Sword

Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century

Sword (Old English: sweord; akin to Old High German: swerd, "wounding tool"; Proto-Indo-European: *swer-, "to wound, to hurt") is a term for a long-edged, bladed weapon, consisting in its most fundamental design of a blade, usually with two edges for striking and cutting, a point for thrusting, and a hilt for gripping. The basic intent and physics of swordsmanship remain fairly constant, but the actual techniques vary between cultures and periods as a result of the differences in blade design and purpose. The names given to many swords in mythology, literature, and history reflect the high prestige of the weapon (see list of swords).

History

Bronze Age

Humans have manufactured and used bladed weapons from the Bronze Age onwards. The sword developed from the dagger when the construction of longer blades became possible, from the early 2nd millennium BC. The hilt at first simply allowed a firm grip, and prevented the hand from slipping onto the blade when executing a stab. Bronze Age swords with typical leaf-shaped blades first appear near the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and in Mesopotamia. Swords from the Nordic Bronze Age from ca. 1400 BC show characteristic spiral patterns. Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty. Although numerous origin accounts exist, the first sword is believed to have been forged by the Greek bronzeworker Hephastus (2800 B.C.), who would later be deified as the Grecian god of blacksmiths. Hephastus hit upon the idea of making larger "knives" to assist the local tanner in skinning animals of their hides. When a regiment of Periphero Chortos arrived and witnessed the tanner's use of this curious blade, they requested duplicates of the "arm-length knife" for their own use. These were later dubbed machaira, or sword. Historians debate the exact size of this first sword, but it is generally accepted that the weapons were bronze bars, sharpened along a single edge, between one and two feet in length. They were without later incorporated features, such as hilts and pommels. All in all, these primitive weapons functioned more like sharpened bludgeons. However Areliux, a celtian chief, made the "simitar" a sword that could kill with one hit

Iron Age

Iron swords became increasingly common from the 13th century BC. The Hittites, the Mycenean Greeks, and the Proto-Celtic Hallstatt culture figured among the early users of iron swords. Iron has the advantage of mass-production due to the wider availability of the raw material. Early Iron swords were not comparable to later steel blades, being brittle and soft, they were even inferior to good bronze weapons, but the easier production, and the better availability of the raw material for the first time permitted the equipment of entire armies with metal weapons.

A decorative sword made of gold in 7th century Iran, during the Sasanian Dynasty.

Eventually smiths learned that by adding an amount of carbon (added during smelting in the form of charcoal) in the iron, they could produce an improved alloy (now known as steel). Several different methods of swordmaking existed in ancient times, including most famously pattern welding. Over time different methods developed all over the world.

By the time of Classical Antiquity and the Parthian and Sassanid Empires in Iran, iron swords were common. The Greek Xiphos and the Roman Gladius are typical examples of the type, measuring some 60 to 70 cm. The late Roman Empire introduced the longer Spatha (the term for its wielder, spatharius, became a court rank in Constantinople), and from this time, the term "long sword" is applied to swords comparatively long for their respective periods.

Chinese steel swords make their appearance from the 3rd century BC Qin Dynasty. The Chinese Dao (刀 pinyin dāo) is single-edged, sometimes translated as sabre or broadsword, and the Jian (劍 pinyin jiàn) double edged.

Middle Ages

replica of a Roman Spatha

The Spatha type remained popular throughout the Migration period and well into the Middle Ages. Vendel Age Spathas decorated with Germanic artwork (not unlike the Germanic bracteates fashioned after Roman coins). The Viking Age sees again a more standardized production, but the basic design remains indebted to the Spatha.

It is only from the 11th century that Norman swords begin to develop the quillion or crossguard. During the Crusades of the 12th to (13th) century, this cruciform type of arming sword remains essentially stable, with variations mainly concerning the shape of the pommel. The swords were made to be for thrusting. A stab is more fatal than a slice and difficult to parry. However when a knight thrusts his sword, his defense is completely down, and a stab is easier to dodge than a slice.

Single-edged weapons became popular throughout Asia. Derived from the Chinese Dao, the Korean Hwandudaedo are known from the early medieval Three Kingdoms. The Japanese Katana (刀; かたな), production of which is recorded from ca. 900 AD (see Japanese sword), is also derived from the Dao.

Late Middle Ages and Renaissance

Main articles: Longsword and Zweihänder

From around 1300, in concert with improved armour, innovative sword designs evolved more and more rapidly. The main transition was the lengthening of the grip, allowing two-handed use, and a longer blade. By 1400 this type of sword, at the time called langes Schwert (longsword) or spadone, were common, and a number of 15th and 16th century "fechtbucher" teaching their use survive. Another variant was the specialization of armour-piercing swords of the Estoc type. The longsword became popular due to is extreme reach and cutting and thrusting abilities. The estoc became popular because of its ability to thrust into the gaps in-between plates of armor.

This sword gradually became obsolete as thicker forms of armor rendered the piercing blade ineffective. As armor thickened, blacksmiths labored to increase the size of the sword, resulting in such weapons as the bastard and two-handed sword. Though light blades were retained by cavalry for some time, the infantry blade was eventually abandoned entirely. The largest recorded sword was that forged by Gustav Heinshreck in the 16th century. His "Vervierfachen Sie hat gereicht Blatt" was a sword nearly twelve feet in length, requiring two men to wield effectively. Though capable of penetrating even the thickest armor, it ultimately proved too unwieldy for common use.

In the 16th century, the large Zweihänder concluded the trend of ever increasing sword sizes (mostly due to the beginning of the decline of plate armor and the advent of firearms), and the early Modern Age returned to lighter one-handed weapons.

The sword in this time period was the most personal weapon, the most prestigious, and the most versatile for close combat, but it came to find a greater role in civilian self-defense than in military use as technology changed warfare.

Modern Age

The rapier evolved from the Spanish espada ropera in the 16th century. Both the rapier and the Italian schiavona developed the crossguard into a basket for hand protection. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the shorter smallsword became an essential fashion accessory in European countries, and most wealthy men carried one. Both the smallsword and the rapier remained popular dueling swords well into the 18th century.

As the wearing of swords fell out of fashion, canes took their place in a gentleman's wardrobe. Some examples of canes—those known as swordsticks—incorporate a concealed blade. The French martial art la canne developed to fight with canes and swordsticks and has now evolved into a sport.

The sword served more as a weapon of self-defence than for use on the battlefield, and the military importance of swords steadily decreased during the Modern Age. Even as a personal sidearm, the sword began to lose its pre-eminence in the late 18th century, paralleling the development of reliable handguns.

The hilt of the 18th century sword used by Captain John Paul Schott in the American Revolution.

Swords continued in use, but increasingly limited to military officers and ceremonial uniforms, although most armies retained heavy cavalry until well after World War I. For example, the British Army formally adopted a completely new design of cavalry sword in 1908, almost the last change in British Army weapons before the outbreak of the war. The last units of British heavy cavalry switched to using armoured vehicles as late as 1938. Cavalry charges still occurred as late as World War II during which Japanese and Pacific Islanders also occasionally used swords, but by then an enemy armed with machine guns, barbed wire and armored vehicles would usually completely outmatch swordsmen.

Terminology

The sword consists of the blade and the hilt. The name scabbard applies to the case which houses the sword when not in use.

Blade

Three types of attacks can be performed with the blade: striking, cutting, and thrusting. The blade is usually double-edged; when handling the sword, the long or true edge is the one used for straight cuts or strikes, while the short or false edge is the one used for backhand strikes. Some hilt designs define which edge is the 'long' one, while more symmetrical designs allow the long and short edges to be inverted by turning the sword.

The blade may have grooves or fullers for the purpose of lightening the blade while allowing it to retain its strength, in the same manner as an "I" beam in construction. The blade may taper more or less sharply towards a point, used for thrusting. The part of the blade between the Center of Percussion (CoP) and the point is called the weak of the blade, and that between the Center of Balance (CoB) and the hilt the strong. The section in between the CoP and the CoB is the middle. The ricasso or shoulder identifies a short section of blade immediately forward of the guard that is left completely unsharpened, and can be gripped with a finger to increase tip control. Many swords have no ricasso. On some large weapons, such as the German zweihander, a leather cover surrounded the ricasso, and a swordsman might grip it in one hand to make the weapon more easily wielded in close-quarters combat. The ricasso normally bears the maker's mark. On Japanese blades the mark appears on the tang under the handle.

  • In the case of a rat-tail tang, the maker welds a thin rod to the end of the blade at the crossguard; this rod goes through the handle (in 20th-century and later construction). This occurs most commonly in decorative replicas, or cheap sword-like objects. Traditional sword-making does not use this construction method, which does not serve for traditional sword usage as the sword can easily break at the welding point.
  • In traditional construction, the swordsmith forged the tang as a part of the sword rather than welding it on. Traditional tangs go through the handle: this gives much more durability than a rat-tail tang. Swordsmiths peened such tangs over the end of the pommel, or occasionally welded the hilt furniture to the tang and threaded the end for screwing on a pommel. Modern lower quality replicas often feature a "screw-on" pommel or a pommel nut which holds the hilt together and allows dismantling.
  • In a "full" tang (most commonly used in knives and machetes) the tang has about the same width as the blade. In European or Asian swords sold today, many advertised "full" tangs may actually involve a forged rat-tail tang.

From the 18th century onwards swords intended for slashing, i.e. with an edge, have been curved with the radius of curvature equal to the distance from the swordman's body at which it was to be used. This allowed the blade to have a sawing effect rather than simply delivering a heavy cut. European swords, intended for use at arm's length, had a radius of curvature of around a meter. Middle Eastern swords, intended for use with the arm bent, had a smaller radius.

Hilt

The hilt is the collective term of the parts allowing the handling of the blade, consisting of the grip, the pommel, and in post-Viking Age swords usually a crossguard (called cruciform hilts). The pommel in addition to improving the grip, can also be used as a blunt instrument at close range. It may also have a tassel or sword knot.

The tang consists of the extension of the blade structure through the hilt.

Typology

Swords can fall into categories of varying scope. The main distinguishing characteristics include blade shape (cross-section, tapering and length), shape and size of hilt and pommel, age and place of origin.

For any other type than listed below, and even for uses other than as a weapon, see the article Sword-like object

Double-edged swords

As noted above, the terms longsword, broad sword and great sword (and Gaelic claymore) are used relative to the era under consideration and do themselves designate a particular type of sword.

Single-handed

  • Bronze Age swords, length ca. 60 cm, leaf shaped blade.
  • Iron Age swords like the Xiphos, Gladius and Jian 劍, similar in shape to their Bronze Age predecessors.
  • Spatha, measuring ca. 80–90 cm.
  • The classical arming sword of the Crusades, measuring up to ca. 110 cm.
  • The late medieval Swiss baselard and the Renaissance Italian Cinquedea and German Katzbalger essentially re-introduce the functionality of the Spatha, coinciding with the strong cultural movement to emulate the Classical world.
  • The cut & thrust swords of the Renaissance, similar to the older arming sword but balanced for increased thrusting.
  • Light duelling swords, like the rapier and the smallsword, in use from Early Modern times.

Two-handed

  • The longsword (and bastard sword) of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  • The 16th century Zweihänder.


Single edged weapons

Katana of the 16th or 17th Century, with its saya.

One strict definition of a sword restricts it to a double-edged weapon used for both slashing and stabbing. However, general usage of the term remains inconsistent and it has important cultural overtones, so that commentators almost universally recognize the single-edged Asian weapons (dāo 刀, Katana 刀) as "swords", simply because they have very similar prestige to that which is attached to the European sword.

Europeans also frequently refer to their own single-edged weapons as swords--generically backswords, including sabres. Other terms include falchion, scimitar, cutlass, or mortuary sword. Many of these essentially refer to identical weapons, and the different names may relate to their use in different countries at different times.

A machete as a tool resembles such a single-edged sword and serves to cut through thick vegetation, and indeed many of the terms listed above describe weapons that originated as farmers' tools used on the battlefield.

Training swords

In both Europe and Asia, wooden "swords" were created to practice fencing without the physical danger of a real sword. These were known as wasters in Europe and bokken in Japan. Special sparring weapons, such as the bamboo shinai and the steel federschwerter, were also devised and used.

Certain martial arts styles, such as kendo, use shinai as their primary weapons, both in training and in competition.

Urumi/Chuttuval (flexible sword)

Classification

Jan Petersen in De Norske Vikingsverd ("The Norwegian Viking Swords", 1919) introduced the most widely-used classification. Ewart Oakeshott in The Sword in The Age of Chivalry (1964, revised 1981) introduced a system of classification for medieval sword blades into types, numbered X – XXII as a continuation of Wheeler's system.

Punishment devices

  • Real swords can be used to administer various physical punishments: to perform either capital punishment by decapitation (the use of the sword, an honourable weapon on military men, was regarded a privilege) or non-surgical amputation.
  • Similarly paddle-like sword-like devices for physical punishment are used in Asia, in western terms for paddling or caning, depending whether the implement is flat or round. For example, the Chinese movie Farewell to my concubine (1993 - see IMDb [1]) shows how a flat, not even very hard type of paddle, called the master's sword, is used intensively to discipline young opera trainees both on the (usually bared) buttock and on the hand (even drawing blood).
  • The shinai, a practice sword, is also used in Japan as a spanking implement, more common in prized private extracurricular schools (illustrated in these 1975 and 1977 articles [2] & [3]) than the US school paddling; in fact hundreds of cases of illegal corporal punishment were reported from public schools as well.

Symbolism

  • The sword can symbolise violence, combat, or military intervention. Jesus' statement, "Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword" uses the term in this sense.

Another example of this metaphorical significance comes in the old saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" -- attributed to Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

In the following cases, the sword stands for arms in general, and has often been retained as a symbol even after it had in operational practice been replaced with firearms etcetera.

  • Swords form a suit in the Tarot deck (replaced by spades in the French deck of playing cards).
  • The sword often functions as a symbol of masculinity and particularly -since its form lends itself to this, especially in erect position- as a phallic symbol of virility. For example, "sword swallowing" is used as an euphemism of fellatio.
  • Swords are also used as emblem or insignia (in or on formal dress such as uniforms, badges, various objects, even coats of arms), especially:
    • as symbol of power, such as a Sword of State and a Sword of Justice (both can be used as regalia);
    • as symbol of armed force, or of a corps entitled to use force as the strong arm of the law, as in military and police insignia, or of a unit (e.g. regiment) of such a corps - as these are numerous, inevitably many variations and combinations (two crossed swords, or with a laurel wreath, crown, national or founder/patron's emblem etcetera) are used.
  • It is also not unusual for swords to represent reason - as in "cutting through" a series of elements in a problem in order to leave only those with proven relevance, for example.

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In the following cases, the sword stands for arms in general, and has often been retained as a symbol even after it had in operational practice been replaced with firearms etcetera. This usually takes the form of a toothed gear that meshes with holes punched near the edge of the paper, or a belt or wheel with rubber or other high-friction surface that makes contact with the paper. Another example of this metaphorical significance comes in the old saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" -- attributed to Edward Bulwer-Lytton. A tractor is also the part of a computer printer that pulls paper into the device or pushes it along. Ewart Oakeshott in The Sword in The Age of Chivalry (1964, revised 1981) introduced a system of classification for medieval sword blades into types, numbered X – XXII as a continuation of Wheeler's system. NASA and other space agencies use very large tractors to ferry launch vehicles like booster rockets and space shuttles from their hangars to (and in rare cases, from) the launchpad. Jan Petersen in De Norske Vikingsverd ("The Norwegian Viking Swords", 1919) introduced the most widely-used classification. Conversely, if to the rear, it is a called a pusher configuration.

Certain martial arts styles, such as kendo, use shinai as their primary weapons, both in training and in competition. In aircraft, a tractor configuration refers to the propellers being in front of the fuselage or wing. Special sparring weapons, such as the bamboo shinai and the steel federschwerter, were also devised and used. The term tractor or tractor unit (UK) is also applied to:. These were known as wasters in Europe and bokken in Japan. Volvo Duett was for a long time the primary choice for conversion to an EPA or A tractor, but since supply have since dried up other cars have been used, in most cases a Volvo. In both Europe and Asia, wooden "swords" were created to practice fencing without the physical danger of a real sword. This is usually done by fitting two gearboxes in a row and not using one of them.

A machete as a tool resembles such a single-edged sword and serves to cut through thick vegetation, and indeed many of the terms listed above describe weapons that originated as farmers' tools used on the battlefield. The main difference is that an A tractor has a top speed of 30 km/h. Many of these essentially refer to identical weapons, and the different names may relate to their use in different countries at different times. In March 31, 1975 a similar type of vehicle was introduced, the A tractor [from arbetstraktor (work tractor)]. Other terms include falchion, scimitar, cutlass, or mortuary sword. Eventually the legal loophole was closed and no new EPA tractors were allowed to be made, but the remaining were still legal, something that led to inflated prices and many protests who people that prefered EPA tractors to ordinary cars. Europeans also frequently refer to their own single-edged weapons as swords--generically backswords, including sabres. Since it was legally seen as a tractor it could be driven from 16 years of age and only required a tractor license.

However, general usage of the term remains inconsistent and it has important cultural overtones, so that commentators almost universally recognize the single-edged Asian weapons (dāo 刀, Katana 刀) as "swords", simply because they have very similar prestige to that which is attached to the European sword. After the war it remained popular, now not as a farm vehicle, but as a way for young people without a driver's license to own something similar to a car. One strict definition of a sword restricts it to a double-edged weapon used for both slashing and stabbing. When done to an older car with a ladder frame, the result was not dissimilar to a tractor and could be used as one.
. An EPA tractor was simply an automobile, truck or lorry, with the passenger space was cut off behind the front seats, equipped with two gearboxes in a row. As noted above, the terms longsword, broad sword and great sword (and Gaelic claymore) are used relative to the era under consideration and do themselves designate a particular type of sword. During World War 2 there was a shortage of tractors in Sweden and this lead to the invention of a new type of tractor called the EPA tractor (EPA was a chain of discount stores and it was often used to signify something of lacking in quality).

For any other type than listed below, and even for uses other than as a weapon, see the article Sword-like object. There are also tiny wheeled loaders, officially called Skid-steer loaders but nicknamed "Bobcat" after the original manufacturer, which are particularly suited for small excavation projects in confined areas. The main distinguishing characteristics include blade shape (cross-section, tapering and length), shape and size of hilt and pommel, age and place of origin. Other modifications to the original bulldozer include making the machine smaller to let it operate in small work areas where movement is limited. Swords can fall into categories of varying scope. This is usually a wide open box called a bucket but other common attachments are a pallet fork and a bale grappler. The tang consists of the extension of the blade structure through the hilt. A front-loader or loader is a tractor with an engineering tool which consists of two hydraulic powered arms on either side of the front engine compartment and a tilting implement.

It may also have a tassel or sword knot. One example is that loader tractors were created by removing the blade and substituting a large volume bucket and hydraulic arms which can raise and lower the bucket, thus making it useful for scooping up earth, rock and similar loose material to load it into trucks. The pommel in addition to improving the grip, can also be used as a blunt instrument at close range. Bulldozers have been further modified over time to evolve into new machines which are capable of working in ways that the original bulldozer can not. The hilt is the collective term of the parts allowing the handling of the blade, consisting of the grip, the pommel, and in post-Viking Age swords usually a crossguard (called cruciform hilts). Bulldozers are very powerful tractors and have excellent ground-hold, as their main tasks are to push or drag things. Middle Eastern swords, intended for use with the arm bent, had a smaller radius. A bulldozer is a tracked-type tractor attached with blade in the front and a rope-winch behind.

European swords, intended for use at arm's length, had a radius of curvature of around a meter. When attached with engineering tools the tractor is called an engineering vehicle. This allowed the blade to have a sawing effect rather than simply delivering a heavy cut. The most common attachments for the front of a tractor are dozer blade or a bucket. with an edge, have been curved with the radius of curvature equal to the distance from the swordman's body at which it was to be used. Tractors can be fitted with engineering tools such as dozer blade, bucket, hoe, ripper, and so on. From the 18th century onwards swords intended for slashing, i.e. The durability and engine power of tractors made them very suitable for engineering tasks.

On Japanese blades the mark appears on the tang under the handle. Their versatility and compact size makes them one of the most popular urban construction vehicles. The ricasso normally bears the maker's mark. Their relatively small frame and precise control make backhoe-loaders very useful and common in urban engineering projects such as construction and repairs in areas too small for larger equipment. On some large weapons, such as the German zweihander, a leather cover surrounded the ricasso, and a swordsman might grip it in one hand to make the weapon more easily wielded in close-quarters combat. Often the bucket can be replaced with other devices or tools. Many swords have no ricasso. The front assembly may be a removable attachment or permanently mounted.

The ricasso or shoulder identifies a short section of blade immediately forward of the guard that is left completely unsharpened, and can be gripped with a finger to increase tip control. Buckets with retractable bottoms are also often used for grading and scratching off sand. The section in between the CoP and the CoB is the middle. Some buckets have a retractable bottom, enabling them to empty their load more quickly and efficiently. The part of the blade between the Center of Percussion (CoP) and the point is called the weak of the blade, and that between the Center of Balance (CoB) and the hilt the strong. Backhoe-loaders are very common and can be used for a wide variety of tasks: construction, small demolitions, light transportation of building materials, powering building equipment, digging holes, breaking asphalt and paving roads. The blade may taper more or less sharply towards a point, used for thrusting. Removable backhoe attachments almost always have a separate seat on the attachment.

The blade may have grooves or fullers for the purpose of lightening the blade while allowing it to retain its strength, in the same manner as an "I" beam in construction. When the backhoe is permanently attached, the machine usually has a seat that can swivel to the rear to face the hoe controls. Some hilt designs define which edge is the 'long' one, while more symmetrical designs allow the long and short edges to be inverted by turning the sword. When both the loader and the backhoe are permanently attached it is almost never called a tractor, not generally used for towing and usually does not have a power take-off. The blade is usually double-edged; when handling the sword, the long or true edge is the one used for straight cuts or strikes, while the short or false edge is the one used for backhand strikes. As the name implies, it has a loader assembly on the front and a backhoe on the back. Three types of attacks can be performed with the blade: striking, cutting, and thrusting. The most common variation of the classic farm tractor is the loader-backhoe, also called a backhoe-loader.

The name scabbard applies to the case which houses the sword when not in use. The spin-offs from the space race have actually facilitated automation in plowing and the use of driverless drone tractors that work in tandem with manned tractors on large corporate-scale farms. The sword consists of the blade and the hilt. These technologies are used in modern, precision farming techniques. Cavalry charges still occurred as late as World War II during which Japanese and Pacific Islanders also occasionally used swords, but by then an enemy armed with machine guns, barbed wire and armored vehicles would usually completely outmatch swordsmen. Space technology has found its way into down to agriculture in the form of GPS devices, and robust on-board computers installed as optional features on farm tractors. The last units of British heavy cavalry switched to using armoured vehicles as late as 1938. Some farm-type tractors are found elsewhere than on farms: with large universities' gardening departments, in public parks or for highway workman use with blowtorch cylinders strapped to its sides and a pneumatic drill air compressor permanently fastened over its power take-off.

For example, the British Army formally adopted a completely new design of cavalry sword in 1908, almost the last change in British Army weapons before the outbreak of the war. This enables a single person to attach an implement quicker and put the person in less danger when attaching the implement. Swords continued in use, but increasingly limited to military officers and ceremonial uniforms, although most armies retained heavy cavalry until well after World War I. Another way to attach an implement is via a Quick Hitch, which is attached to the three-point hitch. Even as a personal sidearm, the sword began to lose its pre-eminence in the late 18th century, paralleling the development of reliable handguns. The equipment attached to the three-point hitch is usually completely supported by the tractor. The sword served more as a weapon of self-defence than for use on the battlefield, and the military importance of swords steadily decreased during the Modern Age. Equipment attached to the three-point hitch can be raised or lowered hydraulically with a control lever.

The French martial art la canne developed to fight with canes and swordsticks and has now evolved into a sport. The three-point hitch was invented by Harry Ferguson and has been a standard since the 1960s. Some examples of canes—those known as swordsticks—incorporate a concealed blade. Farm implements can be attached to the rear of the tractor by either a drawbar or by a three-point hitch. As the wearing of swords fell out of fashion, canes took their place in a gentleman's wardrobe. ROPS were first required by legislation in New Zealand in the 1960s. Both the smallsword and the rapier remained popular dueling swords well into the 18th century. Many farmers were killed by rollovers while operating tractors along steep slopes.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the shorter smallsword became an essential fashion accessory in European countries, and most wealthy men carried one. Row-crop tractors, before ROPS, were particularly dangerous because of their 'tricycle' design with the two front wheels spaced close together and angled inward toward the ground. Both the rapier and the Italian schiavona developed the crossguard into a basket for hand protection. Before ROPS were required many farmers died when their tractors rolled on top of them. The rapier evolved from the Spanish espada ropera in the 16th century. For tractors with operator cabs, the ROPS is part of the frame of the cab. The sword in this time period was the most personal weapon, the most prestigious, and the most versatile for close combat, but it came to find a greater role in civilian self-defense than in military use as technology changed warfare. This is especially important in open-air tractors where the ROPS is a steel beam that extends above the operator's seat.

In the 16th century, the large Zweihänder concluded the trend of ever increasing sword sizes (mostly due to the beginning of the decline of plate armor and the advent of firearms), and the early Modern Age returned to lighter one-handed weapons. Modern tractors have rollover protection systems (ROPS) to prevent an operator from being crushed if the tractor rolls over. Though capable of penetrating even the thickest armor, it ultimately proved too unwieldy for common use. Some modern tractors, such as the JCB Fastrac, are now capable of much more tolerable road speeds of around 50 mph. His "Vervierfachen Sie hat gereicht Blatt" was a sword nearly twelve feet in length, requiring two men to wield effectively. To alleviate conditions, some countries (for example the Netherlands) employ a road sign on some roads that means "no farm tractors". The largest recorded sword was that forged by Gustav Heinshreck in the 16th century. However, when travelling on public roads, the slow operating speeds can cause problems, such as long queues or tailbacks, which can delay or aggrevate other road users.

Though light blades were retained by cavalry for some time, the infantry blade was eventually abandoned entirely. They help give the farmer a larger degree of control in certain situations, such as field work. As armor thickened, blacksmiths labored to increase the size of the sword, resulting in such weapons as the bastard and two-handed sword. Slower speeds are necessary for most operations that are performed with a tractor. This sword gradually became obsolete as thicker forms of armor rendered the piercing blade ineffective. This allows the operator more and easier control over working speed than the throttle alone could provide. The estoc became popular because of its ability to thrust into the gaps in-between plates of armor. Older tractors usually require that the operator depress the clutch in order to shift between gears (a limitation of straight-cut gears in the gearbox), but many modern tractors have eliminated this requirement with the introduction of technologies such as continuously variable transmission.

The longsword became popular due to is extreme reach and cutting and thrusting abilities. They have several gear ratios that, generally, provide a range of speeds from less than one mile per hour up to about 25 miles per hour. Another variant was the specialization of armour-piercing swords of the Estoc type. Most farm tractors use a manual transmission. By 1400 this type of sword, at the time called langes Schwert (longsword) or spadone, were common, and a number of 15th and 16th century "fechtbucher" teaching their use survive. Almost all modern tractors can also provide external hydraulic and electrical power. The main transition was the lengthening of the grip, allowing two-handed use, and a longer blade. Modern tractors use a power take-off shaft (PTO) to provide rotary power to machinery that may be stationary or pulled.

From around 1300, in concert with improved armour, innovative sword designs evolved more and more rapidly. Early tractors used belts wrapped around pulleys to power stationary equipment. 900 AD (see Japanese sword), is also derived from the Dao. Most tractors have a means to transfer power to another machine such as a baler, slasher or mower. The Japanese Katana (刀; かたな), production of which is recorded from ca. Their size—especially with modern tractors—and the slower speeds are reasons motorists are urged to use caution when encountering a tractor on the roads. Derived from the Chinese Dao, the Korean Hwandudaedo are known from the early medieval Three Kingdoms. Variations of the classic style include the diminutive lawn tractors and their more capable and ruggedly constructed cousins, garden tractors, that range from about 10 to 25 horsepower and are used for smaller farm tasks and mowing grass and landscaping.

Single-edged weapons became popular throughout Asia. Tractors can be generally classified as two-wheel drive, two-wheel drive with front wheel assist, or four-wheel drive (often with articulated steering). However when a knight thrusts his sword, his defense is completely down, and a stab is easier to dodge than a slice. Modern farm tractors employ large diesel engines, which range in power output from 18 to 500 horsepower (15 to 400 kW). A stab is more fatal than a slice and difficult to parry. When travelling on the road in the UK it is mandatory to use the foot pedal to control engine speed. The swords were made to be for thrusting. This is a feature of more recent tractors, older tractors often did not have this feature.

During the Crusades of the 12th to (13th) century, this cruciform type of arming sword remains essentially stable, with variations mainly concerning the shape of the pommel. The foot throttle gives the operator more automobile-like control over the speed of the tractor for road work. It is only from the 11th century that Norman swords begin to develop the quillion or crossguard. It also helps provide continuous power for stationary tractors that are operating an implement by shaft or belt. The Viking Age sees again a more standardized production, but the basic design remains indebted to the Spatha. This helps provide a constant speed in field work. Vendel Age Spathas decorated with Germanic artwork (not unlike the Germanic bracteates fashioned after Roman coins). Unlike in automobiles, it can also be controlled from a hand-operated lever ("hand throttle").

The Spatha type remained popular throughout the Migration period and well into the Middle Ages. The pedal furthest to the right is the foot throttle. The Chinese Dao (刀 pinyin dāo) is single-edged, sometimes translated as sabre or broadsword, and the Jian (劍 pinyin jiàn) double edged. For tractors with additional front-wheel drive this operation often engages the 4-wheel locking differential to help stop the tractor when travelling at road speeds. Chinese steel swords make their appearance from the 3rd century BC Qin Dynasty. The operator presses both pedals together to stop the tractor. The late Roman Empire introduced the longer Spatha (the term for its wielder, spatharius, became a court rank in Constantinople), and from this time, the term "long sword" is applied to swords comparatively long for their respective periods. The split brake pedal is also used in mud or soft dirt to control a tire that spins due to loss of traction.

The Greek Xiphos and the Roman Gladius are typical examples of the type, measuring some 60 to 70 cm. This is usually done when it is necessary to make a tight turn. By the time of Classical Antiquity and the Parthian and Sassanid Empires in Iran, iron swords were common. This independent left and right wheel braking augments the steering of the tractor when only the two rear wheels are driven. Over time different methods developed all over the world. The left brake pedal stops the left rear wheel and the right brake pedal does the same with the right side. Several different methods of swordmaking existed in ancient times, including most famously pattern welding. Two of the pedals on the right are the brakes.

Eventually smiths learned that by adding an amount of carbon (added during smelting in the form of charcoal) in the iron, they could produce an improved alloy (now known as steel). The operator presses on this pedal to disengage the transmission for either shifting gears or stopping the tractor. Early Iron swords were not comparable to later steel blades, being brittle and soft, they were even inferior to good bronze weapons, but the easier production, and the better availability of the raw material for the first time permitted the equipment of entire armies with metal weapons. The pedal on the left is the clutch. Iron has the advantage of mass-production due to the wider availability of the raw material. On modern farm tractors there are usually four foot-pedals, for the operator, on the floor of a tractor. The Hittites, the Mycenean Greeks, and the Proto-Celtic Hallstatt culture figured among the early users of iron swords. This basic design has remained unchanged for a number of years, but enclosed cabs are fitted on almost all modern models, for reasons of operator safety and comfort.

Iron swords became increasingly common from the 13th century BC. The classic farm tractor is a simple open vehicle with two very large driving wheels on an axle below and slightly behind a single seat (the seat and steering wheel consequently are in the center) and the engine in front of the driver with two steerable wheels below the engine compartment. However Areliux, a celtian chief, made the "simitar" a sword that could kill with one hit. These machines were phased out during the 1920s in favour of the increasingly popular internal combustion engine. All in all, these primitive weapons functioned more like sharpened bludgeons. These were built around steam engines, which were not very safe and could explode or entangle their operators in the belt driven attachments. They were without later incorporated features, such as hilts and pommels. The first mechanized farm implements in the 1800's and early 1900's were steam tractors.

Historians debate the exact size of this first sword, but it is generally accepted that the weapons were bronze bars, sharpened along a single edge, between one and two feet in length. The farm tractor is used for pulling or pushing agricultural machinery or trailers, for ploughing, harrowing and similar tasks. These were later dubbed machaira, or sword. The most common use of the term tractor is for the vehicles used on farms. When a regiment of Periphero Chortos arrived and witnessed the tanner's use of this curious blade, they requested duplicates of the "arm-length knife" for their own use. . Hephastus hit upon the idea of making larger "knives" to assist the local tanner in skinning animals of their hides. In Britain the word "tractor" usually means "farm tractor", and using "tractor" to mean other types of vehicles is known of in the vehicle trade but unfamiliar to much of the general public.

Although numerous origin accounts exist, the first sword is believed to have been forged by the Greek bronzeworker Hephastus (2800 B.C.), who would later be deified as the Grecian god of blacksmiths. Most commonly the word is used to describe a vehicle intended for such a task on some other vehicle or object. Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty. A tractor (from Latin trahere "to pull") is a device intended for drawing, towing or pulling something which cannot propel itself and, often, powering it too. 1400 BC show characteristic spiral patterns. White. Swords from the Nordic Bronze Age from ca. Steiger Tractor Company.

Bronze Age swords with typical leaf-shaped blades first appear near the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and in Mesopotamia. Oliver Corporation. The hilt at first simply allowed a firm grip, and prevented the hand from slipping onto the blade when executing a stab. Minneapolis Moline Tractors. The sword developed from the dagger when the construction of longer blades became possible, from the early 2nd millennium BC. Massey Ferguson. Humans have manufactured and used bladed weapons from the Bronze Age onwards. Ford Tractor Co.

. Farmall. The names given to many swords in mythology, literature, and history reflect the high prestige of the weapon (see list of swords). Deere & Company. The basic intent and physics of swordsmanship remain fairly constant, but the actual techniques vary between cultures and periods as a result of the differences in blade design and purpose. David Brown Limited. Sword (Old English: sweord; akin to Old High German: swerd, "wounding tool"; Proto-Indo-European: *swer-, "to wound, to hurt") is a term for a long-edged, bladed weapon, consisting in its most fundamental design of a blade, usually with two edges for striking and cutting, a point for thrusting, and a hilt for gripping. Case IH and New Holland (now brands of CNH Global).

It is also not unusual for swords to represent reason - as in "cutting through" a series of elements in a problem in order to leave only those with proven relevance, for example. Case Corporation and International Harvester. regiment) of such a corps - as these are numerous, inevitably many variations and combinations (two crossed swords, or with a laurel wreath, crown, national or founder/patron's emblem etcetera) are used. Big Bud. as symbol of armed force, or of a corps entitled to use force as the strong arm of the law, as in military and police insignia, or of a unit (e.g. Allis-Chalmers. as symbol of power, such as a Sword of State and a Sword of Justice (both can be used as regalia);.

Swords are also used as emblem or insignia (in or on formal dress such as uniforms, badges, various objects, even coats of arms), especially:

    . For example, "sword swallowing" is used as an euphemism of fellatio. The sword often functions as a symbol of masculinity and particularly -since its form lends itself to this, especially in erect position- as a phallic symbol of virility. Swords form a suit in the Tarot deck (replaced by spades in the French deck of playing cards).

    Jesus' statement, "Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword" uses the term in this sense. The sword can symbolise violence, combat, or military intervention. The shinai, a practice sword, is also used in Japan as a spanking implement, more common in prized private extracurricular schools (illustrated in these 1975 and 1977 articles [2] & [3]) than the US school paddling; in fact hundreds of cases of illegal corporal punishment were reported from public schools as well. For example, the Chinese movie Farewell to my concubine (1993 - see IMDb [1]) shows how a flat, not even very hard type of paddle, called the master's sword, is used intensively to discipline young opera trainees both on the (usually bared) buttock and on the hand (even drawing blood).

    Similarly paddle-like sword-like devices for physical punishment are used in Asia, in western terms for paddling or caning, depending whether the implement is flat or round. Real swords can be used to administer various physical punishments: to perform either capital punishment by decapitation (the use of the sword, an honourable weapon on military men, was regarded a privilege) or non-surgical amputation. The 16th century Zweihänder. The longsword (and bastard sword) of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

    Light duelling swords, like the rapier and the smallsword, in use from Early Modern times. The cut & thrust swords of the Renaissance, similar to the older arming sword but balanced for increased thrusting. The late medieval Swiss baselard and the Renaissance Italian Cinquedea and German Katzbalger essentially re-introduce the functionality of the Spatha, coinciding with the strong cultural movement to emulate the Classical world. 110 cm.

    The classical arming sword of the Crusades, measuring up to ca. 80–90 cm. Spatha, measuring ca. Iron Age swords like the Xiphos, Gladius and Jian 劍, similar in shape to their Bronze Age predecessors.

    60 cm, leaf shaped blade. Bronze Age swords, length ca. In European or Asian swords sold today, many advertised "full" tangs may actually involve a forged rat-tail tang. In a "full" tang (most commonly used in knives and machetes) the tang has about the same width as the blade.

    Modern lower quality replicas often feature a "screw-on" pommel or a pommel nut which holds the hilt together and allows dismantling. Swordsmiths peened such tangs over the end of the pommel, or occasionally welded the hilt furniture to the tang and threaded the end for screwing on a pommel. Traditional tangs go through the handle: this gives much more durability than a rat-tail tang. In traditional construction, the swordsmith forged the tang as a part of the sword rather than welding it on.

    Traditional sword-making does not use this construction method, which does not serve for traditional sword usage as the sword can easily break at the welding point. This occurs most commonly in decorative replicas, or cheap sword-like objects. In the case of a rat-tail tang, the maker welds a thin rod to the end of the blade at the crossguard; this rod goes through the handle (in 20th-century and later construction).

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