The mameluke sword is known as an arched, cross-hilted, and scimitar-like weapon that has been derived from the sabers utilized by the Mamluk warriors of Egypt; it is also related to the weapons coming from the Seljuq Empire.
Mamluks were known to be young boys purchased from Caucasus or Turkey; they were originally slaves who served under the monarch as bodyguards, and by the year 1798, these boys became a powerful, strong, and independent force that dominated Syria and Egypt.
As free men, they became officers of the military and served greatly as the ruling class of Egypt; and although they were overthrown by the Ottoman Empire in the year 1517, the Mamluk continued to nominally remain in power.
During crusades, the swords of these individuals resembled the straight-bladed weapons from Europe; its hilts were already somehow canted to the side and it eventually evolved into a sword that was similar to the nomadic warriors.
During the nineteenth century, a couple of establishments of the western military had adopted the mameluke and these included the British Army, the French Army, as well as the US Marine Corps.
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Origin of the Sword
Since it was adopted in the nineteenth century by a couple of armed forces from the west including the British Army, United States Marine Corps, and the French Army, the mameluke sword still remains as the ceremonial sidearm of a couple of units up to this day.
The sword came from the year 1821, several years right after the Battle of Waterloo when the fondness for Oriental styles was predominant all over Europe.
There were some genuine sabers from the Ottoman empire that were utilized by westerners, yet the mameluke sabers were manufactured and produced in America or in Europe. The hilts of these weapons were somewhat similar to the form and style of the Ottoman prototype yet the blades were much longer, less arched, and wider compared to the Persian shamshir.
Its hilt had kept its original shape and form; plus, its blade tended to appear similar to the blade form of the usual modern military sabers of the west. Today, the mameluke sword continues to be the ceremonial sidearm for a couple of units that are present.
Characteristics of the Sword
The mameluke sword appeared with a simple design that had no pommel included; it was somehow considered as a copy of the Egyptian or Turkish shamshir which was an arched slashing sword for cavalry. The name of the weapon was derived from a group of young Turkish warriors, romanticized in Victorian England, hence, the connection of the name with the weapon’s design.
These swords were mostly wielded as dress swords by the officers of most hussars and light cavalry, and at some point, even the heavy cavalry from the British Army utilized the weapon at various points during the nineteenth century; additionally, the sword was also wielded by major ranking officers as well as the other higher-ranking officials.
The Mameluke in the United States Marine Corps
The Marine Corps history claim that this type of weapon was first introduced to the Marine First Lieutenant named Presley O Brannon; it was brought in by the Ottoman Empire’s viceroy named Prince Hamet, in Libya during the First Barbary War. It was a gesture of praise and respect for the Marine’s movement and actions during the Battle of Derna in the year 1805.
Upon returning to the United States of America, a silver-hilted sword was presented by the state of Virginia which featured a hilt with an eagle head, plus an arched blade that was modeled after the classic mameluke sword given by Hamet.
The blade of this mameluke had his name and a commemoration inscribed; and due to the distinguished record of the Marines during the Battle of Tripoli Harbor, the Marine Corps Commandant named Archibald Henderson adopted the mameluke in the year 1825.
After its distribution in the year 1826, the mameluke swords have been wielded by the marine officers except in the years 1859 to 1875 since the officers were required to utilize the US Army’s foot officer’s sword. These individuals also refrained from wielding the mameluke for a brief period when swords and other weapons were suspended from use during The Third World War.
Since that moment, the mameluke swords have been utilized by the marine officers to represent, as well as to continue the tradition of honoring that day.
Mameluke Sword in the British Army
The mameluke was carried as a levee or dress sword by most of the light cavalry officers, a few of the heavy cavalry regiments, and also the Hussar.
They have been utilizing the weapons in various points during the nineteenth century, beginning in the Waterloo period. There were numerous factors that influenced the fashion and style of the mameluke utilized by the British Army and these are the following:
- The Duke of Wellington wielded a mameluke from his early days of serving in India, and he continued to utilize this throughout his career.
- Napoleon raised a couple of mameluke units during his campaigns in Egypt, leading the adoption of this sword style by numerous French officers. During the post-Napoleonic era, the French military style and fashion were greatly adopted in Britain.
- The USMC was also known to be highly influential, and in the year 1831, the sword of the Pattern General Officers was greatly similar to the USMC mameluke that was created even before this.
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The Mameluke for Sale
When searching for the mameluke, there are numerous things that an individual searches for when choosing the perfect piece for themselves. Of course, they prefer having a weapon that is made with high-quality items and that the replicas are almost as close as the original weapon.
In this day and age, one can find a mameluke sword for sale from various online weapon shops and people can choose from either a fully functional sword or a decorative piece.
The fully functional sword can be utilized for cutting practice and training since its blade is sharpened right from the beginning; as for the decorative swords, these are designed beautifully to adorn one’s home or it can also be a great addition to a sword enthusiast’s growing collection of weapons and armor.
Remember that the blade of a decorative piece is left blunt and unsharpened to prevent any unwanted accidents due to the blade.