Balance of the medieval swords
One of the most difficult aspects in determining the characteristics of a good sword is certainly the distribution of weight in relation to dimensions.
A very important, but not determining factor that influences the reconstruction of the historical features of the sword is definitely their Point of Balance, the parameter we can't measure from a museum display case or photo.
The balance point of the original swords tells us a lot not only about the convenience of use, but maybe even more about preferences in combat tactics, fencing and the type of armor used by the opponent.
Throughout history, during the Middle Ages, the balance of swords changed exponentially and in a targeted manner to suit the type of armor and combat tactics.
What may seem strange or uncomfortable to us today sometimes, was a desirable and helpful trait hundreds of years ago on the battlefields...
Knowledge about the weight distribution, balance and all parameters of the sword allows us to understand both how to recreate a medieval sword and how to use it
I kindly fulfill many requests to share my diagram and research, containing the measurement results of several dozen original swords.
The latest version includes several additions and the view of entire swords to compare proportions.
Initially, in the early Middle Ages, we find one-handed swords, with the balance area shifted far forward. Pommels and crossguards are smaller and lighter, while the blades are often broad and massive, designed primarily for strong cutting. This is why balancing closer to the center of the blade helps by adding force to such strokes.
We are talking here not of any principle but of the most common range.
Then we observe a gradual shift of the balance towards the guard, when over the next centuries the production of swords becoming more common and the sword as a weapon more available.
All this also causes the development and improvement of armor, which becomes more and more tight and durable, thereby contributing to a change in the concept of the entire sword and other weapons. A longsword is born with all its types and variations.
The development of armor finally makes it possible to quit with large shields
because the armor itself is a 'shapely shield' located all over the body.
This allow to fully fight with both hands, which leads to an increase in the range of the sword through its larger dimensions. However, lengthening and enlarging is a dead end, so after several hundred years of constant evolution, there is a turning point.
Firearms are spreading on the battlefields, quickly displacing long swords, and the point of balance is constantly shifted closer to the hand, transforming the sword into rapier and its variants.