History of Russian swords and sabres.
Russian swords from early medieval times till ww2. Russian swords,
sabres, backswords, shashkas and military swords used in feudal times,
imperial Russia and during Soviet regime.
Rurik dynasty ruled to Kievan Rus they helped to establish Tsardom of
Russia (from 9th century). Ruriks were varangians (varjags), originally
vikings from Sweden.
The early Russian swords were made under viking influence. These swords
were typical by a straight blade with a short guard as we know from
viking warriors. The same swords can be found around the Europe at the
These viking swords evolved from late Roman spatha sword.
Early Russian sword (11th century):
The sabre has been known in Russia since the IXth century and since the
XIVth century it emerges as the predominant edged weapon. In the –
XVIIthcenturies the Russian (estate) Landed gentry cavalry, streltsy,
Cossacks were armed with most varied kinds of sabres.
In the 1700-1711 period sabres were dragoons’ regulation weapon along
with broadswords and swords. Then they were regulation only inthe
irregular units and formations – the Don and minor Russian Cossacks as
well as in certain hussar formations that were in existence all through
the X-VIIIth century. In the last quarter of the XVIIIth century the
dragoons carried broadsword type – hilted sabres, featuring only
slightly curved blades. The Russian hussar (or light cavalry) XVIIIth
and early XIXth century sabre was distinguished by a broad,
medium-curved blade with “yelman” (i.e. widened out in the lowest third
of the blade, (tapering to a point), a plain hilt with a knuckle bow,
sweeping up perpendicularly into a cross–guard with a double langet.
All through the XIXth century a succession of cavalry and infantry
sabres patterns were approved as regulation for the Russian army, each
only slightly different from the next.
For instance, all the infantry officers’ sabres laid down as regulation
weapons since 1026 were in effect one or the others of the officers’
edged weapons patterns with new scabbards approved as regulation.
Since 1909 the Department of the military warrant (order) No. 409
authorized Cossacks of all the Cossack units and formations to do
service with "grandfathers weapons" – i.e. the edged weapons inherited
from the predecessors. That decision also affected the armaments of the
Guards Cossack regiments, wherein devised and adopted for carrying
outside formations were specific officer sabres patterns, organic to
them, called "clytch"es (Shamshirs or Mamelukes). Four patterns like
that are known: the Life Guard’s Cossack regiment clytch (Sham shir),
the Life Guards regiment clytch (sham shir), the Life Guards South Don
Cossack battery of the Guard’s mounted artillery "clytch" (sham shir)
and the Urals hundred of the Life Guards Composite Cossack regiment
clytch (shamshir). These clytches (shamshirs) replicated – in shape and
scabbard ornamentation style – the light cavalry and Cossack sabres of
the late XVIIIth – early XIXth centuries.
Shashka is a legendary sabre sword used by cossacks. The typical shashka
is slightly curved sabre. Shashka is missing guard which is substituted
by a curved pommel. Shashkas were very sharp weapons used for thrusts
Russian kinjal (kindjal) is a curved knife used by cossacs
together with shashka. Origin of kinjal is in Caucasia and in Persia.