A collection of information, facts and history of the various types of Swords around the world.
Small Japanese swords that have no guard.
Used by the Moros of the Philippines as a weapon and sometimes a tool.
Bearing: These swords were made for ritual use at various ceremonies of importance. The Bearing Swords were carried various inscriptions that referred to the leader. These Swords were carried by someone walking behind the leader who would point the sword in a skyward direction. These Swords seems to have originated around the seventh century.
Was a short bladed, single edged sword that had a straight or sometimes slight curved blade.
Bokken Wooden Sword
A Bokken is a wooden sword that originated in Japan. Its purpose was for training. In Japan it is usually referred to as, bokut. The bokken usually is constructed to the size and shape of a katana sword. The bokken was a popular training sword with the Samurai. Used by the Samurai, the Bokken could easily kill and was usually kept next to the bed so intruders could be killed without spilling blood in the house. In the movie, The Last Samurai, the Bokken is featured during the training sessions.
These are highly decorated swords that are connected with Monarchy.
Was a military type of swords that had a wide blade with a single edge.
Chisa Katana Sword
Eighteen to twenty-four inches long. It is in fact a shortened Katana Sword, but does not include a companion blade. The word, Chisa, means short. The chisa katana sword could be used with either one or two hands. The hilt is usually around ten to eleven inches in length. Chisa Katana were most commonly made in the Buke-Zukuri mounting. They were not a common sword.
The Japanese Chokuto Sword (or Chukandomowas) were straight and single-edged, although sometimes partially double. The Chokuto Sword is a copy of a sword that was originally brought into Japan from China and Korea during the 4th and 5th centuries. The Chokuto Sword was developed before differential tempering technology evolved. They were made with a hira-zukuri or kiriha-zukuri tsukurikomi blade style. The Chokuto was hardly used in battle due to the fact that is was shown to be less effective against other swords which were lighter and had curved blades. Over time, the Chokuto came to be used as a temple offering sword.
Was a civilian short sword developed in northern Italy. The Sword was very popular during the Italian renaissance of the 15th and early 16th centuries. inquedea means "five fingers". It gained its name due to its five-finger wide blade at the hilt. The Cinquedea Sword was generally used as a thrusting weapon. It was carried horizontally next to the buttocks. The width of the blade gave the Cinquedea Sword its strength to penetrate gaps in armor plate. A 15th Century Cinquedea comes with a scabbard.
The name given to two distinct types of Scottish swords. The name claymore may have come from claidheamh mòr, a Gaelic term meaning "great sword". The two-handed claymore was in use around 1500 to 1700. It was smaller then other two-handed swords of that era. There is also evidence of the basket hilt sword being referred to as a claymore. The first instance in which a written usage of this word is after the beginning of the 1715 uprising. Scottish basket-hilt sword is often distinguished from others by the velvet liner inside the basket (often in red), and also sometimes by additional decorative tassels on the hilt or pommel.
A short, thick sabre or slashing type of sword. The Cutlass has a straight or slightly curved blade that is sharpened on the cutting edge. It has a hilt that often features a solid cupped or basket-shaped guard. Throughout history the Cutlass Sword has often been popular with sailors. The Sword was powerful enough to hack through heavy ropes, canvas, and wood. A cutlass has also been used in history as an agricultural implement and tool. The last use of a cutlass in a boarding action by the British Royal Navy is recorded as being as late as 1941. The cutlass sword remained an official weapon in the U.S. Navy stores until 1949.
First appeared in 1680 and soon became highly popular with the royal European courts. The colichemarde sword probably descended from the "transition rapier". The colichemarde Sword was mostly used as a dueling weapon. The Colichemarde Sword was popular from around 1700 to 1800. The shape of a colichemarde combines good parrying qualities with good thrusting abilities and the ability to fence faster. One of the descendants of the colichemarde is the modern fencing weapon, the épée.
Ancient Chinese single-edge broad-blade swords.
A long dagger or sometimes a cut-down sword blade mounted on a dagger hilt. The word Dirk could have possibly derived from the Gaelic word sgian dearg (red knife). The blade length of the Dirk sword varied, but was generally around 7-14 inches. The Irish versions were as much as 21 inches in length. In battle, the Dirk was a backup to the broadsword, and was wielded by the left hand. The dirk sword was carried everywhere the owner went. The dirk was worn in plain view suspended from a belt at the waist.
A thick, long handled, Japanese battle sword. The Dotanuki was made to slice through a target with just a single cut. The Dotanuki was the only sword capable of slicing in half a samurai wearing full armour. Dotanuki was the name of a Shintô period smithing school in Higo Province, south Japan where a number of smiths used the name dotanuki. The Dotanuki Sword was a favorite weapon of Japans feudal warlords. Was popular isa use during the Azuchi-Momoyama (1568-1600) period.
Was used in founding the sport of fencing.
The French Estoc Sword was a longsword varient. It was developed for fighting against chain mail or plate armour. The Estoc Sword had no cutting edge, only a point. It was long, straight and stiff. It had a diamond or triangular cross-section. The Estoc length varied from 46 inches to 62 inches. Originally, the Estoc sword was simply hung from the belt, but later infantrymen using it began to wear it in a scabbard. Most Estoc were two-handed swords.
A one-handed, single-edge sword that is of European origin. It could be said that the Falchion has the versatility of a sword, but the weight and power of an axe. The Falchion Sword was found in various varients from he 11th century to the sixteenth century. The wide cutting blade of the Falchion sword was very effective against mail armor. The falchion sword was popular with all classes, from soldiers, knights to nobility. Very few Falchion Swords still exist today, despite its popularity when in use.
Typical of Pre-Roman Hispania. The Falcata is similar to the Greek kopis or Nepalese kukri. The falcata derives from the sickle-shape knives of the Iron Age. It is a one-edge sword, but two-edge falcatas have been discovered in limited numbers. The Falcata Sword was so strong and powerful, it forced the Roman Legions to reinforce their shield borders and armours. The hilt of the Falcata Sword is typically hook-shaped.
The word "Gladiator" derives from this Sword. Double edge bladed Swords used by the Roman Legions as their standard weapon.
Hachiwara Helmet Breakers
The Japanese Hachiwara was a parring weapon that was often referred to as a helmet breaker or sometimes a sword breaker. The Hachiwara were carried by the Samurai as a side-arm. The blades were usually of a square cross-section design with a hook next to the grip. They were 12 to 15 inches in length. The mounts of the Hachiwara were mostly of carved wood or carved cinnabar lacquer. The Hachiwara were designed to parry an opponents sword or hook into an opponents helmet.
Sometimes called "the shell" it gained its name because it was hung from the belt. They were often covered with Navel Motifs.
Join Us Free
Join Paralumun Singles for FREE
A curved, single-edged Japanese sword. The Katana Sword was used by the samurai. The Katana was popular after the 1400s and usually paired with the wakizashi, shoto or the tanto. The katana sword is a shorter version of the ancient tachi sword. It was developed after a need for a sword more suited to man to man combat.
Was a type of Polish sabre (szabla) that became famous in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1670s. The karabela sword has an open hilt with the pommel modelled after an eagles head. In the early stages, the karabela were used as a ceremonial weapon worn on special occasions or for decoration. Later, the karabela was a popular choice for battle. But ornate karabelas were not used in battle. The name, Karabela, may have been coined after the Italian terms caro (expensive) and bello (beautiful), though the exact etymology remains obscure. In Turkish, Karabela could be understood as "Black Misfortune", from the Turkish "Kara" meaning black and the Arabic "Bela" meaning misfortune, calamity, trial, curse.
Short punching swords used in Persia.
May have originated in Germany. It was used as a military sword during the fifteenth century. The Katzbalger was popular among the German Landsknecht mercenaries for close-quarter combat. The Katzbalger Sword was designed with a large figure eight guard that protects the hand if the opposing sword should slide down the blade. This sword includes in the scabbard a small knife and a bodkin point tool for various utilitarian purposes. A katzbalger Sword would often be used by pikemen, archers, and crossbowmen as a last resort if the enemy were to draw too close for bows or pikes to be effective.
A Turkish Saber that dates back to the tenth century. The Kilij was a military weapon and often had inscriptions of a military nature.
A short Japanese sword that is too short to be considered a long sword but too long to be a dagger. Its length is similar to that of the wakizashi. The Kodachi Sword is excellent in hand to hand combat due to the fact it is easily drawn and easy to swing. Because the Kodachi Swordit was less then the blade length limits applied to non-samurai during the Edo period it was able be worn by merchants. It is a one handed sword that offers a near impenetrable defense.
Although Kopis is a Greek word, it is thought these swords may have originated from the Egyptian khopesh. It is a single edge sword that has a forward-curved blade.
A type of Egyptian sword that appears to have been developed from the sickle sword.
Malayan double-edged blade.
A large, curved, single-edged two-handed sword that was popular in 15th and 16th century Germany. The name Kriegsmesser translates to "War Knife." It recieved its name because the hilt configuration resembled that of a knife handle. Mostly the Kriegsmesser Sword had a blade that was usually single edged and curved, but there were other variants. The length of the Kriegsmesser Sword was around the same length as the longsword. The Kriegsmesser sword was part of the equipment of the Imperial Guard.
Was a cross-hilted, curved, scimitar-like sword that originated in Persia. Although no longer used in active combat, the Mameluke sword continues to be used as a ceremonial sidearm. In 1825, the Mameluke sword was adopted for wear by Marine officers in the United States. During most of the 19th century, Mameluke swords were carried as dress or levée swords by officers of most Light Cavalry, Hussar, and some Heavy Cavalry regiments of the British Army. Except for the period from 1859 to 1875, commissioned Marine officers of the United States have carried the Mameluke sword.
A large two-handed Japanese sword. The Nodachi to the tachi, but much longer. The Nodachi Sword was carried by foot soldiers and designed as a weapon for open battlefields. The drawback of the Nodachi was that it required great strength to properly wield. Foot soldiers would carry the sword with the flat edge against the shoulder and the fuchi, or butt of the tsuka, in the palms of the hands and the blade facing out toward the enemy. The sword would often be thrown at the enemy. During times of peace the Nodachi was worn slung across the back. The length of the nodachi hilt varied between twelve to thirteen inches (30 to 33 centimeters).
Long, straight, Filipino swords.
Presentation Swords: are given to those individuals that have earned them, "not simply inherited them". They are usually given for military or political service. The giving of Presentation Swords was a long established tradition in Russia.
The Rapier originated in Spain. The Rapier was more of an ornamental sword that became popular in Britain.
One of the most popular swords in history it was widely used by the Cavalry in most countries.
Very popular during the 16th and 17th centuries of Italy. This Renaissance sword comes from the 16th-century sword of the Venetian Dog guard. The Schiavona Sword is classified as a true broadsword. It was basket hilted and usually also had an imbedded quillon for an upper guard. The Schiavona Sword had a wider blade than its contemporary civilian rapiers. It has a double edged blade. The Schiavona Sword was the weapon of choice for many heavy cavalry.
Hunting swords that eventually became popular with the Persions.
A Germanic single-edged knife mostly used as a tool, but could also be used as a weapon. The small Seax Knive was called a hadseax, and used as a tool. The larger ones were called, langseax, and were probably weapons. The seax was worn in a horizontal sheath at the front of the belt. Wearing a seax may have been indicative of freemanship. It may be that the Saxons derived their name from seax (the implement for which they were known). The seax has a lasting symbolic impact in the English counties of Middlesex and Essex, which both feature three seaxes in their ceremonial emblem.
A kind of sabre. It has a very sharp type of single edged, single handed. The Shashka Sword has a slightly curved blade with double edges. It is midway between a full sabre and a straight sword. The shashka sword originated among the mountain peoples of the Caucasus. Later, it was used by Russian and Ukrainian Cossacks. During World War Two, various types of shashka were carried by the Soviet cavalry. The Shashka is a combat sword and its construction was built for that sole purpose.
A concealed sword that is usually disguised as a cane or a walking stick. They are also known as joto (staff-sword). The Shikomizue was used almost exclusively during the Meiji period when the carrying of swords was banned. The Shikomizue Sword was often carried by Japanese government officials during the Meiji period. The Shikomizue Sword mountings were highly decorated and should not to be confused with the plain wooden mountings of the Shirasaya mountings. Some Shikomizue were full length concealed swords, others were short blades so the other end could be removed turning the stick into a short spear. Another Shikomizue version was for the blade to be attached to a shorter handle so the stick remains could be held in one hand and the blade in the other.
A newly forged, extremely sharp, high level sword that is usually used for cutting practice. Blades are folded to Japanese standards. The meaning of shinken is real sword or live sword. The Shinken Sword is hand-made by one of around 250 Japanese swordsmiths who are mostly members of the Japanese Swordsmith Association. Each swordsmith are limited by Japanese law to producing no more than twenty-four swords a year. They are an extremely expensive sword that can price in the tens of thousands.
Designed for the purpose of thrusting. They are similar to the Rapier.
Developed in Britain the Spadroon turned out to be a poorly designed weapon. It did however gain much use in the United States Army.
Popular during the 1790s among military and naval officers. It is a light sword with a straight blade of the cut and thrust type. In France, it was known as the épée Anglaise. The Spadroon Sword was also popular in Britain and the United States. The blade usually had a broad, central fuller and a single edge, often with a false edge near the tip. Hilts were often of the beaded or "five-ball" type with a stirrup guard.
Straight swords used by the Roman cavalry.
Double-edged swords was used for war by the ancient Greeks.
Swordsmanship refers to the skills of a swordsman, a person versed in the art of the sword. The term is modern, and as such was mainly used to refer to smallsword fencing, but by extension it can also be applied to any martial art involving the use of a sword.
Tachi Japanese Sword
One of the earliest Japanese swords is called the tachi. The Tachi Japanese Sword is also the most common of all swords in Japanese History. The tachi sword was worn hanging from the waist using cords. The Tachi sword came about as a need developed for a sword that was useable for horseback fighting. Previously sword fighting had been done on foot. During the era of the Japanese Tachi Sword it started to became common practise for the sword makers to sign their name on the blade. Later, when the Mongols invaded, it was shown there were some weaknesses in the Tachi sword which eventually led to the development of the Katana sword style. As time went on, the Tachi sword became more ceremonial in nature.
The predecessor of the katana. The Uchigatana Sword was created developed during the Muromachi Period. The uchigatana was worn edge-up in the belt. The development of the Uchigatana Sword came about as a need for speed on the battlefield where it was paramount for quickly unsheathing ones sword. With the chigatana, figters were able to unsheath and cutt the enemy down in one smooth, fast action. The curvature on the blade of the uchigatana is near the sword’s point (sakizori). The uchigatana was forged in both long and short lengths.
In Chinese culture the double-edged sword or jian is considered a masters weapon or a gentlemen's weapon, both from the considerable skill required in order to fight with one and from the fact that commanders of armies would typically not carry the long spears that formed the majority of the forces armament, favoring the jian in order to move easily amongst the troops. Whilst many martial arts in China include training with both the jian and the single-bladed sword or dao (as well as many variant weapons), no well known art trains exclusively with the sword.
The sword has long held a significance in Japanese culture from the reverence and care that the samurai placed in their weapons. Kenjutsu is the term used for sword arts in Japan. Kendo, a swordsmanship based sport art, and Iaido, the art of sword drawing, are of note here. There are also many schools that focus almost exclusively on swordsmanship that grew from the noble families patronage on certain teachers. Some koryu, or ancient, schools still exist along with some more modern schools.
Rome provides the foundation for the widespread use of the sword as a weapon in its own right in the West. The Roman legionaries and other forces of the Roman military used the gladius as a short thrusting sword effectively with the scutum, a type of shield, in battle. Gladiators used a shorter gladius than the military. The spatha was a longer double edged sword suitable for cutting and thrusting carried by some Roman military units. Over time, the blade became popular and was used throughout much of the Roman Empires legionary force. Roman soldiers were heavily trained and prided themselves on discipline. This carried over to their training with weaponry, especially the sword.
Little is known about early medieval fencing technique but what may be concluded from archeological evidence and artistic depiction. What little has been found, however, shows the use of the sword was limited during the Viking age, especially among the Vikings themselves and other northern Germanic tribes. Here, the spear,axe and shield were prominent weapons, with only wealthy individuals owning swords. These weapons, based off the Roman spatha, were made very well. The technique of pattern welding of composite metals provided some of these northern weapons superior properties in strength and resilience to the iron gladius of early Rome. As time passed, the spatha evolved into the arming sword, a weapon with a notable cruciform hilt common among knights in the Medieval Age. Some time after this evolution, the earliest known treatises (fechtbücher) were written, dealing primarily with arming sword and buckler combat. Among these examples is the I.33, the earliest known fechtbuch. The German school of swordsmanship can trace itself most closely to Johannes Liechtenauer and his students who later became the German masters of the 15th century including Sigmund Ringeck, Hans Talhoffer, Peter von Danzig and Paulus Kal. During this period of time, the longsword grew out of the arming sword, eventually resulting in a blade comfortably wielded in both hands at once. Armour technology evolved as well with the advent of plate armour, and swordsmanship was further pressed to meet the demands of killing a very well protected enemy. During much of the early medieval period, the sword continued to remain a symbol of status. During later years, production techniques had become more efficient. While the sword remained a privilege, it was not so heavily confined to only the richest individuals, but rather to the richest classes.
The German school of swordsmanship, in general, faced a decline during the Renaissance as the other schools, stilted more towards the rapier and civilian dueling, took the forefront. The compendium compiled by Paulus Hector Mair in the 1540s looks back to the preceding century of work and attempts to reconstruct and preserve a failing art. The treatise by Joachim Meyer, dating to the 1570s, notable for its scientific and complete approach to the style (it is suggested that Meyer's students came to him with less military knowledge and therefore required more basic instruction), is the last major account of the German school, and its context is now almost entirely sportive. A separate Italian style of swordsmanship had been evolving from the 15th century, originally based on the concepts of the German school. Fiore dei Liberi's manual, the Flos Duellatorum dates to around 1410, and is noted for not only presenting a complete system of combat including for use of the longsword, and other weapons, as well as wrestling. The use of the longsword continued to decline throughout the Renaissance period, marked by increased effectiveness of the arquebus and the use of pike squares as a powerful implement of battle. During this time, the civilian swords had evolved to side-swords, also known as "cut and thrust" swords, and progressed towards the thicker, tapering sword eventually becoming the 17th century rapier. This new weapon was popular for both protection on the street and as a tool in the duel, but found little success on the battlefield. The Italian, French, and Spanish schools embraced this change in civilian armament and developed systems of rapier fencing. The German school, however, provides little on this weapon and ceases its prevalence thereafter.
After the demise of the longsword, the backsword became the last prominent battlefield sword. The backsword was not a new invention, but managed to outlast other forms of war swords, last used primarily by cavalry units and officers. The power, accuracy, and reliability of firearms continued to improve, however, and soon swords had little place on the battlefield aside from ceremonial purposes. The preferred civilian dueling weapon shifted from the rapier to the faster but shorter smallsword, and eventually shifted totally away from swords to the pistol, following developments in firearm technology. The civilian affair of dueling was banned in most areas, but persisted to some degree regardless of law.
As early as 1880, attempts were made to recreate the older German, Italian, and Spanish schools of swordsmanship. The lineage of Masters trained to teach the arts had been left to dwindle, however.
Historically, has been the work of specialized smiths or metalworkers called armorers or swordsmiths. Modern armorers and swordsmiths still ply their trade although to a more limited clientele. Their products are oriented toward collectors, those who pursue various traditional martial arts, enactors, and as props for film and theater. Some modern smiths also make swords and smaller blades for the technical challenge they present. Swords have been made of many different materials over the centuries and with a variety of tools and techniques. Much of the value of a sword is less the material and more the effort, skill and experience that go into making a sword. A good sword is more than a piece of metal shaped to a long tapered form and fitted with a handle, although certainly many swords that are little more than that have been used over the millennia. While there are many criteria for evaluating a sword, generally the three key criteria are hardness, strength and balance. A good sword has to be hard enough to hold an edge along a length which can range from 18 inches (45 cm) to more than 36 inches (90 cm) and at the same time it must be strong enough and flexible enough that it can absorb massive shocks at just about any point along its length and not crack or break. Finally it should be balanced along its length so that it can be easily wielded. The challenge and mystique of swords and their fabrication comes in large measure from how crafts people over the millennia have responded to the problems created by the interplay of the three factors just described: harmonizing hardness, strength and balance. A quality sword cannot be quickly made either, and later steps in their fabrication can reveal flaws and mistakes ruining a great deal of time and effort, therefore a good quality sword represents the skilled time and efforts of one or more crafts people, crafts people who executed every small step of the process flawlessly or nearly so to create that weapon. Sword fabrication breaks down into roughly three processes: forming, heat treating and finishing. Depending on many factors such as base materials, location and era these processes might merge, overlap or be dispensed with entirely. For example, an iron short sword from the early Iron Age might be formed by forging, normalized to remove stresses in the material from the forging, and simply finished by grinding and affixing the simplest of handles to it eliminating the hardening process and greatly simplifying the finishing. As a contrasting example, the sword of a Japanese Daimyo from the 1500s would likely go through a more involved forging process, welding together different types of steel, or steel and iron; and then forging them to shape. The resulting, relatively soft, blade might then go through the first phase of finishing -- filing, grinding, rough polishing -- before heat treating. Once hardened and tempered the blade would go into a second phase of finishing polishing, sharpening and fitting it with an elaborate guard, sheath and handle. Likewise, a knightly sword of the 12th century would undergo pattern-welding of various grades of iron and crucible steel and be eventually built by laminating different types of steel together to produce a blade which is simultaneously hard and tenuous. The first example might be accomplished in a few hours by a smith. The latter would require weeks or months and the involvement of perhaps three or four artisans from as many specialized crafts. Swords can be shaped by a variety of metalworking techniques. In some times and places one technique has been used exclusively, in others combinations have been applied. The primary techniques are forging and stock removal. Stock removal shapes the sword from prepared stock that is larger in all dimensions than the finished sword by filing, grinding and cutting. While the technique has been available for centuries it was not widely used for making swords until the 19th or 20th century as it is wasteful of the raw material. Where iron and steel are plentiful this method is frequently used as it requires less skill and time. In places and times where iron and steel have been more rare and valuable stock removal has not been used except as part of the finishing process. Forging uses heat to bring the material to a malleable state. The material is then hammered to shape, typically using hammer and anvil together with specialized set and fuller tools depending on the particular technique. There are a variety of forging techniques for sword making and many variations upon those. The techniques employed in different places and times tend to affect the style of the resulting blades. Much of the development and selection of techniques has been driven by the type and availability of raw materials. Broadly speaking, if metal supply is limited blades have tended to be smaller. Similarly when the supply of steel has been limited, techniques for building up the basic billet from which a sword would be forged by welding together iron and steel or different types and grades of steel were developed. Our modern knowledge of historical techniques is limited in some ways. Historically sword fabrication has been, effectively, high military technology, therefore, just as the techniques of producing modern weapons are often closely guarded, the techniques developed for creating superior swords were also guarded and rarely, if ever, published. In most techniques the basic materials, generally iron and/or steel, are shaped into a bar or billet first. At this stage if several metals are to be used they will be combined by welding to form the billet. In some techniques, notably the traditional folded steel blades of Japan, the billet might be drawn, folded and welded back on itself creating layers of steel of different types. In others longer bars or rods of steel and iron might be welded together, edge to edge, to create the basic billet placing the softer iron inside with the steel at the core and edges. Once the billet is created it is drawn out farther, generally tapering to the edge(s) and point. A technique called fullering would be used to create the tang, a section of the sword body with reduced dimensions where the handle is attached. The same technique might be used to create a ridge or ridges down the length of the blade. Whether single or multiple, the ridge's primary purpose to give the blade greater structural strength relative to its mass. The final step of forming, and one that affects both the finishing and the heat treatment is 'normalizing'. The blade would be carefully and evenly heated and then cooled slowly. The point of normalizing is to remove the stresses which may have built up within the body of the blade while it was being forged. During the forging process the blade might be heated and cooled differentially creating stress, some parts might be hammered more than others, some areas hammered enough to "work harden". If these stresses are left in the blade they could affect the finishing and when it came time to heat treat the blade, the hardening and tempering might not be as even. Potentially enough stress could be added that the blade would be weak in spots, weak enough that it could fail under enough strain. Heat treating, encompasses several processes including annealing, normalizing, hardening and tempering. Often the process is called "tempering" but that process refers to just one of the several processes. A detailed discussion of heat treating is not germane to this article. Those who are interested are encouraged to follow the link to the heat treatment article and explore that article and its related topics. Until the advent of new steel alloys over the last century most tools and weapons of steel, iron, bronze or even copper were heat treated at one or more stages of their fabrication. Simply put the processes of heat treating soften or harden metal. During fabrication the metal might be softened to relieve stresses built up from forging and differential heating, and to make the metal easier to file, engrave or polish. As one of the last processes in fabrication the blade would be hardened and if the sword was made of steel in whole or part it would then be tempered making the blade less brittle and more springy. After the discovery of iron, it quickly became apparent that iron blades were too soft to hold an edge properly. This led to quenching, which involved reheating the treated iron and then plunging it into a quenchant, such as water. The heating of the metal forces the usually crystalline lattice of molecules to become more fluid, and the quenching then forces them back into a crystalline configuration. Because of this rapid cooling, the reformed crystals tend to be smaller, inhibiting the movement of the molecules in relation to each other, thus greatly increasing the hardness of the metal. Hardening the metal lets the metal hold shape better and therefore hold an edge longer but hardness is at the cost of brittleness. Given the intended use of a sword the blade must be strong as well, so the hardness is eased or tempered in the case of steel blades to give the blade strength and flexibility as well. Hardening and tempering of any blade, knife or sword, is challenging. With swords, due to their length, the challenge is greater as in a typical quenching it is possible to bend or warp the blade if it is not introduced to the quenchant smoothly and evenly. Given the greater length of a sword over a knife there are more opportunities for errors, flaws and mistakes to accumulate. Further there is a great deal of art and craft in arriving at a balance of hardness and strength and creating blades which consistently deliver both. Pre-Iron Age swords of bronze were also, likely, heat treated. Most likely they were annealed one or more times in the fabrication process and the edges were intentionally work hardened. Swords could also be differentially hardened so that some parts, like the cutting edge, are harder than the body. Finishing a sword encompasses bringing the blade to final shape and polish; decorating the sword; and crafting and assembling the hilt, guard and sheath. The swordsmith would be most concerned with the state of the blade itself and possibly decorating the blade and preparing the guards and pommel if any. Other artisans would likely be involved in the work of fashioning the hilt, sheath and other furniture; and in any fine decoration. Once the blade had been heat treated, a sword would be ground with progressively finer abrasives until the desired finish was achieved. It would then be sharpened. Some pursue the traditional methods while others apply modern tools, techniques and materials to the craft. Individuals around the world continue to use traditional methods to make swords to keep the craft and techniques alive. The vast majority of commercially available swords have been made with modern tools and materials as it is simply not cost effective to hand forge a sword. Most commercially available swords have been manufactured by stock removal.
Arondight : The Mythology Sword of Lancelot.
Attila the Hun sword : He claimed it was the sword of Mars, the Roman god of war.
Caladbolg : Sword of Fergus mac Róich.
Chandrahas (Moon blade) : King Ravana's sword in the Indian epic Ramayana.
Claíomh Solais : Sword of Nuada Airgeadlámh, legendary king of Ireland.
Crocea Mors : Sword of Julius Caesar.
Curtana : Sword of Ogier the Dane , a legendary Danish hero, and a paladin of Charlemagne.
Durendal : Sword of Roland, one of Charlemagne's paladins.
Excalibur/Caliburn/Caledflwch : Sword of King Arthur.
Fragarach : Sword of Manannan mac Lir and Lugh Lamfada.
Gram (Balmung) (Nothung) :- Sword of Siegfried, hero of the Nibelungenlied.
Hauteclere : Sword of Olivier, a French hero depicted in the Song of Roland.
Hrunting : Sword lent to Beowulf by Unferth, ineffective against Grendel's mother.
Naegling : Sword of Beowulf in his old age, used to fight the dragon.
Joyeuse : Sword of Charlemagne.
Kusanagi : Sword of Susanoo.
Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar : Sword of King Solomon(in Persian folklore).
Tyrfing : Cursed sword that causes eventual death to its wielder and their kin.
Paralumun New Age Village
Swords by Jason Scott
This section on swords was written by Jason Scott. He has held an interest in swords for more then the last 20 years and owns a large collection of ancient and modern swords.
Copyright © Do not copy. This entire article on Swords is Copyright.