Bowie Knife

bowie-knifeThe most famous version of the Bowie Knife was designed by Colonel James “Jim” Bowie and was presented to blacksmith James Black in the form of a carved wooden model in December of 1830. Black produced the knife ordered by Bowie although its common use refers to any large sheath knife with a clip point.

This knife became famous as the knife used by Bowie at the Sandbar fight, which was the famous 1837 due between Bowie and several men. In this battle Bowie was stabbed and beaten half to death but managed to win the fight.

You can read more about this knife at Wikipedia.

Scimitar Sword

Medieval Scimitar SwordAn early Crusader who had just arrived in the Holy Land viewed a band of Saracens from a distance. He was so impressed with the curved sword that they wielded that he attempted to locate his own. Naturally the Saracens were not anxious to trade with the enemy, so he was forced to use his own straight blade crusader sword. The image that the Crusader saw is the picture that the western world still holds of the Islamic warrior—a turbaned soldier with a curved blade sword.

However straight bladed swords were also used by Islam during the Crusades. The stereo-type exists, because the Prophet Mohammed likely carried a curved weapon. There are relics which are preserved in the armory of the Sultans in the Topkai Palace in Istanbul that substantiate that he possessed a Scimitar. There are two swords that are associated with Mohammed at the armory. One of the swords is a narrow blade and is slightly curved. The hilt and scabbard of the weapon are embellished with precious stones and gold. The period that he utilized the blade would have been between 560-632 years.

We have written about western swords with names in this blog. Islamic warrior’s swords also had names. The famous sword mentioned above was ‘Dhu’l Faqar’. Mohammed wielded this weapon at the battle of Badr in 624. Legend recounts that the sword was cloven in two near its point, and this is how it has been depicted ever since. It was bequeathed to Ali, son-in-law to Mohammed. He served as Caliph from 656 to 661.

The Scimitar as well as being a beautifully formed sword, it also is very balanced and easy to handle. Collectors appreciate the sword. Also it is so easy to wield that it is also used today in exotic belly dancing.

Halberd

Medieval-Halberd

The Halberd is one of the most effective and well designed weapons of the Medieval era.  It is a fabulous weapon for displaying your colors or herald.  It is so versatile that it has been retained as a ceremonial weapon for the Swiss Honor Guard.

Its history is very short if compared to swords and armor.  What is this strange weapon and what is its value?

The Halberd consists of an axe blade with a peak opposite it and it is sometimes another axe blade.  There is also a long spike or blade on the end and it is mounted on a long shaft. The early forms were simple and heavy (early 13th century) but gradually became lighter and more elaborate.  The shafts had long straps on them to prevent their being cut.

It was used with great success as infantry weapon from the late Middle Ages to the seventeenth century. The use of this weapon in infantry battles, which resulted in victories troops facing heavy cavalry, amended the composition of armies and returned to give a vital importance to the infantry.

It was carried by sergeants in the British army until the end of the 18th century.  The Swiss valued it so highly that they used in instead of the pike in their 15th century armies. Its use rapidly spread all over Europe.

What is a Rapier?

Rapier
A rapier is a slender, sharply pointed sword with a long blade and a complex, sometimes embellished hilt primarily used for thrusting attacks in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The hilt of the rapier is made to protect the hand that wields it. Also called a hilt rapier, this thrusting sword was called other things as well due to the tendency of sword masters of the time using description of a sword’s function as a method of naming it.

It is thought that the rapier began to develop in Spain around the year 1500 as a type of dress sword for civilians and duels. It became increasingly fashionable over time in Europe among the wealthier classes, but always had its detractors.

With its long reach, the rapier allowed for fast reactions suitable for civilian combat in the 16th and 17th centuries. Military-style swords for cutting and thrusting purposes continued to evolve to meet battlefield needs, and rapiers continued to change with the times as well, becoming lighter and shorter and eventually succumbing to the widespread use of the small-sword in the 1700s.

Daggers

Medieval-Daggers

‘Caesar was stabbed with twenty-three dagger thrusts and uttered not a word, but only a groan at the first stroke, though some have related that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek,”You, too, child?””  This is how Suetonius the author of “The Life of Caesar”describes his death.  Nero, the most evil of Roman Emperors stabbed himself in the throat with a dagger.

This hidden weapon has resulted in the death of the unsuspecting friend, husband, or statesman.  The sharp stab is a startling blow, because it came from a woman’s bosom, or from a friend’s hand.   In Caesar’s case the daggers came from most of those he thought he could trust.  From ancient ages to the present day the knife or dagger is a popular weapon.

stiletto-daggerIn Rome and Greece the short sword was the weapon of choice.  In the Medieval and Renaissance eras the dagger was used to penetrate plate armor.  One of the most well-known daggers, the stiletto, was developed particularly for this purpose.

During the late Renaissance period, a different style of sword fighting developed in Europe.  The dagger was held in the left hand and the sword in the right with the dagger being used to deflect sword thrusts.  One of the most well know of these left-handed daggers is the Main Gauche.

scissors-daggerThe scissors dagger is a utilitarian weapon that can be used to cut and make clothes or to just as easily stab an unsuspecting soul.  This weapon was usually concealed in a woman’s bra.

A Cane Sword (Swordstick)

   cane-swords
Cane swords, or swordsticks, became popular in Europe during the 18th century. Similar devices had been developed in Ancient Rome and Japan. The swordstick was mostly viewed as a fashion accessory, replacing decorative swords which went out of style as fire arms grew in popularity.

Typically, wooden cane swords consisted of a shaft made from Malacca wood with a standard round metallic grip. Inside the cane, attached to the handle, was a long thin blade. Gadget canes, similar to swordsticks, also became popular and would hold the tools of the carriers’ trade. Today, wooden cane swords are mostly a novelty item and in some states they are illegal to carry in public, under concealed weapons ordinances along with side swords.