The shamshir (Persian شمشیر shamshīr) is a highly curved saber introduced to Iran from Central Asia (derived from the Turco-Mongol form) and in wide use from the Seljuk Khanate of the 12th century until the mid 19th century.

The blade itself is slim, with almost no taper until the very tip. It is worn horizontally, with the hilt and tip pointing upwards. There is no pommel, and the two quillons form a simple crossguard. It was designed almost exclusively for slashing, as thrusting with the sharp point is made difficult by the drastic curvature of the blade. The grip was comprised of riveted slabs of material, such as bone, ivory, or wood, fitted onto the tang.

A decorated, engraving version used for hunting is known as the shamshir shikargar.

Related swords include the kilij, pulwar, saif, and talwar; derived forms include the scimitar and the Mameluke Sword.


Persian شمشیر shamshīr < Middle Persian shamshir (Pahlavi šmšyl) - cf. Ancient Greek σαμψήρα sampsēra "foreign (Persian) sword")