Longest one-handed swords 1050-1250
RESEARCH: THE LONGEST ONE-HANDED MEDIEVAL SWORDS 1050-1250.
That is one of the most interesting and important comparision I ever made... In the middle frame we see five swords from the 12-13th century, definitely with a one-handed, short hilt, but with gigantic long blades.
The side frames contain only a few examples with the typical proportions of earlier and later swords.
What are the main features of the displayed swords with the longest blades?
Their structure and typological form is simple: classic, round pommels, simple straight crossguards, recognizable types of blades, a bit surprisingly light weight, well balanced weapon.
In fact, the only thing that distinguishes them from other swords is the proportion. We note the addition of about 10-15cm to the length of the blade.
It should be noted that we know many examples of these types of swords with a length of 100-106 cm, which were very common. However, longer (much more) one-handed swords are an interesting group with a specific purpose.
Taking into account the later forms of bladed weapon, some analogies can be made to the one-handed, long bladed weapon used by the cavalry in the 16-18th centuries. Some of them are much longer: 130cm, 160cm and more. However that later weapon types are designed and intended only for thrusting from a horse back, having a saber-type handle and straight and very narrow blades.
Can we then assume that this extension of the blade length was aimed at better reach from the horse's back? Everything points to it. Especially that this is the period when cavalry is playing a dominant role on the battlefields.
However, such long blades in one-handed swords are not very common. Here we have five examples of swords with a blade length of 100-105 cm. Blade lengths of 85-95cm are much more common.
In addition, experience shows that such long blades also perform well in any situation, giving you an advantage over a longer range. It may not necessarily be a special length for the rider, it can also serve to extend the fighting range on the ground.
It can also be suggested that these are swords for very tall people, but it is difficult to find a reasonable explanation for such a hypothesis...
It seems right and safe to assume that this is a special sword design intended for the rider. This is evidenced by the very extended range of the blade and narrow, spiky points, suited to effective thrusts, but at the same time still suitable for wide, long reach cuts.
It should be added that the length of the handle in these swords is about 10cm and the balance is in the range of 10-20cm, and the weight of these swords is around 1000g.
Then they are almost 'normal' one-handed swords, with the added extra range of the blade.
The fifth example is a sword from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, which is the only one to distinguish itself with a different type of blade, quite unconventional.
The blade is very long, wide at the crossguard and tapers very much, creating an almost triangular shape. Certainly this was to ensure good stiffness and balance to the whole sword. It is an interesting concept, in a way adopted at a later period, but specifically this blade is very unusual for its period and type.