Medieval Swords and Armor - Sarah Woodbury

Medieval Swords and Armor

I have posted about how medieval swords and armor weren’t ‘heavy’ here:

about dark age and medieval armor:

and about medieval martial arts and its resurrection as an art form:


A friend has justdirected me to a post detailing the different kinds of medieval swords.:

Here’s a sample of their section on long swords:


SwordTypes.jpg (3643 bytes)The various kinds of long bladed Medieval swords that had handles long enough to be used in two hands were deemed long-swords (German LangenschwertLanges Swertor Italian spada longa). Longswordswar-swords, or great swords are characterized by having both a long grip and a long blade. We know at the time that Medieval warriors did distinguished war-swords or great-swords (“grant espees” or “grete swerdes”) from “standard” swords in general, but long-swords were really just those larger versions of typical one-handed swords, except with stouter blades. They were “longer swords,” as opposed to single-hand swords, or just “swords.” They could be used on foot or mounted and sometimes even with a shield. The term war-sword from the 1300’s referred to larger swords that were carried in battle. They were usually kept on the saddle as opposed to worn on the belt.  A 15th century Burgundian manual refers to both “great and small swords.” As a convenient classification, long-swords include great-swords, bastard-swords, and estocs. In the 1200’s in England blunt swords for non-lethal tournaments were sometimes known as “arms of courtesy.” There is a reference to an English tournament of 1507 in which among the events contestants are challenged to “8 strookes with Swords rebated.” Wooden training weapons were sometimes called wasters in the 1200’s or batons in the 1300’s and 1400’s. Knightly combat with blunt or “foyled” weapons for pleasure was known as à plaisance, combat to the death was à lóuutrance. In Germanic lands during, special practice longswords with flexible blunt blades and rounded points were usually known as Federschwerter or “feather-swords.”

Good fun.