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Szabla = saber?

"It had a curved blade and was carried in a scabbard."

Well, just like every other sabre. What is the point of this article? Little information is added to the general subject. The Cosssacks had their own form of sabre, as had the Mamluks, the Turks, and so forth. What makes the Polish one so special that it needs its own entry?

This is Wiki. If sb has enough info on non-Polish sabres to create an article about it, more power to them. As I know there are books, articles and webpages dedicated to Polish sabre - the szabla - I feel there is enough info to warrant a separate entry in Wiki. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 09:40, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, but I think your reply misses the point. There are generalities in this article already covered under the Sabre entry , in addition to the ones mentioned e.g. a cavalry melee weapon; and also an outright error -- which indeed took its name from a German word for "hacking" or "cutting". That German word should be "schlachten", which means "to slaughter". I doubt it has any etymological connection to Szlachcic - and if, it would hardly be a flattering one for the Polish nobles. Finally, the illustration shows a medieval sword, which does not fit the subject. This is Wiki -- well yes it is, but articles should be of interest and value to the general public, should they not?
Dear anon. First, as it looks like you are interested in this subject and wiki, please register, it will ease our talk (and give you more tools for editing purposes). I took the liberty of formatting your replies (merging tiny paras) so it looks more like normal wiki talk, I hope you don't mind. Now, to answer your questions. This article is a stub, and a poor one at that - I will grant you this. It needs expantion, and possibly a correction of erros you mention. I admit I have no read about the etymology of the word, and there was a similar discussion on Talk:Szlachta/Archive 1#The_Etymology which eventually ended with removal of German-origin etymology from main. Now the best thing I'd agree would be to copy all info from there to sabre - which is also a stub, as you can see - and expand the sabre article with info from all related subarticles, until it is no longer a stub. Feel free to do so ( Resource: Be bold), but as I said earlier I'd strongly advice you to register first, before making major edits - it will help both you and us. However I'd recommend leaving this stub (szabla) as it is, in hope that sooner or later somebody (maybe me, when I have some time) will expand this with more info (for example, from Polish resource - see pl:szabla)). Finally, the pic is a sword, and thus not entirely correct, but it is better then no pic - at least it gives the brief names of the general melee weapon parts. I'd much prefer for somebody to translate the szabla-specific pic from Polish wiki. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:00, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Frankly speaking, I would generally support either a move to some less Polish-specific title (Polish sabre, prerhaps?), or simply to merge it with the article on sabre. As a matter of fact, though the Polish (and Cossack, since it was the same type of sabre) sabre had some peculiarities and was an important step in the evolution of cold steel arms, it was nothing but just that: a step in the evolution of the sabre. As for now I'll simply expand this pretty little article and leave the decision to others.
As to other questions, "the German word" from which the szlachta derived its name is not schlachten but geschlecht (in mediaeval meaning of the word, from Old High German gislahti meaning more or less genre or kin). Which is quite a different thing. Halibutt 23:09, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
It is not just a step in the evolution of the saber; it's also the symbol of the Polish noble class. By the above logic, the article on Katana should be merged into the article on Chinese swords, because they're nothing but a development, or "a step in the evolution," of Chinese cavalry swords. Except that they were also the symbol of the Japanese warrior class and had, and have, a major place in Japanese culture. Though I wouldn't say szabla are quite that significant to the Poles, they're certainly more than a type of saber. Nagakura shin8 06:51, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Captions to translate

There are nice pics (like this) at Polish wiki version of this article, but my melee-weapnons military terminology is not good for theri translation :( Help needed. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:08, 5 November 2005 (UTC)


Shouldnt etymology ultimatelly derive from the Hungarian szablya? (pronounced /sabja/) After all, Hungarian szablya can easily be derrived from Hungarian szab-;szabni (to cut). The same is listed on the article saber Druworos 15:27, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Considering that szabla came from the Balkans, it is likely - but a reference would be nice.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 15:41, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
It is plainly stated in the article saber, in the first few lines. Though I have no idea where they got *their* references. Druworos 16:21, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

What does German "Sabel" have to do with it? The transition from Hungarion is obvious, they even retained the "sz-", albeit with different sound. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 13 June 2010 (UTC)


I am quite puzzled by the image. This is a French Navy officer sabre of the beginning of the 19th Century. It is plainly said on the description of the image, and I really wonder how one could say things like "Late 17th century szabla". I am removing the image. Rama 11:13, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Early use of the sabre in Eastern Europe

In the History section, I see some dubious speculation in the form "Although by early 16th century such weapons were used both in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldavia-Wallachia and Hungary, in most cases these were but examples of captured weapons issued to peasants and serfs in case of a dire need. As such, they were considered plebeian weapons unworthy of the nobility. The higher classes and the knights at that time still preferred straight-bladed swords, much like their western European counterparts."

Take a look at the relatively contemporary painting Battle of Orsza. The painting is from the 16th century and depicts early Polish hussars. Note how all hussars carry curved swords (as well as lances and in some cases bows). Muscovite cavalry is also using curved swords. This would contradict "in most cases these were but examples of captured weapons." Entire class of soldiers (the hussars) was equipped with sabres, by 1514. There is also this, an example of a 9th-10th century Kievan Rus sabre ("Heribert Seitz, in the book Blankwafeen volume I pages 183-186, notifies that the origin of the sword is South Russia."). Please find better sources and rewrite the history section, since it's very misleading and appears to be based on erroneous speculation. (talk) 08:16, 23 August 2011 (UTC)


I have reverted the move to Polish-Hungarian sabre. This is not a name that is common in literature, even if it is descriptive. The word szabla is used in English publications: Syed Ramsey (12 May 2016). Tools of War: History of Weapons in Medieval Times. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. pp. 4-. ISBN 978-93-86019-81-3. . While I am not vehemenly opposed to a move, it is something that should be discussed, following a call for comments at milhist, Polish and Hungarian projects. PS. Similarly, a merge notice without a rationale is waste of time. There was an old discussion at Talk:Sabre#Merge_with_Szabla which resulted in keeping separate articles, through I'll note that pl:szabla links to saber, and basically szabla means saber in Polish so yes, there is some confusion here that needs to be fixed. We already have a separate article on Karabela (pl:karabela). Pl wiki also has articles on pl:Szabla ormia?ska (Armenian saber), pl:Szabla husarska (hussar saber), and several others we are missing (pl:Kategoria:Szable - linked to Category:Sabres). Overall, I do think that this article needs cleanup and discussion, but I am not prepared to say exactly how it should be done (I have a book on szabla, but unfortunately I won't be able to read it until the summer at least). However, Polish-Hungarian sabre is only one type of Polish sabre; this article discusses later versions (Hussar szabla, WWI, etc.) and as such the move to P-H name was not the best. If anything, I'd tentatively suggset moving this to Polish sabre, through I'd appreciate if any Hungarian or someone who knows more on this could comment on whether thee is such as thing as Hungarian sabre, for example? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 10:48, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

You make some valid points. The main problem here is that this article has no Polish equivalent because pl:szabla is the equivalent of en:sabre. The merge rationale is the fact that the existence of the topic is not established: This is merely the Polish word for "sabre". Karabela is also a merge candidate, but at least the name refers to a specific sub-type of sabre, unlike "szabla" which just means "sabre". I agree that
"Polish-Hungarian sabre is only one type of Polish sabre; this article discusses later versions (Hussar szabla, WWI, etc.)"
This is precisely why the page should be merged: it is about sabres in general, not about any specific type, and it isn't established that "Sabres used in Poland during 1500-1800" is in any way a meaningful category, already because because "Poland" isn't a stable referent for this period.
So, to move forward, I will remove all information that isn't adequately referenced and re-instate the merge tag, which I hope I have now amply justified. --dab (?) 11:51, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
I am not an expert in weapons, but at the first look it seems to me that these should all be merged to the saber article (there could be sections about the specific properties of Polish, Hungarian, etc., sabers). The earlier merger discussion Piotr linked seemed to propose the opposite, i.e., to merge the saber article to the szable one which indeed looked very strange. So my first impression is that it should be merged, unless the Polish version in itself is notable and distinct enough to justify a separate article. Unfortunately, there are many examples in English resource where very similar articles exist in parallel, like pálinka and pálenka. We should not follow that route. KœrteFa {?} 11:56, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I do not doubt at all that it would in principle be possible to cover the history of the sabre in Poland in great detail, at some point worthy of a separate article. This should happen organically, via WP:SS, i.e. as soon as we have a disproportionate amount of referenced information on Poland in the sabre page, a WP:SS sub-page can be created. At present we are not even remotely in such a position, because nobody has bothered to contribute referenced material. --dab (?) 12:08, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Removing unref information is good, through I'd suggest moving them here, maybe I or someone else would be able to reference them. While a merger to saber might be optimal for now (given this article is rather poorly written and referenced), I am not sure whether Polish saber is not an independently notable concept. Richard Marsden (7 April 2015). The Polish Saber. Tyrant Industries. ISBN 978-0-9847716-5-3. seems self-published ([1]) and thus not particularly reliable, and I am not seeing much in English sources, but Polish sources are another matter - I see a lot of books dedicated to "Polska szabla" - Polish saber in Google Books ([2]). The book I have in Poland is reviewed in Histmag here, written by historian who seems to be an expert on this (pl:W?odzimierz Kwa?niewicz). There are web sources too ([3], [4] - from Mówi? Wieki. I have to conclude that this topic is notable, and Polish resource should eventually have two articles as well: pl:szabla-saber and pl:Polska szabla-Polish saber/szabla. The only question is, IMHO, whether the current article is so bad it should be WP:TNTed so we can start from scratch. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:58, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Zablocki (1989)

It turns out next to nothing here is referenced, and the content we do have is very poor and mostly based on misunderstandings. It is hard to even merge an article if it has no verifiable content. So I suggest we base this on the summary of Zablocki (1989) posted here which is at least some information. The distinctions of types made by Zablocki are:

  • The Polish military sabre with a "closed hilt", known also as the "hussar's sabre"
  • The Polish military sabre with an "anatomic" grip in the form of an eagle head, known also as a combat karabela
  • The Polish military sabre with cross-like quillons and almond-like pommel, known also as the Hungarian type

So three subtypes sufficient for a list of types of the early modern sabre in Poland in the main sabre article. I don't see that we have much more to go on at the moment. --dab (?) 12:06, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

@Dbachmann: Nice job finding a reliable English source, I will note it is based on (a summary of?) a Polish book that is 350 pages long (Wojciech Zab?ocki (1989). Ci?cia prawdziw? szabl?. Wydawnictwo Sport i Turystyka. ISBN 978-83-217-2601-4.). I have no objections to moving any unreferenced content here, and rewriting this as a stub. I will see if I can help improve it when I have access to the Polish book in the summer. PS. I was able to obtain a PDF of the even better 'dzieje szabli w polsce' book. Time permitting, I may be able to help more, but I will wait for when you are done with your cuts/version. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:09, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Le Marchant

From the article: "An example that bears a considerable resemblance is the famous British 1796 pattern Light Cavalry Sabre which was designed by Captain John Gaspard le Marchant after his visits "East" to Central and Eastern Europe and research into these and other nations' cavalry tactics and weapons. Poland had ceased to exist as a separate nation by this time but their other co-nation from previous centuries, Hungary, was still an existing nation, and as this was the source of all things "Hussar", it was the Polish-Hungarian szable of 150 years earlier rather than the oft quoted Indian tulwar that were the main source of inspiration for the first "mainly cutting" sabre in the British Army."

There are a number of inaccuracies in this section. One thing is correct, the 1796 LC sabre does resemble earlier Polish and Hungarian sabres in its blade shape, but a causal connection has not been verified. Le Marchant never went to eastern Europe, he was in Belgium (then the Austrian Netherlands) on campaign against the French. When he was there, he examined the swords of the Austro-Hungarian army. He definitely examined the sword patterns then in use by the Austrian troops, but it is extremely unlikely that he would have seen swords dating from a century or more earlier. So while some earlier Hungarian and Polish sabres did have the characteristic expansion of the blade width just before the tip seen in the 1796 LC sabre, contemporary Austro-Hungarian hussar sabres definitely did not. However, some contemporary tulwars did have this feature, and the British army had far more contact with India than it had with any part of eastern Europe. The tulwar connection does have some limited scholarly mention, but the 17th century Polish-Hungrian hypothesis does not. Urselius (talk) 15:51, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

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