Two hands sword
Germania 16th century
Material: Wrought iron
Size: 175 cm long
Review by Gherardo Turchi
Ancient and precious longsword most likely forged by a master armourer in a flourishing forge active in Germany during the Sixteenth century.
The ‘500 was a century of innovations in the field of warfare. The infantry started feeling a strong need for new weapons to be used on the battlefield and during boarding, weapons that work as real battering rams against the enemy. Swords able to make the way with well-aimed strokes to break up the enemy’s weapons but at the same time, easy to be carried. This combination of strong needs resulted in the invention of the two hands sword. An imposing weapon of considerable weight, this sword could be easily handled by very tall and sturdy people. This is why it was commonly used by armies of Northern Europe, generally formed by physically imposing men. Unlike the swords commonly used at the time, these weapons had completely different characteristics both in shape and use: in addition to having impressive dimensions, with blades longer than four feet, their tips were almost blunt. With two edges to be used on both sides, the longsword was swung over the warrior’s head, in order to give the blade a greater strength enough to break off the wooden part of the enemy’s weapon. Such use did not include the sword thrust, which made the tip a superfluous element.
The sword in question belongs to this kind of weapons. Apart from a large double-edged blade, this weapon has also a leather-covered grip, which continues on the ricasso. This is a typical feature of German longswords of the Sixteenth century, that was used to embellish these sober martial weapons. Two large quillons are located on the ricasso, which are usually designed to protect the hands of the swordsman from the wooden parts. The hilt is characterized by a curved cross-guard with three spirals at its two ends and by an elegant rain-guard, which is internally decorated with fleur de lys. Finally, the iron bulb-shaped pommel is soberly decorated with incisions on the upper part.
The work is in excellent state of preservation and it is an important piece for the catalog of longswords made in Germany during the Sixteenth century.