Types of medieval sword tips
Types of medieval sword tips for the period 950-1450.
Among the many misunderstandings and misconceptions about the appearance, shape and typology of swords that we encounter all the time, the issue of the tip of the blade certainly takes a significant place.
Many people believe that every sword should has (and in the past always had) a sharp, pointy tip, and if it is rounded, it is some kind of mistake or unusual manner of the maker.
So let's take a look at the historical types of sword blade tips, because the process is a bit more complex and may shed more light on the perception of sword reconstructions.
Of course, some of the original tips are incomplete and have been modified or repaired. Some of them are simply corroded. However, in my diagram I do not rely on single examples, which could cause misinterpretation. I base this on trends resulting from both the analysis of a larger number of examples with similar features and the fact that certain types of points are characteristic of entire groups of swords, sharing similar typological features and the period of manufacture.
Group A - Blades with a sharp tip.
They are characterized by a pointed end, a blade of different width, which converges with an arc to a sharp angle. This group also includes late blades with a narrow and thick cross-section, which have a very delicate angle ending in a very sharp point.
These are the types of sharp points that are preferred today, in fact they were not the only shape of the point.
Intended use of the blade: penetration, stabbing, thrusting
Group B - Blades with an oval tip.
They are characterized by the lack of a sharp point. The diameter of the oval end varies between blades, but we can clearly see the lack of a sharp end. This group also includes blades with a flattened tip, which in many cases was intentionally designed not to be used for stabbing. We should not confuse these blades with executioner swords, which are much later and have a different purpose and structure.
It should be added that this is quite a popular type of tip and over time it completely disappears in favor of types with a pointed tip.
Intended use of the blade: effective cutting with side edges, not applicable for thrusting.
Group C - Blades with a triangular tip.
There is quite a large group of swords, usually long, massive blades, that have such ends. The parallel edges of the blade suddenly change angle and converge to a sharp point. This creates a triangle of different widths, depending on the width of the entire blade, sometimes a very large change in angle. It seems that this solution was intended to strengthen the tip, so as to be able to thrust the sword without fear of breaking the thin tip of the blade.
Intended use of the blade: mainly strong cuts, also possible thrusts.
My personal comment
Many people treat the oval tips of a sword's blade as some kind of mistake or oversight. Wrong. This was a very common style of ending the blade. And it was done intentionally, fully consciously. It's just that these swords were intended for cutting/striking and thrusting was not intended.
Unfortunately, in many cases, as a swordmaker, I come across the objection that the tip 'should be sharp and pointed', and oval or flat tips are treated as a 'blunt sword'. Such a sword is not 'dull', it is fully sharpened, it just has a type of tip that is not designed for stabbing, and it is a completely historically correct finish.
Please pay attention to this in museums and catalogues. You will find many swords there, especially from the period 900-1300, the tips of which are plated (more or less, sometimes even flat). Such swords are still formidable cutting weapons.