February 15, 2014
On February 15, 2014 I flew to Kiew to take part in the First International Research Conference on Weaponology in Ukraine. My friend Dr. Denis Toichkin from the Institute of History of Ukraine kindly invited me to hold a speech on one part of my research on historical arms and armor from Iran. A number of international experts in the field of historical arms and armor were invited to the conference. Each researcher was asked to provide a short and a long article on a specific research subject. The short article would be published as a short essay in a peer-review booklet and the long articles would be published as a large book in the following months. The conference was supported and organized by National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, National Military History Museum of Ukraine, Institute of History of Ukraine and Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. The title of my article and related speech were Persian manuscripts on cannon making, different types of ordnances (cannons, howitzers and mortars), rockets and fireworks. This is based on my long-year research on historical firearms of Iran based on different Persian manuscripts and also thorough analysis of royal collection of Persian firearms kept in Military Museums of Iran. The results of my research in the field will be published as a book by Niloufar Books in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The organizers of the conference were Dr. Denis Toichkin (Institute of History of Ukraine), Mr. Vladislav Taranets (Head of the National Museum of Military History of Ukraine), Mr. Valeriy Smolij (Head of the Institute of History of Ukraine), Ms. Natalia Kursanina (curator of the collections of the National Military History Museum of Ukraine) and Mr. Hennadii Gutgartz (administrator).
On February 15, my LH plane landed in Kiew. It was the second time I was travelling to the beautiful country of Ukraine. Last year in 2013 I travelled to
Kharkiv. I had definitely wanted to travel to Ukraine and wished the conference to take place under any circumstances and had been quite happy when I had been informed that the conference would take
place. Denis also informed me that on February 18. I would also hold a seminar on Persian swordsmanship as part of Razmafzar program. I picked my baggage and passed the passport control
and customs and saw my friend Dr. Denis Toichkin who was waiting for me on the other side. It was a true pleasure to see Denis again. He drove me to the apartment he had been renting for
me. There we met my landlady Roxana who was really friendly and welcoming. It was a very nice flat close to the downtwon Ukraine. We went grocery shopping and then I went back to my
flat. I could not wait for the following day to come.
On Februray 16, I took a taxi and we drove to the museum. There I met Denis and Ruslan a full contact armor fighter and many other researchers. We registered and got an identification tag and went to the conference hall which was quite big and nice. There I met my personal interpreter for the following days Ms. Yevgenia Medvedieva who accompanied and interepreted lectures which would be held in Ukranian and Russian in the following days. Denis suggested that I would go and visit the military museum. A very nice museum on the weapons and historical documents from the first and second world wars and even the Soviet Military engagment in Afghanistan. Then we went back and the lectures started as in the following order:
1) Ms. Iryna Forostyan (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Security Department, the Fund Research of Ancient Civilization; Museum of Trypillya, NY, USA) on «The study of general problems of the history of arms and armors. Importance and necessity of collaboration between historical museums in the current geopolitical setting».
2) Dr. Anna Feuerbach (Hofstra University; Nassau Community College, NY, USA) on «Koftgari and Other Related Methods of Decoration on Weapons».
3) Dr. Tomasz Ciesielski (Opole University, Institute of History, Opole, Poland). on «The Artillery Weapon in the Polish and Lithuanian army in the years 1717–1789».
4)Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (M. Khorasani Consulting, Frankfurt a. M. Germany) on «Persian manuscripts on cannon making, different types of ordnances (cannons, howitzers and mortars), rockets and fireworks».
5) Dr. Michael Gorelik (Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academy of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhastan, Moscow, The Russian Federation) on «The burial of the Golden Horde Circassian warrior of 13–15th cc. in Porosye ».
At 17:30 the conference finished and we headed to a very nice traditional Ukrainian restaurant for the gala banquet. There Iryna talked to me and explained the similar roots of Ukrainian Rus and Iranians and how much our cultures shared common things.
6) Dr. Vladimir Hutsul (Uzhhorod National University, Uzhhorod, Ukraine) on «Weapons and Tactics of hussar cavalry in the visual sources of the first third of the 16th c.».
7) Mr. Vitaly Shlaifer (Museum of History of Weapon, Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine) on «Scythesin the Weapon History Museum».
8) Dr. Helena Popelnytska (National Museum of History of Ukraine, Kiyv, Ukraine) on«Swords of the second half of 13–15cc. from the collection of the National Museum of History of Ukraine».
9) Dr. Nicholas Plavinsky (Belarussian State Agrarian Technical University, Minsk, Republic of Belarus) on«Weapons of local production and imported weapons in the complex armaments of western lands of Russia in 11–13 centuries.: Principles and selection criteria».
10) Mr. Victor Kobets (Centre of Underwater Archaeology of Kiev National University) on «Archaeological exploration of the river Dnieper ground during 2010-2013».
15) Dr. Sergey Zelenko (Taras Shevchenko National Uuniversity of Kyiv, Kiyv, Ukraine). «Spheroconical vessels from a 13th-century ship-containers or weapon?».
16) Mr. Vitaly Kalinichenko (Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Chernivtsi, Ukraine) and Dr. Sergey Pivovarov (National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve Kiyv, Ukraine) on«Items of arms ranged from Chornivka hillfort first half of 13 c. (archeological research in 2012)».
19) Dr. Alexander Strelchenko (Moscow Psychological and Social University, Moscow, the Russian Federation) on «On a group of swords 14–15 centuries from South-Western and Western Rus».
20) Dr. Oleg Malchenko (M. S. Hrushevsky Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies, Kiyv, Ukraine) on «Dutch 15th century forged cannon from Tavrida Central Museum».
21) Dr. Vladimir Prokopenko (Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and Petrochemistry of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiyv, Ukraine) on «Saber belt hanger with a hook-clasp. Eastern Europe, Ottoman Empire 16– to early 18th century».
22) Mr. Eugene Sivachenko (Museum of Private Collections "Feldman Family Museum Kharkiv, Ukraine") on«The use of jade in arms art of India Mughal era: historical, technical and artistic aspects (samples exhibits in the Feldman Family Museum)».
23) Dr. Helena Pohodyascha (National Academy of Culture and Arts, Kiyv, Ukraine) on«Pictures of arms and symbols of power in the Cossack portraits of the 17–first half of the 19cc.».
24) Mr. Victor Kobets (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine) on «Archaeological researches of the river Dneper by the employees of Kiev National University in 2010-2013».
After the conference, Denis kindly invited Tomasz and me to his home for dinner. There I met his kind wife and his son. That was a wonderful evening and I would like to thank Denis and his wife for their hospitality and the wonderful evening.
On February 18, I conducted a seminar on Persian swordsmanship. We started with a combination of participants from fullcontact armored sparring and some researchers of the conference. We did many push-ups, situps and wrestling push exercises. We also practiced the exercise of touching legs and forehead as a coordination and speed training. I taught the combinations 8 and 9 of Razmafzar shamshir and separ combinations from the first rank tāzekār :
c 8: Combination 8: bā pahnā-ye šamšir defā kardan (to defend with the flat of the sword) variation 1, šamšir bar pas-e gardan zadan (az rāst be čap zadan): to strike the neck (from right to left), šamšir bar halq zadan (az čap bar rāst zadan): to strike the throat (from left to right), šamšir bar farq zadan: to strike the sword on top of the head
c 9: Combination 9: bā pahnā-ye šamšir defā kardan (to defend with the flat of the sword) variation 2, šamšir bar pas-e gardan zadan (az rāst be čap zadan): to strike the neck (from right to left), šamšir bar halq zadan (az čap bar rāst zadan): to strike the throat (from left to right), šamšir bar farq zadan: to strike the sword on top of the head.
After two hours training, my hosts kindly invited me to a restaurant and discussed some issues regarding Persian arms and armor. After lunch, I showed the beginning of the combinations of two techniques of lower leg defense with the back of shamshir of the second rank nosāxte:
c 1:Combination 1: bā pošt-e šamšir defā kardan (to defend with the flat of the sword from right to left) and šamšir bar gardan zadan to strike the neck (from left to right).
c 2:Combination 2: bā pošt-e šamšir defā kardan (to defend with the flat of the sword from left to right) and šamšir bar gardan zadan to strike the neck (from right to left).
At the end of the seminar I was interviewed by a a TV host from Ukranian TV Channel. The feedback for the seminar was very positive. Towards the end of the seminar we started to hear gunshots and explosions from distance and we were informed that the confrontation in Maidan between the police and the opposition groups started to escalate. I could clearly distinguish live ammunition sounds from the distance. It was a very stifling atmosphere. One of the participants who was also an organizer of the seminar suggested that we should go to his shop which was specialized in selling high-end kitchen knives and custom knives. We stayed there and later Iryna Forostyan and Anna Feuerbach joined us. Ukrainians are really friendly and hospitable people. They prepared fingerfood and drinks and we all had our dinner there. They suggested that we should stay there as the fights on the street were going on very intensively. I could clearly hear gunshot sounds and explosions. We stayed until 10:00 in the evening. But the fighting did not stop. They decided to drive us home. First Iryna and Anna were taken home and then Denis, his son, Sergey and another participant took me home. We were informed that due to the circumstances the following day of the conference "Discussion on Legislation Collectibles" could not take place as the conference hall was very close to Maidan where the clashes were happening.
I could hear gunshots, explosions and screams the whole night in my flat. It brought back dark memories when the city of Tehran had been continuously attacked during Iran-Iraq war. The whole time I was watching the images on Ukranian TV and thinking about my friends in Ukraine and people of Ukraine.
The following day I got up early in the morning and said goodbye to my friend Denis on the phone and a taxi came to pick me up. We went to the airport and I checked in and heaed back to Germany. I would like to thank all my Ukrainian friends for their hospitality, knowledge, friendship and courage. My special thanks to Denis for his friendship and hospitality. I am really happy that I got to know Ukraine and really like the country and its people and its wonderful history.
Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani