Friday, 4 September 2015

Military History Photo Friday: Moroccan Guard

I'm getting into a Moroccan frame of mind. Regular readers of this blog know that I go down to Tangier fairly regularly for writing retreats. Well, I'm off on another one in October! I'll be spending the entire month living in Tangier. I've already rented a house just outside the walls of the Casbah, the old Sultan's city-within-a-city on the hill overlooking the medina.

If you visited the Casbah 150 ago you might have seen this gentleman standing guard over one of the palace portals. The painting is by Rudolf Ernst, an Austrian Orientalist artist who lived from 1854 to 1932 and captured various images of traditional life in Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt.

The unusual sword this guy's gripping as he challenges some unwanted visitor is called a flyssa. This was a common sword type in the coastal regions of what is now Morocco and Algeria as well as further inland in the Atlas Mountains. The sword may have originated among the Kabyles Berber tribe. The thick, heavy blade could range from 12-38 inches, so anywhere from a long knife to a short sword.

For another classic Orientalist painting, see my blog post of Eugene Delacroix's Moroccan warriors I posted last year.

Painting courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Sioux said...

A month-long writing retreat? What a life you lead, Sean! May your pen fly across the pages furiously... or probably more accurately, may your keyboard tap out stuff at a warp-speed pace.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Quite the impressive painting.
Very cool you are returning to Tangiers. And a whole month? Wow!

Sean McLachlan said...

Sioux: I rarely write in longhand anymore except when I'm traveling. Tangier is one of those places where you can sit in a cafe all morning writing in your notebook, occasionally taking breaks for a mint tea and a chat with whoever is there. Very conducive to writing!

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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