Swords

Definition: A weapon consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved, pointed blade having one or two cutting edges and set into a hilt.

Swords started out copper, then bronze, and finally iron and steel. In the beginning, they were essentially long daggers and were made for thrusting just like their dagger counterparts. Eventually, swords were used for both thrusting and slashing depending on the individual design.

The Romans were among the first to use iron swords. Their short sword was called the gladius which is where the name for the roman gladiator came from. Gladiator essentially means "sword-man".

Broad Sword

As people learned to make lighter and stronger blades, they also made them longer. In the 11th and 12th centuries, they made the sword's blade broader, which became known as broad swords and were used mostly by commoners. The blade was about 3'6" long and was made for cutting. For added protection, it featured a basket hilt or shell guard.

Bastard Sword

This sword was also known as a hand and a half sword and was called a bastard sword because it was halfway between a long sword and a two-handed sword. It was primarily used by mercenaries, and consisted of a 4' to 4'10" double edged blade. This sword could be wielded with both hands if the warrior wanted to.

Claymore

This sword was also known as a Scottish Greatsword. The word comes from the Gaelic word claidheamohmor, which translates to greatsword. The large, straight, broad, double-edged blade was almost as large as a two-handed sword. This was used by mercenaries and Scottish highlanders.

Cutlass

This single edged short and heavy sword has a curved blade and basket hilt. It was used heavily by pirates.

Falchion

This sword has a single edge that is straight along the dull side and the sharp side curves to broaden the tip.

Gladius

This is a Roman shortsword used for thrusting. It was used by Roman Legionnaires and Gladiators. The few that were made exceptionally well were called a drusus.

Khopesh

The khopesh is an Egyptian sword that had a handle six inches long. The blade was straight for eighteen inches then curves for another two feet. It seems to be quite cumbersome.

Long Sword

This is probably the "standard" sword in most fantasy stories. It had either one or two sharp edges and was sometimes referred to as a double-edge sword, war sword, or military sword. The blade was 35-47 inches long and had a groove on each side that was called a fuller. This made the blade lighter and more flexible. The nobility commonly used this type of sword.

Rapier

In the 16th Century, the rapier was developed. Its primary role is for thrusting and is used in the sport of fencing. It has a long straight blade and is a very quick blade, and thus very good for parry and riposte moves. It was fashionable for nobles and gentlemen to use a rapier.

Scimitar and Sabre

This sword is named a scimitar, sabre, or saber depending on where you are. It has a long curved single-edged blade used by horsemen, typically light cavalry. The sabre was initially used in central Asia though the Persians used their own version, called the scimitar. The scimitar has a slightly greater curve and a pointed tip.

Two-Handed Sword

The length, weight, and balance of this sword were such that a person has to use both hands to use it. It was developed in the 15th century and used primarily by mercenaries against mounted troops and pikemen. The blade is 5'-6' long and has a large pommel to counterbalance the weight of the blade. This blade does a lot of damage, but the wielder can't use a shield and it is slow so it's not easy to parry with. If this were baseball, the slugger would wield the two-handed sword. Though he strikes out often, when he connects, it's a homerun.