Medieval Swords - Overview

To learn about swords, it's best to actually start with sword imagery. Let's start by looking at four different types of swords.

Medieval Swords

The top sword (with scabbard) is a Japanese katana - the longer of the traditional two-sword set a samurai would wear. It is in the image for comparison purposes. The second sword is hand forged, a modern replica of what a medieval style sword might be like. The third sword is a wooden sword used in sword practice. Finally, the bottom sword is a 40 inch recreation of a Charles V sword.

So, sword parts. Here is the same image, labeled.

Medieval Swords

To break it down further, click on any name below for a more complete description.

Blade - the length of metal that is used for attacking or defending (i.e. the entire metal length beyond the guard).

Edge - the sharp side of the blade. Japanese blades were typically single edged, while Medieval swords could have both sides sharpened.

Fuller - a groove running down the length of the blade. I have some books which claim this is a "blood groove" to help blood flow out of an enemy but other books which seem more reliable say it's to help the sword come out of a body without being caught (it breaks the suction).

Grip - the part of the hilt you grip with your hand for control.

Guard - a cross-piece on the hilt that keeps your hands safe from your opponent's weapon sliding down the length of your blade.

Hilt - the generic name for the entire part of the sword near your hands, the part that is not the blade.

Pommel - the knobby end of the hilt, used by the second hand for a ball-in-socket pivot point in many moves, or merely as a counterweight in one handed attacks.

Tip - the pointy end of the blade.

More detail about the swords demonstrated here:
Hand-forged medieval sword
Charles V Reproduction sword
Wooden practice sword
Japanese katana

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Medieval Keeps and Castles
Medieval Weapons

Life in Medieval Days

Academy of Knightly Arts - Live Sword Training School in New England

Lisa's Medieval Romances
Seeking the Truth
Knowing Yourself
A Sense of Duty

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