Quite a while back, I did several pieces on weapons that had been labeled “Scimitars” but lacked the basic physical characteristics of one. Even more recently I did a piece on a Persian sword with some distinctly non-Persian design characteristics, such as a relatively straight blade, no cross guard, and a capped pommel. A Scimitar is supposed to look more like this:
But even this is a watered down version of the traditional Persian Scimitar. A reader, Al, responded to one of my previous posts about a Persian Scimitar, a Shamshir, that he just so happens to have in his possession:
This, ladies and germs, is what a Persian Scimitar is supposed to look like. While the word “Scimitar” nowadays generally includes any sword with a deeply curved edge, it is believed that it’s roots lie in the Persian Shamshir. And Als’ weapon, is an old, excellent example.
The Shamshir has some very distinctive features. Most notably the very deep curve of the narrow blade. This makes it excellent for close range slashing, but hinders it’s thrusting ability. Besides that shamshirs have simple cross guards, set atop grips with wood or ivory scales pinned to the full tang. A simple but robust combination.
The butt of the traditional Shamshir is usually left uncapped, and curves forward, provding a good tactile response on the position of the sword in ones hand. Al says this Shamshir is over 400 years old, and it certainly looks the part. He also says he’d be willing to part with it. For the right price of course… 🙂 I’ll throw his email address in below, in case any of you are interested…