The sword was a single- or double-edged bat and stabbing weapon, which was straight or curved depending on the design.

Already in the Bronze Age were daggers, basically the small handy variant of the sword, spread. Gradually, the manufacturing technology continued to develop and so the blade could be forged larger, the sword was created. This weapon also replaced the dagger for military purposes and was found in most ancient and medieval cultures.

However, there was a boom for swords only with the invention of steel. This material was significantly harder than bronze and the suitability for use increased accordingly. The first mass use of swords is attributed to the Roman legions. Although other armed forces have been using this weapon before, the main armament has long put a spear in the making because of its cheaper production. The legionary used the then type of Gladius. This was a short sword with a blade length of about 55 cm. The Gladius was replaced in the late Roman period by the, probably by Celtic riders introduced sword of the Spatha type. This had a blade length of 60 cm up to 1 meter and by its size it could also be used not only as a prick but also as a slash weapon.



Römischer Legionär mit einem Gladiusschwert

Roman legionary with a Gladius sword



During the Middle Ages Spatha swords were the most prevalent. Another type was the sax, which was a single-edged, shorter bat and was especially widespread among the Germanic tribes. At this time also created mythical legends about swords. So there was in England, the legend of the legendary sword Excalibur, in German-speaking countries, the legend of Siegfried's sword Balmung from the Nibelungen saga.

With the emergence of ever thicker body armor, the swords had to be adapted to the new conditions. So these became ever larger until so-called Andes half-hands or bastard swords with a blade length of over 1 meter emerged. But the swords had to bow to the introduction of ranged weapons and so this weapon lost its usefulness to the end of the Middle Ages.



Mittelalterliches Bastardschwert

Medieval bastard sword



Today, swords are only used as parades or ornaments in parades.






You can find the right literature here:


The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Knives, Swords, Spears & Daggers: Through History In Over 1500 Photographs

The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Knives, Swords, Spears & Daggers: Through History In Over 1500 Photographs Hardcover – June 7, 2016

This encyclopedia traces the fascinating history of knives, daggers, bayonets, swords, sabres and lances, from their Palaeolithic origins through to the 21st century. Weapons from around the world are examined, such as the decorated daggers of Persia and the exquisite knives of Japan. A superb directory features 750 examples of sharp-edged weapons, describing the origins, capabilities and specifications of each one. With 1500 photographs and illustrations, and written by leading experts in the field, this beautiful guide is an indispensable resource for the serious collector and amateur enthusiast alike, and will fascinate anyone with an interest in historical weapons.

• An authoritative guide to sharp-edged weapons, from their origins in the Stone Age through to the 21st century, with 1500 color photographs

• Describes ancient and modern weapons, such as the first flint daggers, the spears of ancient Greece, Samurai swords, knightly swords, fencing blades, and the bayonets of World War II

• Includes a comprehensive visual directory of over 750 blades arranged by period, with expert descriptions and details of origin, date and length

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Records of the Medieval Sword

Records of the Medieval Sword Paperback – May 15, 2015

Forty years of intensive research into the specialised subject of the straight two-edged knightly sword of the European middle ages are contained in this classic study. Spanning the period from the great migrations to the Renaissance, Ewart Oakeshott emphasises the original purpose of the sword as an intensely intimate accessory of great significance and mystique. There are over 400 photographs and drawings, each fully annotated and described in detail, supported by a long introductory chapter with diagrams of the typological framework first presented in The Archaeology of Weapons and further elaborated in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry. There are appendices on inlaid blade inscriptions, scientific dating, the swordsmith's art, and a sword of Edward III. Reprinted as part of Boydell's History of the Sword series.

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Swords of the Viking Age

Swords of the Viking Age Paperback – October 16, 2014

This new work fills a gap in the literature in English on the swords made and used in northern Europe during the Viking age, between the mid eighth and the mid eleventh centuries. Ewart Oakeshott outlines the significance and diversity of these ancient heirlooms; co-author Ian Peirce, who handled hundreds of swords in his research for this book in museums across northern Europe, selects and describes sixty of the finest representative weapons. Where possible, full-length photographs are included, in addition to illustrations of detail; an illustrated overview of blade types and construction, pattern-welding, inscription and handle forms and their classification prefaces the catalogue of examples which is the principal part of this work. IAN PEIRCE was a lecturer and museum consultant specialising in early swords; EWART OAKESHOTT was renowned for his pioneer studies on a wide range of medieval swords.

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The Sword: Myth & Reality: Technology, History, Fighting, Forging, Movie Swords

The Sword: Myth & Reality: Technology, History, Fighting, Forging, Movie Swords 1st Edition

The history, manufacture, and ancient and modern uses of swords in Europe from the 5th century to today can be found here in one convenient source. Learn sword nomenclature and classification, discover sword physics secrets, and compare the history of swordsmanship in Europe to that of Japan. Practical information on different sword types, including those used by Vikings and Samurai, broadens the reader’s understanding of the technical diversity of and relationships between swords from different eras and cultures. Readers can also learn how to tell authentic swords apart from fantasy swords, or “sword-like objects” (SLO), which are commonly used in movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Also, follow the manufacturing process, from welding to pommel construction, and read about historical replicas. Join the authors and countless other featured sword masters and experts on a fact-based and fun-filled adventure from the Middle Ages to modern Europe.

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The Sword in the Age of Chivalry

The Sword in the Age of Chivalry Paperback – February, 1994

The resplendent image of the medieval knight is symbolised by his sword, a lethal weapon on the battlefield and a badge of chivalry in that complex social code. Ewart Oakeshott draws on his extensive research to recount the history of the sword from the knightly successors of the Viking weapon to the emergence of the Renaissance sword - roughly from 1050 to 1550. Evidence for dating is adduced from literature and art as well as from archaeology, and a detailed chronological typology of swords is developed, based on entire swords, pommel-forms, cross-guards, and the grip and scabbard. With clear illustrations and invaluable photographic plates The Sword in the Age of Chivalry offers first-class reference material for all weapons enthusiasts. The late EWART OAKESHOTT was an authority on the arms and armour of medieval Europe. His other books include Records of the Medieval Sword and The Archaeology of Weapons.

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