The Longsword

swordThe longsword is a European style blade that held sway from 1350 until 1550. Even after this time frame the longsword was popular and this basic sword design influenced bladed weaponry for centuries. With a cruciform (cross) hilt and a straight blade this 4 foot long weapon is easy to spot. Double bladed, thick and made for both cutting and thrusting this sword is larger than what most people consider a single-hand sword but is not quite as long as a true two-hand sword. Though it is also not quite a bastard or hand-and-a-half sword it is very close and worked well in combat due to the entire sword being brought into play during combat. The long sword, with its sturdy blade and long cross guard, led to a change in combat styles during the time period that it was a battle-field weapon.

This sword could be wielded one handed, two handed or with a hand on the hilt and a hand on the blade itself. The long sword was a cutting tool but it cannot be denied that its thrusting potential became the main offensive attack of the longsword, especially during the age of armor when it was most widely used. During the later reign of the longsword with the increased use of armor, the technique of fighting with a hand on the blade and a hand on the hilt became even more popular and allowed for those devastating thrusting attacks to even pierce some armor types.

half swordingThis fighting technique is known as Ringen am Schwert, half-swording or “wrestling with the sword.” Through the use of this fighting style, the wielder had more control over the blade and could make more powerful and more accurate thrusts. This style also allowed the wielder to use the sword with wrestling techniques to disarm, trip and otherwise entangle the opponent. Half-swording would allow you to bring the pommel, hilt and the flat of the blade into play. Whether the wielder is using the guard like a hook to trip his opponent or using the pommel to brain his adversary the long sword is a functional blade that has seen combat all over Europe and beyond.

“Ahhh, the long sword. Perhaps one of my favorite weapons, elegance, grace and in the right hands a deadly weapon. Many of my brethren, including myself, carry this sword at our side. I prefer to combine its use with a shield for a more ‘sword and board’ style of fighting. However I have seen this weapon used with almost any and every other weapon imagined in a duel wielding technique…long sword and dagger, long sword and short sword, ax and even bucklers to make a very fluid, fast and effective weapon on the battlefield. In conclusion the long sword is the perfect weapon for beginners and veterans alike, it is a staple in any arsenal and truly a magnificent weapon.”
– Sir Wiz, Paladin

“I am not fond of the longsword when aboard ship. It is too long to use effectively on board a ship and gets tangled in the rigging. There have been some captains that carried the longsword as a symbol of authority but when it comes down to the fighting they would always pass on that big piece o’ steel for something a little smaller and with a keener edge.

That said, on land the long sword is your best friend. The fact that the longsword can multitask between chopping and stabbing makes it very versatile. Whether you are fighting a nasty group of buccaneers or the King’s knights the long sword will be your best companion. Working equally well at defense or offense you can’t go wrong with a longsword at your side. Plus… they are pretty to look at and can be sold later when you need money for rum. This is particularly true f the ones with big gems and jewels on the hilt.”
– Bobaganush the Pirate