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The “Langes Schwert,” which translates to “long sword” in German, was a versatile and iconic weapon of the medieval period, primarily used throughout Europe from the 12th to the 17th centuries. Also known as a “hand-and-a-half sword” or “bastard sword,” it was characterized by its straight, double-edged blade measuring around 90-110 centimeters (35-43 inches) in length, though variations existed.

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These swords were designed to be wielded with either one or both hands, offering a balance between reach, speed, and cutting power. They typically featured a cruciform hilt with a straight or slightly curved crossguard and a pommel at the base of the hilt for balance and stability.

Longswords were usually used by knights, men-at-arms, and skilled mercenaries on the battlefield, as well as for personal defense and dueling in civilian life. As warfare evolved and firearms became more prevalent, the use of the longsword declined, but its legacy endured in fencing traditions, martial arts, and historical reenactments. In combat, longsword techniques encompassed a wide range of offensive and defensive maneuvers, including cuts, thrusts, parries, and grapples. Practitioners of historical European martial arts (HEMA) study treatises and manuals from the medieval period to understand the techniques and principles of longsword combat.

Today, the longsword remains an enduring symbol of medieval chivalry and martial prowess, celebrated in literature, film, and modern reinterpretations of historical combat.

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