Characteristics of the Scimitar
The Scimitar is an originally Eastern sword. It is a very light and sharp weapon with a curved edge. Its length varies between 55 cm and 1 meter. In addition, it is finished off at the opposite end to the edge with a handle. To get an idea, it can be defined as a "sickle-back sword".
The Scimitar was exceptionally hard and strong. It absorbed the blows easily due to the material with which it was made. For example, the so-called "Damascus steel". Said material had a high carbon content, specifically from 1.5 to 2%. This gave it this hardness and a unique beauty with wavy marks on the edge. Damascus steel was admired throughout the West. They even tried to imitate him, although with little success. In the Iberian Peninsula developed a metal with characteristics similar to that of Damascus. This is the renowned "Toledo steel".
The Scimitar had a perfect design to attack from the saddle of the horse. Because after the enviste, the sheet was not embedded in the opponent. This allowed the warrior to keep moving forward. It is said that he cut the body of the enemy from the shoulder leaving the waist. In the same way he cut a silk handkerchief in half.
History of the Scimitar
The name comes from the Persian word "shamsir", that derived in the Italian word "scimitar". The geographical and chronological origin of the Cimitarra is much discussed today. There are those who place it in ancient Persia. Although it spread throughout the Middle East, from India to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Regarding the date, the most widespread moment of this sword was during the Middle Ages. In fact, it is the most characteristic weapon of the medieval Arab world. Associated on many occasions with crusades between Christians and Muslims. It is at this moment when it appears in pictorial representations.
The sword was not a simple weapon used in war, but was surrounded by a very prominent symbolism. Both in the Christian and Muslim tradition. For the kings and nobles of Christianity who fought against the Muslim, the sword symbolized the cross of Christ (crossing the hilt with the edge). While for the Muslims it is said that the semicircular shape of their sabers represented the half moon, and that therefore the sword itself symbolized the sacred weapon of Islam: the weapon of Allah.
Related historical characters
Salaheddîn Eyûbîen, better known in the Western world as Saladin, is the most outstanding historical figure with whom the Cimitarra is associated. This character born in what is now Iraq, was the most important Muslim general of the Middle East in the second half of the twelfth century.
He was protagonist of the wars of religion between Christians and Muslims for the dominion in the Holy Land, highlighting his victory against the Christians in the Battle of Hattin. A fact that opened the doors for the conquest of Jerusalem. After being known the fact by the Christians, the man who was at the head of the Church at that time, Pope Urban III, summoned all the Christian kings to a new campaign against the Muslims: The third crusade.
It was at this time when the figure of Richard of England, who later would be nicknamed "Heart of Lion", took center stage. The Cimitarra is a legendary sword that, in addition to Saladin, has been associated with other characters such as Sandokan, a pirate originally from Southeast Asia and the protagonist of innumerable adventures against the British. Sinbad the Mariner also always used his Scimitar sword.