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This article is about the sword. For other uses, see Scimitar (disambiguation).
"saif" redirects here. For other uses, see saif (disambiguation).

A scimitar (/ˈsɪmɨtər/ or /ˈsɪmɨtɑr/) is a backsword or sabre with a curved blade, originating in the Middle East.

The curved sword or "scimitar" was widespread throughout the Middle East from at least the Ottoman period, with early examples dating to Abbasid era (9th century) Khurasan. The type harks back to the makhaira type of antiquity, but the Arabic term saif is a loan from Greek xiphos (the straight, double-edged sword of Greek antiquity).

The Persian sword now called "shamshir" appears by the 12th century and was popularized in Persia by the early 16th century, and had "relatives" in Turkey (the kilij), and the Mughal Empire (the talwar).


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