A collection of information, facts and history of the various types of Swords around the world.
Small Japanese swords that have no guard.
Used by the Moros of the Philippines as a weapon and sometimes a tool.
Bearing: These swords were made for ritual use at various ceremonies of importance. The Bearing Swords were carried various inscriptions that referred to the leader. These Swords were carried by someone walking behind the leader who would point the sword in a skyward direction. These Swords seems to have originated around the seventh century.
Was a short bladed, single edged sword that had a straight or sometimes slight curved blade.
Bokken Wooden Sword
A Bokken is a wooden sword that originated in Japan. Its purpose was for training. In Japan it is usually referred to as, bokut. The bokken usually is constructed to the size and shape of a katana sword. The bokken was a popular training sword with the Samurai. Used by the Samurai, the Bokken could easily kill and was usually kept next to the bed so intruders could be killed without spilling blood in the house. In the movie, The Last Samurai, the Bokken is featured during the training sessions.
These are highly decorated swords that are connected with Monarchy.
Was a military type of swords that had a wide blade with a single edge.
Chisa Katana Sword
Eighteen to twenty-four inches long. It is in fact a shortened Katana Sword, but does not include a companion blade. The word, Chisa, means short. The chisa katana sword could be used with either one or two hands. The hilt is usually around ten to eleven inches in length. Chisa Katana were most commonly made in the Buke-Zukuri mounting. They were not a common sword.
The Japanese Chokuto Sword (or Chukandomowas) were straight and single-edged, although sometimes partially double. The Chokuto Sword is a copy of a sword that was originally brought into Japan from China and Korea during the 4th and 5th centuries. The Chokuto Sword was developed before differential tempering technology evolved. They were made with a hira-zukuri or kiriha-zukuri tsukurikomi blade style. The Chokuto was hardly used in battle due to the fact that is was shown to be less effective against other swords which were lighter and had curved blades. Over time, the Chokuto came to be used as a temple offering sword.
Was a civilian short sword developed in northern Italy. The Sword was very popular during the Italian renaissance of the 15th and early 16th centuries. inquedea means “five fingers”. It gained its name due to its five-finger wide blade at the hilt. The Cinquedea Sword was generally used as a thrusting weapon. It was carried horizontally next to the buttocks. The width of the blade gave the Cinquedea Sword its strength to penetrate gaps in armor plate. A 15th Century Cinquedea comes with a scabbard.
The name given to two distinct types of Scottish swords. The name claymore may have come from claidheamh mòr, a Gaelic term meaning “great sword”. The two-handed claymore was in use around 1500 to 1700. It was smaller then other two-handed swords of that era. There is also evidence of the basket hilt sword being referred to as a claymore. The first instance in which a written usage of this word is after the beginning of the 1715 uprising. Scottish basket-hilt sword is often distinguished from others by the velvet liner inside the basket (often in red), and also sometimes by additional decorative tassels on the hilt or pommel.
A short, thick sabre or slashing type of sword. The Cutlass has a straight or slightly curved blade that is sharpened on the cutting edge. It has a hilt that often features a solid cupped or basket-shaped guard. Throughout history the Cutlass Sword has often been popular with sailors. The Sword was powerful enough to hack through heavy ropes, canvas, and wood. A cutlass has also been used in history as an agricultural implement and tool. The last use of a cutlass in a boarding action by the British Royal Navy is recorded as being as late as 1941. The cutlass sword remained an official weapon in the U.S. Navy stores until 1949.
First appeared in 1680 and soon became highly popular with the royal European courts. The colichemarde sword probably descended from the “transition rapier”. The colichemarde Sword was mostly used as a dueling weapon. The Colichemarde Sword was popular from around 1700 to 1800. The shape of a colichemarde combines good parrying qualities with good thrusting abilities and the ability to fence faster. One of the descendants of the colichemarde is the modern fencing weapon, the épée.
Ancient Chinese single-edge broad-blade swords.
A long dagger or sometimes a cut-down sword blade mounted on a dagger hilt. The word Dirk could have possibly derived from the Gaelic word sgian dearg (red knife). The blade length of the Dirk sword varied, but was generally around 7-14 inches. The Irish versions were as much as 21 inches in length. In battle, the Dirk was a backup to the broadsword, and was wielded by the left hand. The dirk sword was carried everywhere the owner went. The dirk was worn in plain view suspended from a belt at the waist.
A thick, long handled, Japanese battle sword. The Dotanuki was made to slice through a target with just a single cut. The Dotanuki was the only sword capable of slicing in half a samurai wearing full armour. Dotanuki was the name of a Shintô period smithing school in Higo Province, south Japan where a number of smiths used the name dotanuki. The Dotanuki Sword was a favorite weapon of Japans feudal warlords. Was popular isa use during the Azuchi-Momoyama (1568-1600) period.
Was used in founding the sport of fencing.
The French Estoc Sword was a longsword varient. It was developed for fighting against chain mail or plate armour. The Estoc Sword had no cutting edge, only a point. It was long, straight and stiff. It had a diamond or triangular cross-section. The Estoc length varied from 46 inches to 62 inches. Originally, the Estoc sword was simply hung from the belt, but later infantrymen using it began to wear it in a scabbard. Most Estoc were two-handed swords.
A one-handed, single-edge sword that is of European origin. It could be said that the Falchion has the versatility of a sword, but the weight and power of an axe. The Falchion Sword was found in various varients from he 11th century to the sixteenth century. The wide cutting blade of the Falchion sword was very effective against mail armor. The falchion sword was popular with all classes, from soldiers, knights to nobility. Very few Falchion Swords still exist today, despite its popularity when in use.
Typical of Pre-Roman Hispania. The Falcata is similar to the Greek kopis or Nepalese kukri. The falcata derives from the sickle-shape knives of the Iron Age. It is a one-edge sword, but two-edge falcatas have been discovered in limited numbers. The Falcata Sword was so strong and powerful, it forced the Roman Legions to reinforce their shield borders and armours. The hilt of the Falcata Sword is typically hook-shaped.
The word “Gladiator” derives from this Sword. Double edge bladed Swords used by the Roman Legions as their standard weapon.
Hachiwara Helmet Breakers
The Japanese Hachiwara was a parring weapon that was often referred to as a helmet breaker or sometimes a sword breaker. The Hachiwara were carried by the Samurai as a side-arm. The blades were usually of a square cross-section design with a hook next to the grip. They were 12 to 15 inches in length. The mounts of the Hachiwara were mostly of carved wood or carved cinnabar lacquer. The Hachiwara were designed to parry an opponents sword or hook into an opponents helmet.
Sometimes called “the shell” it gained its name because it was hung from the belt. They were often covered with Navel Motifs.
A curved, single-edged Japanese sword. The Katana Sword was used by the samurai. The Katana was popular after the 1400s and usually paired with the wakizashi, shoto or the tanto. The katana sword is a shorter version of the ancient tachi sword. It was developed after a need for a sword more suited to man to man combat.
Was a type of Polish sabre (szabla) that became famous in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1670s. The karabela sword has an open hilt with the pommel modelled after an eagles head. In the early stages, the karabela were used as a ceremonial weapon worn on special occasions or for decoration. Later, the karabela was a popular choice for battle. But ornate karabelas were not used in battle. The name, Karabela, may have been coined after the Italian terms caro (expensive) and bello (beautiful), though the exact etymology remains obscure. In Turkish, Karabela could be understood as “Black Misfortune”, from the Turkish “Kara” meaning black and the Arabic “Bela” meaning misfortune, calamity, trial, curse.
Short punching swords used in Persia.
May have originated in Germany. It was used as a military sword during the fifteenth century. The Katzbalger was popular among the German Landsknecht mercenaries for close-quarter combat. The Katzbalger Sword was designed with a large figure eight guard that protects the hand if the opposing sword should slide down the blade. This sword includes in the scabbard a small knife and a bodkin point tool for various utilitarian purposes. A katzbalger Sword would often be used by pikemen, archers, and crossbowmen as a last resort if the enemy were to draw too close for bows or pikes to be effective.
A Turkish Saber that dates back to the tenth century. The Kilij was a military weapon and often had inscriptions of a military nature.
A short Japanese sword that is too short to be considered a long sword but too long to be a dagger. Its length is similar to that of the wakizashi. The Kodachi Sword is excellent in hand to hand combat due to the fact it is easily drawn and easy to swing. Because the Kodachi Swordit was less then the blade length limits applied to non-samurai during the Edo period it was able be worn by merchants. It is a one handed sword that offers a near impenetrable defense.
Although Kopis is a Greek word, it is thought these swords may have originated from the Egyptian khopesh. It is a single edge sword that has a forward-curved blade.
A type of Egyptian sword that appears to have been developed from the sickle sword.
Malayan double-edged blade.
A large, curved, single-edged two-handed sword that was popular in 15th and 16th century Germany. The name Kriegsmesser translates to “War Knife.” It recieved its name because the hilt configuration resembled that of a knife handle. Mostly the Kriegsmesser Sword had a blade that was usually single edged and curved, but there were other variants. The length of the Kriegsmesser Sword was around the same length as the longsword. The Kriegsmesser sword was part of the equipment of the Imperial Guard.
Was a cross-hilted, curved, scimitar-like sword that originated in Persia. Although no longer used in active combat, the Mameluke sword continues to be used as a ceremonial sidearm. In 1825, the Mameluke sword was adopted for wear by Marine officers in the United States. During most of the 19th century, Mameluke swords were carried as dress or levée swords by officers of most Light Cavalry, Hussar, and some Heavy Cavalry regiments of the British Army. Except for the period from 1859 to 1875, commissioned Marine officers of the United States have carried the Mameluke sword.
A large two-handed Japanese sword. The Nodachi to the tachi, but much longer. The Nodachi Sword was carried by foot soldiers and designed as a weapon for open battlefields. The drawback of the Nodachi was that it required great strength to properly wield. Foot soldiers would carry the sword with the flat edge against the shoulder and the fuchi, or butt of the tsuka, in the palms of the hands and the blade facing out toward the enemy. The sword would often be thrown at the enemy. During times of peace the Nodachi was worn slung across the back. The length of the nodachi hilt varied between twelve to thirteen inches (30 to 33 centimeters).
Long, straight, Filipino swords.
Presentation Swords: are given to those individuals that have earned them, “not simply inherited them”. They are usually given for military or political service. The giving of Presentation Swords was a long established tradition in Russia.
The Rapier originated in Spain. The Rapier was more of an ornamental sword that became popular in Britain.
One of the most popular swords in history it was widely used by the Cavalry in most countries.
Very popular during the 16th and 17th centuries of Italy. This Renaissance sword comes from the 16th-century sword of the Venetian Dog guard. The Schiavona Sword is classified as a true broadsword. It was basket hilted and usually also had an imbedded quillon for an upper guard. The Schiavona Sword had a wider blade than its contemporary civilian rapiers. It has a double edged blade. The Schiavona Sword was the weapon of choice for many heavy cavalry.
Hunting swords that eventually became popular with the Persions.
A Germanic single-edged knife mostly used as a tool, but could also be used as a weapon. The small Seax Knive was called a hadseax, and used as a tool. The larger ones were called, langseax, and were probably weapons. The seax was worn in a horizontal sheath at the front of the belt. Wearing a seax may have been indicative of freemanship. It may be that the Saxons derived their name from seax (the implement for which they were known). The seax has a lasting symbolic impact in the English counties of Middlesex and Essex, which both feature three seaxes in their ceremonial emblem.
A kind of sabre. It has a very sharp type of single edged, single handed. The Shashka Sword has a slightly curved blade with double edges. It is midway between a full sabre and a straight sword. The shashka sword originated among the mountain peoples of the Caucasus. Later, it was used by Russian and Ukrainian Cossacks. During World War Two, various types of shashka were carried by the Soviet cavalry. The Shashka is a combat sword and its construction was built for that sole purpose.
A concealed sword that is usually disguised as a cane or a walking stick. They are also known as joto (staff-sword). The Shikomizue was used almost exclusively during the Meiji period when the carrying of swords was banned. The Shikomizue Sword was often carried by Japanese government officials during the Meiji period. The Shikomizue Sword mountings were highly decorated and should not to be confused with the plain wooden mountings of the Shirasaya mountings. Some Shikomizue were full length concealed swords, others were short blades so the other end could be removed turning the stick into a short spear. Another Shikomizue version was for the blade to be attached to a shorter handle so the stick remains could be held in one hand and the blade in the other.
A newly forged, extremely sharp, high level sword that is usually used for cutting practice. Blades are folded to Japanese standards. The meaning of shinken is real sword or live sword. The Shinken Sword is hand-made by one of around 250 Japanese swordsmiths who are mostly members of the Japanese Swordsmith Association. Each swordsmith are limited by Japanese law to producing no more than twenty-four swords a year. They are an extremely expensive sword that can price in the tens of thousands.
Designed for the purpose of thrusting. They are similar to the Rapier.
Developed in Britain the Spadroon turned out to be a poorly designed weapon. It did however gain much use in the United States Army.
Popular during the 1790s among military and naval officers. It is a light sword with a straight blade of the cut and thrust type. In France, it was known as the épée Anglaise. The Spadroon Sword was also popular in Britain and the United States. The blade usually had a broad, central fuller and a single edge, often with a false edge near the tip. Hilts were often of the beaded or “five-ball” type with a stirrup guard.
Straight swords used by the Roman cavalry.
Double-edged swords was used for war by the ancient Greeks.
Swordsmanship refers to the skills of a swordsman, a person versed in the art of the sword. The term is modern, and as such was mainly used to refer to smallsword fencing, but by extension it can also be applied to any martial art involving the use of a sword.
Tachi Japanese Sword
One of the earliest Japanese swords is called the tachi. The Tachi Japanese Sword is also the most common of all swords in Japanese History. The tachi sword was worn hanging from the waist using cords. The Tachi sword came about as a need developed for a sword that was useable for horseback fighting. Previously sword fighting had been done on foot. During the era of the Japanese Tachi Sword it started to became common practise for the sword makers to sign their name on the blade. Later, when the Mongols invaded, it was shown there were some weaknesses in the Tachi sword which eventually led to the development of the Katana sword style. As time went on, the Tachi sword became more ceremonial in nature.
The predecessor of the katana. The Uchigatana Sword was created developed during the Muromachi Period. The uchigatana was worn edge-up in the belt. The development of the Uchigatana Sword came about as a need for speed on the battlefield where it was paramount for quickly unsheathing ones sword. With the chigatana, figters were able to unsheath and cutt the enemy down in one smooth, fast action. The curvature on the blade of the uchigatana is near the sword’s point (sakizori). The uchigatana was forged in both long and short lengths.