Turks’ Approach to Swords

Turks have always approached all of their belongings with a sense of beauty and quality, from the socks they wear to the weapons they use. For this reason, Turkish swords have been accepted not only as a tool of war but also as a work of art throughout history. So much so that in the states established by the Turks, there were craftsmen dealing only with sword production. Today, these masters still exist, but the swords they produce are not a weapon of war, but a gift or a decorative piece for offices and homes.

When we look at the history of Turkish swords, they gained the greatest importance both in production and use during the Ottoman and Seljuk period.  Especially the Ottoman sultans had superior skills in using swords and riding horses. Princes who had a difficult education in sword use, horse riding, foreign language and positive sciences from the first years of their childhood always attached great importance to war tools and techniques.

The word “Sword” is written and read as “kılıç” in Turkish. However, many people who know about swords may call it “kilij” in the international arena.   The word “sword” has been defined very differently both in Turkish and many foreign sources. Some of these definitions are as follows:

– A long, flat iron with one side sharp, used in battles.
– Sharp iron or steel tool used in wars for many years in history. Usually one side is sharp and kept and stored in the scabbard.

– A sharp war tool with a handle, usually made of iron and steel, the shape and use of which varies by country.

After mentioning the different definitions of the word sword, let’s write a little more detailed approach of the Turks to swords. Especially before the industrial revolution, swords were in their most advanced period both in use and production. Swords lost their importance for wars with the invention and development of pistols, rifles and cannons after the industrial revolution. Until this period, Turks used to accept their swords as if they were members of their families. The swords of the individuals were in their honor. That is why taking someone’s sword was one of the greatest evils that could be done to that person.

Verses from the Koran were usually written on the swords of Ottoman soldiers and sultans. In addition, some Sultans had their monograms (signature) on the handle of their swords.  Using a sword was the greatest sign of bravery and courage. Many boys were trained to use swords from their early childhood. Another training about swords was undoubtedly in the field of sword making. Especially boys were trained to learn how to make swords alongside masters from their early ages. Besides these masters, children would learn not only to manufacture swords but also to learn the facts about life.

Leave a Comment