European Swords

The European Swords of approximately 500 to 1,500 A.D. evolved throughout history from steel swords which evolved from straight double-edged swords made of bronze as early as 1,500 B.C. At the start of the Middle Ages these European Swords tended to have blades under a yard in length with a grip designed to accommodate a single hand, the other being concerned with the grip of a shield. Many of the earliest European Swords were designed to cut, having thin blades, especially towards the tip, and often rounded. At the end of the Middle Ages, medieval swords grew stouter and more sharply pointed, being optimized for the thrust, the cut having been rendered less effective by improvements in armour. With these armour improvements, the shield became redundant and swords with hilts accommodating both hands made their appearance and grow in popularity. The development of a amazingly wide diversity of hilt forms characterizes European Swords, but in the Age of Enlightenment, the role of the sword as a personal weapon of choice in most of Europe ended with the sword becoming little more than a fashion accessory.

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