A sword is a bladed weapon that is used for combats as well as for ceremonies. It is primarily used for thrusting and slashing and is longer than a knife and dagger (from which the sword evolved).
The sword is one of civilization’s earliest tools. It was invented during the Bronze Age, with the earliest extant specimens dating as far as 1600 B.C.
Apart from its actual use, the sword also has symbolic uses. Several symbolic meanings gravitate around these uses. The sword demonstrated the royal prerogative in law and was used to mete out punishments. It also played a significant role in fundamental rituals, such as coronation and knighting. It can also symbolize a nation.
The sword is also an object of several myths and has been frequently portrayed in art and literature. Some swords even have names, like Excalibur and Durandal. They are endowed with extraordinary magical powers – they fly, break rocks, and make their owner invisible – and sometimes, they are revered like gods.
If you are getting interested in swords, it’s essential to know the parts of this weapon. If you have come across some words from the sword terminology that you are not familiar with and wondered what they mean, you have come to the right place!
Here you can see the diagram of the sword and its parts, and the definition of each part:
- Hilt – The part of the sword that consists of the grip (or handle), pommel, and cross-guard. When the sword is in the scabbard (a sheath that holds and protects the blade when the sword is not in use), the blade is hidden, leaving only the hilt as the visible part.
- Pommel – The pommel is located at the near end of the sword, at the top of the handle. The pommel is typically screwed onto the tang, or riveted to the tang. It is essential for more even weight distribution and good manageability. If the sword is particularly heavy, the weight from the pommel balances it out.
- Grip (or handle) – The part of the sword you hold.
- Cross-guard – It is the metal part of the sword that protects your hand. Some people confuse the cross-guard with the hilt, which the cross-guard actually belongs to.
- Rain-guard (chappe) – It is a piece of leather that is fitted to the cross-guard. It is a typical feature in European swords. While the purpose of the rain-guard is not specific, it may have originally functioned as a lid when the blade was in the scabbard.
- Blade – It is the essential part of the sword, which makes it a weapon. It typically has two-side faces with one sharp edge and one back edge. However, there are other swords that are double-edged, which are swords with two sharp edges.
- Fuller – It is the groove along the blade that allows the sword to have a lighter and more stable feel.
- Strong (or forte) – It is the part of the sword where the blade is the strongest. It is just above the hilt.
- Edge – It refers to the side of the sword that has been sharpened and is used for cutting and slashing. When both sides of the blade are sharp, the sword is called “double-edged.”
- Central ridge – It is the part that runs along the middle of the blade until just before the point.
- Weak (or foible) – It is the part of the sword where the blade is the weakest. It is located between the middle and the point of the sword. You need this part for thrusting, but you don’t want to use it when cutting or slashing because it will bend or break.
- Point – The point is the tip of the blade. Some points are rounded.
Swords have changed a lot over the centuries. While the fundamental parts – the hilt and the blade – remain the same, some swords feature elaborate designs. Many developments did not follow the aesthetic sensibilities of their respective generations. Instead, these developments followed the changing requirements and demands of warfare in each era.
There are different styles of swords from various eras (which you can see on the Amazon links)
SZCO Supplies Handmade Roman Gladius Sword
Battlecry BAT501507 Black 36.5″ Maldron Viking Sword w/ 30.625″ Blade
3. Medieval or Middle Ages
Middle Ages Broad Sword & Matching Scabbard
Cold Steel Cup Hilt Rapier Ribbed Shell Swept
5. Jian (Chinese-style)
SAMURAI X Handmade Chinese Sword Han Dynasty Jian High Carbon Steel Rosewood Scabbard