The longsword was also known as the Bastardsword and became popular in Europe between 1100 and 1400.
Featuring a long, cross shaped hilt – allowing for double handed use – and a long blade tapering to a point, it was primarily used for cutting and slashing.
It was strong yet flexible and crafted from tempered steel but was unable to pierce plate armour; this action is often depicted inaccurately in medieval themed movies.
The longsword was essentially a symbol of power and an icon of social status. Whoever could afford the best longsword was the most respected individual – especially since high quality, elaborately decorated swords of this kind could be extremely expensive and time consuming to produce.
There is a lot of technical depth to the correct and most efficient sword fighting. This is because the longsword has to be used effectively since it takes up both of the combatant’s hands. It is also not designed for sheer power; rather it can be used for puncturing vulnerable areas between plates of armour.
“The average longsword would way over 1kg; however some heavy models weighed up to 5kg”
Find out how a medieval longsword was crafted!
As longsword fighting became popular as a sport and required more training to teach knights, many experts commissioned painted manuscripts – such as the Gladiatoria and the Flower of Battle – with bold illustrations demonstrating technique movements, such as parrying, pommel throwing, thrusting and dodging.