The Cretan knives are known almost all over the world. The knife is the first tool made by man for his survival. At the time of Mycenaean Greece, many bronze and brass knives were manufactured, which were marketed at that time and traveled to other European states.

In the Minoan era, remarkable knives were made, few samples of which have so far reached, unfortunately. It is noteworthy to note that, according to ancient mythology, guns and helmets were made in Crete, since their inventors are considered the Kourites, followers of Zeus. During the classical uprising, the metallurgy was developed in Crete, and hence the construction of weapons to strengthen the defense of the island.

This art, from generation to generation, from Middle Ages to Middle Ages, Venetian domination, Turkish Occupation, etc., this emotional and practical martial value of the Cretan Knife evolved and continues to our rightful century.

The Cretan knife, in the form we know today,<<saita>> was created in the 18th century. Its elements are the fire, the steel, the anvil, the hammer, the long arm pliers, and the craftsmanship of the cutlery. Its steel blade is solid and has only one edge, while the opposite side of the knife is flat, reinforced towards its base and gradually tapering as it approaches the edge to reach an acute edge. In the middle of the 19th century, the Cretan knives made oversized knives, knives, which could also be used as spades.

The parts of the knife are:

  • Spikes or nails
  • Chain
  • croissant or tassel or spades.

  • Masia or Masa.consisting of petal, gem, and tongue.
  • Foukari or Sheath.The knife case.
  • Quercus(kerkeli). The loop on the chest where the spades hang.
  • Permane or Kamtze.Binding of the blade with the handle with silver or bronze
  • Bade
  • Zekia or Zechia.Parallel rings at the base of the hammer
  • Skafi.The Cretan knives were famous because they were “wet”. This term should have originally meant a decorative groove like a hook that was made in the middle and along the back of the blade and gave the impression of a “skafi”. Later it began to mean the T-shape that created the mating of the blade’s back. When the root of the blade comes in and attached to the handle, it is covered with a silver stripe patterned for practical and sensual purposes.

Knife Construction:

In the 19th century, the knife-constructor was making the steel himself, the raw material for the blade. Today it is bought ready for trade. The process begins by cutting the piece to the length we want, shaping it with the spinner in the shape of the blade, the flame and the forging of the piece, the finishing on the wheel and the polishing of the back.

The socket for the blade is made in the blade, it is drilled to pass the nails later and the spine is carved with the characteristic traditional designs. Then it is followed by the painting of the blade with a flame until the color becomes deep orange (about 1500 degrees Celsius), allowed to cool because it is steel air, while other steels want to plunge into water or oil, grinds to become abrasion, rubbed with abrasive paper and polished with pure wax.

With a sharp tool, the pattern is sculpted on the waxed surface, acid is poured onto the engraved patterns. Then the blade is thoroughly washed and is ready to fit the knife.

For Cretans, the knife means a lot, as it is a sign of friendship and love. This is also apparent from the mantinades that carve on the lama, thus perpetuating the spirit of hospitality and friendship that characterizes the island.


Categories: Traditions