Elite and rare Longswords 1350-1450
A very specific group of Longswords ...
There is another significant group of longswords that deserves special attention because of its unique and distinctive features and popularity. These are swords found in the period around 1350-1450 mainly in the countries of Central Europe.
Their main distinguishing features are:
- total length in range 1060-1200mm (some blades had very narrow and pointy tips and it seems were shortened later)
- two-handed / hand-and-a-half grip mostly with two sections (length circa 160-190mm)
- very short but masive crossguard with very wide ends (range circa 140-170mm, ends height circa 26-33mm)
- blade narrowing to the pointy tip (width mostly starting from circa 45-53mm)
- blade hexagonal cross section
- fuller mostly around 50-60% of the blade length
- unusually large, oval-round, pretty flat pommel disc with several subtypes (front width 70-90mm!)
- large peen block the shape of a rather flat pyramid or hill
- blades mostly with the Passau wolf mark
- not very numerous represented swords in sources (manuscripts, sculptures, paintings)
- probably a kind of an 'elite' swords, for nobles and significant persons.
This is indicated by the quality and degree of preservation as well as by the archaeological context.
We should not confuse these swords with a very similar group, with similar crossguards, but with blades with parallel edges. The latter are larger, heavier and much more common.
Comment: Why would I call it 'Elite' Longsword?
These swords, their representative examples, bear the mark of the Passau wolf on the blade, closely associated with the German state, which also means that they had a good quality blades. We can find them in Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland today`s territories but also England, Italy and Sweden.
Anyway, their style and form are also very characteristic for the central region of Europe.
But why elitist? They have very specific proportions, which is certainly not accidental. This suggests some specialized features that must have been desired by a small group of users. Distinguishing features are very significant. The small number of original swords, gives this sword the character of an elite weapon.
A wider group of similar swords can be noticed, in the amount of about 20 pieces, with very similar features, proportions, types. But they also differ in details. I have shown them on the left in the diagram. The four swords on the left are original examples of the type of sword type I mean.
It may be surprising that these swords are not at all reconstructed and widely known today, because they are perfectly designed weapons of European chivalry: agile, perfectly balanced, light and universal.
The hexagonal section of the blade with a fuller, combined with a really large pommel, gives the sword a point of balance stiffness closer to the crossguard.
The huge pommel provides support for the hands and is a kind of close contact weapon.
The blade with reinforced edges is excellent for both armor piercing and cutting.
Universal sword in its parameters, which can be successfully used on horseback and on foot. Such swords were usually not too heavy, around 1350-1600g, which with good balance also allows for one-handed use.
At the same time, these swords have a very distinctive and recognizable appearance.