Details can be found in Oakeshott's book. The German terminology tends to be a bit more descriptive and differentiated. The crusades took place essentially from - After the holy fighting spirit flared up occasionally again, and the very last crusade ended with the ignominious battle of Nicopolis Bulgaria in , where the 10 or so allied knights of Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Wallachia, France, Burgundy and Germany first lost the battle to the Ottoman forces under Sultan Bayezid and then their heads to the sword.
Bayezid, majorly pissed about the whole crusade thing, had all but a handful of survivors put to the sword probably of the scimitar type. A backsword is a type of European sword characterized by having a straight single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip. Later examples often have a "false edge" on the back near the tip, which was in many cases sharpened to make an actual edge and facilitate thrusting attacks. Backsword or Pallasch Yemen origin, total length Backswords originated with a slightly curved blade and a kind of basket hilt in Hungary as the sword of the heavy noblemen cavalry.
We have a first case where the name in some language, here German, is simply the general word for sword in the original language. We have in parallel the case that the word in English describes some property: Backswords were used all over the world it seems. First by the cavalry but later also be the infantry. Backswords are simple, easy to make and thus cheap. They also were easy to use. Soldiers who had a sword not as primary weapon but as a kind of last resort could not make very good use of a long double-edged blade since that needed considerable skill if it was to be used to full advantage.
Why a sword feels right
The billhook is an absolutely essential farming tool that you will find in one form or another all over the world. Lizenziert unter CC BY 2. As far as I'm concerned, it is about the only farming tool with a potential for killing people that has not been turned into a weapon every now and then like scythes , axes, hatchets or machetes. While shorter, it does have some relation to falcatas, machetes, kukris and whatnot.
In English a broadsword is more or less the same as a basket hilted sword with a broad blade in contrast to the also often basket hilted rapier , the slim dueling sword of civilians, a kind of toy from the viewpoint of a soldier. Broadswords are also known as Italian Schiavona or Scottish claidheamh cuil meaning "backsword". I refer to this to illustrate the easy confusion inherent in all these words and types. A broadsword, if single edged, is a backsword or Pallasch if you like.
To make things worse, the direct translation to German yields " Breitschwert ", and this is something else. The schiavona, by the way, was popular in Italy during the 16th and 17th centuries. It goes back to the sword of the 16th-century Balkan mercenaries of Istrian and Dalmatian Slavs, Schiavoni in Old Italian, who formed the bodyguards of the Doge of Venice. It is thus the basic sword of the medieval fighting noblemen, say 10 th - 15th century.
To make the confusion complete you just need to google the pictures for "broadsword" and you get none of the above but a lot of modern phantasy stuff. A cutlass is a short, broad sabre or slashing sword, with a straight or slightly curved blade sharpened on the cutting edge, and a hilt often featuring a solid cupped or basket-shaped guard. It was a common naval weapon. The word "cutlass" has a history of its own. It goes back to a 17th-century English variation of "coutelas", which in turn is 16th-century French word for a big knife.
In modern French a knife is a coteau. The cutlass is a 17th century descendent of the edged short sword exemplified by the medieval falchion. It was a kind of low prestige weapon, used by woodsmen, simple soldiers, and in particular by sailors, including pirates, from the 17th century and up. Another advantage to the cutlass was its simplicity of use. Employing it effectively required less training than that required to master a rapier or small sword, and it was more effective as a close-combat weapon than a full-sized sword would be on a cramped ship.
I might mention that it was probably cheap and easy to fix yourself. Its roots might go back to the low prestige but non-nonsense sax or seax of antiquity and the "dark ages" in Europe if not to the even older falcata and the Greek kopis. Cutlasses made it to the standard sword of many navies; see the picture above. Being sturdy and short, it was good for close-range combat on board of ships and, not to forget, rather cheap.
In order to confuse things a bit, in the English-speaking Caribbean, the term "cutlass" is used as a word for machete.
- Law as a Sword, Law as a Shield;
- The Legalist Reformation: Law, Politics, and Ideology in New York, 1920-1980 (Studies in Legal History).
- Salvation of the Damned to a Greater Purpose.
That might well be so because the machete might have the cutlass as its ancestor. Not only is it the usual French corruption of the good word e spatha and simply means sword, the English tend to see the word as more or less synonymous with the modern fencing foil. The German "Degen" in some of its subclasses comes closer to what the term shall mean here.
The word "Degen" is related to the English "dagger" but the root of "daga" relating to both is not all that clear. A "Degen" has some overlap with the rapier, a term not all that common in Germany. Not only is it a French word, worse, the French do not even know where it comes from. Degen, probably 19th century, triangular blades Large picture. A Degen, again in contrast to a rapier, is extremely bendable. It was used for duelling but essentially was a part of proper dress in the 18th ad 19th century and and came in many forms.
An executioner's sword is a kind of Medieval European specialty; the earliest known one is from They were in wide use in 17th-century Europe, but fell out of use quite suddenly in the early 18th century, before the guillotine came into use around The last executions by sword in Europe were carried out in Switzerland in and An Executioners sword is for two-handed use, rather broad and heavy, and without a pointed tip.
Not only was a tip not needed but this kind of sword was "unclean" just like the executioner and must never be used in battle or to harm a honest person. The religious undertones of the times often manifested themselves in little pious wishes engraved into the blade.
The middle sword below, for example, say: Of course , before special executioners swords became the fashion, regular sword were used and still are. Watching a public beheading is still an item on the short list of allowed weekend fun activities in present-day Saudi Arabia. You might have an intimate if brief date with the guy and his sword shown below if you were convicted, among other things, of apostasy renunciation of Islam , blasphemy, sodomy, homosexuality or lesbianism, idolatry worship of an idol or a physical object , sorcery or witchcraft, whatever the difference, and waging war on God.
In addition, Saudi Arabia has recently passed a law recommending the death penalty for anyone caught carrying or smuggling a bible into the country. The name falcata is "recent", introduced by one Fernando Fulgosio in , and supposed to mean "sickle-shaped". Falcata were used by the ancient Greeks in the 4th - 5th century BC and the old Spaniards until AD or maybe longer. Alexander the Great and his troops may have brought it to India where it mutate into the kukri. A lot about the falcata is rather unclear. Some believe that the Celts introduced in to the Iberian Peninsula, together with iron working in general, and that it developed independently of the Greek kopis.
The only difference, however, are details of the grip. The kopis is usually depicted with a straight grip, whereas the end of the falcata's grip curves around to form a semi-enclosed hilt. This may or may not be true.
We certainly need more data and more detailed investigations. Fencing swords ; modern. All three look rather similar and not much like most of the other sword types shown here. Details matter very much in this case - but not to us here. While I have no doubts that a modern fencing master would be able to kill any old-fashioned opponent rather quickly with his "tooth pick" or "needle", the metallurgy of his sword is not of much interest for us.
You find it indirectly in the section about modern steel. The Turkish root verb "kir-" means "to kill", "to slaughter", "to slay". The term is now predominantly used for the one-handed, single edged and moderately curved saber, often with a "yelman" see below that was used not only by the Turks but by all and sundry in the general region of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire whatever that implies after the 15th century.
They are all scimitars, if you like. This distinctive flaring tip is called a " yalman " or yelman false edge that adds to the cutting power of the sword and in particular to its thrusting capabilities. It goes without saying that a kilij was typically made from wootz steel. A longsword also spelled long sword, long-sword is to some extent just a longer version of the arming sword. That necessitates to make the blade a bit smaller in order not to gain too much weight and to fine-tune the geometry for proper handling. Just like the arming sword, it is the kind of sword that all and sundry in Europe associate with the general term "sword".
It certainly advertised for its owner that he had a long one. The blade of long swords measures 90 cm - cm and it was popular during the late medieval and Renaissance periods about to but also before and after that time period. The sword shown below, while technically a long sword, is a kind of in-between showing its relation to the arming sword.
A Mamluck warrior took it from a crusader in It was used for a number of years and acquired an inventory stamp of the armory in Alexandria, Egypt. Eventually it made it into the Askeri museum in Istanbul. Crusader long sword Another one. There is far more to the longsword and its cousins like the claymore. Fighting with the long sword, however, remained in fashion as a kind of sports among civilians and sword-fight schools appeared, some of which issued "manuals":. Internet; the lower one is from the manual of Hans Talhoffer.
The locals in the Caribbean and around may also call a machete a " cutlass ", providing for some confusion but also giving a strong hint as to the ancestry of the machete. A machete is a large cleaver-like knife or "sword" how long does a knife have to be to qualify as sword? A common denominator might be that it is "top heavy", giving it axe-like properties like a falcata or kukri.
There seem to be not much inward curvature, however in contrast to a falcata or kukri and if there is a hook. The machete was used quite a lot for fighting, in particular in all the uprisings in the sugar cane fields in the 17th - 19th century. The machete thus is a dual-use object, like the kopis, the falcata, the kukri and probably lots of other longish steel objects. Miao Dao , Changdao , and so on. I just give you a succession of quotes from some Internet sources: It is actually a changdao because "in The weapon may have developed from the earlier zhanmadao horse beheading sword.
Tang dynasty sources describe the changdao as being identical to the modao. This sword was described as having an overall length of seven feet, with a three foot long blade and four foot long grip. The Japanese odachi very much resembles this blade. You get the point. If the Chinese adopted sword design from the Japanese, or if it was the other way around, or if some other cultures were also involved I don't know and neither care at this point in time.
I included the nimcha because it is a well-know single-handed curved-blade sword type that appeared in the 18th century and was prominent in the 19th century and beyond.
It is unique to some extent because it is only defined by its hilt. The blade is typically from somewhere else and might have originated from a Turkish kilij or from an European sabre. I own the nimcha shown in this book ; it was certainly the best appreciation I've ever received for a scientific article! It sports a 19th century pattern welded or " damascus " blade of definitely European origin see below. The one from "the book". The grip is made from wood or rhino horn with squared off "hooked" pommel. There are always two forward pointing quillons on the upper side and a knuckle guard on the lower.
I could not find out so far if the two upper quillons have a function besides just providing some kind of symmetry. The word "rapier" comes from medieval French and means "long pointy sword" Aha. A rapier is perhaps the earliest manifestation of the new custom to sport swords as still lethal male toys that were no longer used as tools for warfare but for demonstrating rank and to establish who has the biggest. In Spanish, a rapier is an "espada ropera", a dress sword.
Rapiers came up into the early 16th century if we discount the enigmatic Celtic ones and blossomed into all kinds of "dress" swords. The rapier evolved from the " side-sword " Seitschwert , a slender kind of a one-hand regular straight double-edged sword. The rapier still has a flat if rather slender and long blade with two sharp edges.
- A Maggot.
- Fizzypop (Frankie Foster, Book 1).
While primarily a thrusting weapon, it does not bend easily and thus can still be used for slashing, if not very effectively. In the 16th century a rapier was the sword of a nobleman. Before that a sword was an important tool for all men in the military who needed it and could afford it. The nobility eventually didn't like to do the killing themselves anymore, running the risk of getting killed themselves.
They now had paid specialists for that just like today. They just needed some kind of sword as status symbol, and to kill you and me on the side if we got uppity. The occasional duels added spice to life. Swords, in short, became fashion items once more. Fencing with the rapier eveloped as a kind of art with the endless exchange of blows we all know from watching TV. To be sure, wielding a spatha of any kind in a real battle also demanded considerable skill but you would not be standing there, engaging your enemy for 20 minutes or longer "as seen on TV" or in innumerable movies.
You or your enemy typically went down within minutes if not seconds. All that new stuff became possible because the quality of steel had increased to the point where these kind of swords could be made without risking early breakage of the slender blade. So what's the difference to a scimitar, tulwar, katana, and so on? If we disregard the hilt and other small details, there isn't much besides the metallurgy for many sabres. You just call all curved blades in Europe "sabre" now. Sabres were prominent in Europe rather late - 18th century to now - and thus were made from more or less uniform steel.
Tulwars and so on are considerably older and were often made from wootz steel , and katanas from trickily piled and edge-hardened steel. The word is believed to originate from the Kipchak Turkic selebe, with contamination from the Hungarian verb szab, which means 'to cut'" , says Wikipedia. Medieval men did encounter curved blades early on. Perhaps as early as the battle of Poitiers and Tours around but certainly during the crusades.
However, sabres came in many forms and sizes, from almost straight to substantially curved and generalizations are dangerous. Of course, you might use the term "sabre" to denote any sword with some curvature including almost none and with a cutting edge on one side only but allowing parts of a sharpened backside, too. Backsword, cutlasses and so on then would be special kinds of sabres.
In the words of the German Wikipedia translated by me: Moreover, with a sufficiently curved blade it didn't matter much if you hit the opponent with the middle part of the blade, in contrast to the straight sword where it was important to hit with the front part only.
That's why a straight blade is rather counterproductive in close combat, at least for only averagely skilled fighters. Keep it pretty much straight and sharpen at least parts of the backside. The history of curved single-edged blades or "sabre" in Central Europe is complex. Very generally speaking, sabres were of little consequence in Western Europe before the year war - During this war, the Croatian Cavalry used sabres in an obviously convincing manner, and the sabres of the Hussar's originally the Hungarian cavalry, later a term for light cavalry in general became feared until modern times.
While sabres might well have been of little consequence in Western Europe before the 17th century, they were nevertheless known, particularly in the East - look up the Sarass below. Modern Replica, 3 The real thing. During the coronation of the more or less German King, the new king belted the sword to his person. Until it was kept in Aachen.
When French troops approached Aachen in the Imperial regalia located there were taken to the Capuchin abbey at Paderborn Germany , then to Hildesheim Germany in and finally to Vienna Austria in The sabre was stored in the Treasury of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. That's what happens to your regalia if you fail to to invade Gaul every now and then.
Before you get all excited now: Charlemagne did certainly not own this sabre. It dates either to the 10th or early 11th century German Wikipedia or to the second half of the 9th century English Wikipedia. Whatever, it is a rather early sabre and it came from the East. It is only slightly curved and probably comes from the Avar sphere of influence. Anyway, "Charlemagne's sabre" was obviously kept in high regard by the mighty and influential in the 11th century and later - but they did not emulate it.
In between "Charlemagne's sabre" and the sabre in the year-war and beyond, was the sarass , see below. My personal feeling is that up to about a straight doubled-edged sword was the sword of Central Europe, use by all involved in warfare. In the same general time period give or take a century , the iron and steel industry switched from running small-scale blooneries producing wrought iron to larger-scale blast furnaces producing cast iron. That in turn necessitated new technologies for making steel and allowed to make guns, changing warfare.
In consequence, swords branched into two basically different kinds: Saif, first of all, simply means "sword" in Arabic. Since Arabic swords from not too distant times are of the general scimitar or sabre type there seems to be no clear and unambiguous distinction from the kilj, shamshir or tulwar. In some views, a saif might be a bit less curved than a kilij and it might contain one or more fullers. This guy may be wielding a saif.
In a simple interpretation, a saif is just about any curved sword that originated from "Arabia" and I leave open exactly what that is. The word "saif", however, is more than just the term for sword since the sword is an important symbol in Arab cultures and on occasion more than a symbol.
Shamshir essentially means "sword" in Persian and thus is a term for all kinds of blades. Khorasani , who should know, shows all kinds of samshirs in his "Arms and Armor from Iran" book, including rather straight blades. However, the present general usage of the term in the "West" can perhaps be best described as follows. A strongly curved single-edged blade without a yelman and a hilt type as shown below. The samshir is a member of the scimitar family that includes the tulwar, saif and kilij as the more prominent members. They all are curved and often made from wootz steel.
While the blades might be similar, hilts and scabbards typically differ substantially. Granted, the average samshir might be more strongly curved than your average tulwar or kilij. You can certainly go on and define more fine points of difference but as far as I'm concerned the decisive feature of the samshir is its association with the Persians. It appears that the Seljuq dynasty had introduced the curved shamshir to Persia in the 12th century, when they took over they eventually became todays Turks.
It is not surprising that all the swords mentioned above are related. They all made it to prominence around the middle of the 16th century and they are supposed to have a common ancestor. The curved scimitar blades were Central Asian in origin. The earliest evidence of curved swords, or scimitars, is from the 9th century, when these weapons were used by soldiers in the Khurasan region of Central Asia. The sword now called " shamshir " was introduced to Iran by Turkic Seljuk Khanate in 12th century and was later popularized in Persia by the early 16th century, and had "relatives" in Turkey the kilij , the Mughal Empire the talwar , and the adjoining Arabian world the saif ".
Khorasani has a lot to say about the origin of the samshir. He details all the instances where curved blades have been encountered rather early but also makes clear that science so far as not reached a general agreement on details. The view given above, if oversimplified, is not entirely without merits. New Living Translation They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. English Standard Version for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
Berean Study Bible For it was not by their sword that they took the land; their arm did not bring them victory; it was by Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face; for You delighted in them. New American Standard Bible For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them. King James Bible For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: Christian Standard Bible For they did not take the land by their sword--their arm did not bring them victory--but by your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, because you were favorable toward them.
Contemporary English Version Their strength and weapons were not what won the land and gave them victory!
Which side was the sword worn? -- ewutabezix.tk
You loved them and fought with your powerful arm and your shining glory. Good News Translation Your people did not conquer the land with their swords; they did not win it by their own power; it was by your power and your strength, by the assurance of your presence, which showed that you loved them.
Holman Christian Standard Bible For they did not take the land by their sword-- their arm did not bring them victory-- but by Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You were pleased with them. International Standard Version It was not with their sword that they inherited the land, nor did their own arm deliver them. But it was by your power, your strength, and by the light of your face; because you were pleased with them. NET Bible For they did not conquer the land by their swords, and they did not prevail by their strength, but rather by your power, strength and good favor, for you were partial to them.
New Heart English Bible For they did not get the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them; but your right hand, and your arm, and the light of your face, because you were favorable to them. Aramaic Bible in Plain English Because it was not by their sword that they inherited the land, neither their arms that saved them, but your right hand and your arm and the light of your face, for you were pleased with them.
They did not gain victory with their own strength. It was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your presence [that did it], because you were pleased with them. JPS Tanakh For not by their own sword did they get the land in possession, Neither did their own arm save them; But Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, Because Thou wast favourable unto them. New American Standard For by their own sword they did not possess the land; And their own arm did not save them; But Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy presence, For Thou didst favor them.
Jubilee Bible For they did not get the land in inheritance by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them, but thy right hand and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance because thy delight was in them. American King James Version For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: