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Title: Shamshir  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Scimitar, Talwar, Kilij, Sword, Mameluke sword
Collection: Middle Eastern Swords, Persian Words and Phrases, Single-Edged Swords
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Persian shamshir, The Royal Armoury, Stockholm Sweden.

A Shamshir (from Persian: شمشیر‎‎ shamshir) also Shamsher, Shamsheer and Chimchir,[1] is a type of sabre with a curve that is considered radical for a sword: 5 to 15 degrees from tip to tip. The name is derived from Persian: شمشیر‎‎ shamshīr, which means "sword" (in general). The radically curved sword family includes the shamshir, scimitar, Talwar, kilij, Pulwar and the Turko-Mongol saber.

A Shamshir Shekargar (Persian: شَمشیر شکارگَر‎‎ shamshir-e shekârgar; literally, "hunters' sword" or "hunting sword") is the same as a shamshir, except the blade is engraved and decorated, usually with hunting scenes.[2]


  • Description 1
  • Etymology 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Uzbek warrior armed with bow and arrows, khanjar, mace, and a Shamshir.

Originally Persian swords were straight and double edged. The earliest evidence of curved swords, or scimitars, is from the 9th century, when these weapons were used by soldiers in the Khurasan, in North Eastern Iran.[3]

The shamshir is a one-handed, curved sword featuring a slim blade that has almost no taper until the very tip. Instead of being worn upright (hilt-high), it is worn horizontally, with the hilt and tip pointing up. It was normally used for slashing unarmored opponents either on foot or mounted; while the tip could be used for thrusting, the drastic curvature of blade made accuracy more difficult. It has an offset pommel, and its two lengthy quillons form a simple crossguard. The tang of the blade is covered by slabs of bone, ivory, wood, or other material fastened by pins or rivets to form the grip. Many of the older Persian shamshir blades are made from high quality crucible wootz steel, and are noted for the fine "watering" on the blades.


Although the name has been associated by popular etymology with the city of Shamshir (which in turn means "curved like the lion's claw" in Persian)[4] the word has been used to mean "sword" since ancient times, as attested by Middle Persian shamshir (Pahlavi šmšyl), and the Ancient Greek σαμψήρα / sampsēra (glossed as "foreign sword").

"Shamshir" is usually taken to be the root of the word scimitar, the latter being a more inclusive term.

See also


  1. ^ A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, By George Cameron Stone, Donald J. LaRocca, 1999, pg. 550
  2. ^ A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, By George Cameron Stone, Donald J. LaRocca, 1999, pg. 553
  3. ^ James E. Lindsay (2005), Daily life in the medieval Islamic world,  
  4. ^ Pakistan Historical Society (2006). Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. Pakistan Historical Society. p. 80.  ISSN 0030-9796

External links

  • The Kilij and Shamshir. Turkish and Persian sabers
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