more on scimitars

From: Mikko Rintasaari (
Date: Thu 13 Apr 2000 - 23:02:14 EEST

> From:
> Subject: Scimitars
> Martin:
> : Saying that, the scimitar _would_ be good for looser order troops, as it
> : is a slashing weapon with great weight at the end of the swing and
> : could easily penetrate light armour or dislocate shoulders etc. Given
> : its terrible balance (its awefully top heavy), it makes a poor parrying
> : weapon, so usually it would be used with shield, unless one had wrist
> : like Conan.
> Me
> >Excuse me? I wonder if you are thinking of late cavalry sabers.
> Nope.
> >I've always tought the Lunar/Yanafal Tarnils scimitar to be a
> >light infantry weapon, not a cavalry sabre that handles like an axe.
> The scimitar was an infantry weapon as well as a cavalry one but only the
> heavier versions, which evolved over time. The lighter ones are excellent
> for cavalry work, the heavier ones would be poor for cavalry work, too
> difficult on the backstroke due to weight.

Now this is really strange. I happen to own a cavalry sabre (scimitar),
and I believe it packs a wallop when used from horseback, but which is
also way too long and heavy to be a practical infantry sword (I'm 185cm
tall, so the original users in 1700 vere propably shorter). On the other

hand I've sparred with light infantry scimitars which are a joy to wield
and fight with.
  I suppose our wievs on swordfighting go entirely crossvice.
> >A good scimitar is lighter than a broadsword and has very good
> >balance.
> Some scimitars were much heavier than a "broadsword" whatever one of those is.

That's true, but the heavy scimitars really feel like fighting with an
axe. If one wants to slice through heavy armor one should go for axe and
shield. For a sword to cut and parry with I recommend a light and balanced
sword, like the scimitars I'd envision the Lunars use.
> >It's fast to strike and parry with and having just one edge it's
> >sturdier than a double edged sword, or rather can be made lighter.
> I think you are thinking of the light scimitar which was originally a cavalry
> weapon. It makes a terrible battle sword as it is too light. The heavier
> scimitar was a development to allow its use for infantry. The heavy cutting
> end was an armour cutter.

This baffles me quite a bit. The _cavalry_ scimitars I've seen are long
and heavy, and by all accounts did terrible damage when used from a
charging horse. The infantry weapons are light and fast in comparison.
  One of us must be getting this mixed up.
> >I think you were thinking of cavalry sabers or persian tulwars (which have
> >a heavy tip and which yet again handle like an axe)
> Not at all, you seem to be arguing that the scimitar would be a light weapon,
> yet historically it was its very lightness that made it a poor infantry
> weapon.

Poor parhaps against crusader plate/chainmail, excellent against lighter
armored opponents.

> Perhaps for dueling it was fine, but otherwise against armoured
> opponents, it was too light. Hence the evolution to a heavier end. So the
> cavalry scimitar is a light weapon, the foot scimitar is a heavy weapon.
> Very different purposes.

I know the tulwar was a heavy tipped infantry variant, propably developed
against heavily armored opponents.
  I wouldn't think the Lunar scimitars are like it though. Don't the
Yanafali fight their duels with the scimitars? Remember that in a lightly
armored duel the one with the slow and heavy cleaver get's butchered
against the lighter scimitar that handles almost like a fencing weapon.
Also I don't think the Yanafali hack their opponents to bits with heavy
scimitars, with skill one can be guite deadly with the lighter one (no
armor covers every place), and can defend oneself much better.
> Martin Laurie

Matters of taste and style ultimately I suppose mr. Laurie


"thinker, dreamer and adventurer"


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