The sword is the most revered of all of man’s weapons. Although the club is older, the knife more universal, and the firearm much more efficient, it is to the sword that most decoration, myth, mysticism and reverence has been given. The katana has been called “The Soul of the Samurai,” the Vikings lavished love, care and attached wonderful names to their weapons. The sword has been the symbol of Justice, of Vengeance, and of Mercy. No one artifact has so captured the imagination as has the sword.
As our society has grown more and more advanced, and more reliant on technology, there has been an increased interest in the weapons of the past. The romance of the sword is very much alive—but movies, books and fiction of all types have romanticized the past, and particularly the sword, beyond all recognition of the real thing.
Drawing on information from grave excavations, illustrations of battle scenes, and many classical and medieval literary sources, this book discusses how contemporaries showed swords were used. Building on Oakeshott and other authoritative writers on the subject, this volume, representing ten years of writing and a lifetime of experience, will add to the body of knowledge of the history of swords by illustrating not only the beauty of the form of the sword, but also their beauty of function.