the blade.