Butterfly Sword

Steel-Butterfly-Sword

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.

Butterfly swords, also known as butterfly knives, were only sharpened from the midpoint to the tip. This way, the dull part of the battle knives could be used to knock an opponent unconscious without being fatal. Another interesting fact is that butterfly swords were often kept in the same scabbard. This gave the illusion of a single weapon until the wielder was ready to attack.

Spanish Rapiers

spanish-rapier
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.

A rapier sword was used almost exclusively as a thrusting weapon. At first, the swords were used on the offensive, but eventually became a self-defense tool. It was primarily used by civilians for protection and for duels. In the 16th century, other European nations developed their own rapiers, such as the German Rappier which was used in sport fencing. Use of the rapier for civilian combat dropped off after the 17th century.

What is a Main Gauche?

Parrying-Dagger
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.

This combination of weaponry was particularly popular with the Schools of Fence in Renaissance Europe. As the sport of fencing evolved, the use of the offhand weapon fell out of style. Although the main gauche isn’t used in contemporary fencing, it still is a prized item for historical collectors.

Longsword

Steel-long-sword

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.

The longsword was developed because plate armor replaced chainmail, so a longer and heavier sword was needed to penetrate the armor. This sword is used for striking, cutting and thrusting. This sword was not used as often in medieval combat, as the lighter swords were much easier to handle. These types of swords were heavily used back in the 13th-14th century, whereas using ending would be around 17th century.

The longest of these swords was the zweihander whose length was up to 6 feet. This sword was used by the landsknechts who came from the Holy Roman Empire or an area that is now modern-day Germany. These swords were also used to break up infantry formations by attacking pikes and halberds.

Deadly Scimitar

Scimitar
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.

Soldiers of the Khurasan region of Persia are the first known users of the scimitar during the 9th century. During the crusades, a special crusader shield was designed specifically to protect the wearer against the deadly scimitar. Today, the weapon still holds significance. For instance, it can be seen on the coat of arms of Saudi Arabia.

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.

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.

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.