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Book of Mormon/Weapons/Scimitars
Scimitars and cimeters in the Book of Mormon
Parent page: Book of Mormon/Weapons
Hoskisson: "the mistaken assumption that scimitars did not exist in the pre-Islamic Old World"
Some critics have termed the presence of scimitars in the text of the Book of Mormon anachronistic. They base their claim on the mistaken assumption that scimitars did not exist in the pre-Islamic Old World and therefore could not have appeared among Book of Mormon peoples who claim an Old World nexus with Iron Age II Palestine.3 This assumption is based no doubt on one or more of the following considerations: (1) the scimitar is not mentioned earlier than the sixteenth century in English texts;4 (2) the Persian word samsir probably provided the etymon for the English word;5 and (3) the mistaken assumption that the period from A.D. 1000 to 1200 saw the "perfection of the Moslem scimitar."6 None of these observations asserts the presence or absence of scimitars in pre-Islamic times. Any arguments to the contrary based on these observations are simply arguments from silence and in this case would result in false conclusions.
There can be no question that scimitars, or sickle swords, were known in the ancient Near East during the Late Bronze Period, that is, about six hundred years prior to Lehi's departure from Jerusalem. There have been several early attempts to demonstrate this,7 but more recently Brent Merrill has convincingly shown that scimitars existed in the Late Bronze Age.8 In addition to the sources Merrill cited, Othmar Keel, on the basis of artifactual and glyptic evidence, dated the use of the scimitar as a weapon in the ancient Near East from 2400 to 1150 B.C., just a little after the traditional 1200 B.C. closing date for the Late Bronze Age.9 Robert Macalister found a late Bronze Age sickle sword at Gezer in Palestine (together with a Mycenaean pot), which Maxwell Hyslop dated to the "14th century B.c."10 Yigael Yadin discussed such swords in the context of warfare in the Near East, including the curved sword in use from Egypt to Assyria during the Late Bronze Age.11.  —(Click here to continue)
- Paul Y. Hoskisson,"Scimitars, Cimeters! We Have Scimitars! Do We Need Another Cimeter?", Warfare in the Book of Mormon, (1990)