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Medieval Swords and Daggers Terminology

Arming Sword - They are same as short swords. They came into being after 14th century. It was single handed and could be hung from the belt. The long sword hung from the saddle.

Backsword - The sword had only one edge sharpened. The non cutting edge was blunt and thick. This gave the sword a wedge shape. The shape enhanced the cutting capacity of the sword. "Mortuary Sword", or the German "Reitschwert" belong to this category.

Basilard - It is a two edged long sword. It was used in medieval era. It accompanied an armor but could be used by the civilians also.

Bastard Swords - evolved from the long sword in the 14th century, it had custom grips for one hand or two hands. The hilt had side rings and finger rings for the protection of the hand. The blade was pointed and tapered. They were used by knights and soldiers.

Broadsword - It is a name given by the Victorian sword collectors of the 19th century to the medieval swords. Medieval swords though of wide variety, had a long, wide, straight, double-edged blade with a simple cross-guard.

It may be that the term broad sword originated in the 17th century owing to these characteristics. Another version is that a broad sword if an 18th century short naval cutlass.

Claymore - It is a Scottish warrior identifying symbol. Claymore is the Gaelic term for "claidheamh-more" (great sword). It is a two handed heavy sword used by the Scottish Highlanders in 16th century.

Cut-and-Thrust Sword - It was a thin and tapered sword though shorter and wider than a rapier. It was a military weapon with a compound hilt. The swords were good at hacking, slashing and stabbing. It was later used by the civilians as well. Schiavona, spadroon, hanger, and Espadon are the swords of this category.

Dirk - A Scottish Highlander swore by it. It was a single edged dagger commonly used by the Scots. It evolved from ballock and kidney daggers.

Espada - It is a Spanish for sword.

Espee/Epee - Old and modern French terms for sword.

Estoc - IT was an edgeless longsword, long, rigid, pointed, triangular or square bladed used for thrusting into the plate armor. It was two handed with the second hand gripping the blade.It was called a "stocco" in Italian and a "tuck" in English

Falchion - It was a single-edged, heavy-bladed sword, widening towards the tip.It was probably a kitchen tool or a meat cleaver adapted for war. The term evolves from a French word for a sickle, "fauchon".

Flamberge - It was a modified rapier with a flame shaped blade often worm by the officials.

Great-Swords - They were the two handed infantry swords. The blade shape could be wide or narrow, flat or hexagonal. They could counter pole arms or axes and quite effective against light armor. These were evolved against the plate armor.

Longsword - It was a typical hand-and-a-half sword of the medieval era. It was popular between 14th and 15th century. It was 4' tp 4.5' long and could weigh upto 4lbs. It was straight, double edged with a simple cross hilt. It countered heavier mail, and reinforced mail armor quite effectively.

Main-gauche - It was the left-handed, parrying dagger used with the rapier.

Misericorde - It was a straight, narrow dagger used by the knights. The term evolve from "mercy" as it was used to kill the otherwise mortally wounded.

Rapier - It was a long, double-edged, slender bladed, single-handed sword. It was a civilian sword designed for thrust. It first appeared in the mid-16th century in Italy or Spain Rebated - It is a blunted sword for training or tournament.

Rondel dagger - It was a military dagger , about 18" with the pommel and hand-guard formed of roundels.

Sax/Saex - It was a long, heavy single-edged knife, up to 3' long with a sword hilt, used by the Celts similar to the Bowie knife. The Saxon race is said to have taken its name from this weapon, which originally meant stone.

Scabbard - It is a sword or dagger sheath made of sheepskin lined thin wood and covered in leather.

Schiavona - It is a Renaissance cut & thrust sword with a decorative cage-hilt and a "cat-head" pommel. Named after Schiavoni or Venetian Doge's Slavonic mercenaries and guards, they are single edged back-swords. It may have a double edged narrow blade. Scottish basket hilt broad sword owes its origin to schiavona.

Small-Sword - It is the late Renaissance sword used as a personal dueling tool and weapon of self-defense. It is often confused with a rapier. It has a sharp pointed rod and a small guard and finger rings. The blad ehad no edge and was thick at the hilt. It was also called "court-sword", a "walking-sword", or "town-sword" and was popular among the upper class.

Spada - Italian for sword.

Spatha - It is the Roman Cavalry sword.

Two-handed sword - it is the great sword of the 16th century used in siege warfare. The grip was proportionately long and the total length could be up to 6'. It is a term more commonly used for the renaissance sword. the German term is "Dopplehander" or "Schlachterschwerter". They were also known as the Slaughterswords. The claymore and flambards (the German" Flammenschwert") are examples of a two handed sword.

Waster - a wooden practice sword. Also called a bevin, bavin or cudgel.

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