Yataghan Sword and its History – Ottoman Swords
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Yataghan Sword and its History

by admin 01 Apr 2023

Let's take a look at the place and history of this short and curved sword type, which is a war weapon identified with the Janissary soldier, especially in one corner of our minds.

Yatağan, which was widely used in the Ottoman period, takes its name from the town of Yatağan where they were produced. Used mostly by janissaries and zeybeks, the yattans look more like a work of art than a weapon with the embroideries on them. Although art and weapon seem like two concepts that are difficult to come together and contradict each other; Both originated with man and developed at his hands.

While listening to the adventure of the sword, one of the weapons used since ancient times, he also witnesses the transformation of the weapon into art along with the history of humanity; When we watch swords exhibited in museums, we forget that they are weapons of war. Just like in the Yatanan, a sword unique to the Turks.

Known as the 'Turkish sword' all over the world, Yaganan swords are also mentioned as an eye-catching work of art as well as their sharpness and durability.
Yatağan is like a machete, but while performing the function of a sword, it differs from it in terms of form, structure and dimensions. The head part of the hilt, which is made of bone, horn, silver or ivory, is divided into two wide ears to the right and left.

These prevent the yawning sword from getting out of hand during the attack and make its owner more advantageous against the enemy. The hilt forming a 'Y' letter joins with the barrel under a wide and thick metal bracelet. It is seen that the hilt armor is made of gold tombac (Tombak - the art of gold processing in the old ottoman) copper and decorated with precious stones such as coral, emerald and ruby, and the hilts made entirely of silver are adorned with precious stones.

The same decorations are also found on the scabbard of the sword. The thick back of the bed, which is 60-80 cm long, curved inward, and 3-4 cm long excluding the tip, is made of iron; the thin front part is made of steel, sharp and durable. This is the most important feature that distinguishes the Yatanan sword, which was carefully turned into steel by watering, from other swords. Since the upper iron part is softer, it absorbs the blows and prevents the sword from breaking during defense.

One of the most striking features of Yatağan is the inscriptions on the sword. These writings sometimes consist of a verse of the Qur'an, a prayer, sometimes a literary word, and sometimes sentences that reflect the mood of the owner.

As for why these swords, which started to be made in the middle of the 16th century and were used until the end of the 19th century, are called yatans…

It is said that the janissaries put the weapon made of leather mesh, which they tied around their waist, in a horizontal position and carried it so that it was called Yatanan.

The name Yatağan as a settlement is the nickname of Osman Bey, known as Yatağan Baba, who is rumored to be one of the Seljuk commanders.

Osman Bey, who settled here after the Seljuk conquest of Yatağan and was engaged in blacksmithing, became famous in the region as Yatağan Baba and was buried here after his death (1274).

In many historical sources and documents, it is possible to find written information that Yatağan was made in the town of Yatağan. Although this information has parallels with the oral history in the town; It is known that yatans were produced in important cities of the Ottoman Empire, especially in Istanbul, Bursa and Plovdiv.

Figure 1. Eared, Yatagan swords carried by (a) Ottoman Admiral Hassan Pacha the
Algerian; (b) an Ottoman marine (levent); (c) a zeibeck from an old postcard dated 1903

Figure 1. Eared, Yatagan swords carried by (a) Ottoman Admiral Hassan Pacha the
Algerian; (b) an Ottoman marine (levent); (c) a zeibeck from an old postcard dated 1903

You can check out the swords below to order a great yataghan sword.

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