Early European Longswords: Evidence of Form and Function

Early European Longswords: Evidence of Form and Function

By Jeffrey Hull

Published Online (2012)

Abstract: Axiom : When a new kind of sword originates and becomes prevalent, then it logically follows that both the sword and its new kind of fencing evolve and become perfected.

That is what must have started happening in Chivalric Europe circa 1100, when a new kind of sword—called variously longsword, langschwert, war sword, espée de guerre, great sword, grans espée, two-hand-sword, etcetera—came into being. Its history is well-epitomised by the Liechtenauer Lineage of the German Tradition of the Art of Fencing, its Kunst des Fechtens. The longsword probably first arose somewhere in Germany (i.e. Holy Roman Empire) and eventually spread via migratory innovation and/or native industry to England, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Italy, Benelux, Iberia, Poland, Bohemia, Prussia and Baltica.

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See also Jeffrey Hull’s article Vlad Dracula and Coeval Armatura

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