It is difficult to picture a medieval soldier without his sword. Of course, his armor was of great importance to him. So was his spear. And his shield. And his helmet. But there is something about a sword that seems to complete a knight. It was more than a weapon. The sword was an extension of his arm, a part of his being. Below, we take a quick look at some of the swords that were popular during the medieval period.
The Arming sword (or the Knightly sword) was a single-handed cruciform sword popular from the 11th to the 14th century. It is regarded as a descendant of the Viking swords. The Knightly sword was typically accompanied by a shield, and was the standard military sword of the knight till the Longsword took over. The Arming sword offered the soldier several advantages – it was light and versatile and good for slicing as well as thrusting; the sword also provided excellent balance. It measured 35 inches long (with handle) and weighed about 2.5 lbs.
The falchion was a one-handed, single-edged European medieval sword whose design was similar to the Persian scimitar. It married the versatility of the sword with the power of an axe. It was best used in close warfare. Though different versions of the Falchion were in use between the 11th and the 16th century, the standard weapon weighed between 1–2 lbs and measured 37–40 inches in length.
The Broadsword was a decent-sized, straight two-edged blade that was a popular weapon during the Renaissance, specifically the Elizabethan period of England. It was a close-contact weapon and was excellent for cutting. It weighed about 3–5 lbs and was around 30–45 inches in length.
The Longsword was in use from the 13th to the 17th century, but was most popular from the mid-14th to the mid-16th century. The Longsword’s size meant that it was typically used with two hands, through there may have been some which favored single-hand use. These were excellent slicing and stabbing weapons. The Longsword ranged from 39–51 inches (handled included) and weighed between 2.5–4 lbs.
For more swords, including official replicas of Game of Thrones weapons, click here.