Anatomy of a medieval sword

A medieval sword consists of several parts, which all have their function. Swords have a blade and a hilt, with the hilt being divided in several components. 


The most important part of a sword is the blade. The blade is the part of the sword used for cutting and stabbing. It’s important that a blade is flexible, so it won’t break during use. 

The hardness of the sides of the blade maintain the sharpness and the point is intended for stabbing. 


The blade has a narrow extension, which is called the tang. The tang is used to fit the blade to the handle. 


Most medieval swords have a groove in the length of the blade, which is called the fuller. The fuller serves both to stiffen and lighten the blade. Some blades instead are diamond shaped and have a central rib instead of a fuller.


Under the blade is the guard or cross guard. This is the separation between the blade and the handle. The guard’s function is to protect the wielder's hands, as it prevents the wielder's hands from sliding onto the blade. It can also be used to repel and return a blow from the opponent. 


Below the guard is the handle, or grip, of the sword. This is where the wielder places their hands when using the sword. The handle is often made of wood, but also sometimes of steel. To ensure a good grip on the handle, it’s generally wrapped in leather. 


The pommel is an enlarged fitting at the end of the handle. It was originally designed to prevent the sword from slipping out of the wielder’s hands. The weight of the pommel also works as a counterbalance to the blade, which makes the sword easier to wield. Depending on the design of the sword and the swordsmanship style, the pommel can be used to strike an opponent with. 

Pommels come in a wide variety of shapes and can  be decorated with engravings or inlays. 


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