Military Equipment

The Khevsuris, born to be warriors, gave special emphasis and pride of place to weapons. They decorated their arms with silver and brass plates, named the weaponsand composed legends about them. Fine specimens were handed down from father to son. Every male Khevsuri tried to have the best personal arms to be ready on all occasions for assault and defence. Blacksmithing was a traditional and highly developed craft in Khevsureti. The well-known artisan Samna Burduli, who was specializing in producing arms – both rifles and swords – paid the highest price for his gift. He was catched and beheaded by the feudal lords of Aragvi. The melee weapons of the Khevsuris consisted of the swords, sabres, sword-sticks, spears, whips and many others. The most popular where straight blades with crossguards patterned on French medieval swords – the so-called Khevsuruli Phrangula, Davitpheruli. Khevsuris rated highly also Dedal-Pranguli (German and Austrian), Mamal-Pranguli (Italian), Dedal-Misruli (Damascene) and Khorosnuli . In the 14-17th centuries were popular the sword by Italian armourers Andrea and Pierre Ferrari. Besides swords in common usage among Khevsuris where different types of daggers (Shamkhal, Targho, Lekuri, Kisturi…) and, finally, knuckledusters. Those metal caps worn on a thumb for cutting and stabbing had also variety of forms, such as Ghachia (“cutter”), Lesula (“sharp blade”), Khveuli (“twisted”) Firearms were mostly imported, the Khevsuris made locally only the bullets and gunpowder. Depanding on the origin, they used then the rifles called Istamuli (Turkish), Khirimi (Crimean), Mazhari (Hungarian), Siata (French) and so on. The hallmark of Khevsurian armory were the Assyrian-type coatsof-mail and the small, round, so-called “Hittite” bucklers known as Khevsurian shields, which were painted black to be invisible by moonlight. Khevsuris covered themselved by breastplates, helmets, gauntlets, plate leg and arm shields. If one did not wish to carry too heavy equipment he could wear the round Khevsurian cap contained a metal ring sewed in on the inside. Leniency toward a captive is a genetic trait of a Khevsuri justifying his actions with the words: “Captivity puts indignities upon him as it is”… It happened that a certain Hassan, Kist by nationality, was taken prisoner barefooted. Leko, a young Khevsuri, gives the captive his footwear but the Kist refuses the offer, saying that he does not need any covering for his feet. «We have long way and the road is rocky, it is impossible to walk barefooted», – says Leko to his captive. «And what about you, will not it be difficult for you to walk barefooted?» – asks Hassan. «I was an orphan child and spent half of my childhood barefooted. Don’t worry, I’m used to walking without shoes»… So, Hassan puts on Leko’s shoes. Leko stayed at home the whole week. He was curing his chapped soles with the heated fat of sheep’s tail.