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A flame-bladed sword or wave-bladed sword has a characteristically undulating style of blade. The wave in the blade is often considered to contribute a flame-like quality to the appearance of a sword. While largely decorative, some attributes of the waved blade were useful in combat. The two most common flame-bladed swords are rapiers or zweihänders, although there have been other sword types with flame-blades.
Flambard, flammard, and flammenschwert
The two-handed flame-bladed sword is called flambard, flammard or by the German flammenschwert (literally "flame sword"). These swords are very similar to two-handed sword or zweihänder, the only difference being the blade. Like other zweihänders they were used during the 16th century by the landsknechts, well-trained and experienced swordsmen, who were called doppelsöldner (double mercenary) because they received double pay.
The flamberge is an undulating blade that is found on both long blades and rapiers. When parrying with such a sword, unpleasant vibrations may be transmitted into the attacker's blade. These vibrations cause the blades to slow contact with each other because additional friction is encountered with each wave. The term flamberge was misapplied to refer to two-handed swords and was used later to refer to cup hilt rapiers with a straight blade. Very large blades of the flamberge variety were viable for destroying halberds mid-combat, as an undulating edge causes far more damage when dragged along a tough material than a straight edge.
- ARMA. "Sword Forms". Definitions & Study Terminology.
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