Medieval Swords - OverviewTo learn about swords, it's best to actually start with sword imagery. Let's start by looking at four different types of 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.
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
Medieval Swords and Swordfighting
Medieval Bows and Arrows
Medieval Keeps and Castles
Life in Medieval Days
Academy of Knightly Arts - Live Sword Training School in New England
Lisa's Medieval Romances
Seeking the Truth
A Sense of Duty
Online Literary Magazines
Lisa Shea Website Main Page