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Excerpt from A Sword in Hand
by Ewart Oakeshott, one of the most knowlegable experts on the subject of the Medieval Sword

"Medieval swords are neither unwieldably heavy nor all alike. There is infinite variety in their shape, considerable difference in their purpose; and the average weight of any one of normal size is between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 lbs. Even the big hand-and-a-half "war" swords rarely weigh more than 4 1/2 lbs. Such weights, to men who were trained to use the sword from the age of seven (and who had to be tough specimens to survive to that age) were by no means too great to be practical. I hope to be able to show in this series how, during the ten medieval centuries, changes came about in the shape and function of these swords and that within the parameters of any one type there infinite variations of detail, proportion and size. What I cannot do is to demonstrate their practical effectiveness in writing. It must suffice to say that I have in my time chopped up, in most convincing and horrifying way, a number of hard head-and-limb-shaped objects. The weight of a 3 lb. sword alone was once enough to split a hard, elderly marrow bone of heroic proportions from top to bottom, and to shear off the fork of a sapling which supported it; this using a blunt blade and exerting no strength. The stories we read of head-removing and limb lopping blows are in no way fanciful, nor are they confined to the Middle Ages, for we hear of them at latter battles such as Waterloo and in the American Civil War."

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