MEDIEVAL SWORDS

The term "Medieval Sword" evokes a feeling of power. A Medieval Sword is not just your ordinary sword.

A sword is a symbol of power. When you think of a sword an image of a knight probably comes to mind - maybe even castles and dragons. But when you think of a "Medieval Sword" an all together different image comes to mind. A Medieval Sword looks and feels different than your ordinary sword. Here are some essays, information, and resources about this special kind of sword.

Are you ready to handle a Medieval Sword?



 

The Shapes of Medieval Swords

Swords from the medieval Period went through some wonderful changes as the tools and technology of metal working changed. This change is also nicely seen in cultural differences in the swords.

Here is a look at some of the major shapes of swords and a little explanation of them. In a future post I will take a closer look at each type of sword. For now this is just an overview to show some of the different types and shapes of swords.

Medieval sword shapes

From Left to Right

1. the Katana: This sword has a beautiful line with a delicate curve that is continued through the handle. Sharp on only one side it was predominantly used as a slicing tool but an interesting thing to note about the katana was that its wielder considered the blunt side also a very effective tool for subduing an enemy without maiming or killing. (14th century to modern day)

2. Rapier - shows the height of the late middle ages. the blade was very thin and very strong yet flexible. This allowed for very fast combat and the ability to find weaknesses in an enemy guard and armor. Notice the very large hand guard. Began its development around the 15th century -predominantly in Spain and had its heyday in the 17th.

3. Cutlass - Very popular in Italy and had its peak around the 16th Century. Its curved and thick blade is reminiscent of an elongated axe or a machete. And it was this machete like action that made it popular among sailors and pirates because it was sturdy enough to quickly cut through ship ropes.

4. Bronze Age Sword - This size, shape and style of sword was very common for two thousand years dating all the way back to the early bronze age and surviving into the early iron age (roughly 15th century) The bronze working and early iron working of this weapon made it only a stabbing weapon, it was not suitable for slicing. It had neither the ability to hold an edge or the strength to withstand hacking attacks. This type of sword is probably an extended version of the dagger. Bronze working allowed daggers to become longer thus swords. ALthough this type of sword came in many versions and shapes the shape I have drawn here is the typical styling of a Roman Centurion sword.

5. Typical Middel Ages Sword - 16-18th centuries This is the common refined form of the sword and what we most picture when we think sword. the blade is strong, long and well edged. It had a solid and extended cross piece and was the typical sidearm of the medieval knight.

6. Two handed Sword - This was a large weapon wielded with two hands. Something that I should point out is that this drawing shows a bit of the development of swords as art and not just function. Swords became a piece to show symbolic meaning and wealth. this sword has a bit of fancy lines to it and its crosspiece. It could also have detailed carvings in silver and gold and even gems embedded in it. This shows the development of the sword in the late middle ages as they transformed from a weapon to a dress and show piece because other weapons using gunpowder made them obsolete.

7. Flamberge: I have added ther flamberge to this list of swords because it was a unique type of sword. In normal function it was a two handed weapon that could be wielded in large arcs. But the requrements of combat sometimes necessitated very close in-fighting where there was little room to swing a large weapon. The flamberge had a unique leather wrap just over the handle that allowed the wielder to choke up and swing it in smaller arcs. Just a nice display of how weapons developed from the needs of combat.

There are many many different shapes of swords and they changed radically over the centuries as the needs of combat changed and the technology of metalworking changed. Even though they changed a lot all the swords still have that mystique of a medieval sword.

Browse through my Amazon store and check out the Swords and Medieval Armor:

Medieval Armor and Weapons

medieval armory

 

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