The Biggest European Swords

Today we look at the biggest swords that were commonly used in medieval and Renaissance Europe.  Nathan describes these swords and explores a two handed bearing sword, and a custom Arms and Armor two hander. 

15th century two hander

Arms and Armor 15th Century Two Hander: specs below

Overall Length: 59.25", Blade Length: 46.125", Blade Width: 2.37", Guard Width: 10.75", Grip Length: 8.9", Balance Point: 5.3",Weight: 6.1 lbs

These two handed swords had a variety of regional styles, from the Iberian Montante to the Scottish Twa-Hander or Claymore, but all of them occurred late in the medieval period and spanned up into the Renaissance.  All of these two handed swords were much larger than longswords, bastard swords, or even the earlier great swords.  

Arms and Armor Claymore

Arms and Armor Highland Claymore: specs below.

Overall Length: 56", Blade Length: 40.1", Blade Width: 2.1", Guard Width: 12.6", Grip Length: 12", Balance Point: 3.5", Weight: 5.2 lbs

For a more detailed look at the differences between longswords and two handers, check out this previous blog post examining several examples.

two handed custom sword

Two handed custom sword similar to the one in the video: specs below.

Overall length: 66.75", Blade length: 47.75", Blade Width: 2.8", Guard Width: 12.75", Grip Length: 16", Balance Point: 5", Weight: 5.6 lbs 


 Check out 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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