Swords and Fashion in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Today we take a look at four period swords from the Oakeshott Institute collection, two from the medieval period and two from the Renaissance. Dr. Nathan Clough explains how swords became an important aspect of fashion during the Renaissance period, and how this was different from the previous medieval aesthetic. This was spurred by a recent New York Times article about how the Renaissance is having a renaissance. See the Times article here, though it maybe pay walled: Renaissance is having a renaissance.

As today, often the people of the past were inspired by not only the functionality of weapons and armor but the newest fashionable renditions of these items. Fashion as a driving force in society is often over looked and especially in the Renaissance period how one looked and conducted oneself was far more important than today's society.

Italian Man with sword

Demonstrating the ability to accessorize properly renaissance style

Check out all of our swords and rapiers on our website. As always, our swords are handmade by us, in our shop, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our sword blades are 6150 carbon steel and hilts are done in carbon steel and bronze. Our goal is always to make products that look, feel, and function as close as possible to the historical originals on which they are based. 

Interactive 3D Model of Moonbrand and the Italian Rapier from the video.



divider swords

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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