Medieval swords, and swords themselves, have long been an object of fascination. From the Bronze Age to modern times, the sword conjures great inspiration, awe and respect. Attributed to Nobles of history, the sword is considered as an aristocratic weapon. The Roman Empire long considered the “Spartha”, or Roman Sword, as a symbolic focal point of the Army’s supremacy. During in the Middle-Ages, the sword not only elevated squires to Knighthood, but served as a symbol of strength, integrity, honor and tradition.
Literature has often referred to the sword as a source of inspiration, power and honor.
Homer, The Iliad, Beowulf and countless Anglo-Saxon Chronicles immortalized ancient Greek and Medieval swords to a level beyond those of mortal men. In modern times, representation of swords as a symbol of power continues. From the swords of ancient Greece and the Roman empire, depicted in such popular films as “The Fall of the Roman Empire”, “Spartacus” and “Gladiator”; to the swords of the Medieval era in “Braveheart”, “Hamlet” and “The Lord of the Rings”; to the katanas, or Samurai swords, of Feudal Japan, in “The Last Samurai”; To the futuristic “Light saber” of “Star Wars”. These examples depict the importance and symbolism of the sword as it transcends culture and time.
Through chronicles and films, the symbolism of the sword continues for decades, not as a simple weapon of war, but as the most venerated symbol of leadership, courage, justice and kinship. Today, medieval swords, as well as other swords of various historical periods are safely kept in Museums and private collections. They continue to conjure images of greatness, fascination, and leadership. The Medieval sword essentially developed from Celtic, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, and late Roman (the spatha) archetypes.
The Viking and early Frankish forms (the “spata”) are also considered to be more direct ancestors. Medieval swords can be classified (typically by hilt design) into many categories by curators, collectors, and military historians. However, through the last 8 centuries, medieval swords were simply referred to as “swords”, or “sword of war”, “war-sword” (French Espée du Guerre or Epee du Guerre), and “long-sword”. It was only during the crusades, with the massive armies of mounted knights, that Medieval Swords found a new name; the Arming-sword. Arming-swords were also considered “riding-swords” (also parva ensis or epee courte). It is this single-hand form which is so closely associated with the idea of the “knightly sword” (c. 1300).