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Toltec Short Swords: A Precurser To The Macuahuitl?


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There is an interesting word found in the war chronicles of Zeniff - cimerter.

â??And it came to pass that I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle.â? (Mosiah 9: 16)

To the best of my knowlege, no one knows for sure exactly what Zeniff's weapon might actually be. Webster's first (1806) dictionary defines cimeter as:

â??Cimeter, n. A Turkish hanger, a short crooked sword." [(Noah Webster, â??A Compendious Dictionary of the English Languageâ?, Connecticut: Sidneyâ??s Press, (1806) pg. 51) Facsimile Edition, New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1970]

This sounds like what we call a scimitar and that is what Webster apparenly meant though he spelled it scimeter on page 268 with instructions to"see cimeter"

One problem with getting an understanding of what a scimitar looks like is that the basic shape can range from a US Calvary sabre to a pirate's cutlass. Blades can range from around two feet in length to well over three feet. The blades can have widths four or more inches at their widest or be so slender and tapered that one is tempted to describe it as a radically curved rapier. The pommel, handle, quillion, fuller and point are each so varied that it would fill a book with descriptions. The only thing they seem to have in common is a curved blade.

Which brings me to the segue: I recently found a reference to a mesoamerican short curved sword.

â??Tollan was larger than any other city of its day and enjoyed the advantages of military technology and organization. Its primary innovation was a 50-centimeter (20-inch) curved sword with obsidian blades along each edge. This short sword provided a much larger cutting surface than previous weapons and did so with little extra weight." (Ross Hassig, â??Mexico and the Spanish Conquestâ?, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, [2006], pg. 23)

Could this be Zeniff's cimeter? Apparently the Aztec macuahuitl may be a linial deccendant of this Toltec short sword.

â??When the barrage began, soldiers carrying stone-bladed wooden broadswords (macuahuitl) and thrusting spears (tepoztopilli). These were both relatively new innovations. The thrusting spear was an elaboration on earlier versions but now possessed an elongated wooden head inset with obsidian blades. The broadsword was a more radical departure that probably emerged in the mid-fourteenth century. Perhaps developing from the Toltec short sword, the broadsword was made of oak inset with obsidian blades.â? (Ross Hassig, â??Mexico and the Spanish Conquestâ?, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, [2006], pg. 31-32)

My problem is that this is the first I have heard of this Toltec weapon and I cannot find a picture of it. Anybody know where I can find a picture of one?

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Have you read this yet?:

The next weapon discussed is the cimeter, of which the more modern spelling is scimitar. In modern literature the reference is always to the sickle sword associated with the Middle East. In Mesoamerica no such metal sickle swords are known. However, in the Book of Mormon we are also dealing with a conflation of vocabularies that can make some identifications imprecise. We have two possibilities of vocabulary disjuncture, the Nephties themselves who would have brought Old World vocabulary to New World artifacts (including plants, animals, and weapons) and we have a similar disjuncture with Joseph Smith as a translator, who might also bring a more modern vocabulary to bear on cultural items for which there was no precise identification available to him. Such appears to the be case with the scimitar, a name for a Mesoamerican weapon for which the curved shape gives it the linguistic connection to the Old World or modern term.

Hamlin and Merrill discuss several aspects of the use of cimeter in the Book of Mormon. Of particular interest is the likely corresponding Mesoamerican weapon:

"One of the earliest Mesoamerican candidates for the Book of Mormon scimitar is found in a Late Pre-Classic sculpture that shows a warrior holding in one hand a macuahuitl and in the other a strange curved weapon (see fig. 3, p. 339 in chapter 15). It is impossible to say for certain what this item is supposed to represent. However, a similar weapon is known in India—the haladi. Note that this warrior holds both a macuahuitl sword and a curved weapon just as Zerahemnah is described in the Book of Mormon as being armed with.

In our opinion, however, the Book of Mormon cimeter should probably be identified with a curved, axlike weapon held by many of the figures in the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza. It appears to be a curved piece of wood in the end of which was inserted obsidian or flint blades (see fig. 1). Although in appearance it is somewhat like an ax, it is structurally different, in that an ax has a straight shaft of wood with a blade mounted on the shaft, while this weapon has a curved shaft of wood with a blade mounted at the tip of the wood. (Hamblin, William J. and A. Brent Merrill "Notes on the Cimeter (Scimitar) in the Book of Mormon." In: Warfare in the Book of Mormon. Provo, FARMS, p. 361).


And this more recent article from FARMS: http://www.farmsresearch.com/publications/...um=1&id=546

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Check out this thread with some nice pictures: http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=4928

Haven't found any specific to your question yet, but cool weapons here: http://www.precolumbianweapons.com/

More possibilities of what you are looking for:


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There's a beautiful example of a noble holding a "scimitar-like flint blade" from the Classic Maya site of Tonina published in Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya by Miller and Martin (2004:188). I've tried to attach it, but don't know if it worked or not.


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