Prior to World War II, the butterfly sword was not well-known outside of China. The deadly swords feature a single-edged blade that is as long as a human forearm. This length allowed for concealment inside loose sleeves or boots. Typically, butterfly swords are wielded in pairs.
Spanish rapiers date back to 15th century Toledo. Spanish masters mixed hard and soft steel to give rapier swords strength and flexibility. These swords were narrow, long, and had a slight edge.
Also referred to as a parrying dagger, main gauche swords were used in juxtaposition with traditional rapiers during the late Middle Ages. The main gauche, which is French for left hand, was used to deflect incoming attacks while the rapier was utilized for offense. If the opportunity presented itself, the main gauche could also be used for offense, of course.
The longsword is a European sword used during the medieval and Renaissance eras. Longswords are also sometimes called bastard swords, greatswords or hand-and-a-half swords. In addition to its length, its most important characteristic was your way to wield it. These weapons were used exclusively to two hands, and since its handle was “to hand and a half”, few of its forms could be made to use them with one hand.
When the crusaders battled against their Arab opponents, they came face to face with the deadly scimitar. The scimitar is a backsword with a curved blade that originated in the Middle East. It was used by warriors on horseback because it was lightweight in comparison to other swords, making it easy to wield while also holding the reins of a horse.
An 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.
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 a description of a sword’s function as a method of naming it.
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 firearms grew in popularity.