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SWORD (0. Eng. sweord; ultimately fro...

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 274 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SWORD (0. Eng. sweord; ultimately from an Indo-European root meaning to wound), a general term for a hand weapon of metal, characterized by a longish blade, and thus distinct from all missile weapons on the one hand, and on the other hand from staff weapons—the pike, bill, halberd and the like—in which the metal head or blade occupies only a fraction of the effective length. The handle of a sword provides a grip for the hand that wields it, or sometimes for two hands; it may add protection, and in most patterns does so to a greater or less extent. Still it is altogether subordinate to the blade. For want of a metal-headed lance or axe, which indeed were of later invention, a sharpened pole or a thin-edged paddle will serve the turn. But a sword-handle without a blade is naught; and no true sword-blade can be made save of metal capable of taking an edge or point. r. Historical.—There are so-called swords of wood and even stone to be found in collections of savage weapons. But these are really flattened clubs; and the present writer origins and agrees with the late General Pitt-Rivers in not Early believing that such modifications of the club have Forms. had any appreciable influence on the form or use of true swords. On this last point, however, the opinions of competent archaeologists have been much divided. We will only remark that the occurrence in objects of human handiwork of a form, or even a series of forms, intermediate between two types is not conclusive evidence that those forms are historical links between the different types, or that there is any historical connexion at all. In the absence of dates fixed by external evidence this kind of comparison will seldom take us beyond plausible conjecture. A traveller who had never seen velocipedes might naturally suppose, on a first inspection, that the tricycle was a modification of the old four-wheeled velocipede, and the bicycle a still later invention; but we know that in fact the order of development was quite different. It is more difficult as a matter of verbal definition to distinguish the sword from smaller hand weapons. Thus an ordinary sword is four or five times as long as an ordinary dagger: but there are long daggers and short swords; neither will the form of blade or handle afford any certain test. The real difference lies in the intended use of the weapon; we associate the sword with open combat, the dagger with a secret attack or the sudden defence opposed to it. One might say that a weapon too large to be concealed about the person cannot be called a dagger. Again, there are large knives, such as those used by the Afridis and Afghans, which can be distinguished from swords only by the greater breadth of the blade as compared with its length. Again, there are special types of arms, of which the yataghan is a good example, which in their usual forms do not look much like swords, but in others that occur must be classed as varieties of the sword, unless we keep them separate by a more or less artificial theory, referring the type as a whole to a different origin. Of the actual origin of swords we have no direct evidence. Neither does the English word nor, so far as we are aware, any of the equivalent words in other languages, Aryan or otherwise, throw any light on the matter. Daggers shaped from reindeer antlers occur among the earliest relics of man, and there are flint daggers of the Neolithic period, which may be supposed to have been the model for the first hand weapons made of copper. Bronze took the place of copper about 2000 B.C., and the transition from bronze to iron is assigned to the period from 1000 to 700 B.e 1 Whatever may be the further discoveries of archaeologists, we know that swords are found from the earliest 1 As to the overlapping of the bronze and iron ages in the Homeric poems, see Burrows, The Discoveries in Crete (19o7), p. 214. As co Britain, O. Montelius in Archaeologia, 61, pp. 155–6; Cowper, Art of Attack, 124 sqq. (Ulverston, 1906). times of which we have any record among all people who have acquired any skill in metal-work. There are two very ancient types, which we may call the straight-edged and the leaf-shaped. Assyrian monuments represent a straight and narrow sword, better fitted for thrusting than cutting. Bronze swords of this form have been found in many parts of Europe, at Mycenae, side by side with leaf-shaped specimens, and more lately in Crete.' We have also from Mycenae some very curious and elaborately wrought blades, so broad and short that they must be called ornamental daggers rather tnan swords. The leaf-shaped blade is common everywhere among the remains of men in the " Bronze Period " of civilization, and this was the shape used by the Greeks in historical times, and is the shape familiar to us in Greek works of art. It is impossible, however, to say whether the Homeric heroes were conceived by the poet as wearing the leaf-shaped sword, as we see it, for example, on the Mausoleum sculptures, or a narrow straight-edged blade of the Minoan and Mycenaean pattern. In any case, the sword holds a quite inferior position with Greek warriors of all times. (1-5, from Gerhard's Griechische Vasenbilder; 6-r5, from Lindenschmit, Track' end Bemafnung des romischen Heeres wahrend der Kaiserzeii, Brunswick, 1882.) 1-5, Greek Swords of the classical type; 6-15 Roman Swords. 6, So-called " sword of Tiberius" 9, Cavalrv(monumentat Mainz). from Mainz (Brit. Mus.). Io, Cavalry (monument at 7, Bonn (private collection), Worms). length 765 mm. 12, 13, Sword handles (Kiel and 8, Legionary (monument at Mainz). Wiesbaden). II, 14, 15, From Trajan's column. The relation of the Minoan long sword to the Greek leaf-shaped blade is obscure. It is conceivable that the leaf-shape was modified from a longer straight blade for the sake of handiness and cutting power, but not less so that the leaf-shape was 1 The Cretan finds are fully described by Arthur J. Evans, " The Prehistoric Tombs of Knossos," (Archaeologia (1905), 59, pt. 2; also separately published (1906). There are long (91-95 cm., 34.1 in:-37.1 in.) and short (50-61 cm., 20-24.2 in.), swords, daggers and bronze knives. A fine original specimen and several facsimiles (Mycenaean as well as Minoan) may he seen in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. Bronze daggers preceded both swords and spear-heads (Greenwell and Brewis, in Archaeologia, 61, pp. 443, 453).independently produced by imitation in metal of flint daggers. Independence appears, on the whole, slightly more probable; the existence of specimens which might belong to an intermediate type is only an ambiguous fact without a more exact chronology than we have as yet, as it may be due to experiment or imitation after both types were in use. Strange as it is to a modern swordsman, representations in Minoan art seem to show that not only the bronze daggers but the long swords were used with an overhand stabbing action like a modern Asiatic dagger.2 The handles are too short for any but a rigid grip without finger-play. Before about 1500 B.C. the rapier type was the prevailing one; but there is no evidence of historical connexion between the Assyrian and the Minoan rapiers. It is thought that the leaf-shaped blade came to the Mediterranean countries from the north. So far as we know from works of art, it was mostly used with a downright cutting blow, regardless of the consequent exposure of the swordsman's body; this, however, matters little when defence is left to a shield or armour, or both. Attic vases also show warriors giving point, though less often. The use of the sword as a weapon of combined offence and defence—swordsmanship as we now understand it—is quite modern. If the sword was developed from a spearhead or dagger, it would naturally have been (and it seems in fact to have been) a thrusting weapon before it was a cutting one. But when we come to historical times we find that uncivilized people use only the edge, and that the effective use of the point is a mark of advanced skill and superior civilization. The Romans paid special attention to it, and Tacitus tells us how Agricola's legionaries made short work of the clumsy and pointless arms of the Britons when battle was fairly joined.3 The tradition was preserved at least as late as the time of Vegetius, who, as a technical writer, gives details of the Roman soldier's sword exercise. Asiatics to this day treat the sword merely as a cutting weapon, and most Asiatic swords cannot be handled in any other way. The normal types of swords which we meet with in historical times, and from which all forms now in use among civilized nations are derived, may be broadly classified as stra.ightedged or curved. In the straight-edged type, in itself T Spes. torical yes a very ancient one, either thrusting or cutting qualities may predominate, and the blade may be double-edged or single-edged. The double-edged form was prevalent in Europe down to the 17th century. The single-edged blade, or back-sword as it was called in England, is well exemplified among the Scottish weapons commonly but improperly known as claymores (the real claymore, i.e. great sword, claidheamh mor, is an earlier medieval form), and is now all but exclusively employed for military weapons. But these, with few exceptions, have been more or less influenced by the curved Oriental sabre. Among early double-edged swords the Roman pattern (gladius, the thrusting sword, contrasted with the barbarian ensis) stands out as a workmanlike and formidable weapon for close fight. In the middle ages the Roman tradition disappeared, and a new start was made from the clumsy barbarian arm which the Romans had despised. Gradually the broad and all but pointless blade was lightened and tapered, and the thrust, although its real power was unknown, was more or less practised from the 12th century onwards. St Louis anticipated Napoleon in calling on his men to use the point; and the heroes of dismounted combats in the Marie d'Arthur are described as " foining " at one another. In the first half of the 16th century a well-proportioned and well-mounted cut-and-thrust sword was in general use, and great artistic ingenuity was expended, for those who could afford it, on the mounting and adornment. The growth and variations of the different parts of the hilt, curiously resembling those of a living species, would alone be matter enough for an archaeological study. One peculiar form, that of the Scottish basket-hilt, derived from the Venetian pattern known as schiavone, has persisted without material change. 2 As the spear still was in historical times (Furtwangler-Reichhold, Gr. Vasenmalerei, iii. 122). Agric. 36: " Britannorum gladii sine mucrone complexum armorum et in aperto pugnam non tolerabant." The short Roman infantry sword. however, dates only from the Second Punic War. 1ZOMAN Quite different from the European models is the crescent-shaped Asiatic sabre, commonly called scimitar. We are not acquainted with any distinct evidence as to the origin of this in time or place. Dr R. Forrer thinks the whole family of curved swords was developed from bronze knives. The Frankish scramasax would then represent an intermediate type. How-ever that may be, the fame of the Damascus manufacture of sword-blades is of great antiquity, as is also that of Khorasan, still the centre of the best Eastern work of this kind. Who-ever first made these blades had conceived a very definite idea —that of gaining a maximum of cutting power regardless of loss in other qualities—and executed it in a manner not to be improved upon. The action of the curved edge in delivering a blow is to present an oblique and therefore highly acute-angled section of the blade to the object struck, so that in effect the cut is given with a finer edge than could safely be put on the blade in its direct transverse section. In a well-made sabre the setting of the blade with regard to the handle (" leading forward ") is likewise ordered with a view to this result. And the cutting power of a weapon so shaped and mounted is undoubtedly very great. But the use of the point is abandoned, (Reproduced by permission from Egerton's Illustrated Handbook of Indian Arms, published by the India Office, 188o, new ed. s.l. Indian and Oriental Armour, ISO.) r, 2, Decorated Persian arms. 6, Persian talwar. 3, Gauntlet sword.- 8, Kukri (Nepal). 4, Common type of talwar (North- 7, 9, 10, Mahratta, showing tran-West Provinces). sition to gauntlet sword. 5, Yataghan type. and the capacities of defensive use (to which Orientals pay little or no attention) much diminished. These drawbacks have caused the scimitar type, after being in fashion for European 'light cavalry during the period of Napoleon's wars and some-what longer, to be discarded in our own time. But, as long as Easterns adhere to their rigid grasp of a small handle and sweeping cut delivered from the shoulder, the Persian scimitar or Indian talwar will remain the natural weapon of the eastern horseman. Indian and Persian swords are often richly adorned; but their appropriate beauty is in the texture of the steel itself, the " damascening " or " watering " which distinguishes a superior from a common specimen. There are special Asiatic varieties of curved blades of which the origin is more or less uncertain. Among these the most remarkable is perhaps the yataghan, a weapon pretty much coextensive with the Mahommedan world, though it is reported to be not common in Persia. It was imported from Africa, through a French imitation, as the model of the sword-bayonets which were common for about a generation in European armies; probably the French authorities caught at it to satisfy the sentiment, which lingered in continental armies long after it had disappeared in England, that even the infantry soldier after the invention of the bayonet must have some kind of sword. A compact and formidable hand weapon was thus turned into a clumsy and top-heavy pike. If we try to make a bayonet that will cut cabbages, we may or may not get a useful chopper, but we shall certainly get a very bad bayonet. The modern short sword-bayonet is a reversion to the original dagger type, and not open to this objection. The double curve of the yataghan is substantially identical with that of the Gurkha knife (kukri), though the latter is so much broader as to be more like a woodman's than a soldier's instrument. It is doubtful, however, whether there is any historical connexion. Similar needs are often capable of giving rise to similar inventions without imitation or communication. There are yet other varieties, belonging to widely spread families of weapons, which have acquired a strong individuality. Such are the swords of Japan, which are the highly perfected working out of a general Indo-Chinese type; they are powerful weapons and often beautifully made, but a European swordsman would find them ill-balanced, and the Japanese style of sword-play, being two-handed, has little to teach us. Other sorts of weapons, again, are so peculiar in form or historical derivation, or both, as to refuse to be referred to any of the normal divisions. The long straight gauntlet-hilted sword (path, fig. 3) found both among the Mahrattas in the south of India and among the Sikhs and Rajputs in the north, is an elongated form of the broad-bladed dagger with a cross-bar handle (katdr, figs. 9, ro), as is shown by a transitional form, much resembling in shape and size of blade the medieval English anlace, and furnished with a guard for the back of the hand. This last-mentioned pattern seems, however, to be limited to a comparatively small region. When once the combination of a long blade with the gauntlet hilt was arrived at, any straight blade might be so mounted; and many appear on examination to be of European workmanship—German, Spanish or Italian. There are various other Oriental arms, notably in the Malay group, as to which it is not easy to say whether they are properly swords or not. The Malay " parang latok " is a kind of elongated chopper sharpened by being bevelled off to an edge on one side, and thus capable of cutting only in one direction. The anlace incidentally mentioned above seems to be merely an overgrown dagger; the name occurs only in English and Welsh; in which language first, or whence the name or thing came, is unknown. In the course of the 16th century the straight two-edged sword of all work was lengthened, narrowed, and more finely pointed, till it became the Italian and Spanish Later I urorapier, a weapon still furnished with cutting edges, Dean De-but used chiefly for thrusting. We cannot say how veloprnenta. far this transition was influenced by the estoc or Panzerstecher,t a late medieval thrusting weapon carried by horsemen rather as an auxiliary lance than as a sword. The Roman preference of the point was rediscovered under new conditions, and fencing became an art. Its progress was from pedantic complication to lucidity and simplicity, and the fashion of the weapon was t Probably this was the kind of sword called Broch in 14th-century English (Eyre of Kent, Selden Soc., 1910, p. 100). simplified also. Early in the 18th century, the use of the edge having been finally abandoned in rapier-play, the two-edged blade was supplanted by the bayonet-shaped French duelling sword, on which no improvement has since been made except in giving it a still simpler guard. The name of rapier was often but wrongly given to this by English writers. About the same time, or a little earlier, the primacy of the art passed from Italy to France. There is still a distinct Italian school, but the rest of the world learns from French masters. It is unnecessary here to consider the history of fencing (q.v.); Mr Egerton Castle's book on the subject will be found a trustworthy guide, and almost indispensable for those who wish really to understand the passages relating to sword-play in our Elizabethan literature, of which the fencing scene in Hamlet is the most famous and obvious example. (Reproduced by permission from Mr Egerton Castle's Schools and Masters of Fence.) German, c. 1550. 17th century. Italian rapier, third quarter 9, Venetian, c. 1550. 16th century. Io, Italian, late 16th century. Spanish rapier, late 16th 11, English, time of Common- century. - wealth. Italian, same period. 12, French rapier, c. 165o. English, same period. 13, German flamberg, early 17th English musketeer's sword, century. early 17th century. 15, Small-swords, 1700-1750. Meanwhile a stouter and broader pattern, with sundry minor varieties, continued in use for military purposes, and gradually the single-edged form or broadsword prevailed. The well-known name of Ferrara, peculiarly associated with Scottish blades, appears to have originally belonged to a Venetian maker,or family of makers, towards the end of the 16th century. The Spanish blades made at Toledo had by that time acquired a renown which still continues. Somewhat later Oriental examples, imported probably by way of Hungary, induced the curvature found in most recent military sabres, which, however, is now kept within such bounds as not to interfere with the effective use of the point. An eccentric specialized variety—we may call it a " sport "— of the sabre is the narrow and flexible " Schlager " with which German students fight their duels (for the most part not arising out of any quarrel, but set trials of skill), under highly conventional rules almost identical with those of the old English " backswording " practised within living memory, in which, however, the swords were represented by sticks. These " Schlager " duels cause much effusion of blood, but not often serious danger to life or limb. There are plenty of modern books on sabre-play, but comparatively little attention has been given to its scientific treatment. It is said that the Italian school is better than the French, and the modern German and Austrian the best of all. Some of the English cavalry regiments have good traditions, enriched by the application of a knowledge of fencing derived from eminent French masters. The following description, written for the 9th edition of this work from personal inspection, applies to the process used by the best private makers till near the end of the 19th manufacture century, and is purposely left unchanged. The of swords by present method of making army swords is separately Hand-work. described below. Mechanical invention has not been able to supersede or equal hand-work in the production of good sword-blades. The swordsmith's craft is still, no less than it was in the middle ages, essentially a handicraft, and it requires a high order of skill. His rough material is a bar of cast and hammered steel tapering from the centre to the ends; when this is cut in two each half is made into a sword. The " tang" which fits into the handle is not part of the blade, but a piece of wrought iron welded on to its base. From this first stage to the finishing of the point it is all hammer and anvil work. Special tools are used to form grooves in the blade according to the regulation or other pattern desired, but the shape and weight of the blade are fixed wholly by the skilled hand and eye of the smith. [Machine forging in the early stages is now common, and there is no difficulty in making the blade and tang of the same metal.] Measuring tools are at hand, but are little used. Great care is necessary to avoid overheating the metal, which would produce a brittle crystalline grain, and to keep the surface free from oxide, which would be injurious if hammered in. In tempering the blade the workman judges of the proper heat by the colour. Water is preferred to oil by the best makers, notwithstanding that tempering in oil is much easier. With oil there is not the same risk of the blade coming out distorted and having to be forged straight again (a risk, however, which the expert swordsmith can generally avoid); but the steel is only surface-hardened, and the blade therefore remains liable to bend. [This is disputed.] Machinery comes into play only for grinding and polishing, and to some extent in the manufacture of hilts and appurtenances. The finished blade is proved by being caused to strike a violent blow on a solid block with the two sides flat, with the edge, and lastly with the back; after this the blade is bent flatwise in both directions by hand, and finally the point is driven through a steel plate about an eighth of an inch thick. In spite of all the care that can be used both in choice of material and in workmanship, about 40% of the blades thus tried [now only about ro%] fail to stand the proof, and are rejected. The process we have briefly described is that of making a really good sword; of course, plenty of cheaper and commoner weapons are in the market, but they are hardly fit to trust a man's life to. It is an interesting fact that the peculiar skill of the swordsmith is in England so far hereditary that it can be traced back in the same families for several generations. The best Eastern blades are justly celebrated, but they are not better than the best European ones; in fact, European swords are" often met with in Asiatic hands, remounted in Eastern fashion. The " damascening " or " watering " of choice Persian and Indian arms is not a secret of workmanship, but is due to the peculiar manner of making the Indian steel itself, in which a crystallizing process is set up; when metal of this texture is forged out, the result is a more or less regular wavy pattern running through it. There were early medieval damascened (in German called wurmbunte) blades. No difference is made by this in the practical qualities of the blade. (F. Po.) 2. Modern Military Swords.—The present military swords are descended from the straight " back-sword " and the Eastern scimitar or talwar. The difference between the curved " sabre " and straight " sword " has been preserved abroad, not only in fact but in name (e.g. in German, Degen stands for the straight, and Sabel for the curved, sword), though in English the single word " sword " covers both varieties. The shape of the sword has varied considerably at different times; this is due to the fact 273 that it is practically impossible to decide by trial whether a straight or a curved sword is the better under all circumstances. The trooper can use his sword in three different ways—to cut, to guard and to point; and his success depends upon the training of his horse, his skill in horsemanship, and, above all, upon the dexterity and methods of his adversary. Thus the effect the cavalryman can produce in combat depends upon much besides his arm or arms, and those other con- ditions cannot be reproduced accurately enough to make trustworthy tests. The result is that changes have often been made in cavalry armament under the erroneous impression that the arm used has been the main cause of success. The Ottoman cavalry up to the end of the 18th century was regarded as one of the best in Europe, and so much was it dreaded that the Austrians and Russians in their wars with Turkey at that time often carried " chevaux-de-frise " to protect their infantry against these redoubtable horse-men. The curved European cavalry sabre so long in use may undoubtedly be traced to this cause, the superiority of the Turks being put down to their curved scimitars, though there can be no doubt that horsemanship and dash were really the dominating factors. The shape of the sword to be chosen depends obviously on the purpose for which it is mainly intended. If for cutting a curved blade, and for thrusting a straight and pointed one, will be adopted. The question naturally arises as to which is the better plan to adopt, and it is improbable that a definite answer can ever be given to it. The French, for instance, in 1822 adopted a curved blade for a short time for all their cavalry, and in 1882 again for a short time a straight blade, and in 1898 again a straight blade. In this much-debated matter the facts appear to be as follows: A determined thrust, especially when delivered by a horseman at full speed, is difficult to parry: if it gets home, it will probably kill the recipient outright or disable him for the rest of the campaign. That this is the case is borne out by the very large proportion of killed as compared with wounded in the British cavalry when engaged with that of the French in the Peninsular War, the French making much use of the point, and their heavy cavalry being armed with a long straight- sword. On the other hand, to deliver a bold thrust, while disregarding the uplifted sword of the adversary, and leaving one's own body and head open to an impending blow, demands complete confidence that the thrust will get home before the blow can descend, or that the adversary's cut will probably be weakened by a momentary uncertainty as to whether it would not be better to convert the intended cut into a parry. Such confidence, it is argued with much truth, can only be the fruit of long training, especially as it is the natural tendency of all men to cut when excited; therefore, as the trooper in modern armies will often be a reservist who has not been able to keep up his swordsmanship, or a young soldier liable to lose his head and forget the lessons of peace in the excitement of the melee, it is considered by many most unwise to adopt a sword with which a powerful cut cannot be delivered as well as an effective thrust. The swords recently adopted by most nations have represented a compromise. They have blades which are nearly straight, but of sufficient weight towards their points to enable an efficient cut to be delivered with them. France, however, in 1898 decided on a long straight sword designed wholly for thrusting (see fig. I), practically identical with that which was in use about a century ago. The following year Great Britain introduced a slightly curved weapon, but in 1908 a new sword was adopted which has a long straight blade and is intended to be used chiefly for thrusting. As regards the swords worn by officers and men of corps other than cavalry, no remarks are necessary. As long as they are worn they should be efficient ; but with the officer the sword is largely a badge of rank. From 1901 to 1908 the sword was worn only for ceremonial purposes by British infantry officers, but in the latter year it was again ordered to be worn on active service and at manoeuvres. Mounted men in general wear cavalry swords, and swords are also worn by warrant officers and by certain staff-sergeants of dismounted arms and branches. A good sword should be elastic, so as to stand bending or a heavy blow without breaking or permanent deformation, and yet stiff enough to deliver a powerful thrust without yielding too readily from the straight; it must also be as light as is possible consistently ;=;g5aallUl (nos. 6, 8, 9, Messrs Wilkins & Co. FIG. 7, H.M. War Office.) Fig. Length of Weight Material Blade from without of hilt to point. Scabbard. Scabbard. 4 French cavalry sword (men), Inches. lb. oz. pattern 1898. 35 2 6 5 German cavalry sword (men), pattern 1889. . 321 2 81 Steel 6 British cavalry sword (officers) 35 2 0 with 7 British cavalry sword (men), 1 , 2 131 wood pattern 1908 (two sizes) 350&340 & 2 151 lining. f 8 British infantry sword (officers) 322 2 3 9 British general officer's sword. 321 112 274 with strength, and well balanced. All four desiderata are met in the main by the use of a suitable steel, properly treated and disposed, but balance is also dependent on the weight and form of the hilt. As regards the effect of disposition, grooving or " fullering " the fiats of the blade reduces weight without impairing strength, and is now very largely adopted. The operations of manufacture, as carried out at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, may be described briefly as follows, the weapon being the pattern 1899 cavalry sword, which was slightly curved: The steel blank, about 17"X1;"XI is heated and drawn out to about double its length under a mechanical hammer; it is then reheated and rolled out between rolls suitably shaped, and the fullers formed; the tang (to which the hilt and grips are ultimately attached) is then formed by stamping under a machine hammer, and the blade is cut to length and roughly pointed. The blade, though approximately in its finished form, is now straight; the fins are ground off, the tang annealed, the blade set for grinding, and afterwards rough-ground. It is heated and set to curve in a press, then reheated and hardened by being plunged into a bath of oil kept cool by a water jet. On removal from the bath the blade is dead hard and so brittle that it can be broken by a slight blow, and consequently has to be let down by tempering. This is accomplished by heating in a bath of molten lead until the steel assumes a particular colour, at which stage, while hot, the blade is adjusted for straightness and curve, this being a delicate operation, as it must be performed while the blade retains its temper and heat before finally cooling. It is now ground to size, and the tang, which, though not hardened purposely, is harder than is desired for machining, is softened by cooling, and machined to the required form. The blade is then ground, reheated to spring temper and set, then tested as follows: When tempered and set before polishing it is fixed in a machine and caused to strike an oak block with a blow of 120 lb with both its edge and back, and with similar blows, but with a force of 6o It, with both flats. These tests detect flaws, and over or under tempering, by the breakage or distortion of the blade, the blows by the flat being particularly searching tests. If the blade passes the above tests, it is then placed vertically in a machine and shortened 5 in. by bending towards each flat, and must recover perfect straightness; it is then shortened i in., and must recover Itself when supporting a weight of 35 lb bearing on its tang. This tests the elasticity of the blade. After polishing it is again tested for stiffness as above, and must recover perfect straightness, but only under 32 It, and for elasticity by a further shortening of 5 in., but towards one flat only. The introduction of the system described above has greatly simplified and cheapened the process of manufacture, while the greater excellence of the product and the severe and certain tests applied, to it by mechanical means have increased the standard of efficiency of the swords in the hands of the troops. It is certainly true that, of old, excellent blades were occasionally turned out by hand, but they were exceedingly costly, and the average merit of sword-blades when turned out in numbers by hand was poor. It must not, however, be supposed that the regular methods described have eliminated the necessity for personal skill. The steel can still be spoilt by over- or under-heating, whether for rolling or hardening; ,tempering and setting require much experience and skill, and blades can be easily injured both in form and temper by unskilful grinding. Sword-making, therefore, though not the somewhat uncertain art it once was, still requires skilled craftsmen for its successful accomplishment. (H. W. B.; F. Po.) AuTxoRITIES.—The following list of works is intended to guide the reader, if desired, to fuller acquaintance with the literature and authorities of the subject: Archaeology and General History.—R. Forrer, " Der Werdegang von Dolch and Schwert," introduction to Die Schwerter and Schwertkndufe der Sammlung Carl von Schwerzenbach (Leipzig, 1905), the best monograph ; Dr Julius Naue, Die vorromischen Schwerter aus Kupfer, Bronze and Eisen (Munich, 1903), with atlas of illustrations, a standard work for the prehistoric periods (neither of these authors has been able to use the Cretan materials); R. F. Burton, The Book of the Sword (only 1 vol. published; London, 1884) ; Colonel Lane Fox (afterwards Major-General Pitt-Rivers), Catalogue of Anthropological Collection, South Kensington Museum (London, 1874) ; " Primitive Warfare," in Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (1867, 1868, 1869). For special regions and periods, see Lord Egerton of Tatton, Indian and Oriental Armour (London, 1896) ; Lindenschmit, Tracht and Bewaffnung des romischen Heeres sad/trend der Kaiserzeit (Brunswick, 1882) ; Drummond and Anderson,. Ancient Scottish Weapons (Edinburgh and London, 1881). The general treatises and handbooks on arms and armour, such as Grose, Meyrick, Hewitt, Lacombe and Demmin, may be consulted with advantage, but with caution in details. The same may be said of published catalogues of museums and private collections. W. Boeheim, Handbuch der Waffenkunde (Leipzig, 1900) ; R. C. Clephan, The Defensive Armour and the Weapons and Engines of War of Medieval Times and of the Renaissance (London, 1900) ; Ashdown, British and Foreign Arms and Armour (London, 1909) ; and G. F. Laking, The Armour of Windsor Castle (European section; London, 1904), are trustworthy guides. " The Forms and History of the Sword," in Proceedings of the Royal Institution (1883), by the present writer, reprinted in Oxford Lectures, &c. (London, 1890), gives further references and citations on various points. Swordsmanship.—Egerton Castle, Schools and Masters of Fence from the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century (including a critical bibliography; London, 1892); Carl A. Thimm, Bibliography of Fencing and Duelling (London, 1896). For the beginnings of the art in Italy, Flos duellatorum (a MS. of 1410 edited by Francesco Novati, with critical introduction and notes, Bergamo, 1902). Vigeant, Bibliographie de l'escrime ancienne et moderne (Paris, 1882) ; Gomard (assumed name of Possellier), Theorie de l'escrime (historical introduction; Paris, 1845). Grisier, Les Armes et le duel (preface by A. Dumas; Paris, 1847). Technology.—Wilkinson, Engines of War (London, 1841); Latham, " The Shape of Sword-Blades," Journal of the Royal U.S. Institution (1862); Marey, Memoire sur les armes blanches (Strassburg, 1841; trans. by Lieut.-Colonel Maxwell, London, 186o). For the technique of Japanese swords, see A. Dobree, " Japanese Sword Blades," Archaeol. Journal, lxii. 1, 218 (London, 1905); as to export of European blades to India, Lord Dillon, " Arms and Armour Abroad," Ibid. 67, 69-72. (F . Po.)
End of Article: SWORD (0. Eng. sweord; ultimately from an Indo-European root meaning to wound)

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