Item:
ONSV4019

Original Victorian Era Sudanese Mahdi Dervish Kaskara Broadsword circa 1885

Regular price $350.00

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. In the 1880's the SUDAN the vast land just south of Egypt was ruled by the Khedive from Cairo. Sudan was basically occupied by native Africans in the south and Arab traders in the north. The coming of the Muslim religious leader known as the "Mahdi" unified the population into an uprising against Egypt.

Britain assisted and allowed General Charles Gordon to become the Governor of Sudan on behalf of the Egyptian Khedive. The result was that after a long siege the entire Khartoum garrison, including General Charles Gordon, was butchered leading to much embarrassment for the British Government. It took 14 years, until 1898, for General Gordon to be avenged with the complete destruction of the Muslim Army at the Battle of Omdurman.

The Mahdi army, numbering over 100,000, was made up of many tribes of various origins and used primitive broad swords fashioned on those the European Crusaders had carried back in the 13th and 14th centuries. These were known as Kaskaras and were carried along with a large shield.

This Broadsword, known as a KASKARA, is a great example of the principal weapon carried by the Mahdi's warriors. These were desert people and had modeled the broadsword on those carried by the European Crusaders in the 14th century.

This particular example is, as they all were, based on the Crusader's massive Broad Swords of the 12th, 13th and 14th Centuries. These all had crucifix shape crossguards with huge broad double edged blades. This one has an overall length of 40" and a 35" x 1 3/4" blade. There is a small central fuller on each side, which has some type of armorer's mark in it. This is a classic Dervish Kaskara Broad Sword, and a fine example. Grip leather wrap incomplete after 140 years, showing the underlying leather. There are also the remains of some type of tassel tied around the grip.

This sword is most likely a War Trophy, taken back to England after the 1898 Battle of Omdurman by an English Soldier. In very good condition and ready to Display!

The Sudanese Wars are famously remembered in the movies too: Charlton Heston in "KHARTOUM" and in at least two productions of "THE FOUR FEATHERS". The close of the Victorian era was the height of the Great British Empire. A British soldier's bring back souvenir from his times on the front line.

The Kaskara was a type of sword characteristic of Sudan, Chad, and Eritrea. The blade of the kaskara was usually about a yard long, double edged and with a spatulate tip. While most surviving examples are from the 19th century the type is believed to have originated around the early 14th century, and may represent a localized survival of the straight, double-edged medieval Arab sword. The kaskara was worn horizontally across the back or between the upper arm and thorax. According to British Museum curator Christopher Spring, "in the central and eastern Sudan, from Chad through Darfur and across to the Red Sea province, the straight, double-edged swords known as kaskara were an essential possession of most men."

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