EU shipping is temporarily suspended

The Arms of Greece and her Balkan Neighbours in the Ottoman Period

Robert Elgood

Out of stock


This magnificent, comprehensively illustrated book traces the history of firearms and edged weapons in the Balkans during the Ottoman era


In this book Robert Elgood weaves together the story of Greek and Balkan weaponry of the Ottoman period – the technology, manufacture and trade – with the deeds of the weapons' owners and the history of the region.

Guns and swords were richly ornamented with silverwork or sometimes ivory, mother-of-pearl or coral. Each town developed its own style in weaponry, decoration and costume, often with splendid results. Weapons were an essential part of a man’s attire, carried at all times from around the age of twelve. The quantity of silver they bore indicated the owner’s status, and he would keep it polished and shining to suggest he was a great warrior. When times were hard he might detach a piece of silver to pay a bill.

Balkan weapons were traded in bazaars from North Africa through Arabia to India, while firearms might incorporate gun barrels and locks imported from Italy, France or England. Decorations were often applied by silversmiths in workshops far from the place where a weapon was made. Until now these arms have been loosely described as Ottoman, but Dr Elgood’s groundbreaking research opens a new frontier in arms history.

The Greek war of independence in the 1820s brought to the country large numbers of the Sultan’s soldiers from diverse parts of the Empire. Many captured weapons found their way into the hands of freedom fighters and ultimately into Greek museums. These arms form the nucleus of this book. Some are magnificent; others so poor that one wonders that a man should risk his life with such a thing. Yet it is from these arms, wielded by men of remarkable courage and determination, that a free and independent Greece emerged.

Read More


'Fresh and convincing … will undoubtedly become the standard reference on Balkan weapons'
Military Illustrated

' … a pioneering study of the subject that will remain the standard reference work long into the future'
The Burlington Magazine

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 31.0 x 23.8 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Publication date: 7 December 2009

ISBN: 9780500251577

Contents List

Arms and the History of the Balkans • Arms, Craftsmen and Traders in the Eastern Mediterranean • Arms Making in Boka Kotorska: The Džeferdar • Pistols: The Ledenica, Zlatka, Kubura and Prizrenac • Coral-Decorated Arms • Accoutrements The Arms of Bosnia Herzegovina Yataghans • The Chelenka • Tokž • Balkan Long Guns The Gunmakers of Užice • The Armourers of Kosovo and Metohija • The Arms of Skopje The Gunmakers of Tetova, Dibra and Elbasan • Arms and the Growth of Balkan Nationalism from 1770 • Gun Making in Ioannina • The Greek Armed Forces and the Struggle for Independence • Conclusion

About the Author

Dr Robert Elgood is Research Fellow in Eastern European, Islamic and Asian Arms and Armour at theWallace Collection, London. He has written widely on related topics, and his book Islamic Arms and Armour (1979) remains the definitive work on the subject.