Original Mardi Crusader Sword from War in the Desert Circa 1880
Original Item: Only One Available. In 1884 British General Gordon was butchered at the fall of Khartoum about which a famous film, of the same name, was later produced staring Charlton Heston.
The Mardi tribesmen were an ancient nomadic race sometimes nicknamed (by the British) the "Fuzzy-Wuzzys" that had occupied northeast Africa near the Red Sea for more than a millennia. This tribe fought the Crusaders with Saladin in the 13th century and early traders found a ready market for obsolete weapons imported from Europe. The great Arsenal at Alexandria was supposedly full of former Crusader Swords left over from the final Christian defeats of that time.
These obsolete weapons were pressed into local service and traded to the south resulting in many Mardi swords, right up to the 1890s, maintaining the original crusader construction designs.
Here is just such a sword now fitted with a Mardi hilt however the blade retains what appears to be two well defined European armorer's stamps, one on either side of the blade. There is also an copper inlay in the blade fuller of a "cross connected to a circle" an early Christian devise of the crusader period. There is a second inlay on the other side of the blade but this has remained unidentified. The hilt is detachable and shows that the tang is completely hand forged just like the blade.
So here's the deal, this sword came to us in a bulk purchase of swords brought back by a British Regiment as war souvenirs in the 1890s. Most Mardi swords are easily identified as native manufacture but this one, although similar in design is very different in both quality and finish. So the question is, could this in fact be an original European made Christian crusader sword blade dating back to the 13th century that was reused and survived for 700 plus years?
Who wants to do the research? Who has the time and desire? We bought it as a Mardi sword originating from the mid 19th century and we make these observations without claiming to be experts on Crusader Sword. However this is a very compelling sword that might have an amazing story to tell.
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