History of Two-handed swords

Two-handed swords
History of two-handed swords. Types of two handed swords. Sword history.

Throughout the history of sword manufacture and use there have been a number of instances where the wielder desired more power in their strokes, and so designers looked to build swords that could be wielded using both hands. These blades could also be longer and heavier than single-handed swords, increasing the power of the strike furthermore.

The European longsword had a simple cruciform guard and a straight, double-edged blade often more than a metre long. It was popular among European knights from the 1200s to the 1500s. At this point, the heavy two-handed longsword was phased out in favour of lighter, one-handed swords, and the term longsword was passed to these new weapons.

In Japan, sword development eventually led to the creation of the Samurai’s Katana. These weapons were of unparalleled complexity, with the forging process sometimes taking a period of days, and the resulting weapon is famous for its sharpness and cutting power. Katanas are defined by a moderately long blade (greater than 60 cm but generally not longer than 73 cm) with a gentle curve, single cutting edge and a faint waving pattern running its length. The guards tend to be circular or square and the long hilt allows the sword to be used with two hands.

The Chinese Zhanmadao was another long, two-handed sword. This weapon was designed during the Han Dynasty as an anti-cavalry weapon, with a single-edged blade usually around 120 cm long that curves in the last third. The blade is broader than the Katana and the manufacturing much less complex than its Japanese cousin.

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