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15th Century AD Swords

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Swords History - 15th Century AD


Anelace Sword - Anelace was a very short sword and by some it was considered a long dagger. The sword was contemporary to the Italian Cinquedea. Anelace featured a double-edged blade that was very wide at the base of the hilt and tapered towards the point of the blade. The sword could be used to defend against sword attacks and also be used as a dagger.

Bastard Sword - The bastard sword, or contemporary espée bastarde, is a type of long sword dating from roughly the early 15th century. It received its name for fitting into neither the one-handed sword family, nor the two handed sword family, thus being labelled a "bastard". These weapons featured longer grips similar to those found on the longswords. The bastard sword, more so than the great sword, plays into the "hand-and-a-half sword" classification, as some great swords provided considerably more than an extra "half" hand for gripping. Like the transition swords, the first bastard swords featured a plain or cruciform cross-guard (cross) and a round or wheel pommel. Later development of the weapon, however, saw the inclusion of curved quillions, ring guards, and compound hilts similar to those on baskethilts. These served to provide increased protection for the wielder's hands and may have also positively affected the balance of the weapon.

Cinquedea Sword - Cinquedea is a short thrusting sword that originated in Northern Italy and was in use during the Renaissance period. The name “Cinquedea” means “five fingers” and it relates to the width of the blade by the hilt. The sword featured a heavy blade that was about 17inches in length. The blade tapered to the round point and it had multiple fullers in order to strengthen it. The hand-guard had a curved shape with the concave facing the blade. The sword was short so as a result its pommel was very small.

Katzbalger Sword - The Katzbalger sword belongs to the arming sword group. This type of sword was in use in Germany, during the Renaissance period and it was the companion to the Landsknecht Flamberge sword. In the battle, the sword was used as the last resort weapon.  The sword had rather wide blade and measured between approximately 30 to 33 inches in length. The sword weight was between 2.2 to 4.4lbs. The Katzbalger sword featured an S-shaped, twisted crossguard.

Kilij Sword - Kilij was a sword that was used by the Ottoman Turks and the Mamluks of Egypt. Kilij was the first sword with a curved blade that was introduced to Arabs, Persians and other Middle Eastern cultures. The kilij is the prototype sword from which many other blades were developed including the famous Persian shamshir. The original Kilij featured a blade that was narrow from the hilt to about ¾ of the blade where it flared out and then tapered again until the sharp point at the end of the blade. The characteristic flare-out formed a tip at the back of the blade. That tip was called “yelman”. The flare-out added a lot of cutting force to the blade. The pommel of the sword was curved towards the back of the sword. Kilij blades were often made from Damascene steel. Kilij type sword was also introduced to Europe by the Turkish conquests. Blades similar to Kilij were used by the Hungarians and Poles. Polish “Karabela” is an example of such adoption. Similarly during the Napoleonic Wars the French adapted this type of sabre for their light cavalry. Eventually the Kilij type blades made their way to Britain.

Kriegsmesser Sword - The Kriegsmesser was a large, two-handed, one-edged sword that was slightly curved. The Kriegsmesser simply looked like an oversized knife. The sword has its origins in the European Seax knife and the Falchion. The Falchion failed with its popularity in Germany and the big, knife-like sword developed on its own. The name of the sword, Kriegsmesser, means literally “war knife”. The sword really deserves this name as the hilt of the sword looks like an oversized knife handle. The pommel of the sword usually was curved to one side. The handle was made of two pieces of wood or bone, with full tang between them. The guard of the sword frequently was made of steel ring or plate or cruciform corssguard.

Two-handed Claymore Sword - One of the most famous two-handed swords was the claymore sword. The word claymore is derived from the Gaelic word “claidheamh mòr” meaning “great sword”. The name claymore actually refers to two types of swords. One of the swords is the two-handed longsword and the other one refers to much shorter and single-handed basked-hilted sword. The basket-hilted claymore sword was first used in the 16th century. This type of sword is still used as a part of the ceremonial dress of the Scottish highland regiments. The two-handed highland claymore sword was used during the late Medieval Age and in the Renaissance. This longsword was used in the wars between Scottish clans and the wars with the English. The Scottish claymore had distinctive design that featured a cross-hilt with downward sloping arms. The arms of the cross-hilt often ended with four-leaf clover design. There were also other, less known, claymore swords that had a very different, clamshell hilt design. An average, two-handed claymore sword was about 55 inches in length where the blade part measured 42 inches and the hilt measured 13 inches. The weight of the claymore was about 5.5lbs.

Sword History | Sword Origin Timeline

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