- The history of the blade
- How were blades forged in the old days?
- Caucasian dagger fighting technique
- Main types of Caucasian daggers
- Circassian daggers
- Georgian daggers
- Armenian daggers
- Azerbaijani daggers
- History of the use of Caucasian daggers in Russia
- Caucasian daggers now
The Caucasian dagger is part of the national symbolism. This is a sign that a man is ready to defend his personal honor, the honor of his family and the honor of his people. He never parted with him. For centuries, the dagger has been used as a means of attack, defense and cutlery.
The history of the blade
Traditionally, at the beginning of the last century, when a boy was born in a Caucasian family, he was given the first dagger. Upon reaching the age of 14, it was replaced by a larger one. But at all times, the Caucasian dagger remains a work of jewelry and has brilliant combat characteristics. Once it was made of damask and Amuzgin steel. These recipes are now lost. The Mongol-Tatar invaders demanded tribute from the peoples of Azerbaijan in the form of daggers and arrows. These gunsmiths were famous all over the world.
Another historical center for the manufacture of weapons and chain mail is the Dagestan village of Kubachi. Not far from him, in another place called Amuzgi, blades for daggers and sabers were forged. In Kubachi, they bought scabbards and handles, whichinlaid with silver and gold, engraved. Weapons were one of the attributes of we alth. Amuzgin, Damascus and damask steel were considered the best. From here, weapons were supplied to the Russian Empire, to the East and to Europe.
How were blades forged in the old days?
In Amuzgi you can still find people who remember how ancient Caucasian daggers were made. Blacksmithing still lives there, but, unfortunately, has lost its uniqueness.
In those distant times, the blade had to be processed 13 times. At the first stage, wrought iron was forged. It consisted of three types of steel (antushka - strong steel for the blade, dugalala - soft for the main part of the blade, alkhana - the strongest steel from which the substrate was made). All these parts were laid out in a pile in strips, which the blacksmith brought with tongs into the forge, and then onto the anvil. So it turned out welded iron, from which they made the shape of the future dagger, the sting itself and the rod. The blacksmith had a special cutter, which manually created two-sided grooves. The next stage is turning and cleaning until the blade becomes like a mirror. Then the blade was calcined and hardened in water.
Caucasian Damascus steel daggers even had their own logo. The finished blade had a bluish color and a special ornate pattern called "damascus". But much more interesting were daggers made of damask steel. Surprisingly, this weapon possessed not only strength, but also flexibility. Such a checker easily bent into a circle. No matter what was cut with this blade, not a scratch was left on it.
Damask steelused in Russia, but its homeland is India. Somehow, the metallurgist Pavel Anosov recognized the technology, and the Zlatoust Arms Factory began to produce weapons on its own. Now the ancient methods of making this unique steel are lost, most likely irretrievably. In Syria, in the 18th-19th centuries, they tried to produce something similar in terms of characteristics, but the fake could not be compared with the legendary damask steel.
Caucasian dagger fighting technique
It acquired a clear outline already in the Middle Ages. The fighting style is based on inflicting sharp cutting and stabbing blows with jumps and lunges. There is also a special technique in which two daggers are used at once. This was considered aerobatics, as the striking power increased to a large extent.
Europeans could never compete with Caucasians in dagger fighting technique, preferring firearms. For close combat, this style is the most dangerous for the enemy. In the century before last, a dagger called a quadar was used, which was incredibly powerful and heavy, and also had a four-sided bayonet.
Main types of Caucasian daggers
The main purpose of the dagger is to stab the enemy. Now there are two main types - with a straight or curved blade. The first is called kama, the second is bebut.
A straight dagger has a blade sharp on both sides, sharply tapering towards the end. Its handle is short, usually made of bone or horn, with an expanded base and an elongated head. Overhead elements are made of metal.Some kama have enhanced combat properties due to the protruding middle part.
Bebut is a Caucasian combat dagger, which differs from a kam only in that its end is curved. It is not as widespread as straight.
Blades and bebuta, and kama in length from 40 cm. They have valleys and ribs that increase their strength.
Dagger scabbards are made of wood covered with leather. The tip and mouth are usually metal. In order to make it more convenient to attach the scabbard to the belt, the upper clip has a special ring.
These are common types of daggers, but any Caucasian people have some unique characteristics regarding the shape of the blade, hilt, etc. Of course, the differences can be seen in the ornament and decorations.
They were partly decorated with silver, and their device was simple. The Circassian dagger belongs to the Shapsug mountain type. What makes it stand out from the rest is the design using three rivets, while traditionally there are two. The extra one is called the peephole and is clearly visible from behind.
It is interesting that this people had a so-called blood feud - the dagger of a warrior who declared blood feud. Since it was finished with nickel silver with a special application of red spots, the intentions of the owner were obvious to everyone. Only after the vengeance had taken place could the "blood" be washed away.
They have their own distinctive features. Bladesa semi-oval head common to all is characteristic, but they are short in shape and have the shape of a wedge. This is a Caucasian dagger, the dimensions of which do not differ from the traditional ones. One of the main features is the handle. On it you can find snags with hemispherical hats, whose edges are cut like petals. The mouth of the scabbard is large and with a clip, at the tip - triangular protrusions. As a rule, they are interconnected by triple stripes, between which there are leather stickers. The hilt and scabbard have a silver frame, additionally decorated with floral ornament, which is made of gilded engraving. It has specific features and a blade. It is decorated with a welding plate in the middle, and at the base - curly cuts with a silver or gold notch.
Khevsurian daggers are very close to Georgian ones. They are made of brass and iron. The shape of the blade is the same, but the ornament is not so ornate, simpler and made of copper.
Here, too, the differences must be looked for in the details. The head of the handle is extended upward like an arch, on the sides it has cutouts, which are called intercepts. The caps of the studs are cone-shaped, cylindrical or convex, round, but very low. Gaskets under them are also made in the form of rhombuses. The mouth of the scabbard is connected to the clip and has triangular protrusions, like the tip. The edges of these ledges are also cut off in the form of an oriental arch, and on the tops there are festoons in the form of tulips.
This Caucasian dagger hasinstrument made of steel. As in Georgia, here you can see a floral ornament, but it will be combined with stylized inscriptions in Armenian, daubed with gold and silver. You can meet the simultaneous use of these metals. Often the details of the dagger are completely covered with taush.
They are very similar to the Armenian ones, but they have decorated not only the scabbard and hilt, but also the blade itself. What distinguishes them is the ornament, which, in addition to floral motifs, also contains geometrized and Muslim ones. The latter, as a rule, is made in the form of arches and meandering branches with sparse leaves. In Azerbaijan, there is a special art of carved ornament, which is also used to decorate daggers.
Dagestan daggers (Kubachi)
Still considered the best. The length of the blade is very harmoniously combined with the size of the handle and has its own specific features: the right deep fuller is located higher than the left one.
This Caucasian dagger has a pattern reminiscent of welding steel. The type of blade is called Lezgi. The steel between the blades and the valleys is necessarily subjected to a burnishing procedure, as a result of which these spaces are filled with wide strips.
The head of the hilt is even more elongated and tapers to a rounded top or has the same shape as that of the bebut. The stud heads of this dagger are cone-shaped and resemble pyramids. You can also find pyramids with concave ribs. Remarkably, the spacers betweensnags are not accepted here. The head itself, the studs, and the lower part of the hilt are bound with metal, but sometimes you can find bone inserts and ornamental decorations in the form of plants and flowers. This element of decor in Kubachi is of several types: marharay, mulberry, the most commonly used, as well as moskov-nakysh, sieves, used less often. In online stores you can find such a Caucasian dagger. Photos will tell about its virtues better than any description.
History of the use of Caucasian daggers in Russia
In the XIX - early XX century. this type of weapon was indispensable in Russia. Bebut was used by the troops from 1907 to 1917. Initially, it was introduced to the gendarmes of the lower ranks, excluding the sergeants, combat units and the serf gendarmerie. The dagger replaced them with drafts until 1910. Around the same time and a little earlier, it was introduced into service with the lower ranks of the infantry reconnaissance troops, machine gunners, and artillery. From 1904 to 1910, the Caucasian Kama daggers were used by Cossack troops.
Bebuts began to be used in the army in connection with campaigns in Central Asia, when this form of weapon became popular among our military in Iran. The dagger also replaced the artillery saber. It was widely used during the First World War in the legions of death and battalions of honor. Now Russian weapons have their own types of knives.
Caucasian daggers now
Ancient weapons are antiques. The Caucasian dagger, made at the beginning of the last century, is extremely expensive, and can only be seen in a museum or privatecollections. Nowadays, traditionally and conscientiously executed bebut or kama cannot be found outside the Caucasus. Traditionally, the dagger is part of the national costume in the Caucasus. In Russia, this weapon has become an award.
You can also meet modern Caucasian daggers. They are made in factories. But do they compare with those works of art, the fame of which was all over the world? True, the requirements of the armed forces for edged weapons have now changed.
There are many tutorials on how to make a supposedly Caucasian dagger with your own hands. It is clear that such a fake will resemble the original at best only in form.