Why are somali swords not as famous

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As japanese swords
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Make Hobyo Great Again
The Japanese highly value their swords so the rest of the world does the same.

On the other hand, Somalis do not value their weapons or history so the rest of the world does the same.

Somali "shortswords" were mostly less than two feet long and were used exclusively for stabbing. "Sword play"was between sword and shield, not sword and sword, as the metal was iron, not steel, and would have broken or bent. Note the dates and manufacture in the sword/dagger section here.


* Burton 1894 v1 p31-32
The Somali spear is a form of the Cape Assegai. A long, thin, pliant and knotty shaft of the Dibi, Diktab, and Makari trees, is dried, polished, and greased with rancid butter: it is generally of a dull yellow colour, and sometimes bound, as in Arabia, with brass wire for ornament. Care is applied to make the rod straight, or the missile flies crooked; it is garnished with an iron button at the head, and a long, thin, tapering head of coarse bad iron, made at Berberah and other places by the Tomal. The length of the shaft may be four feet eight inches; the blade varies from twenty to twenty-six inches, and the whole weapon is about seven feet long. Some polish the entire spear-head, others only its socket or ferrule; commonly, however, it is all blackened by heating it to redness, and rubbing it with cow's horn. In the towns, one of these weapons is carried; on a journey and in battle two, as amongst the Tíbús -- a small javelin for throwing and a large spear reserved for the thrust. Some warriors, especially among the Ísa, prefer a coarse heavy lance, which never leaves the hand. The Somali spear is held in various ways: generally the thumb and forefinger grasp the third nearest the head, and the shaft resting upon the palm is made to quiver. In action, the javelin is rarely thrown at a greater distance than six or seven feet, and the heavier weapon is used for 'jobbing'. Stripped to his waist, the thrower runs forward with all the action of a Kafir, whilst the attacked bounds about and crouches to receive it upon the round targe, which it cannot pierce. He then returns the compliment, at the same time endeavouring to break the weapon thrown at him by jumping and stamping upon it. The harmless missiles being exhausted, both combatants draw their daggers, grapple with the left hand, and with the right dig hard and swift at each other's necks and shoulders. When matters come to this point the duel is soon decided, and the victor, howling his slogan, pushes away from his front the dying enemy, and rushes off to find another opponent. A puerile weapon during the day when a steady man can easily avoid it, the spear is terrible in night attacks or in the 'bush,' whence it can be hurled unseen. For practice we plant a pair of slippers upright in the ground, at the distance of twelve yards, and a skilful spearman hits the mark once in every three throws."
* Spring 1993 p104
"The spears of the Dolbahanta of Somalia have a long, slim, blade which superficially resembles those of the Maasai of Kenya, though the grip and shaft show no similarities, being completely free of metal sheathing. In this the Dolbahanta weapons are a little unusual in that most other spears from the region have a weight of rough iron wound around the tip of the shaft to counter-balance the blade."
Sword / Dagger
* Spring 1993 p104-106
"The Somali short swords and daggers, belawa, are usually fitted with a straight, double-edged blade and are carried in sheaths of soft, white, sheep's leather which are occasionally decorated with patterns drawn onto the surface of the skin. The hilts are of dark horn and bright metal, often interleaved in strata to produce a beautiful effect. There are two distinct types of pommel. Those with a single metal tang projecting from the center of the hilt which Duchesne-Fournet (1909) attributed to the Aberraouales. Another variety has three metal spikes projecting from the pommel in the form of a crown."
* Burton 1894 v1 p32-33
"The Somali dagger is an iron blade about eighteen inches long by two in breadth, pointed and sharp at both edges. The handle is of buffalo or other horn, with a double scoop to fit the grasp; and at the hilt is a conical ornament of zinc. It is worn strapped round the waist by a thong sewed to the sheath, and long enough to encircle the body twice: the point is to the right, and the handle projects on the left. When in town, the Somal wear their daggers under the Tobe: in battle, the strap is girt over the cloth to prevent the latter being lost. They always stab from above: this is as it should be, a thust with a short weapon 'underhand' may be stopped, if the adversary have strength enough to hold the stabber's forearm. The thrust is parried with the shield, and the wound is rarely mortal except in the back: from the great length of the blade, the least movement of the man attacked causes it to fall upon the shoulder-blade."
* The secret museum of mankind v2
"AFRICAN GLADIATORS: A WONDERFUL SOMALI WAR DANCE One of the most striking dances in the Somali repertoire, called the 'Bororoma-Boromsi' dance[.] Surrounded by an ever-restless chorus of chanting spearmen, the two combatants -- one attacking fiercely with cutlass, the other desperately defending with his small Somali shield -- seem to be in grim and deadly earnest, and none would believe them to be at play."
* Capwell 2009 p212 (describing a Somali "Billa" knife, c.1900)
"This Somali knife was produced by Arab cutlers who imported the skills of silversmithing from Oman. Arab interaction with Africa's east coast occurred through trade and traders; indeed, Zanzibar was ruled by Oman and Muscat during the 18th and 19th centuries. Only the finest of these knives have hilts of ivory and silver; others are made from horn or wood."
* Benitez & Barbier 2000 p106
"The Somali warrior carried an iron spear, a short sword called a belawa, and a shield called a gãschãn. These shields were bleached white and are smaller than those of the Afar (formerly called Danakil) and Esa, which are larger and darker but similarly etched. ... [T]ypical ...small Somali shields [are] made from giraffe or oryx hide and elaborately incised with concentric circles and short parallel lines. Some gãschãn shields are painted with black patterns on the reverse. The sturdily constructed rim and paired handles allowed the bearer to parry blows and use the shield as an offensive weapon. When not in battle, the Somalis wore the shield on their upper arm or hung it across their shoulders by means of a leather string. They also performed a war dance called bororoma-boromsi that simulated a fight between two fully armed warriors surrounded by a ring of chanting Somalis."
* Spring 1993 p106
"The hippopotamus or buffalo hide Somali shields, gaschan, were very much smaller than the average Ethiopian shield, being not much larger than a dinner plate. They were bleached white in contrast to the shields of the Danakil which are almost black. Despite their small size, Somali shields were extremely strong and may be looked upon ... almost as offensive rather than defensive weapons. Somali shields also had a very large hand grip which would allow the warrior to push the shield up his arm when he was not in combat."
* Burton 1894 v1 p33
"The Gashan or shield is a round targe about eighteen inches in diameter; some of the Badawin make it much larger. Rhinoceros' skin being rare, the usual material is common bull's hide, or, preferably, that of the Oryx, called by the Arabs, Wa'al, and by the Somal, Ba'id. The shields are prettily cut, and are always protected when new with a covering of canvass. The boss in the centre easily turns a spear, and the strongest throw has very little effect even upon the thinnest portion. When not used, the Gashan is slung upon the left forearm: during battle, the handle, which is in the middle, is grasped by the left hand, and held out at a distance from the body."
* Burton 1894 v1 p33
"The 'Budd,' or Somali club, resembles the Kafir 'Tonga.' It is a knobstick about a cubit long, made of some hard wood: the head is rounded on the inside, and the outside is cut to an edge. In quarrels it is considered a harmless weapon, and is often thrown at the opponent and wielded viciously enough where the spear point would carefully be directed at the buckler."

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