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A long sword and a bastard sword are 2 different things. Dudtz 9/12/05 6:07 PM EST

the recent edits could do with some references, such as "avg. length 122 cm". Yes, it is a typical length, but what is the use of an infobox giving random "typical values" (a "time period" of 400 years...) for an umbrella term such as longsword. concerning the "corrected" "misinformation" on 'bastard-sword', are you claiming it is a Renaissance term? Where did you read that?? Let's see: the very competent has:

By popular definition a Bastard Sword is a weapon designed for use with either one or two hands.

going on to say that it is a misnomer. Yes, it is a misnomer, and we treat the term to get it out of the way, but we certainly don't use it as a technical term, such as "Spanish tapering blades". It is incorrect to say that "A long sword and a bastard sword are 2 different things." because bastard sword is not even a well-defined term! (strictly speaking, the statement cannot be wrong, since ex falso quodlibet :). 19:27, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Bastard Swords have a wider blade and they are longer. Dudtz 4/15/06 12:00 PM EST

According to whom? Cite some sources, please. --Fean 19:37, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Bastard swords are indeed a form of longsword. They were longer than a "shortsword" due primarily to a special longer 'half-grip' found on many swords as a "waisted hilt", putting them somewhere between one-handed shortswords and two-handed greatswords; undoubtedly a longsword. The Oakeshott typology XVIIIb and XVIIIe are perfect examples of the long wasted hilt, and tapered blade, though lacking the more compound hilt found on bastard swords (similar to those on Renaissance cut and thrust swords). During the onset of the Renaissance, the term was mis-used to categorize single-handed arming swords such as the 'Reitschwert'. Xiliquiern 19:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Where is the citation saying specifically that the bastard sword is a type of longsword? In fact, the article in general seems to assume that "bastard swords" and the like are "longswords" simply based on colloquial speech rather than actual sources technically defining the "longsword" as such. For example, the citation for the opening paragraph is to an article that is simply named "What Did HISTORICAL Swords Weigh?" with only ONE instance of the term "longsword." Zhandao (talk) 22:15, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

This claim is wrong, or at least dubious and requires citation[edit]

The following paragraph is wrong, and removed from the article. Please cite credible sources and explain the context of “long” compared to what.

The term "longsword" is ambiguous, and refers to the "bastard sword" only where the late medieval to Renaissance context is implied. "Longsword" in other contexts has been used to refer to Bronze Age swords, Migration period and Viking swords as well as the early modern dueling sword.[dubious - citation neeeded]. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Were These Used Widely in The Hundred Years War?[edit]

i believe they are but can someone verify this for me? --Bob 09:46, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Bastard swords tend to be true zweihanders, longer than the traditional longswords. ~Kjiersz

This is not the case, though a matter of semantics is in issue. The term zweihander/bidenhander translates to "two-hander" though it is a rather modern manifestation, a more historical term coming from the 1400's (as opposed to the 1600's) being 'espée a deure mains or spada da due mani'. This included primarily swords with much longer hilts than both the typical 'longsword' and the 'bastard sword' - generally, what is commonly known as a claymore today. Eventually, during the renaissance when the zwei/bidenhander term was coined, these swords gained a number of unique features including parrying hooks (parrierhaken), compound hilts, side rings, and in some cases, a flame-blade, making the sword a 'flammard', 'flambard', or 'Flamenschwert' (The term 'flamberge' applies to certain forms of rapiers). Therefore, we must assert that, due to the fact that while bastard swords did indeed include a longer hilt and compound hilt, they did not include the parrierhaken, large ricasso, very long hilt (12 or more inches in some cases), nor the exceptionally wide cross of 'True Zweihanders' which in almost all cases, contain all of the above with the exception of one or two. Xiliquiern 19:30, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Where are you sourcing that? The term 'bastard sword' is a minsomer anyway, it was a term used long after the period to denote what Victorian scholars considered a hand and a half sword. That would be classified as a longsword in my book. Sethwoodworth 19:52, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

'Bastard sword' is a perfectly good period term. OED's first citation is from 1418. It's in Harrison, Swetnam, and the London Masters of Defence mss. It isn't clear exactly what kind of sword it was, but it did exist. OED says that "bastard" in this context implies something of unusual shape or size for its class, especially something unusually large. Swetnam refers to "The Bastard Sword, the which Sword is something shorter then a long Sword, and yet longer then a Short-sword," which supports the popular definition.

Modern usage prefers "longsword", which is fine, but is plenty ambiguous in period English too. It's just as much , and as little, a modern term as "bastard sword" is. Megalophias 18:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

It certainly isn't true that all fechtbücher show two-handed use only, though it may be true of the German ones; Fiore's entire sword in one hand section shows longswords being used. There is also plently of artwork outside the manuals showing one-handed use (e.g. Dürer's "Apocalypse"). English sources frequently refer to long swords being used single or with dagger or buckler, though this may be a reference to a type of one-handed sword which shares the name. Megalophias 22:17, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Longsword Usage - On horseback as well?[edit]

I had this puzzle in mind: the long sword is very good for piercing armours. Yet, it is used by two hands, so was it a weapon to be used on horseback? (I can't imagine a guy carrying a two-handed sword on horseback to fight) Or knights normally just charge with lances.. The lances are broken, and then they dismount themselves and fight on foot with their long swords? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sophisticate20 (talkcontribs) 15:54, 8 November 2011 (UTC)


"colloquially referred to as bastard-sword or hand-and-a-half sword" sounds suspiciously similar to the description of the "bastard sword" from the Player's Handbook for DND. Unless anyone can come up with any sort of non-gaming reference to either term, we should get rid of them. Blueaster 01:28, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Bastard sword dates from the 15th c; see above. Hand-and-a-half sword is common in modern non-gaming works, e.g. (without getting out of my chair) Wilkinson, "Arms and Armour", 1978. In any case, I don't see why we shouldn't report on modern colloquial usage even if it is derived from D&D. Megalophias 02:19, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

when i'm asking whether or not info in an article is relable, you're telling me to look at the article itself to reassure myself? i don't care if it comes from D&D, but it needs to be differentiated as such, so that it would be recognized as gaming terminology and not historical terminology

I meant "see above" on this talk page, where I gave references for "bastard sword". As far as I know, the arms and armour terms popularized by D&D were not coined by Gygax et al (); they come from older works (albeit often outdated now.) Megalophias 05:11, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
afaik, the terms bastard-sword and hand-and-a-half sword are 19th century curators' coinage. So no, they did not originate in gaming culture, but they are not 'proper' terms, neither in the sense that they were used historically (when the swords were in use) nor currently (in the sense that they are part of some classification system used by experts today). dab () 12:58, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
The term 'epee' bastard' appears in reference to a 'bastard sword' (direct translation) as early as 1418. During the Renaissance (late 1500's and 1600's), the term was applied, incorrectly, to single handed arming swords (cut and thrust, if that pleases you). The problem of mis-use does occur in the 19th and 20th centuries as games, pop culture, and curators began to refer to longer or larger swords as bastardswords, a fallacy. Some of these do include swords with bastard-like blades and waisted hilts, but lacking the compound cross of many 'true' bastard-swords, making them more of a 'standard' longsword like the Oakeshott XVIIIb. Xiliquiern 15:11, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
that's very interesting, what is that 1418 reference you mention? () qp 15:30, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I wish I can produce the exact reference myself. The article I originally referenced was from the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts page on sword definitions, though 'A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armour' (George Cameron Stone; 1934) confirms a 15th century reference and provides a beautiful picture of the waisted compound hilt. 'The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms and Weapons' (Blair, et al; 1979) makes mention of it being a 15th century term as well, and makes note of it evolving from a cruciform hilted longsword to the more differentiated waisted compound hilt. I will certainly strive to find this source from 1418...such things are rare, so if I can locate anything from the early 15th century, it should probably be among them. Xiliquiern 16:14, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

ok, ok i believe you. but if that is so, i don't think that the terms, being both anachronistically applied and obselete would not be relevant then. it's interesting, but not relevant. Blueaster 05:47, 30 August 2006 (UTC)


This statement caught my eye:

"The evolution of the sword was gradual; there is no obvious classification of various types."

Indeed, the evolution of the sword was gradual, and in some cases, extremely complex. Similarly, the evolution of the sword did not require one new type of sword to supersede another - swords from different time period may remain in use on the battlefield together. The statement that there is no "obvious classification", I believe, is incorrect. The Peterson typology and the Oakeshott typology categorize weapons from the Roman and viking spatha all the way into two-handed swords and estocs of the Renaissance. Other lesser known typologies by the same men and others categorize pommel variety, hilt shape, and guard design from the earliest viking swords all the way into rapiers (though I don't believe a rapier blade typology exists). Their work is not set in stone, as recent discoveries (and re-discoveries of things lost in museums) bring about items which don't always fall easily into a single category within a typology. However, these typologies have largely set the stage for academic discussion of types of swords within the community.

Before making an edit to revise this, I wanted to make sure that I was not misreading or misunderstanding the text. I'm not sure who authored it, but its current sweeping generalization seems to be largely incorrect. -- xiliquierntalk 14:13, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

How come nobody bothers to put in an average length of these swords?[edit]

How come nobody bothers to put in an average length of these swords? It is kind of annoying me that most other versions (in other languages) have the length but the English one does not!

Well, probably because the article has yet to be really seriously fleshed out. I would also like to think that people have avoided adding a range because there is such large variation. -- xiliquierntalk 13:17, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Five men walk into a room. One is carrying a case filled with money. Hundred dollar bills, to be exact. Enough hundred dollar bills to equal one hundred thousand bucks. The other guys have five dollars in their wallets. The average amount of money any person in there had is not close to what the majority actually had. What does all that mean? An average length will not really provide the reader with much information, because longswords(and swords in general) vary quite a bit. They vary so much that people have trouble defining what a longsword IS. --Fean 09:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

The following might be of interest to you:
A summary of data gathered during a study of the swords now currently held in the Wallace Collection, the Stibbert Museum, Florence, and the Royal Armouries.
Results of study of swords dated 9th-16th centuries[1]:
sword type grip length (cm) sword length (cm) weight (g)
Single-handed swords ~10 75-120 650-1400
Hand-and-a-half (bastard) swords min. 15 800-1400
Two-handed swords ~20-45 max. 150 1500-2600
Note that the results were evenly distributed for length and weight throughout time period.
    Gwinva 10:38, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

    just to let you know... grams isn't a measure of weight... just as, in the article, it inaccurately uses kg as a measurement alongside pounds. grams is a measure of mass, just as slugs is the measure of mass in the english system. newtons is the measure of weight in the metric system.

    Some new data on longsword length & weight (mass) (60+ longswords). Some averages: 13/14th century sword: total length: 1148 mm, blade length: 907 mm, weight: 1516 gr; 15th century sword: 1159 mm, blade length: 897 mm, weight: 1506 gr Pretty similar to the 13/14th century average.; 16th century sword: 1169 mm, blade length: 912 mm, weight: 1671 gr.
    The article contains further references to the detailed description of each dataset. -- Ulrich von Lichtenstein (talk) 11:16, 7 November 2013 (UTC)


    I made a relatively large change today (being bold). I tried to source a lot of it, but some is left unsourced. I also added two images. Feel free to play with it. - xiliquiernTalk 21:32, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


    Some thoughts on where further expansion may be useful. - xiliquiernTalk 03:11, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

    • Citations. Simple as that.
    • Construction, a section on the type of steel and a brief overview of the manufacturing process. Perhaps a contrast with the modern steels and techniques used today.
    • Folding the steel
    • Hilt attachment methods

    All good venues, except steel type. No factories to produce little bars of "1070 steel." --Fean 09:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

    I meant more generally: i.e. carbon steels, not stainless steel, or other alloys

    Copy editing[edit]

    Bit of a rough diamond this one. I've added a TODO section which I'll try to work on. My primary task is eliminating the constant definition and redefinition of the term "longsword", which pops up in practically every section (and had its own disambig until now). But there's rather a lot of work that could be done to improve this article's readability. Chris Cunningham 10:39, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

    And part 1 is this ridiculous disambig page. look, not only do the foreign language links on the dab actually point to this article, but it contains absolutely nothing which isn't better explained in here. Disambig pages are better used for differing concepts, not to resolve finite points. Half this article discusses the differences between swords labelled as longswords, so the disambig is superfluous. Chris Cunningham 10:56, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
    well, this article is intended as treating the late medieval sword. if you take this away, it will sink back into the confusion I've found it in at the time I created the disambiguation page. On Wikipedia, you always need to calculate future additions by well-meaning but clueless editors who don't read before they edit. dab (𒁳) 12:16, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
    Fine. I've moved a lot of talk about other swords into other articles. There is fallout in the form of missing refs still to catch, and I need to check how this article flows, but I think you made the right call here. Chris Cunningham 13:00, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
    you are doing a good job. dab (𒁳) 13:40, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

    Thank you for your work so far! I struggled with the collection of terminologies in compiling the article originally. At the time of its creation, bastard-sword and great sword redirected here, so the article was made inclusive following that realization. Generally, Greatswords, Bastard Swords, and Estocs are treated as derivations of Longswords, a sort of subtype as there is a good deal of overlap. (This, among other things, makes strictly defining the term hard.) The new disambiguation page, however, certainly lets this article be cleaned up significantly. Also, feel free to start throwing around citation request tags - I'll be more or less free tomorrow and have a pretty nice library at my disposal to try and get anything sourced. -xiliquiernTalk 15:25, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

    German Spelling[edit]

    Are we going to use the modern german spelling, or the period spelling seen in manuals and text? I've only seen 'langen schwert' in period sources, but I suppose 'langschwert' could have been used then too. - xiliquiernTalk 16:31, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

    'langen schwert' is inflected, nominative is langes Schwert: this is the regularized spelling of the period term. Using "period" terminology is problematic because orthography was not regularized, and there is often no single best way to spell things. dab (𒁳) 16:41, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    Ah, thanks for the correction. My understanding of German is less than basic. As it stands now, though, the contemporary terminology in the introduction setcion is": "Langschwert". Is this actually a period term, or is it only a modern one? (Or in other words, should it be replaces with langes Schwert? -xiliquiernTalk 16:53, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    Langschwert is the equivalent of longsword and is not "period". langes Schwert is simply the equivalent of long sword, meaning, it is correct Standard German, but it also happens to be the modern spelling of the period term, spelled variously langes swert, lannges schwert, langes schwert. Your "langen schwert" is probably from the "period" expression kunst deß langenn swertz, regularized Kunst des langen Schwerts, English "art of the long sword". My suggestion would be to not get lost in orthographical quibbles, and simply say that the German terms are langes Schwert for the weapon, and Kunst des langen Schwerts for the art. dab (𒁳) 17:35, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    I had no mean to "quibble" between "langen schwert" and langes Schwert, but rather to differentiate between Langschwert (currently, and apparently incorrectly, shown on the article page as a period term) and langes schwert, no longer mentioned as the period term or at all. I don't know enough to be certain, but I felt that the modern Langschwert should probably be changed back to period langes schwert as a correct period term. I didn't change it then, nor will I now. I think I need a break. -xiliquiernTalk 18:10, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

    Great Sword Spelling[edit]

    Every dictionary I checked spells it as two words. Then entire myArmoury site (not forum) has 'greatsword' only once as a singe word.

    It is a compound word; just like high school etc. Mercutio.Wilder 07:11, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

    Units of Mass[edit]

    I have come across two entries with this 'correction' made: replacing kg with newtons. These edits were made by

    According to wikipedia newton is a unit of force not weight. As mass is a highly relevant unit of measure for a device used for generating force, it is appropriate to list its mass. If you wish to be more precise than change weight to mass instead of chaning units of mass to units of force.

    And sign your actions. Mercutio.Wilder 20:50, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

    Aren't kgs easier to comprehend for the general public? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Titt (talkcontribs).

    Not necessarily. --Eyrian 13:26, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

    Per WP:UNITS, choose SI units as the main unit, with other units in parentheses. I see no reason to give inches and pounds (I think even Americans have heard of the decimal system by now), but if for some reason people insist we must give them, put them in brackets after the SI values, not the other way round. Obviously, giving mass in "Newton at Earth's surface" is silly. dab (𒁳) 09:55, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


    Is it just me or is the picture not of a longsword but a two-hander? It looks longer and has a longer grip than what I thought was a 'longsword.' Wilhelm Ritter 15:24, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

    This is exactly what differentiates a longsword from an arming sword or side sword. The grip long enough for two hands. For comparison see the entry on zweihander, these are 'true' two-handed swords.Mercutio.Wilder 18:38, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
    to be fair, the image is hard to judge without a sense of scale. It may come close to a genuine Zweihaender. 19:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)


    I have no doubt that there are finds of what we would consider "longswords" dating to the later 13th century. However, giving the period of use as "1250 to 1550" is very misleading. There is practically no evidence of longsword fencing in the period 1250 to 1350. During this time, such enormously large swords may have been produced exceptionally, but it is anyone's guess how and in what context they were used. I am not aware of a single depiction of "longsword fencing" predating 1350 (or 1400, for that matter). The typical period of longsword usage is 1350 to 1550. We can stretch this by one century on either end, 1250-1650, if we want to capture the absolutely earliest and absolutely latest forms, but I strongly suggest we give the "typical", not the "maximal" range in the intro. dab (𒁳) 09:45, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

    btw, I would be very grateful if anyone could direct me to 14th c. depictions of longsword (two-handed) unarmoured fencing. I am aware of some two-handed use by armoured combattant in battlefield scenes, but not of anything resembling longsword single combat. dab (𒁳) 09:58, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
    3227a, aka the Doebringer fechtbuch, written in 1389 and explicitly described as being a continuation of a tradition that started earlier in the century. Pictures no. But unambiguous textual evidence of a longsword tradition starting around 1350. Mercutio.Wilder 16:57, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
    I am aware of this. That's unambiguous textual evidence of a longsword tradition starting around 1400. It doesn't say "earlier in the century", it says "J. L. travelled around a lot and learned from other masters; his system is based on the messer; the principles involved are as old as the hills, but L. put them into this neat presentation". 3227a is dated on grounds of an Easter calendar beginning in 1389. From circumstantial evidence, it could date to any time between, say 1380 and 1420. Whether this calendar was really set to the present year or if it also looked a few years into the past is anybody's guess. I prefer to say 3227a dates to "ca. 1400". But I was in fact asking for pictorial evidence. dab (𒁳) 17:31, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
    I understand that you were looking for pictures but the absence of pictures does not invalidate the textual evidence; Though it may show that the longsword tradition was uncommon before ca. 1400. However, Lichtenauer was doing longsword around 1350. 3227a is simply the earliest surviving treatise. 3227a is clearly written about a tradition that started around 1350. Though it still isn't pictures.
    Why in particular are you looking for pictures? Mercutio.Wilder 03:34, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
    Mercutio, what is your point? I am not disputing anything you say. I am looking for pictures because I am not aware of any, yet based on textual evidence it is conceivable that there could be. The earliest images I am aware of date to the 1410s, and I would like to push back that date. 3227a is the earliest "hard" evidence, and it is possible to date this MS to only a few years earlier than the 1410s images. "1350" is not supported by hard evidence, but by reasonable extrapolation. I am not disputing that extrapolation, but why should it be surprising that I am looking for hard evidence (such as a picture dating to the 1350s) that would establish a mid-14th c. date without doubt? dab (𒁳) 16:55, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

    Bastard sword, where the word comes from[edit]

    Hello. On another version of wikipedia, we can read that: "by holding the sword with the left hand, the knight cannot hold his buckler no more and thus cannot show the heraldry. Having to leave his heraldry, all Europe looks down on the weapon and calls it 'bastard' ".

    This is one idea. In the english version I'm reading that it's because it's neither from one class nor from another. So, I would wonder if anybody would bother sourcing what he says on the topic, and maybe put those ideas as two possible hypothesis.

    The quotation is translated 'on the fly' from the french wikipedia. For an answer, please let me know by looking for me with Utilisateur:Philippe Giabbanelli on the french wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

    There are a number of problems with this theory.
    1) Holding a sword in the left hand does not prevent holding a shield in the right
    2) Bastard swords are not specifically left-handed swords and two-handed swords are uncommon from horseback
    3) Heraldry is shown on more than just the shield, i.e. the surcoat
    4) Heraldry is much less common by the 15th century when we see the first bastard swords.
    5) Bastard swords are not exclusively knightly weapons so many of the people using them were not allowed to have heraldry.
    Altogether the theory is rather problematic logically so I would not include it without solid references. Mercutio.Wilder (talk) 19:05, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

    "bastard sword" in original (15th century) usage simply means "a sword of unusual or irregular shape" without further specification. The thing about heraldry was simply made up by somebody on the internet. I have no idea whether the French épée bâtarde is older than the English term, or indeed older than the 19th century, and it stands here entirely without substantiation, so it might as well be removed for all it is worth.

    My suspicion is that this is due to stuff simply made up on fr:Épée bâtarde. Editors copy between the wiki's language versions because everyone assumes the others know what they are doing. They are not, or they would be citing their references. --dab (𒁳) 13:42, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

    Actually it takes less than a minute to locate such references on google books. So much the worse if people simply keep speculating instead. Here is evidence from the 1730s, that épée bâtarde had come to mean "particularly long sword". Conveniently, the source also states that this had formerly and "properly" been known as passot or épée de passot in the 15th century. Here[1] is further evidence that the French term épée bâtarde appears in the mid 16th century.

    So the shape of things is this:

    • historical (15th c.) French term: passot
    • historical English and German term: longsword - langes schwert
    • English "bastard" was used from the 15th century as an adjective meaning "peculiar, irregular"
    • a "bastard sword" could refer to a sword that was particularly long, among other things
    • from the mid 16th century, épée bâtarde and presumably also "bastard sword" had come to mean "long sword" in particular.

    --dab (𒁳) 13:58, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

    How does an obscure French book show the normal usage of an English term? Presumably? That's an unreasonable presumption.Radj397 (talk) 20:50, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

    On appelloit épée bâtarde, celle qui n'avoit point de nom certain, c'est -à- dire , qui n'étoit ni Françoise , ni Espagnole

    Link Farm[edit]

    I removed the link farm. All organizations and groups treated fairly.Ranp (talk) 21:45, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

    Longswords and the use of Shields[edit]

    The hand-and-half grips allow the swordfighter to wield it with one hand. However, the off-hand would still never use a shield, true? Are there any examples from the medieval manuals that instruct how to use a longsword with a shield?

    Are there any modern reinactors who can wield a longsword with a shield? *Can* it be done, if so *should* it be done? What are the advantages of a hand-and-half sword over a proper two-handed sword or single-handed arming sword? Especially regarding a shield. Haldrik (talk) 19:32, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

    Shields went out of use with the development of plate armour. They were obsolete when most of the manuals were written. Can it be done? Hand-and-half grip swords are light enough to used single handed. That was the whole point of the hand-and-half grip. So yes, though much better with a buckler (you can grip the sword hilt with the left hand while still holding the buckler for a powerful cut or thrust). Should it be done? Depends on the date. Radj397 (talk) 01:33, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

    The "hand-and-a-half" terminology is a red herring. It's an entirely modern term coined by antiquarians. In contemporary terminology, a longsword was a sword you used with two hands. If you were not going to use it with two hands, I suppose you wouldn't call it a longsword but simply a sword.

    I realize this is a typical forum topic, good for years of circular debate, but the long and the short of it is really that when they say "longsword", they mean two-handed use. --dab (𒁳) 13:35, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

    Longswords were also called bastard swords. Hand-and-a-half was coined as a polite replacement for bastard sword. So what about Two-handers? They were called that because they were wielded with TWO HANDS! Radj397 (talk) 01:33, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

    Well, in English sources just to confuse matters it does sometimes apply to a one-handed sword with a longer than usual blade, though most often it seems to be another word for a two-handed sword. Megalophias (talk) 21:24, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

    Questionable content[edit]


    "The longsword (of which stems the variation called the bastard sword) is a type of European sword designed for two-handed use"

    - Can anyone honestly say the bastard sword stemmed from the longsword? When? Exactly what is a bastard sword anyway? Is it a hand-and-a-half? How would that stem from a two-hander and not an arming sword?

    "The term 'longsword' is ambiguous, and refers to the 'bastard sword' only where the late medieval to Renaissance context is implied. 'Longsword' in other contexts has been used to refer to Bronze Age swords, Migration period and Viking swords, rapiers, as well as the early modern dueling sword."

    - By whom exactly? Perhaps you mean a 'long sword' i.e. a sword that is long and NOT a 'longsword' i.e. a particular type of sword.

    Duff References

    "but by the mid-16th century could refer to exceptionally large swords.[2] "

    2^ Qui n'étoit ni Françoise , ni Espagnole, ni proprement Lansquenette, mais plus grande que pas une de ces fortes épées ("[a sword] which was neither French, nor Spanish, nor properly Landsknecht [German], but larger than any of these great swords." Jacob Le Duchat (ed.), Oeuvres de Maitre François Rabelais, Jean-Frédéric Bernard, 1741, p. 129 (footnote 5).)

    - I cant read French but the reference is from 1741. The 18th century not the mid-16th. Has English and French terminology always been parallel anyway?

    "while 'long sword' or 'long-sword', if used at all, referred to the rapier (in the context of Renaissance or Early Modern fencing).[6]"

    6^ see e.g. A general guide to the Wallace Collection, 1933, p. 149.

    - Actually read it! "the rapier, a long sword of elegant proportions" i.e. a sword that is long, NOT a longsword!

    7^ A nonce attestation of "long-sword" in the sense of "heavy two-handed sword" is found in Principles of stage combat (1983).

    - This is by an actor, not a historian or even a HEMA enthusiast. Is it a reliable source?


    "By the late 16th century, early forms of the basket-hilt emerge on this type of sword."

    - Can two hands be used on a basket-hilt? Even an early one! Isn't the longsword designed for two-handed use? Or do you mean swept-hilt? They are not the same thing. (The illustration on the wikipedia sword article is a swept-hilt not a "basket shaped hilt"!)

    Radj397 (talk) 22:49, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

    Thanks for taking an interest in this poor article, I guess, but I daresay your involvement has not been unambiguously a happy one. Perhaps you "cant read French", but does the aggregate of Latin letters "François Rabelais" ring a bell? That's right, he lived in the 16th century. This is a big clue that the 18th century reference you object to discusses the 16th century. And so it is. I won't address the remainder of your comments other than saying that I took great care to elucidate the term "bastard sword" as well as possible. You should have read the "terminology" section instead of, hm, redecorating it. Also, you should take care to distinguish coherent contributions submitted by indentifiable editors from random article deterioration on the part of driveby IPs. Yes, the "Morphology" section is and always has been a sad mess. --dab (𒁳) 12:50, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

    this is a difficult topic[edit]

    ...mainly because the term "longsword" is a neologism coined by HEMA enthusiasts around 2000. If you want to use any literature from outside of HEMA publications of the past decade, you will be in terminological trouble.

    So, would it be too much to ask that editors wishing to "improve" or "correct" this article first sit down and try to absorb the information conveyed by the "terminology" section.

    If you still think you need to make "corrections" concerning the use of terms like "bastard-sword", or introduce pseudo-German like Langesschwert, please make sure you make your reasons transparent.

    Perhaps it will help if I repeat the situation described in the article in somewhat emphatic terms here:

    • IT DOES NOT MATTER whether you spell it longsword, long-sword or long sword. Such is the nature of English apposition, all these forms have been used in the past, since at least the 19th century, to refer to all sorts of swords, including Germanic spathas, Japanese katanas, and what have you. It is entirely HOPELESS to try and make a case that "longsword" is somehow a more specific term than "long sword". People have been called "Longsword" since the 10th century(!) simply because they had swords longer than the average of their time, this has nothing to do with this article's subject matter.
    • The thing under discussion here is called "longsword" or "long sword" in modern HEMA, since ca. 2000, due to the period German term langes schwert. NO, THE PERIOD TERM IS NOT Langesschwert, Langenschwert or Langschwert. I know the first two have appeared in print, but these are mistakes by authors who do not know German. Langschwert otoh is a MODERN GERMAN term, exactly equivalent in its wide application (spathas, katanas, etc.) to English "longsword". It does not make sense to explain an modern English term by an equivalent modern German term. German terminology is of interest because these swords were used in 15th to 16th century Germany. Consequently, the period terminology is of interest, not antiquarian terminology that suffers from the same ambiguites that the English terminology we are already stuck with.

    --dab (𒁳) 13:10, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

    Italian Longsword Tradition[edit]

    There is currently a significant section of this article focusing on the German longsword tradition, but no mention of the Italian tradition. The Italian Longsword tradition is largely documented elsewhere and often considered the "other half" of historical longsword fencing. Right now readers are only getting half the picture. There is an article on Italian Medieval Swordsmanship on wiki already, but I'll leave it to more savvy editors to either include a link to this article in the main "Longsword" article or make a new section of it featuring this material. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:37, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

    Blade length[edit]

    The part where blade length should be listed instead simply says " length". The code "part_length" seems to be correct as far as I know. Does anybody know how to fix this? Kbog (talk) 02:54, 10 July 2012 (UTC)