The Viking Age sword or Carolingian sword is the type of sword prevalent in Western and Northern Europe during the Early Middle Ages. The Viking Age or Carolingian-era sword developed in the 8th century from the Merovingian sword and during the 11th to 12th century in turn gave rise to the knightly sword of the Romanesque period. Although popularly called "Viking sword", this type of sword was produced in the Frankish Empire during the Carolingian era; the association of the name "Viking" with these swords is due to the disappearance of grave goods in Christian Francia in the 8th century, due to which the bulk of sword blades of Frankish manufacture of this period were found in pagan burials of Viking Age Scandinavia, imported by trade, ransom payment or looting, while continental European finds are limited to stray finds in riverbeds. Swords of the 8th to 10th centuries are termed "Carolingian swords", while swords of the late Viking Age and the beginning High Middle Ages blend into the category of Norman swords or the early development of the knightly sword.
During the reign of Charlemagne, the price of a sword with scabbard was set at seven solidi. Swords were still comparatively costly weapons, although not as exclusive as during the Merovingian period, in Charlemagne's capitularies, only members of the cavalry, who could afford to own and maintain a warhorse, were required to be equipped with swords. Regino's Chronicle suggests that by the end of the 9th century, the sword was seen as the principal weapon of the cavalry. There are few references to Carolingian-era sword production, apart from a reference to emundatores vel politores present in the workshops of the Abbey of Saint Gall. Two men sharpening swords, one using a grindstone the other a file, are shown in the Utrecht Psalter; the sword replaced the sax during the late 8th to early 9th century. Because grave goods were no longer deposited in Francia in the 8th century, continental finds are limited to stray finds in riverbeds, most extant examples of Carolingian swords are from graves from northern or eastern cultures where pagan burial customs were still in effect.
Pattern welding fell out of use in the 9th century. Better steel allowed the production of narrower blades, the swords of the 9th century have more pronounced tapering than their 8th-century predecessors, shifting the point of balance towards the hilt. Coupland proposes that this development may have accelerated the disappearance of the sax, as the sword was now available for swift striking, while the migration-period spatha was used to deliver heavy blows aimed at damaging shields or armour; the improved morphology combined maneuverability and weight in a single weapon, rendering the sax redundant. Swords were costly to make, a sign of high status. Owning a sword was a matter of high honour. Persons of status might own ornately decorated swords with silver inlays. Most Viking warriors would own a sword as one raid was enough to afford a good blade. Most freemen would own a sword with goðar, jarls and sometimes richer freemen owning much more ornately decorated swords; the poor farmers would use an axe or spear instead but after a couple of raids they would have enough to buy a sword.
One sword mentioned in the Laxdæla saga was valued at half a crown, which would correspond to the value of 16 milk-cows. Constructing such weapons was a specialized endeavour and many sword-blades were imported from foreign lands, such as the Rhineland. Swords could take up to a month to forge and were of such high value that they were passed on from generation to generation; the older the sword, the more valuable it became. Local craftsmen added their own elaborately decorated hilts, many swords were given names, such as Leg-biter and Gold-hilt; as mentioned above, a sword was so valued in Norse society that good blades were prized by successive generations of warriors. There is some evidence from Viking burials for the deliberate and ritual "killing" of swords, which involved the blade being bent so that it was unusable; because Vikings were buried with their weapons, the "killing" of swords may have served two functions. A ritualistic function in retiring a weapon with a warrior, a practical function in deterring any grave robbers from disturbing the burial in order to get one of these costly weapons.
Indeed, archaeological finds of the bent and brittle pieces of metal sword remains testify to the regular burial of Vikings with weapons, as well as the habitual "killing" of swords. The Swords were not exclusive to the Vikings, but rather was used throughout Europe The Frankish swords had pommels shaped in a series of three or five rounded lobes; this was a native Frankish development which did not exist prior to the 8th century, the design is represented in the pictorial art of the period, e.g. in the Stuttgart Psalter, Utrecht Psalter, Lothar Gospels and Bern Psychomachia manuscripts, as well as in the wall frescoes in the church in Mals, South Tyrol. The custom of inlaid inscriptions in the blades is Frankish innovation dating to the reign of Charlemagne, notably in the Ulfberht group of blades, but continued into the high medieval period and peaking in popularity in the 12th century. While blade inscriptions become more common over the Viking Age, the custom of hilt decorations in precious metals, inherited from the Merovingian sword and widespr
A sword is a bladed weapon intended for slashing or thrusting, longer than a knife or dagger, consisting of a long blade attached to a hilt. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographic region under consideration; the blade can be curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, tend to be straighter. Many swords are designed for both slashing; the sword developed in the Bronze Age, evolving from the dagger. The Iron Age sword remained short and without a crossguard; the spatha, as it developed in the Late Roman army, became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages, at first adopted as the Migration Period sword, only in the High Middle Ages, developed into the classical arming sword with crossguard. The word sword continues the Old English, sweord; the use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or, in a modern context, as fencing. In the Early Modern period, western sword design diverged into two forms, the thrusting swords and the sabers.
The thrusting swords such as the rapier and the smallsword were designed to impale their targets and inflict deep stab wounds. Their long and straight yet light and well balanced design made them maneuverable and deadly in a duel but ineffective when used in a slashing or chopping motion. A well aimed lunge and thrust could end a fight in seconds with just the sword's point, leading to the development of a fighting style which resembles modern fencing; the saber and similar blades such as the cutlass were built more and were more used in warfare. Built for slashing and chopping at multiple enemies from horseback, the saber's long curved blade and forward weight balance gave it a deadly character all its own on the battlefield. Most sabers had sharp points and double-edged blades, making them capable of piercing soldier after soldier in a cavalry charge. Sabers continued to see battlefield use until the early 20th century; the US Navy kept tens of thousands of sturdy cutlasses in their armory well into World War II and many were issued to marines in the Pacific as jungle machetes.
Non-European weapons called "sword" include single-edged weapons such as the Middle Eastern scimitar, the Chinese dao and the related Japanese katana. The Chinese jìan is an example of a non-European double-edged sword, like the European models derived from the double-edged Iron Age sword; the first weapons that can be described as "swords" date to around 3300 BC. They have been found in Arslantepe, are made from arsenical bronze, are about 60 cm long; some of them are inlaid with silver. The sword developed from the dagger. A knife is unlike a dagger in that a knife has only one cutting surface, while a dagger has two cutting surfaces; when the construction of longer blades became possible, from the late 3rd millennium BC in the Middle East, first in arsenic copper in tin-bronze. Blades longer than 60 cm were rare and not practical until the late Bronze Age because the Young's modulus of bronze is low, longer blades would bend easily; the development of the sword out of the dagger was gradual.
These are the "type A" swords of the Aegean Bronze Age. One of the most important, longest-lasting, types swords of the European Bronze Age was the Naue II type known as Griffzungenschwert; this type first appears in c. the 13th century BC in Northern Italy, survives well into the Iron Age, with a life-span of about seven centuries. During its lifetime, metallurgy changed from bronze to iron, but not its basic design. Naue II swords were exported from Europe to the Aegean, as far afield as Ugarit, beginning about 1200 BC, i.e. just a few decades before the final collapse of the palace cultures in the Bronze Age collapse. Naue II swords could be as long as 85 cm. Robert Drews linked the Naue Type II Swords, which spread from Southern Europe into the Mediterranean, with the Bronze Age collapse. Naue II swords, along with Nordic full-hilted swords, were made with functionality and aesthetics in mind; the hilts of these swords were beautifully crafted and contained false rivets in order to make the sword more visually appealing.
Swords coming from northern Denmark and northern Germany contained three or more fake rivets in the hilt. Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty; the technology for bronze swords reached its high point during the Warring States period and Qin Dynasty. Amongst the Warring States period swords, some unique technologies were used, such as casting high tin edges over softer, lower tin cores, or the application of diamond shaped patterns on the blade. Unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze, hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze, which bends if stressed too far. Although iron swords were made alongside bronze, it was not until the early Han period that iron replaced bronze. In the Indian subcontinent, earliest available Bronze age swords of copper were discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization sites in the northwestern regions of South Asia. Swords have been recovered in
A dagger is a knife with a sharp point and two sharp edges designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon. Daggers have been used throughout human experience for close combat confrontations, many cultures have used adorned daggers in ritual and ceremonial contexts; the distinctive shape and historic usage of the dagger have made it symbolic. A dagger in the modern sense is a weapon designed for close-proximity self-defense. Double-edged knives, play different sorts of roles in different social contexts. In some cultures, they are neither a potent symbol of manhood. A wide variety of thrusting knives have been described as daggers, including knives that feature only a single cutting edge, such as the European rondel dagger or the Persian pesh-kabz, or, in some instances, no cutting edge at all, such as the stiletto of the Renaissance. However, in the last hundred years or so, in most contexts, a dagger has certain definable characteristics, including a short blade with a tapered point, a central spine or fuller, two cutting edges sharpened the full length of the blade, or nearly so.
Most daggers feature a full crossguard to keep the hand from riding forwards onto the sharpened blade edges. Daggers are weapons, so knife legislation in many places restricts their manufacture, possession, transport, or use; the earliest daggers were made of materials such as ivory or bone in Neolithic times. Copper daggers appeared first in the early Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC, copper daggers of Early Minoan III were recovered at Knossos. In ancient Egypt, daggers were made of copper or bronze, while royalty had gold weapons. At least since pre-dynastic Egypt, daggers were adorned as ceremonial objects with golden hilts and even more ornate and varied construction. One early silver dagger was recovered with midrib design; the 1924 opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun revealed two daggers, one with a gold blade, one of smelted iron. It is held. Circa B. C. 1600. As late as Mene-ptah II. of the Nineteenth Dynasty, we read it in the list of his loot, after the Prosopis battle, of bronze armour and daggers.
Iron production did not begin until 1200 BC, iron ore was not found in Egypt, making the iron dagger rare, the context suggests that the iron dagger was valued on a level equal to that of its ceremonial gold counterpart. These facts, the composition of the dagger had long suggested a meteoritic origin, evidence for its meteoritic origin was not conclusive until June 2016 when researchers using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry confirmed similar proportions of metals in a meteorite discovered in the area, deposited by an ancient meteor shower. One of the earliest objects made of smelted iron is a dagger dating to before 2000 BC, found in a context that suggests it was treated as an ornamental object of great value. Found in a Hattic royal tomb dated about 2500 BC, at Alaca Höyük in northern Anatolia, the dagger has a smelted iron blade and a gold handle; the artisans and blacksmiths of Iberia in what is now southern Spain and southwestern France produced various iron daggers and swords of high quality from the 5th to the 3rd century BC, in ornamentation and patterns influenced by Greek and Phoenician culture.
The exceptional purity of Iberian iron and the sophisticated method of forging, which included cold hammering, produced double-edged weapons of excellent quality. One can find technologically advanced designs such as folding knives rusted among the artifacts of many Second Iberian Iron Age cremation burials or in Roman Empire excavations all around Spain and the Mediterranean. Iberian infantrymen carried several types of iron daggers, most of them based on shortened versions of double-edged swords, but the true Iberian dagger had a triangular-shaped blade. Iberian daggers and swords were adopted by Hannibal and his Carthaginian armies; the Lusitanii, a pre-Celtic people dominating the lands west of Iberia held off the Roman Empire for many years with a variety of innovative tactics and light weapons, including iron-bladed short spears and daggers modeled after Iberian patterns. During the Roman Empire, legionaries were issued a pugio, a double-edged iron thrusting dagger with a blade of 7–12 inches.
The design and fabrication of the pugio was taken directly from short swords. Like the gladius, the pugio was most used as a thrusting; as an extreme close-quarter combat weapon, the pugio was the Roman soldier's last line of defense. When not in battle, the pugio served as a convenient utility knife; the term dagger appears only in the Late Middle Ages, reflecting the fact that while the dagger had been known in antiquity, it had disappeared during the Early Middle Ages, replaced by the hewing knife or seax. The dagger reappeared in the 12th century as the "knightly dagger", or more properly cross-hilt or quillon dagger, was developed into a common arm and tool for civilian use by the late medieval period; the earliest known depiction of a cross-hilt dagger is the so-called "Guido relief" inside the Grossmünster of Zürich. A number of depictio
The spatha was a type of straight and long sword, measuring between 0.75 and 1 m, with a handle length between 18 and 20 cm, in use in the territory of the Roman Empire during the 1st to 6th centuries AD. Swords, from the 7th to 10th centuries, like the Viking swords, are recognizable derivatives and sometimes subsumed under the term spatha; the Roman spatha was used in gladiatorial fights. The spatha of literature appears in the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD as a weapon used by Germanic auxiliaries and became a standard heavy infantry weapon, relegating the gladius to use as a light infantry weapon; the spatha replaced the gladius in the front ranks, giving the infantry more reach when thrusting. While the infantry version had a long point, versions carried by the cavalry had a rounded tip that prevented accidental stabbing of the cavalryman's own foot or horse. Archaeologically many instances of the spatha have been found in Germany, it was used extensively by Germanic warriors. It is unclear whether it came from the Pompeii gladius or the longer Celtic swords, or whether it served as a model for the various arming swords and Viking swords of Europe.
The spatha remained popular throughout the Migration Period. It evolved into the knightly sword of the High Middle Ages by the 12th century; the word comes from the Latin spatha, which derives from Greek σπάθη, meaning "any broad blade, of wood or metal" but "broad blade of a sword". The Greek word σπάθη was used in the middle archaic period for various types of Iron Age swords; the word does not appear in Homeric Greek, but it is mentioned in the works of Alcaeus of Mytilene and Theophrastus. It is that spatha is the romanization of a Doric Greek σπάθα The word survives in Modern Greek as σπάθη and σπαθί; the Latin word became the French épée, Catalan espasa and Spanish espada, Italian spada, Romanian spadă and Albanian shpata, all meaning "sword". The English word spatula comes from the diminutive of spatha. English spade, from Old English spadu or spædu, is the Germanic cognate, derived from a Common Germanic *spadō from a Proto-Indo-European stem *sph2-dh-; the spatha was introduced to the Roman army in the early imperial period by Celtic cavalry auxiliaries who continued to wear their Celtic long swords, with blade lengths of 60 to 75 cm, in Roman service.
The earlier gladius sword was replaced by the spatha from the late 2nd to the 3rd century. From the early 3rd century and cavalrymen began to wear their swords on the left side because the scutum had been abandoned and the spatha had replaced the gladius. In the imperial period, the Romans adopted the original Greek term, spáthē, as spatha, which still carried the general meaning of any object considered long and flat. Spatha appears first in Pliny and Seneca with different meanings: a spatula, a metal-working implement, a palm-leaf and so on. There is no hint of any native Roman sword called a spatha. Referring to an actual sword, the term first appears in the pages of Tacitus with reference to an incident of the early empire; the British king, having rebelled, found himself trapped on a rocky hill, so that if he turned one way he encountered the gladii of the legionaries, if the other, the spathae of the auxiliaries. Tacitus does not identify the auxiliaries, since the Romans employed both transplanted soldiers and local levies, it is impossible to know the origins of the Roman auxiliaries in Tacitus' account.
Most examples of spathae come from Eastern Europe, however. There is an excellent chance. There is no indication in Tacitus either; when the spathae next appeared, after a mysterious lacuna of about two centuries, they became the standard weapon of heavy infantry. The Romans could have borrowed this weapon from the auxiliaries Germanic mercenaries, but the name does not support this origin. Spatha was not a Germanic name, nor is there any indication anywhere what its Germanic name was. There are a plenitude of Germanic names, such as Old English sweord, so on, but no evidence to tie any name to the spatha, never used in Germanic languages as the name of a sword; the spatha remained in use in its army. In the Byzantine court, spatharios, or "bearer of the spatha", was a mid-level court title. Other variants deriving from it were protospatharios, spatharokandidatos and spatharokoubikoularios, the latter reserved for eunuchs. One of the more famous spatharokandidatoi was Harald Hardrada; the Roman Iron Age refers to the time of the Roman Empire in north Europe, outside the jurisdiction of the empire, judging from the imported Roman artifacts, was influenced by Roman civilization.
One source of artifacts from this period are the bogs of Schleswig and Denmark. Objects were deliberately broken and thrown into the bog in the belief that they could go with a deceased chief on his voyage to a better place. A cache of 90 swords was found at Nydam Mose in Denmark in 1858, they were in the form of the spatha and therefore have been classified as "Roman swords". They are dated to the 3rd to 4th centuries. Many connect the Nydam cache with the sword of Beowulf, supposed to be a contemporary. Surviving examples of these Germanic Iron Age swords have blades measuring between 71 and 81 cm in length and 43 to 61 mm in width; these single handed weapons of war sport a tang 10 to 13 cm long and have lit
In the European High Middle Ages, the typical sword was a straight, double-edged weapon with a single-handed, cruciform hilt and a blade length of about 70 to 80 centimetres. This type is depicted in period artwork, numerous examples have been preserved archaeologically; the high medieval sword of the Romanesque period developed from the Viking sword of the 9th century. In the Late Medieval period, late forms of these swords continued to be used, but as a sidearm, at that point called "arming swords" and contrasting with the two-handed, heavier longswords. Though the majority of late-medieval arming swords kept their blade properties from previous centuries, there are surviving specimens from the 15th century that took the form of a late-medieval estoc, specialised for use against more armoured opponents. After the end of the medieval period, the arming sword developed into several forms of the early modern one-handed straight swords, such as the side-sword, the rapier, the cavalry-focused Reiterschwert and certain types of broadsword.
The term "arming sword" is first used in the 15th century to refer to the single-handed type of sword after it had ceased to serve as the main weapon, was on its way to being used as a side-sword. "Arming sword" in late medieval usage refers to the when worn as a side-arm, but as a modern term it may refer to any single-handed sword in a late medieval context. The terms "knight's sword" or "knightly sword" are modern retronyms to specify the sword of the high medieval period. Period terminology for swords is somewhat fluid; the common type of sword in any given period would be referred to as "sword". During the high medieval period, references to swords as "great sword" or "small" or "short sword" does not indicate their morphology, but their relative size. Oakeshott notes that this changes in the late medieval period, beginning towards the end of the 13th century, when the "bastard sword" appeared as an early type of what would develop into the 15th-century longsword; the term "romanesque sword" does not see significant use in English, but it is more current in French, German and in Slavic languages, identifying the swords by them being contemporary with the corresponding Romanesque period in art history.
The knightly sword develops in the 11th century from the Viking Age sword. The most evident morphological development is the appearance of the crossguard; the transitional swords of the 11th century are known as Norman swords. In the 10th century, some of the "finest and most elegant" of the Ulfberht type of "Viking" swords began to exhibit a more slender blade geometry, moving the center of mass closer to the hilt to improve wieldability; the one-handed sword of the high medieval period was used with a shield or buckler. In the late medieval period, when the longsword came to predominate, the single-handed sword was retained as a common sidearm of the estoc type, came to be referred to as an "arming sword" evolving into the cut and thrust swords of the Renaissance. At the end of the medieval period, the estoc arming sword develops into the Spanish espada ropera and the Italian spada da lato, the predecessors of the early modern rapier. In a separate development, the schiavona was a heavier single-handed sword used by the Dalmatian bodyguard of the Doge of Venice in the 16th century.
This type influenced the development of the early modern basket-hilted sword which in turn developed into the modern cavalry sword. The most widespread typology for the medieval sword was developed by Ewart Oakeshott in 1960 based on blade morphology. Oakeshott introduced an additional typology for pommel shapes. A more recent typology is due to Geibig. Geibig's typology focusses on swords from continental the transitional period from the early to the high medieval period and does not extend to the late medieval period. Blade length was from 69 to 81 centimetres. Pommels were most of the'Brazil-nut' type from around 1000–1200 AD, with the'wheel' pommel appearing in the 11th and predominating from the 13th to 15th centuries. However, Oakeshott is emphatic on the point that a medieval sword cannot conclusively be dated based on its morphology. While there are some general trends in the development of fashion, many of the most popular styles of pommels and blades remain in use throughout the duration of the High Middle Ages.
The common "knightly swords" of the high medieval period fall under types X to XII. Type X is the Norman sword as it developed out of the early medieval Viking sword by the 11th century. Type XI shows the development towards a more tapering point seen during the 12th century. Type XII is a further development, typical throughout the Crusades period, showing a tapering blade with a shortened fuller. Subtype XIIa comprises the longer and more massive "great-swords" which developed in the mid-13th century designed to counter improvements in mail armour. Type XIII is the knightly sword typical of the 13th century. Swords of this type have l
A longsword is a type of European sword characterized as having a cruciform hilt with a grip for two-handed use, a straight double-edged blade of around 85 to 110 cm, weighing 1 to 1.5 kg. The "longsword" type exists in a morphological continuum with the medieval knightly sword and the Renaissance-era Zweihänder, it was prevalent during the late medieval and Renaissance periods, with early and late use reaching into the 13th and 17th centuries. The term "longsword" is ambiguous, refers to the "bastard sword" only where the late medieval to Renaissance context is implied. "Longsword" in other contexts has been used to refer to Bronze Age swords, Migration period and Viking swords as well as the early modern dueling sword. Historical terms for this type of sword included Spanish espadón, montante, or mandoble, Italian spada longa, Portuguese montante and Middle French passot; the Scottish Gaelic claidheamh mòr means "great sword". Historical terminology overlaps with that applied to the Zweihänder sword in the 16th century: French espadon, Spanish espadón, or Portuguese montante may be used more narrowly to refer to these large swords.
The French épée de passot may refer to a medieval single-handed sword optimized for thrusting. The French épée bâtarde and the English bastard sword originate in the 15th or 16th century in the general sense of "irregular sword, sword of uncertain origin", but by the mid-16th century could refer to exceptionally large swords; the Masters of Defence competition organised by Henry VIII in July 1540 listed two hande sworde and bastard sword as two separate items. It is uncertain whether the same term could still be used to other types of smaller swords, but antiquarian usage in the 19th century established the use of "bastard sword" as referring unambiguously to these large swords; the German langes schwert in 15th and 16th-century manuals does not denote a type of weapon, but the technique of fencing with both hands at the hilt, contrasting with kurzes schwert used of fencing with the same weapon, but with one hand gripping the blade. Contemporary use of "long-sword" or "longsword" only resurfaced in the 2000s in the context of reconstruction of the German school of fencing, translating the German langes schwert.
The term "hand-and-a-half sword" is modern. This name was given. During the first half of the 20th century, the term "bastard sword" was used to refer to this type of sword, while "long sword", if used at all, referred to the rapier; the longsword is characterized not so much by a longer blade, but by a longer grip, which indicates a weapon designed for two-handed use. Swords with exceptionally long hilts are found throughout the High Middle Ages, but these remain rare, are not representative of an identifiable trend before the late 13th or early 14th century; the longsword as a late medieval type of sword emerges in the 14th century, as a military steel weapon of the earlier phase of the Hundred Years' War. It remains identifiable as a type during the period of about 1350 to 1550, it remained in use as a weapon of war intended for wielders wearing full plate armour either on foot or on horseback, throughout the late medieval period. From the late 15th century, however, it is attested as being worn and used by unarmoured soldiers or mercenaries.
Use of the two-handed Great Sword or Schlachtschwert by infantry seems to have originated with the Swiss in the 14th century. By the 16th century, its military use was obsolete, culminating in the brief period where the oversized Zweihänder were wielded by the German Landsknechte during the early to mid 16th century. By the second half of the 16th century, it persisted as a weapon for sportive competition, in knightly duels. Distinct "bastard sword" hilt types developed during the first half of the 16th century. Ewart Oakeshott distinguishes twelve different types; these all seem to have originated in Switzerland. By the late 16th century, early forms of the developed-hilt appear on this type of sword. Beginning about 1520, the Swiss sabre in Switzerland began to replace the straight longsword, inheriting its hilt types, the longsword had fallen out of use in Switzerland by 1550. In southern Germany, it persisted into the 1560s, but its use declined during the second half of the 16th century. There are two late examples of longswords kept in the Swiss National Museum, both with vertically grooved pommels and elaborately decorated with silver inlay, both belonging to Swiss noblemen in French service during the late 16th and early 17th century, Gugelberg von Moos and Rudolf von Schauenstein.
The longsword and bastard-sword were made in Spain, appearing late, known as the espadon, the montante and bastarda or espada de mano y media respectively. The swords grouped as "longswords" for the purposes of this article are united by their being intended for two-handed use. In terms of blade typology, they do not form a single category. In the Oakeshott typology of blade morphology, "longswords" figure as a range of sub-types of the corresponding single-handed sword types. Types XIIa and XIIIa represent the Great Sword or War Sword type used in the 13th and in the 14
Ewart Oakeshott was a British illustrator and amateur historian who wrote prodigiously on medieval arms and armour. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Founder Member of the Arms and Armour Society, the Founder of the Oakeshott Institute, he created a classification system of the medieval sword, the Oakeshott typology, a systematic organization of medieval weaponry. Ronald Ewart Oakeshott was born in 1916, his uncle Jeffrey Farnol wrote romance novels and swashbucklers and had a collection of antique swords and through these the young Oakeshott became interested in swords. After leaving Dulwich College Oakeshott studied at the Central School of Art in London, he worked at the Carlton Studios and at A. E. Johnson Ltd as a commercial artist. While still being interested in collecting arms and armour, building up a significant collection. At this time in the 1930s and 1940s antique swords could still be picked up cheaply and Oakeshott began collecting them; because of the scarcity of information about these he began to research them himself.
As a trained artist he illustrated most of his own books and became a speaker on arms and armour. Oakeshott served in the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1945 on destroyer escort during World War II and was invalided out after being wounded, he returned to A. E. Johnson, Ltd. and served as its director for fifteen years before leaving in 1960 to become a full-time researcher and writer, but still finding time to paint marine pictures and other subjects. In 1963 he met writer Sybil Marshall at a dance, he left his wife for her and they became partners for life and married in 1995, after the death of Oakeshott's first wife, Margaret Roberts. In 1964 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, he co-founded the Arms and Armour Society in 1948. Oakeshott served as President of the Society in 1951. In 1951 Oakeshott published the article "A Royal Sword in Westminster Abbey" in The Connoisseur on the results of his work on the sword of Henry V in Westminster Abbey; as a result, Oakeshott began to be consulted by museums such as the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge and private collectors.
Ewart Oakeshott was married firstly to Margaret Roberts. His second wife, the novelist Sybil Marshall, survived him, along with a son and two daughters from his first marriage. At his death, Oakeshott bequeathed his personal collection of more than 75 swords, including many of historical significance, to the Oakeshott Institute of Arms and Armour in Minneapolis, an educational organisation dedicated to youth outreach, "promoting the interest in ancient arms and armour through hands-on educational experience." The Institute is creating an online 3D database of the collection, titled the Historical Sword Documentation Project, providing international access to the ancient weapons, keeping with Oakeshott's wish that his family's collection stay accessible and of benefit to the public. Oakeshott's typology of medieval and early renaissance swords is among his most influential and most lasting works. Though his work was not original, it was groundbreaking. Dr. Jan Peterson had developed a typology for Viking swords consisting of twenty-six categories.
Peterson's typology was simplified by Dr. R. E. M. Wheeler in short order to only seven categories; this simplified typology was slightly expanded by Oakeshott by the addition of two transitional types into its current nine categories. From this basis, Oakeshott began work on his own thirteen-category typology of the medieval sword ranging from Type X to Type XXII. What made Oakeshott's typology unique was that he was one of the first people either within or outside of academia to and systematically consider the shape and function of the blades of European Medieval swords as well as the hilt, the primary criteria of previous scholars, his typology traced the functional evolution of European swords over a period of five centuries, starting with the late Iron Age Type X, took into consideration many factors: the shape of blades in cross section, profile taper, whether blades were stiff and pointed for thrusting or broad and flexible for cutting, etc. This was a breakthrough. Oakeshott's books dispelled many popular cliches about Western swords being heavy and clumsy.
He listed the weights and measurements of many swords in his collection which have become the basis for further academic work as well as templates for the creation of high quality modern replicas. The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry Boydell Press, 1960. ISBN 0-486-29288-6 The Sword in the Age of Chivalry Boydell Press, 1964. ISBN 0-85115-715-7 Records of the Medieval Sword Boydell Press, 1991. ISBN 0-85115-566-9 European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution Boydell Press, 2000. ISBN 0-85115-789-0 Sword in Hand Arms & Armor, Inc. 2000. ISBN 0-9714379-0-4 A Knight and His Weapons Dufour Editions 1964, 1997. ISBN 0-8023-1299-3 A Knight and His Armor Dufour Editions —, 1999. ISBN 0-8023-1329-9 A Knight and His Horse Dufour Editions 1962, 1995. ISBN 0-8023-1297-7 A Knight in Battle Dufour Editions —, 1998. ISBN 0-8023-1322-1 A Knight and His Castle Dufour Editions 1965, 1996. ISBN 0-8023-1294-2 Swords of the Viking Age Boydell Press 2002.
ISBN 0-8023-1294-2 The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England Boydell & Brewer 1962. ISBN 0-85115-355-0 Dark Age Warrior Dufour Editions 1974, 1984. ISBN 0-8023-1273-X Ewart Oakeshott: The Man and his Legacy http://www.thearma.org/oakeshottinterview.htm https://web.archive.org/web/20020220222012/http://www.oakeshott.org/EOBio.html Ewart Oakeshott- Innovator in Sword Classification