The Claymore

You can never take our FREEDOM!

Sorry for the overt pop-culture reference in the title but HOW else are you going to introduce this sword.  The Claymore is the Scottish variant of the two-handed long sword.  Invented to give the user more reach and more hilt so that using two hands is more comfortable and therefore allows for more power behind the blade, the Scottish Claymore was one of the weapons of choice during the Scottish Wars of Independence and the clan wars that were so prevalent during the pre-Renaissance time period.

claymoreThe two-hand sword came about due to the changes in armor and the need for a bigger sword to cleave through said armor.  The basic long sword was lengthened to about 6 feet, weighing, on average, five and half pounds.  The cross hilt on the traditional Claymore was forward-facing and had a round pommel.  The sword was designed as a cutting and thrusting weapon, the blade length gave plenty of edge for defeating padded armor and the two handed grip would allow the user to push through other, more sturdy, forms of armor.  For the Highlanders in Scotland, this gave them the ability to fight armored infantry and cavalry with hit and run tactics that eventually lead to their freedom.  The Claymore was the weapon of many Scottish armies and gave them the medieval version of more firepower.

The Claymore is featured in Scottish iconography and can be seen not only on family crests and clan badges but also on the seal of John Balliol King of Scots.  In modern times the Claymore has gotten three notable nods in pop-culture:

  • John Balliol King of ScotsHighlander – If you remember, the first sword that Connor MacLeod uses before he is brought out as the Highlander is a Claymore.  Part of me really wishes that he had kept the Claymore as his weapon of choice instead of the freakin katana.
  • Braveheart – The Sword of William Wallace.  You can find it called this in almost all sword and knife shops around the world.  The official movie version is spectacular.  Still love the scene where Wallace is streaking into battle with the sword in his hand and chops the infantry soldiers leg off with it.  Great fight scene with a Claymore.
  • Rob Roy – Though the sword in the final duel might be called a Broadsword version of the Claymore you will see the Claymore on and off throughout the movie.