The yatagan (Turkish spelling yatağan) is a type of Turkish sword (which even became known in other countries as the 'Turkish sword') used from the mid-16th to late 19th centuries.
Yatagan blades vary from 60 to 80 cm in length and are slightly curved towards the sharp edge. While the back of the blade is made of iron, the sharp edge is made of steel for strength. The pommel of the (bone, horn, ivory or silver) hilt of a yatagan spreads out in two wings to either side, a feature which prevents the sword slipping out of the hand in battle.
The yatagans used by janissaries and other infantry soldiers were smaller and lighter than ordinary swords so as not to hinder them when carried at the waist on the march. It is named after the town of Yatagan in southwest Turkey (now in Denizli province) which was conquered by a Seljuk commander and blacksmith named Osman Bey, whose cognomen was Yatagan Baba. Yatagan Baba later settled there, and gave his name not only to the town, but to the swords which were produced there. Later, however, yatagans were also made in all the major cities of the Ottoman Empire, particularly Istanbul, Bursa and Plovdiv.
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