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Paramêrion

paramerion, byzantine sabre

The Rômaic sabre, or paramêrion (παραμήριον), was one of the many things adopted from the Avars in the seventh century. Modern sword enthusiasts have tried to cultivate a spurious mythology about the supposed superiority of the sabre paralleling that about the Japanese sword. In practice, however, the slightly curved sabre of the earlier Middle Ages has handling characteristics that are indistinguishable from a straight sword. Its fundamental advantage is that a single-edged curved blade is very much easier to make than the equivalent straight blade. Much less forging is required, therefore the risk of flaws being forged into the blade is reduced. It is also much easier to fix the deviations that often result from the hardening and tempering process, as any effect upon the degree of curvature or straightness, which is the hardest to repair, can simply be ignored. These factors are why this weapon originated with the nomadic tribes of western Asia. (See a more detailed discussion of why sabres actually exist) Literary sources seem to hint that a paramêrion could be hung from a belt as well as the shoulder strap shown here, and sometimes seem to conflate it with makhaira.