Swords Throughout History

» Posted by on Aug 4, 2019 in Fighter | Comments Off on Swords Throughout History

Swords Throughout History

Swords have been used for attack and defence throughout written history, as well as in some of the Mixed Martial Arts. Blades came in many shapes and sizes designed to suit the fighting style of the swordsman. Originally cast in bronze, which was soft and needed constant sharpening, this metal was replaced after hundreds of years of use, by iron and steel as the superior metal.

The Khopesh

The khopesh is an early example of a bronze sword used by the Egyptians which was far superior to any other material used before. It was curved in the form of a sickle with less curvature, but the sharpened blade was on the outer edge. It also had a secure hook on the end of the module, although it is not sure what the use of this was as it did not lend itself to stabbing the enemy and withdrawing the blade. It also featured as a ceremonial accoutrement. It was at its best in close combat situations, and the shape lent itself to slashing. Pharaoh Tutankhamun had two khopeshes entombed with him for his journey to the afterlife.

The Kukri

For many centuries this was the weapon of choice of the Gurkhas of Nepal. The short blade was sharpened on the inside curve of the blade which lent itself to close combat where it was able to cut off limbs (and even heads) with ease. It first came to the attention of the British in the early 1800s. The British Army quickly appreciated the speed and usefulness in battle, and the Gurkhas were incorporated into the British forces as a brigade. They became a feared force and excelled themselves in the Second World War and today, are loyal to the Queen of England.

The Ulfberht

In the eighth century when the Vikings were invading Europe and the British Isles, in the quest for women, booty and farmlands, their sword, the Albert, instilled fear in those places that they invaded. The steel used to forge the blades was from high carbon, making the sword superior to any other sword carried by their foes. Only in the 1800s did anyone equal the steel manufactured by the Viking blacksmiths.

The Katana

This sword is arguably the most beautiful and useful fighting blade in history. In Japan’s fighting history this weapon was used by the Sumari class of fighters who followed the Bushido Code and served the Emperor and their Lords. The strength, lightness and sharpness were legendary, and swordsmiths took great pride in their craft. The skill of the Samurai in the use of the Katana has developed into a recognized martial art.

The Ixwa

This was developed by Shaka Zulu in Southern Africa in the early 19th century as a close combat stabbing sword. This weapon made the Zulu’s invincible, and the enemy feared them throughout Southern Africa. The blade was about 300mm long with a 600mm shaft. It was not designed to throw and when the enemy had pitched their spears, the Zulus moving in and attacked with impunity.