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The Broadsword

The broadsword is also known as the basket hilted sword. It is a sword that traditionally has had a broad blade and two cutting edges that, if they hit their mark, were often fatal. This is because the Broadsword was not used for parrying or slashing, but to cut. Used mostly by the medieval knights, this was a weapon of choice by knights. Their training, weapons, armor, and horse were expensive, and knights were often brutal warriors on the field. The Broadsword would have been used to ultimately devastate the opponent, causing serious damage if a blow were to land and taking out their opponent for good– or at the very least, injuring them severely enough that it drastically lowered their odds of winning the battle.

The Broadsword was one of the earliest of the Medieval Swords. It was used early in the sixth century for the purposes of battle. It came equipped with a two edged blade (a double edged blade) that measured roughly two to three inches in width at the base. From there, the broadsword stayed wide as it went up, eventually culminating in a tapered point. Just how long was the Broadsword, exactly? This type of sword came in at thirty to forty five inches, depending on the blade. It was heavy, too– coming in at a hefty three to five pounds. This of course would give it plenty of swing and a lot of force when it did connect.

This weapon was primarily a close contact weapon. It was designed to be used in close quarters, when your opponent was within reach of it. The Broadsword was definitely one weapon that you did not want to hit its target. If the broadsword made contact with its opponent, it could well cut off a limb, completely severing from the body. No matter if it were arm, leg, or neck, the broadsword would do some serious damage. The opponent would likely bleed severely if the broadsword were to cut or impact the limb and hit a vein or artery, ensuring their demise. It was for this reason that it was so important to watch yourself when dealing with a broadsword, and to have not only strength but skill on your side if you and an opponent were both yielding one of these impressive weapons. If it were to reach the head, it could swipe the head clean off from the body.

The Broadsword was and remains a cutting weapon. So does the Baskethilt broadsword, a sword that was used from the 17th to 18th century and was a type of broadsword– for instance, the baskethilted claymore that the Scots used. The basket was close to the base, and was implemented so as to protect the hand while the knights or warriors were in combat. The baskethilt sword began to be put into use by experts so that they could distinguish between other swords, like the rapier and small sword.

Back in Medieval times, you had to be trained in how to not only use the weapons that were available to you, but in the strategy and art of war as well. This was important if you wanted to stay alive. A knight would be required to spend many, many hours training to use the Broadsword. This was a major requirement if you lived back then and were a knight. However, knights did not always start as knights and immediately get to train. They started off at the bottom of the heap, in the position of page from 7 to 14. Once they turned 14, they would graduate to Squire and remain in that position until they were 21 years of age.

Only at the age of 21 did boys move on to using the broadsword and becoming a knight. Knights would train in places called pells. These would allow them to practice using this weapon of destruction and practice not only their swings and strokes, but also moving while hefting such a large and unwieldy blade. Knights would train themselves to thrust with the sword and also cut. How much they trained would ultimately have an effect on how skilled they were in battle and also whether they would live to see another day.

The Broadsword would have been a time consuming process to make. Liquid metal would have been poured into a mold, and the sword would have had to been forged and worked with a hammer to get it smooth. The Broadsword hit the peak of its popularity during the Medieval times, when using this type of sword would have been useful, as battles consisted of multiple men charging each other, either on horses or on foot, and close combat would have been common. Later, of course, as cannons and guns became common in battles, the Broadsword was already obsolete as a weapon of war. Although it is no longer actively in use, it takes such skill and effort to master it that you cannot help but respect the Broadsword and those who used it.

 

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