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27 Jul

Medieval Swords and Daggers

Medieval weapons consisted of an array of hand-held objects but the sword was by far the most popular weapon during the Medieval Times. Sword was a symbol of knighthood and was used for both defensive and offensive purposes in close combats. Medieval knights had always sword ready by their side and often gave them special names.

Two types of swords were used during the Medieval Times: single-handed short sword with a pointed end and heavy two-handed sword with a rounded end. The form and designs of swords changed through time and greatly varied from country to country but its basic components remained constant throughout the centuries. Sword consisted of a blade with one or two cutting edges and a sharp or rounded point set in a hilt. Hilt consisted of a grip (the handle of the sword made of wood or metal), a guard to protect the hand and a pommel which was a counterweight at the top of the handle.

Medieval illustration of one- and two-handed use of longsword.

One and two-handed use of longsword

The medieval sword has its origin in the Roman spatha, a sword with a long point measuring about three feet (80-90 cm) which greatly influenced the Germanic ancient swords during the Migration Period (roughly 300-700 AD). Design of the medieval swords was also greatly influenced by the Viking sword which had more acute taper and point, and deep fullers running almost in whole length of the blade. The Viking swords were popular throughout Europe between the 8th and 10th centuries when it was replaced by a single-handed cruciform sword which was use from 11th century to the middle of the 14th century when longsword came in use. Longsword was characterized by a long blade and large cruciform hilts with grip about 6 inches (15 cm) in length. It was commonly held by both hands.

The medieval knights usually also had a dagger, double-edged blade used for stabbing which was generally used only as secondary defense weapon in a close combat. Medieval warfare was in first place characterized by sophisticated sword fighting and daggers were not popular as weapons.

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