Long Sword

This sword is called a long sword, or a hand-and-a-half sword, or a bastard sword (because it is longer then a single hand and shorter then a two hander) or a great sword.  At our school we study from a manual called Flos Duellatorum. The manual was written by a guy called Fiore dei Libari. Fiore was 70 years old when he wrote this book. That means that he had been in lots of battles, and was very good at what he did.  The great sword is the most common sword used in the movies, because it is so versatile. Unfortunately, the only part of the sword used in the movies is the blade. This whole thing was used. Hold up the sword and ask,

The long sword can actually be used as three separate weapons. Hold it by the hilt and you have a SWORD – Hold it with your left hand on the blade and your right hand on the handle, called half sword and you have a DAGGER, hold the blade with both hands and swing the handle at the other guy, called a murder stroke and you have a HAMMER.
This sword was used on the battle field, and when someone was using it, they were probably in full armour. That means that they were covered from head to toe in metal. Because they were in armour, they usually did not need to use a shield because the armour provided a full body shield.

While a living tradition of long-sword fighting has not survived to our day, manuscripts written by the masters of the art still exist. They are divided into the German school, beginning with MS 3227a (ca. 1389, containing the system of Johannes Liechtenauer), followed by some 50 others, notably Hans Talhoffer's illustrated manuscripts of the mid 15th century of the German school, and the Italian school, with Fiore dei Liberi's "Flos Duellatorum" (1409) and Filippo Vadi's "De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi" (1485). Both schools declined in the late 16th century, with the later Italian masters focusing on rapier fencing. The latest known original longsword treatise of the German school, that of Jakob Sutor von Baden (1612). In Italy, teaching the spadone lingered on in spite of the popularity of the rapier, at least into the mid-17th century (Alfieri's Lo Spadone of 1653), with a late treatise of the "two handed sword" by one Giuseppe Colombani, a dentist in Venice dating to 1711. A tradition of teaching based on this may have survived into 19th and 20th century Italy stick fighting, e.g. with Giuseppe Cerri's Trattato teorico e pratico della scherma di bastone of 1854.


Southern Germany long sword by Lutel c.1520

This information and more can be found on the web at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/longsword

Longsword ranks and requirements