Langes messers

“If you frighten easily, do not bother to learn the art of fencing.” – J. Liechtenauer


The “Langes Messer,” which translates to “long knife” in German, was a type of single-edged sword or hewing weapon that emerged in medieval Europe, particularly in German-speaking regions, during the 14th to 16th centuries. Despite its name suggesting a knife, the Langes Messer was actually closer in design and function to a sword, characterized by a long, straight or slightly curved blade measuring roughly 60-90 centimeters (23-35 inches) in length.

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These weapons typically featured a single-edged blade with a slightly curved or straight edge, often tapering to a sharp point. The hilt of the Langes Messer varied but commonly included a simple crossguard and a grip long enough to accommodate one hand. This design allowed for versatility in combat, enabling both cutting and thrusting techniques.

Langes Messers were favored by a range of users, including foot soldiers, mercenaries, and civilian guards. They were effective in both close-quarters combat and on the battlefield, offering a balance between the agility of a shorter weapon and the reach of a longer sword.

They declined in popularity as firearms became more prevalent in warfare, but its legacy lived on in various fencing traditions and martial arts. Today, it is often studied and practiced in historical European martial arts (HEMA) communities as enthusiasts seek to revive and preserve the techniques and skills associated with medieval weaponry.

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