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were a major weapon of war during the ancient
and medieval history. They are also called the
gentleman of all weapons. They were bladed
weapons that had two parts namely the blade and
the handle or the hilt. They were sharpened
blades that could be single edged or double
edged. The width varried with the culture and
era and so did the type of hilt. They could be
one handed or double as per the weight and
maneuver of the sword.
The warriors and the knights relied on sword a
lot. They were brisk, agile, graceful and
flexible. Some were very elaborately decorated.
Japanese Swords :
The Japanese swords had the finest blades ever.
The length could vary. The most common Japanese
Sword was buke-zukuri. It was a style of sword
mounting. It was also called Katana. The
japanese swords were heavy and difficult to
maneuver. Samurai or higher rank could wear the
long sword. Merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen
could wear the short sword. These Japanese
swords were symbol of the Samurai warrior.
The Japanese history is divided into eras by the
dynasties, the growth of the swords is
accordingly. The sword being an important
weapon, the sword eras are named separately.
Koto refers to the "old sword" period, Shinto
refers to the "new sword" era, Shinshinto is the
"new, new sword" era, Gendai is the "modern
sword" era, and Shinsaku represents the newly
Katana Swords :
Katana Swords are the traditional self defense
weapon of the Japanese warrior. Katana swords
had long steel blade with a sharp edge. Katana
swords had the finest blades ever seen. Katana
Swords were highy intimidating weapons. Now
katana swords are used in Ceremonies only.
The bamboo stick katanas were evolved when the
samurais were not allowed to carry actual
swords. These were also weapons of defence.
Wooden Swords :
They are the swords of self defense. They can be
of bamboo or cane. They are used frequently by
the martial artists and sword trainers.
Cane sword was developed for the elderly for
self defence. It could be used as a walking
stick and a weapon.
The trainers use wooden swords of different
models to train the fencers. When beautifully
crafted, they can be good decoratives.
They are the collectors products. The ancient
swords have a historical significance and a
mysticism attached to them. The blades were made
of a hard metal, steel or bronze. The hilt could
be wood, leather, ivory or bone. the most common
was wood covered with leather or metal wire.
They are not used as weapons anymore but are
collector's pride. They decorate homes and
offices. They have always been used as a
decorative, a symbol of power and aristocracy.
Chinese Swords :
They originated in China by thes mythical San
Huang emperors. Dao is considered the first
single edged sword that was made by melting
gold. The swords were given names. There could
be male and female swords.
Ming Sword was from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) which ruled China
for almost three centuries. This compact swords
were beautifully handcrafted with a ridged
central fuller for stiffness required in
thrusting and lightness required for speed.
Tai Chi Sword are built for the martial artists. The Damascus Tai Chi
sword was built from a hand-forged Damascus
steel blade to produce a fast and balanced
Kungfu Sword is also called the Dao. The sword has distal-tapered
blade and a hand-tied grip. These swords were
kept in brass-mounted real wood scabbard.
Gladius Swords :
The Roman Swords were called Gladius. They were
initially meant to be stabbing weapons. Latter
they were developed into cut and thrust weapons.
They had a with a long point and "waisted"
blade. They were one-handed, has a light blade
with a wooden guard and pommel.
The Pompeii Gladius was the Imperial Roman short
sword. It was named so for it was found in the
ruins of Pompeii (dating back to 79 CE). The
grip was natural bone and complete with an oval
guard and flattened spherical pommels.
The Samurais were the privileged people of
Japan. They could wear two swords (daisho). They
had been given special rights to use the sword
to their discretion. Out of the two swords they
wore, one was long called the Saito Katana. Its
blade was more than 24" long. The short sword (shoto-wakizashi)
was between 12 and 24 inches.
The samurai swords were named by the owner as
the sword was said to possess the warriors soul.
The samurai swords were initially straight
blades. Latter the blades were curved a little.
The Samurai swords were tough and sharp.
Bamboo stick Katana was a special Samurai
swordthat were developed when the samurais were
not allowed to carry the actual swords in 1867.
They were held in crafted bamboo sheath and had
a carved grip. They were also used in martial
Falchion Swords :
A falchion was a household tool adaptation for
wars. It appeared to be more like a meat
cleaver. It was used against the lighter armors
by the infantry and the knights alike. It was a
Renaissance sword. It had a wide heavy blade
with point of balance towards the tip. It could
inflict heavy blows.
They were mostly single edged with rounded tips.
The later Italian versions were more slender.
Flamberge Swords :
These were modified rapier swords. The shape of
the blade had a zigzag shape resembling flame.
They were supposed to look more fierce and
deadly and fashionable at the same time. The
effectiveness was same as that of the one with
smooth blade but was said to inflict a deadlier
It was favoured by the high officials and the
upper class. It slowed down the opponents sword
as it created a vibration in his sword due to
zigzag shape. The flamberge with a dish-hilt
were called flammards" or flambards.
The Rapier was a favored Sword in the 16th and
the 17th century used mostly as a dueling
weapon. It was a modification of cut and Thrust
sword. It was more fierce than a regular
sporting sword. It had a slender blade more
suited for civilian use. It gradually developed
into an edgeless thrusting weapon. The point of
balance was towards the hilt thus making the
They could only lacerate the opponent and rarely
kill. It was more of a self-defense weapon. A
rapier was a tip-based thrusting sword that used
stab and pierce and not slash. The shape of the
blade could be flat triangular to thicker,
narrow hexagonal one. The shape of the hilt
could vary to personal choice.
The efforts were made to combine the rapier with
the military cutting blades . these
modifications came to be called rapier sword.
The result however was that the new blade could
not perform well. Flamberge was a rapier with a
flame shaped blade used by the high officials.
Claymore Swords :
It was the traditional Scottish sword. It was
evolved from the Scottish broadsword. It had
downsloping quillions instead of the crossguard
in other swords of the era. It was called
claidheamh mor in Gaelic. It was a straight
sword used for cutting and thrusting. The blade
was heavy and so was the pommel. It was a
The cutting force was increased by the use of
two hands. Its point was used for thrusting when
need be. The weapon was more effective in close
combats. The sword was accompanied by a dirk.