EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
This is a fascinating topic, and interesting to look into the nomenclature of swords and how it may have developed. It is surprising how complacent we seem to have become on these terms used in describing these weapons without really realizing how they came to be.
We have had considerable focus and often dynamic discussions recently, and over the years on the 'name game' or the struggle in finding the proper term for various weapons which have conflicting terms used in the literature.
These have revealed a surprising aptitude and interest in linguistics and etymology here which has proven I think somewhat pertinent in our overall understanding of the weapon forms themselves.
While the etymology of these nomenclature terms may not be particularly key to understanding weapon forms specifically, it is of interest to many who study arms comprehensively.
It would be interesting to look into some of the other terms as well, such as pas d'ane and hilt itself.
The term broadsword did not always mean the double edged blade, but as late as early 20th century was use collectively for any heavy straight blade. The backsword term for single edged seems more a specifying term which arose sometime later in the 19th century.
I have often had difficulty differentiating between the terms fuller, channel and groove in the blades and which is proper descriptively. This has come to mind recently in our discussions on Shotley Bridge ( European forum) with the 'hollow' blade...which actually means ground out blade face where stock removal creates a 'fuller' of sorts to lighten and strengthen the blade.