Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reimagining the Shortsword

I got a problem trying to imagine a shortsword. Warswords, as we know them, evolved from shortswords. This is an evidence of metallurgy than fighting style, since you can't develop a long bladed fighting style ~29" (~74cm) until you create the sword that can withstand the punishment.

According to Gurps Martial Arts 223 a shortsword is 18" (45cm) to 24" (61cm)
that would be an approximate blade length of 12" (30cm) to 18" (46cm)

In Gurps Martial Arts 213: Broadswords are 30" (76cm) to 40" (102cm).
that would be an approximate blade length of 23" (58cm) to 33" (84cm)

Xiphos approx length 17" (45cm)
blades length 13" (38cm)
Weight? I'm guessing 1.1b (~500g)
This should count as a long knife and not a sword.

Fulham or Mainz-Fulham Gladius ~26-28" (~65-70cm).
Blade length 18-20" (~50-55 cm)
Weight 1.6lbs(~700g)
Blade width ~6cm.

Gladius Hispaniensis:
Sword length ~30-33" (~75-85cm)
Blade length ~24-28" (~60-68 cm)
Sword width ~5cm.
Weight ~2-2.2lbs (~900-1,000g)

Gladius Mainz:
Sword length ~26-28" (~65-70 cm)
Blade length ~20-22" (~50-55 cm)
Blade width ~7 cm.
Sword weight ~1.8lbs (~800g)

Baselard approx length 22" (58cm) to 34" (88cm)
Blade length of 18"(40cm) 28" (70cm)

Cinqueda approx length of 16" (40cm) to 34" (86cm) average at 20" (53cm)
Blade length of 10" (25cm) to 28" (71cm) average at 15" (38cm)

Wakizashi length of 12" (30cm) to 24" (60cm) average 19" (50cm)
Approx Blade Length 8" (20cm) to 30" (78cm) average 14" (35cm)

Looking at all these, so called, short swords the length of the blade is not entirely consistent. Length alone is not the best way to look at a swords. The purpose of how it is used in the Era is more contextually dependent.

I would not recommend splitting off Broadsword and Shortsword. Looking at the weights and balances, the more consistent defining aspects fall in a difference of Knives vs Swords. I would rather use the term war swords to distinguish them from 15Centuries of swords where the business end is around ~1lb (~400g) and not exclusively a thrusting weapon.

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