Medieval Swords and Armor were NOT heavy!

That medieval swords and armor were ‘heavy’ is one of the strangest misconceptions of medieval life.  These people’s LIVES depended on their agility and ability to survive a fight.  Why would they be wielding 20 pound swords and wearing armor so heavy if they fell of their horse, they’d find themselves as helpless as upturned turtles? One reason for the confusion comes from the fact that ornamental swords and armor that remain to us often ARE heavier than ones used in battle, secondly, the sport of ‘fencing’ has greatly confused people as to what sword fighting really entailed (the purpose of fencing is to poke your opponent with the tip; the purpose of sword fighting is to get your opponent on the ground and shove your 2 lb. sword through his midsection to kill him), and thirdly, that in the Read more…

Medieval Swords and Armor

I have posted about how medieval swords and armor weren’t ‘heavy’ here: http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/medieval-swords-and-armor-were-not-heavy/ about dark age and medieval armor:  http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/darkageandmedievalarmor/ and about medieval martial arts and its resurrection as an art form: http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/european-martial-arts/   A friend has justdirected me to a post detailing the different kinds of medieval swords.: http://www.thearma.org/SwordForms.html Here’s a sample of their section on long swords: Long-Swords The various kinds of long bladed Medieval swords that had handles long enough to be used in two hands were deemed long-swords (German Langenschwert/ Langes Swertor Italian spada longa). Long–swords, war-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 Read more…

Dark Age and Medieval Armor

The Arthurian knight in plate mail, jousting on his horse, is the classic image of a medieval knight, but is totally inaccurate.  Armor has evolved over time and that plate mailed knight was a relatively late development in the evolution of warfare. Dark Age warriors wore a range of leather and chain mail armor, properly referred to as simply ‘mail’.  This was standard for the next five hundred years, until the gradual shift to plate mail during the fourteenth century, particularly for high status warriors. From: http://historymedren.about.com/library/weekly/aa041500a.htm “The construction of mail was begun by hammering a sheet of metal very thin and flat. The sheet would then be cut into narrow strips, and each strip would be wound around an iron mandrel or rod. (Later, when the technique of drawing wire was developed, soft iron wire would be used instead.) The wound wire or strips Read more…