If you ask someone to draw a picture of a medieval sword, they are very likely to draw something similar to this single-handed knightly weapon. With a broad fullered blade, downward arching quillions, and a disc pommel, the Arms and Armor Grunwald Sword is an iconic 14th century sword. A classic Type XIII medieval blade, these swords are often depicted in popular media as the sword in a knightly warrior’s hand. This is true for illuminated manuscripts of the period and for modern depictions from Prince Valiant to Prince Charming.
The hilt of this handy sword is composed of a wheel pommel with slightly off set hub, a common style of the 14th Century. A curved guard swings toward the tip in a gentle arc, flaring as it tapers to the end of the arms with a shallow peak in the center. The grip is a tapered oval with two risers at the mid-section which provide good tactical sensitivity to the hand and provide additional aesthetic interest.
The Type XIIIb blade is typified by almost parallel edges that taper to a broad point, and usually features a fuller of medium length. The original we based this piece on has a mild diamond section below the fuller and is quite corroded. The grip length is shorter than a Type XIII which can be 6+ inches. Here the grip is about 4.2 inches, one of the defining elements of a Type XIIIb.
We named this piece after the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 which is often thought of as the endpoint of a tumultuous century of warfare between the forces involved in the Lithuanian Crusade. This Baltic conflict saw the Teutonic Knightly Order and its allies struggle for power with the Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. The Grunwald Sword is a type likely to be seen on either side as a personal weapon through the entire period of the 14th C.
So if a 14th C sword is your thing, check out our video on the Grunwald Sword.
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.