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Schiavona – the sword of warrior Slovenes

Schiavona is basket-hilted sword. Basket-hilted swords are typical european swords. There are many regional variations like claymore, wallon hilt, broadsword etc. These types of swords have origin in 16th century and were used until around 18th century. Word Schiavoni means Slavs in Venetian dialect (some say its language) and Schiavona means Slavic woman but it was also used for these basket-hilted swords.

In balkan region this sword evolved into so called Schiavona. Schiavona was produced in Venetian Republic but they called it Schiavona becouse it was used by Doge’s bodyguard which was Slavic in origin. Doges bodyguards were mainly from Slavic populated regions of Venetian Republic: Dalmatia, Istria, Venetian Slovenia and Montenegro (depends on time).

There were also Uskoki who fled from Ottoman occupied areas among bodyguards but generaly Dalmatians and Istrians predominated in its ranks.

Croatian Uskok warrior in 17th century, he is holding Schiavona;

However it was not just Doge’s slavic bodyguards who used Schiavona but also general population in Dalmatia, Istria and Venetian Slovenia and most of Uskoki including Habsburg Uskoki. Slavic population in these Venetian lands had special priviledges becouse of dangerous Venetian border with Austrian and Ottoman enemies. These priviledges were mainly lower taxes or no taxes, right to bear arms (mostly Schiavona) and some autonomy. In return they had obligation to defend borders, repair roads and maintain local forts. Schiavona was famous in its time and Venetians were also selling these swords to other lands like France, German states, Habsburg Austria and other Italian states.

Here is some general info. about Schiavona from wiki:

“A surviving blade measures 93.2 cm × 3.4 cm × 0.45 cm and bears two fullers or grooves running about 1/4 the length of the blade. Weighing in at around 1.1 kg, this blade was useful for both cut and thrust”

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