Medieval Sword

Weapons and Warfare


Oakeshott’s Typology of the Medieval Sword – A Summary

The medieval weapon par excellence. Iron made a significant difference, producing a thinner and more flexible weapon. The Roman sword was short and stout, primarily for thrusting. Its development probably came via the Greeks and Etruscans. Iron swords were found at La Tene on Lake Neuchatel. Styria was an important centre of manufacture. Early users were the Celts who developed the pattern-welded blade with strips of iron twisted together cold and then forged; twisted again and re-forged to the edges. The blade was then filed and burnished, leaving a pattern from the now smooth surface of twisted metal. Unlike bronze, iron was worked by forging rather than casting. Iron made possible a different structure for the sword, with a tang from the blade over which the handle could be slotted. Iron had advantages but a longer iron sword would bend and…

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