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Frecuently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Basic Sword Parts

Blade - The length of steel that forms the sword.

Back - The part of the blade opposite the edge. Double-edged sword has no back.

Cross - The typically straight bar or "guard" of a Medieval sword, also called a "cross-guard". A Renaissance term for the straight or curved cross-guard was the quillons (possibly from an old French or Latin term for a type of reed).

Edge - This is the sharpened portion of the blade. A sword may be single or double-edged. For example, a Japanese katana has a single edge but a Scottish claymore is sharpened on both sides.

Hilt - The lower portion of a sword consisting of the cross-guard, handle/grip, and pommel (most Medieval swords have a straight cross or cruciform-hilt).

Quillions - A Renaissance term for the two cross-guards (forward and back) whether straight or curved. It is likely from an old French or Latin term for a reed. On Medieval swords the cross guard may be called simply the "cross", or just the "guard".

Forte' - A Renaissance term for the lower portion on a sword blade which has more control and strength and which does most of the parrying. Also called prime or fort.

Foible - A Renaissance term for the upper portion on a sword blade which is weaker (or "feeble") but has more agility and speed and which does most of the attacking.

Fuller - A shallow central-groove or channel on a blade which lightens it as well as improves strength and flex. Sometimes mistakenly called a "blood-run" or "blood-groove", it has nothing to do with blood flow, cutting power, or a blade sticking. A sword might have one, none, or several fullers running a portion of its length, on either one or both sides. Narrow deep fullers are also sometimes referred to as flukes. The opposite of a fuller is a riser, which improves rigidity. The fullers function is analagous to the spine of the human body. When a fuller is forged onto a blade it repacks the crystaline structure and forms it into a flexible spine that reduces weight and gives the sword both strength and flexibility.

Grip - The handle of a sword, usually made of leather, wire, wood, bone, horn, or ivory (also, a term for the method of holding the sword).

Lower end - the tip portion of a Medieval sword

Pommel - Latin for "little apple", the counter-weight which secures the hilt to the blade and allows the hand to either rest on it or grip it. Sometimes it includes a small rivet (capstan rivet) called a pommel nut, pommel bolt, or tang nut. On some Medieval swords the pommel may be partially or fully gripped and handled.

Ricasso - The dull portion of a blade just above the hilt. It is intended for wrapping the index finger around to give greater tip control (called "fingering"). Not all sword forms had ricasso. They can be found on many Bastard-swords, most cut & thrust swords and later rapiers. Those on Two-Handed swords are sometimes called a "false-grip", and usually allow the entire second hand to grip and hold on. The origin of the term is obscure.

Shoulder - The corner portion of a sword separating the blade from the tang.

Tang - The un-edged hidden portion or ("tongue") of a blade running through the handle and to which the pommel is attached. The place where the tang connects to the blade is called the "shoulder". A sword's tang is sometimes of a different temper than the blade itself. A full tang is preferred in European swords, while a partial tang is best for Japanese swords.

Upper end - The hilt portion of a Medieval sword

Waisted-grip - A specially shaped handle on some bastard or hand-and-a-half swords, consisting of a slightly wider middle and tapering towards the pommel.

Tip - The end of the sword furthest away from the hilt. Most swords taper to a point at the tip, but some blade lines are straight until the very tip. A few swords, such as a U.S. Civil War saber, are curved along their length.

Annellet/Finger-Ring - The small loops extending toward the blade from the quillions intended to protect a finger wrapped over the guard. They developed in the middle-ages and can be found on many styles of Late-Medieval swords. They are common on Renaissance cut & thrust swords and rapiers they and also small-swords. For some time they have been incorrectly called the "pas d`ane".

Compound-Hilt/Complex-Guard - A term used for the various forms of hilt found on Renaissance and some late-Medieval swords. They consist typically of finger-rings, side-rings or ports, a knuckle-bar, and counter-guard or back-guard. Swept-hilts, ring-hilts, cage-hilts, and some basket-hilts are forms of complex-guard.



The Vikings are known as great warriors. This reputation is based on what we know about their weapons and battle tactics. The Viking Age that began so fearsomely in the 800’s tapered off in the 12th century much to the relief of many Europeans. The Vikings were Nordic people -- Danes, Swedes and Norwegians -- who sometimes sailed out of Scandinavia in hundreds of longboats to loot and pillage coastal cities.

Laws of the late Viking period show that all free men were expected to own weapons, and magnates were expected to provide them for their men. The main offensive weapons were the spear, sword and battle-axe, although bows and arrows and other missiles were also used. Weapons were carried not just for battle, but also as symbols of their owners' status and wealth.

This beautiful SFT Viking sword measures 36.5 inches. The sword's blade is of quality high carbon steel and handle is solid bronze.

SWORDS FROM TOLEDO - Ap. Correos, 424 - 45080 TOLEDO (SPAIN)