European Swords


The swords used by the Crusaders was the direct decendant of the Viking sword that originated in Scandinavia. The sword was made of two main parts. The Hilt consisted of the pommel and the crossguard. These could each be done in different styles, depending on the region in which it was made, however no particular pommel could be said to go with any particular cross. As many as twelve cross styles have been determined, and 37 pommel types. The blades themselves were tapered to the point and had what is called a fuller that ran down the length of the blade. This was a shallow groove that was cut out to diminish the weight of the sword. Fullers came in various sizes and some swords even had more than one. (Bradford 95-97, Oakeshott, "Records" 1-2, 10)


The average medieval sword was about 30 inches in length and was about 2 inches wide at the hilt. The lighter weight created by a tapered blade and fullers allowed the carrier greater freedom of movement. During the Crusades it was used as a one handed weapon, and it isn't until later that pommels are found long enough to facilitate a two-handed use. Primarily a slashing weapon, the sword could nevertheless be used "at the point, or 'foining', as this early style of fencing was called"(Bradford 96).


The swords were carried in a scabbard on the left-hand side (right-hand side for left-handed people) and hung by leather straps. "The scabbard was made of wooden strips covered with leather, having a metal guard mounted round the mouth and a metal chape at the tip"(Bradford 97).