A closer look at the 12th Century Sword by Arms and Armor

Our 12th century sword is an outstanding example of an Oakeshott type XIIa great sword.  Featuring a stiff blade with a broad fuller, straight and tapering cross, and a faceted wheel pommel, this sword is an early example of what would later become known as the European Longsword or Bastard Sword.  12th century sword

The Arms and Armor 12th century sword

This type developed from earlier Viking period swords, but with a more acute point and a much longer grip.  

12th century sword hilt

12th century sword detail

These great swords were used in two hands, probably by heavily armored knights before the widespread adoption of plate armor.  When in action, these warriors would be armored in maille, as can be seen below in a 12th century Danish fresco featuring a knight with a similar sword.

12th century knight

A 12th century knight

Check out the video below!


Sword border

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography.  He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985

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