Types of swords in terms of Weight, Size, Shape and Sharpness
The word sword is a derivative of the word swer which refers to wound or cut. Throughout the centuries, swords have undergone rigorous modifications in terms of weight, size, shape and sharpness.
List the types of swords
Swords have been used since times immemorial in many battlefields where individual preferences like dexterity and sharpness are strictly adhered to and the quality of the sword denotes the respect imparted to its bearer. Some of the swords that have been used extensively over the centuries include:
The beginning of civilisation was marked by the Bronze Age where writing was invented. These societies in the initial threshold of development needed to be defended from other uncivilised worlds. Thus the first form of swords was invented during this era which was slowly later modified, tempered and forged and steel was established as the medium of manufacture.
Resembling more like a knife, the name Makhaira is derived from the Greek word ‘ machaira’. Machaira is a single-edged sword consisting of a curved edge and was mainly invented to be used by the people in the cavalry.
The Celtic sword consists of a lenticular cross-section and it is a double-edged sword. The Celtic sword was essentially a part of the infantry division.
This type of sword was the go-to weapon of those who fought in arenas for the purpose of entertainment known as gladiators. Gladius was popular among the Roman soldiers and consisted of a wooden hilt. Gladius was a dual-edged weapon. Gladius was of three varieties – Fulham, Mainz and Pompeii.
Pompeii was the shortest variant of gladius and also the easiest to handle. The Mainz consisted of a longer blade length. Fulham was a derivative of Mainz consisting of a longer trip.
Chinese were the inventors of the medieval swords. Franks and celts employed long swords. The entry of Vikings changed the dynamics of sword making as they preferred the use of swords with different pommels to enhance the grip and also required changes in the hilt.
The crossguard was a part of the addition to the sword category by the Normans which increased their ability to defend. The present use form of swords mainly descends from Holy church where the design of the hilt was in a cruciform shape.
Claymore is a popular double-handed sword by the invented Scottish during the medieval era. It has many characteristic features derived from the long sword as it also contains a cruciform hilt along with a double-edged blade and on either side contains lobed pommels. Those soldiers who were on foot mainly wielded claymore swords. The most widely recognised sword used by King Arthur was a claymore sword.
Most commonly used by the navy, cutlass was a broad-bladed and a short sword consisting of a straight or a slightly curved blade. Cutlass provides a pistol-like grip and makes it a most powerful weapon as it could be drawn by the bearer in a moment’s notice. Because cutlass swords were mostly used by pirates, they gained immense notoriety.
This sword was invented during the Viking era and hence the name. Viking swords consist of double-edged blades with either a triangular, lobed or cocked hat pommels. A subclass of Viking swords known as Ulfberht was also invented which were manufactured with a larger carbon content and fewer impurities using high-quality steel obtained from Central Asia. Steel which was required to make these types of swords was stored in containers called crucibles which could withstand extreme temperatures.
Usually favoured by officers in the navy, the spadroon consisted of a straight double-edged blade with a three shaped hilt and a five ball stirrup. The speciality of the spadroon swords was the presence of a central fuller with a single edge.
Mainly used for thrusting attacks, the rapier is a short pointed sword. It consists of a complex basket hilt and also a protective covering for the wielder’s hand. Rapier swords were mainly used in combination with daggers and cloaks for defence purposes.
European Style Saver Sword
Put into use by the cavalry and infantry by the army, European style saver contains a single-edged and curved blade covered with a large hand guard mainly used to cut and slash. This type of sword was generally placed in a scabbard and kept at the side as worn by the army, navy, Air Force and marine officers along with their ceremonial uniform.
This 6 th century sword is one of the most primitive swords of the medieval period. The broadsword consists of a double-edged blade along with a single fuller stretching till the edge. It was modified as a double-handed sword by the addition of an even hilt.
The speciality of the longsword was its double-handed grip and was famously known as the hand and a half sword. This sword later became the derivative of many modern-day weapons like polearms, staves and spears which were also incorporated in fencing.
Zweihander was a two-handed sword and a larger variant of the longsword mainly employed by the Germans and carried across the shoulders.
Swiss saber Sword
It equips a type of backsword Swiss saber with a straight blade or sometimes a curved blade. Plated with gold and silver, the Swiss saber swords were arranged in regular hilts along with pommels of varying designs and worn enclosed in a sheath.
Aimed at hitting the vital points, fencing swords were mainly used by the aristocrats. Some of the types of fencing swords include:
Epee consists of a long and rectangular cross-section with a triple edged blade and provides a pistol grip. Epee was the most predominantly used sword for shelling purposes in the 19 th century.
Sabers contain elongated blades where the pommel projects outward and enables the hand to be protected from any type of injury. They are usually preferred as they are extremely lightweight.
Foil type of sword contains blades which are tape tapered containing a sharp tip which bends on use and it is mainly used as a thrusting weapon.