Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Nothern Mexico
Of course, the cultural interactions among the Christian and Muslim worlds were strong, but not in the simplistic way the European-centered specialists have written about. It was not a matter of fashion influences, but of military needs, which involved the style of fencing, the type of armour of the foe, the metallurgical capability to produce certain types of blades, etc. In this sense, it must be noted that the fighting jineta sword must be materially produced as a capable weapon. As any swordcraftsman or knifecraftsman knows, when the quality of materials is good enough, wider or thicker blades must be produced, in order to secure that the blade would not be broken or bended. Also, the broadswords could be used very effectively against certain types of body protection. The military evolution carried the need of a more tapered sword, but it only would be possible through better production methods, better quality of blades. A tapered sword not only have more thrusting capability, but also displaced the center of gravity toward the hand, a feature which gave more speed and maneuverability to the handling of the sword, which in turn modified the style of fencing. The production of tapered blades was initiated in Europe probably by the carolingian sword masters:
“The reign of Charlemagne also witnessed a significant change in the shape of the longsword blade. On earlier swords, the edges had run parallel for most of the length of the blade, then converged sharply a little way above the point. After about 800, however, the edges of the blade tapered gradually from hilt to tip, with the result that the centre of gravity shifted toward the sword grip, making the weapon significantly more maneuverable and facilitating swordplay. “
“To the south of the empire, the Saracens likewise recognized the quality of Carolingian swords, as is indicated by their demand for one hundred fifty such weapons as part of the ransom for Archbishop Rotland of Arles in 869.However, the Franks seem to have prized Saracen swords equally highly…”
“To summarize, as a result of technological changes during the reign of Charlemagne, the ninth-century Frankish sword was a considerably stronger and more maneuverable weapon than its antecedents. The swords’ signed blades and high cost both reflected the superior quality which made them greatly sought after by other peoples, including the Scandinavians.”
Simon Coupland, “Carolingian Arms and Armor in the Ninth Century”, en Viator. Medieval and Renaissance Studies, v.21 (1990).