Be it the light saber, Valyrian steel or the Excalibur, if you’re a geek then you have to have “a sword”. The sword has caught the fantasy of many since ages. To the uninitiated, a sword is a bladed weapon, longer than a knife or a dagger, intended for slashing or thrusting. It is made of a long blade attached to a hilt. The blade can be straight or curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip and are straighter. The slashing kind have both its edges sharpened. There are also swords that are designed for both thrusting and slashing.
Swords evolved from the dagger in the Bronze Age. Later, the swords made in the Iron Age were short and without a cross guard. Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty. The technology for bronze swords was the best during the Warring States period
and Qin Dynasty. They consistently used bronze with 17-21% tin which was very hard to break. Although iron swords were made alongside bronze ones, it was not until early Han period that iron completely replaced bronze. In South East Asia, earliest available Bronze Age swords of copper were discovered in the Harappan sites and date back to 2300 BC. Iron became quite common from the 13th century BC onward. They too were quite strong, but on great stress they bent and sprung back again instead of breaking.
During the Roman times, the sword or the “spatha” developed by their army became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages. This design of the sword continued to the High Middles Ages and that is when it was developed into the classical arming sword with cross-guard. Eventually the thrusting sword was developed into a rapier and another sword, called the small-sword, was designed to impale their targets quickly and inflict deep stab wounds. The “saber”, developed later, were built more heavily and more typically used in warfare. Used for slashing and chopping at multiple enemies, the saber’s long curved blade and slightly forward weight balance gave it a deadly character all its own on the battlefield. Sabers continued to be used till the early 20th century and was used during the World War II as well.
In modern days, the sword is mostly used in movies. “Magic swords”
in fantasy movies are based on myths and legends. The sci-fi counterpart is called the “laser sword”, in which the blade is augmented by concentrated energy. A very famous example is the light-saber in Star Wars franchise.
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