Billao

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Billao
Somalia-Sword.jpg
A billao shortsword.
Type Shortsword
Place of origin Horn of Africa
Service history
Used by Somali
Wars Dervish resistance (1896–1920)
Specifications
Mass9.0 oz
Length17" to 25"
Width2½" (blade)

Blade  type iron or steel; pointed, double-edged
Hilt  type horn
Scabbard/sheath sheepskin

A billao (Somali : billaawe), also known as a belawa, is a horn-hilted Somali shortsword. It served most notably as a close-quarters weapon in the Dervish State, at the turn of the 20th century.

Contents

Features

The dagger has a double-edged, leaf-shaped, asymmetrical blade and a three-pronged pommel. One-pronged pommels with the metal tang protruding out from the center of the hilt have been reported. Together, the grip and pommel are 6¾" in circumference. The billao's blade is made of iron or steel, and is 10½" long and 2½" wide. [1] [2] Though other horn types are also used, the handle is typically made from the horn of buffalo. [3] In total, the dagger is 17¼" long. [1] The sheath is made of sheepskin, and the sword is worn on a belt around the waist. [3]

It is said to have originated in the Togdheer, Cayn and Sool regions of present day Somaliland

See also

Related Research Articles

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References