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Origins of the Sword
• Until 1000 B.C swords were rare weapons. The sword came into usage long after many other weapons had become standard equipment. Early sword versions, in 2500 B.C, were very inefficient. Before 1000 B.C blacksmiths used soft & weak metals for swords. A long sword blade of even the strongest copper or bronze (top right corner) was enable to withstand the constant clash of . hand-to-hand fighting. This fault limited the length & width of the weapons smiths could make. Eventually, metal smiths began to forge knives with the blade & hilt (handgrip) together in a single piece. At the same time, iron working developments presented sword smiths a material suitable to be shaped into the form of a long, thin blade

The Rapier
• Ancient warriors used the sword for both stabbing & striking. These two styles of fighting led to the development of two different types of swords. • The rapier was long, thin & light with a sharpened point for stabbing. The heavy part of the weapon was placed around the hilt (handgrip), so that the wielder could hold the tip of the blade high & manoeuvre it quickly during a duel. A force that relied on battle axes as their main striking weapon, tended to favour the rapier sword for stabbing.

Sabres & Scimitars
• The sabre sword was designed for making heavy slashes. The sabre had a thick, heavy blade with a sharp edge & most of the weight was placed near the blade’s tip. This design added increased force to the blow. An army that used spears as the primary stabbing weapon often preferred sabres for their greater striking power.
• At various points in time, these two types of swords (rapiers & sabres/scimitars) rose & fell in popularity.

Dual-Purpose Sword
• The dual-purpose sword was first produced in eastern Europe. This straight, double-edged sword was heavy enough to be used for slashing, but also long & sharp enough to be used as a thrusting weapon. This versatile sword was quickly popularized by Greek merchants who brought it to the corners of the globe. The gladius (a type of dual-purpose sword) was eventually adopted by the Roman legion. The gladius (bottom left corner) was approximately 24 inches (60cm) from pommel to point. It bore a straight double-edged blade that ended in a point. Despite its light weight, the gladius was balanced perfectly & therefore deadly when used as a sabre. A Roman soldier could split open an opponents armour, with only one downward slash.

The Curved Sabre
• The curved sabre was one of the deadliest closerange weapons in ancient times. The sicklesword, its ancestor, enjoyed popularity between 2000 B.C-1000 B.C , in the Middle East. This sword bore a curved blade set upon a long, wooden handgrip. The sickle-sword was used as a striking weapon, wielded with the same motion you would use for a whip. At first the sword blade was half the size of the handle. Over time, sword-smiths began forging a longer & heavier blade with a shorter handle. The sickle-sword then took the form of the curved sabre, which soldiers used with deadly efficiency.

Samurai Swords
• At the start of the 2nd century, Japanese blacksmiths began placing
softer cores into sword blades, which significantly increased the swords flexibility. These blades were able to withstand the impact of heavy blows on armour without breaking. As Japanese warfare changed, the horsemen’s tachi sword was redesigned for foot soldiers, & so the katana sword was invented. The katana is a curved sabre sword ranging from 2-4 feet in length. Forging these swords was a lengthy process. Bits of carbon steel were forged together, folded & pounded ,possibly hundreds of times, to remove most traces of carbon & soften the steel. Then the blade was attached to a second carbon steel sword & beaten & forged once more. Next the blade was tempered, the entire blade, except for the edge, was protected for the reheating. The blade was protected by a paste made of charcoal, clay & powdered grinding stone. When the blade was heated only the edge would heat. Once the edge emitted a red, hot glow they would carefully immerse the heated edge in a pool of cool water. This allowed the edge of the blade to cool faster than the rest of the blade. The blade then had a fine edge, but still maintained its flexibility.

Celtic Swords
• Celtic soldiers were famed for their skill with both long, slashing swords & one-handed short swords. Both weapons were easily recognized by their human-shaped handgrips. This unique design, involved the lower & upper guards to curve away from the grip (symbolizing the arms & legs) & a head-shaped pommel was used. Celts were renown for their fierce fighting & placed high value on fine weaponry. Most Celtic swords had richly decorated handgrips, with amber, ivory or gold-leaf embroided in the guard & pommel. During Rome’s reign over England many Celtic smiths found themselves forging Roman swords, by use of steel & advanced forging processes. These blacksmiths quickly adopted these new forging techniques. With stronger materials, Celtic swords became longer & more efficient. Celtic broadswords, like the Scottish claymore, were some of the largest in history at 5-6 feet in length.

Forging Swords Part I
• A skilled sword-smith would be capable of taking semi-refined ore & decide on the best way to make an effective sword blade. Ore from different regions contain various trace elements. Some elements are suitable for a sword blade, making it stronger, or it may allow the smith to put a slightly harder edge on the blade or even heat-treat it to a higher degree. Ores from other areas would not make as fine a sword & so, if necessary, the metal-smith would have used a range of different ore supplies, forging or wielding sections together. Access to a good metal supply would have rendered this process unnecessary, it would have also lowered the price of the sword. • When the metal-smith had purchased enough semi-refined ore, he would fire up his own much smaller furnace & continue the process of refining. This time the smith would hammer out the scraps of slag residue- which would appear as dark fragments within the glowing iron core. The smith would repeat this process until he was content with the quality of steel he had created.

Forging Swords Part II
• Metal was divided into two separate grades, the high grade metal used to construct weapons & the low grade ore used to put together plates of armour. The sword-smith would continuously reheat the iron, hammering & stretching it, trying to remove as much slag as possible. He would then fold the heated iron back on itself, wielding it back together, beating it out again, attempting to extract as much refined, molten iron from the mass as possible. This process was named folding & stretching. Its principal was basically to refine the iron, remove impurities & construct a consistent form of quality steel. Once this process had been performed a sufficient number of times the smith would have a piece of steel that was fit for a sword

Forging Swords Part III
• From there, forging a sword blade revolved around shaping & balancing the blade, all of the tough work had been during the refining stage of construction. Now the smith could take his piece of steel, heat it, & hammer it into the shape of a sword blade, form the fuller if desired, which pushed the metal out in width. Then form down the edges enabling him to grind the blade into its final shape during the final grinding stage. When the grinding stage was in progress the smith would introduce the taper down along the edge of the blade until it reached the tip of the sword, whilst evaluating the flexibility of the sword & producing a functional balance working. Access weight at the tip would slow the sword strike, whereas a blade that was too light would lack a damaging impact & tire the wielder who would try to overcompensate for this. So it was about putting a taper in the blade if possible, thinning the blade so it wasn’t too rigid at the tip but stiff enough towards the hilt so that it was able to flex evenly.

Sword Erosion
• Even with the best treatment, a blade would rust, so no matter how well it was cared for & oiled small spots of hard ash black corrosion would show up, which was a form of rust. So after time you would get was patches of slight pitting & little grey areas where rusting had begun. These patches would continue to grow until it had engulfed the entire blade in black rust. If a soldier was involved in an extended period of battle he would not be able to sufficiently care for his blade, & so his sword would succumb to rust. If the rain entered the scabbard this might create massive patches of rust on the blade. Another enemy of the sword blade was blood, blood is very bad for a blade because it holds iron. If you bore dried blood on your blade & a little moisture made contact with the blood, the blade would rust very quickly so you must cleanse blood from your sword if you wish to prolong your blades life. The other major threat to any sword was the physical damage it endured in battle. Every time it was impacted against a hard surface it is possible that minuscule dents & chips would appear upon the edge. When two swords clash they don’t slide smoothly over each other, but instead snag creating more jagged edges. All this gradually reducing the width, strength & the efficiency of the sword.

Basic Sword Parts Part I
• Blade - The length of steel that forms the sword. • Back - The blunt side of the sword blade. Doubleedged swords have no back. • Cross - The typically straight bar or "guard" of a Medieval sword, also called a "cross-guard". • Edge - This is the sharpened side of the blade. A sword may be single or double-edged. • Hilt - The lower part of a sword consisting of the cross-guard, handle/grip, and pommel (most Medieval swords have a straight cross or cruciform-hilt).

Basic Sword Parts Part II
• Fuller – A small groove in the sword blade, it heightens the agility & flexibility of the sword. Sometimes mistakenly called a "blood-run" or "blood-groove", it has nothing to do with blood flow, cutting power, or a blade sticking. A sword might have one, none, or several fullers running a portion of its length, on either one or both sides. Narrow deep fullers are also sometimes referred to as flukes. The opposite of a fuller is a riser, which improves rigidity. The fullers function is analogous to the spine of the human body. When a fuller is forged onto a blade it repacks the crystalline structure and forms it into a flexible spine that reduces weight and gives the sword both strength and flexibility.

Basic Sword Parts Part III
• Grip - The handle of a sword, usually made of leather, wire, wood, bone, horn, or ivory (also, a term for the method of holding the sword). • Pommel - Latin for "little apple", the counter-weight which secures the hilt to the blade and allows the hand to either rest on it or grip it. Sometimes it includes a small rivet (capstan rivet) called a pommel nut, pommel bolt, or tang nut. On some Medieval swords the pommel may be partially or fully gripped and handled. • Ricasso - The dull portion of a blade just above the hilt. It is intended for wrapping the index finger around to give greater tip control (called "fingering"). Not all sword forms had ricasso. They can be found on many Bastard-swords, most cut & thrust swords

Basic Sword Parts Part IV
• Tang – The portion of the blade that continues underneath the hilt. • Upper end - The hilt portion of a Medieval sword • Waisted-grip - A specially shaped handle on some bastard or hand-and-a-half swords, consisting of a slightly wider middle and tapering towards the pommel. • Tip - The end of the sword furthest away from the hilt. Most swords taper to a point at the tip, but some blade lines are straight until the very tip. A few swords, such as a U.S. Civil War saber, are curved along their length.

Basic Sword Parts Part V
• Annulet/Finger-Ring - The small loops extending toward the blade from the quillions intended to protect a finger wrapped over the guard. They developed in the middle-ages and can be found on many styles of Late-Medieval swords. They are common on Renaissance cut & thrust swords and rapiers they and also small-swords. For some time they have been incorrectly called the "pas d`ane". • Compound-Hilt/Complex-Guard - A term used for the various forms of hilt found on Renaissance and some late-Medieval swords.

Exploring History Ancient Weapons by Will Fowler Collins Eyewitness Guides BATTLE CHARGE Weapons & Warfare in Ancient Times by Rivka Gonen The Lord of the Rings: Weapons & Warfare by Chris Smith Foreword by Christopher Lee image search

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