Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Medieval swords

Swords have fascinated people for centuries. The reason for that is perhaps the romantic light that has been cast on them by authors through the years or perhaps by the power associated with them. Swords have been a symbol of power and strength throughout the world from ancient times and this did not change until swords became militarily redundant with the advent of more advanced firearms.

The spatha, the long sword of the Romans, was in essence similar to the swords used throughout the Middle Ages. Longsword is a sword especially favored by early medieval barbarian soldiers usually of simple broad shape. These swords could be single or double edged with a rounded point made for slashing and cutting rather than thrusting.

It was a weapon that was useful on foot and on horseback, against unarmored or heavily armored opponents. The longsword could be held with one or two hands on the hilt to slash, or held at the half-sword for thrusting. It could even be turned around and swung as a hammer.

Viking warriors took justifiable pride in their swords. They were expensive and well made, some crafted by smiths who signed their work down the middle of the blade. They were made from iron welded together and then twisted and remade, and then twisted and remade again, over and over until the strongest blade was achieved.

The sword was the close-combat weapon of choice for almost all barbarian soldiers, both cavalry and infantry. While the Romans preferred the short gladius, which was used primarily for thrusting, the barbarians chose the longer spatha, which was both a slashing and a thrusting weapon.

The Viking swords, which evolved from the Roman long double-edged sword ( spatha) and whose evolution stages are nowadays relatively well-known, the different types of swords had been in use in the eastern Mediterranean and Byzantium.

The swords in Byzantium until the 12th century were of more diverse forms as a result of various influences and traditions meeting there. In addition to the Roman tradition, which resulted in using the long sword (spatha) and short sword (gladius) mentioned in the armament of the Byzantine cavalry in the beginning of the 10th century various sword types were also the result of influences from the west, of the barbarian tribes during Great Migration (Herules), the Slavic and Viking mercenaries in the Early Middle Ages and also from the east, rst of all from Persia and sometime later from Syria.
Medieval swords
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