During Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaigns of 1798-1801 the French Army was greatly
impressed by the military prowess of the Mamluk slave troops of the Ottoman Empire and
their distinctively curved scimitars. This style of sword soon gained popularity with many
French officers, who renamed them “Mameluke” sabers. The style also caught on in other
European nations, including England. To this day the United States Marine Corps uses a
Mameluke-style saber for dress and parade, perhaps inspired by the presentation
Mameluke sword given to Marine 1st Lt. Presley Neville O’Bannon for his capture of Derna
(modern day Tripoli) in 1805 (America’s first land battle on foreign soil).
This example features one-piece cast brass hilt with recurved scroll quillons; quillon block
with single langet decorated with acanthus and feathers. Lion head pommel with acanthus
mane and ring for sword knot; smooth faceted grip. Deeply curved 28″ blade with broad
single 3/4-length fuller, tapering to a sharp point. Blade with scattered light pitting and
several edge nicks. Thick leather blade washer. Brass scabbard with double carrying
rings, showing numerous dents and some wear to the drag, typical of field use. No
markings of any kind. Overall length 33″, not including scabbard. We have two of these
from the same consignor which are identical and in similar condition.