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Russian Arms

Sabres: Introduction

Billions of exhibition objects ale brought together for exposition in toe U.S.S.R. museums. These exhibits are the landmarks of our homeland's material culture. Silent witnesses of the most important events, they reflect the level and specific features of any given epoch's culture along with the creative potential and inimitability of the people. They have, therefore, great historical, scientific and cultural significance.

Variously sized collections of Russian edged weapons rank among such monuments to the historic past.

History of the arms, its particular kinds and types has a prominent role to play and is not to be underrated in the context of military history research. Modification of certain types of arms, the emergence of their new patterns ever so often exercised a telling impact of the warring sides' change of tactics. Thus, the appearance of firearms in Western Europe and in Russia in the XIVth century proved a veritable coup in the military practices.

With the advent of firearms, however, the edged weapons lost none of their importance. For quite a while yet the cavalry stayed the basic arm with not infrequently a decisive role to play in the Battle's outcome, and the cavalry's basic weapons happened to be edged ones: sabres, swords (it has to be pointed out, however, that the universal acceptance and unabating efforts aimed at band firearms permanent up-grading brought in their wake the lighter cavalry equipment with them, arriving to replace the heavier knightly cavalry).

With the passage of time new types of edged weapons came in to replace certain outdated ones: broadswords and military swords appeared to replace the ancient Russia swords, the older speer gave way gradually to the lance. In XIXth century Russian the sabre was replaced nearly in all the arms by the shashka (shasqua) borrowed in the Caucasus. The strike weapons gadded maces (pernach's), siz-gad maces (shestopyor's) maces and the like were no longer used in mid-XVIIth century.

With the advent of aviation, the automatic shooting weapons and also due to the gradual perfection of artillery the part cavalry was destined to play came down, even though it did find certain application in the course of the First and partly - even the Second World War. The functions of edged weapons were, naturally, bound to change accordingly to the effect of becoming personal weapons of officers and generals in many armies on full dress occasions.

The combat weapons kept nowadays in museums comprise one of the characteristic features of the epoch they represent and may be regarded as a kind of an index of technological advancement level of the country chat manufactured them and the extent of metal-working progress attained in it. With respect to that weapons research can hardly be overestimated in the context of material culture studies.

V.G. Fyodorov, an eminent Russian weapons designer and historian wrote in 1905: "If nowadays each detail of a rifle's design - however insignificant - is the subject of its elaboration and perfection with a view to the ideal, then no lesser effort and care did our ancestors invest in the edged weapons design due to the importance that they had in those times on the fields of the battle. It is well-known, for instance, that the demand for the mass production of arms happened to be one of the incentives in Russian industrial progress in the XVIIlth.

Resides, weapons research is called upon to assist the museum collections keepers in their practical work along with military historians, art historians, archaeologistsillustration artists, the theatre and cinema experts, just collectors and, finally, a great multitude of aficionadoes

In weapons research - just like in other areas of material culture history - our knowledge relies in the first place on the artifacts - the military weapons themselves, stored in the museum collections, the largest in the country most notably among them - the arms collection of the Military History the order of Red Star museum of artillery Engineer troops and Signal troops (MHMAET ST), the careful investigation of which provided the foundation for the given Identifier's compilation.

When putting this work together assorted legislative materials of the XIXth - early XXth century were the main publications drawn on - like "The Full Collection of the Russian Empire Laws (FLC), "The Military Minister's Orders" (MHO), "Military Department Orders" (MOO), "Collection of Laws and Resolutions Pertinent! to the Military Administration" (CLRMA), "Orders of the Navy Department" (OND) et al.

Special literature has also been drawn on, the list of which is provided at the end of this work.

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