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. In addition to his 3 wins in the Indy Racing League, Stewart has also won 2 International Race of Champions events. Another example of this metaphorical significance comes in the old saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" -- attributed to Edward Bulwer-Lytton. During the 2005 season, Stewart won a total of $13,578,168, including $6,173,633 for winning the championshiop, making this the largest season total in NASCAR history. 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. He was also praised by fellow competitors, notably NASCAR veteran Mark Martin who proclaimed Stewart as the greatest NASCAR driver of this generation. Jan Petersen in De Norske Vikingsverd ("The Norwegian Viking Swords", 1919) introduced the most widely-used classification. After winning his second championship, Stewart because only the third active driver in NASCAR to win multiple championships, along with Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte.

Certain martial arts styles, such as kendo, use shinai as their primary weapons, both in training and in competition. He is also one of the youngest drivers to win multiple championships. Special sparring weapons, such as the bamboo shinai and the steel federschwerter, were also devised and used. On November 20, Stewart won his second NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, joining Jeff Gordon as the only active drivers to have won multiple championships. These were known as wasters in Europe and bokken in Japan. He mentioned in a press release from his sponsor, "I plan to keep winning races and helping to drive down the cost of home improvement for The Home Depot customers.". In both Europe and Asia, wooden "swords" were created to practice fencing without the physical danger of a real sword. After his Allstate victory, Home Depot presented fans who presented the advertisement of his Allstate 400 win with a discount on purchasing bricks.

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. After his second full climb of the fence in Loudon, NH, they ran a discount on ladders and fencing at the stores with a campaign named, "Hey Tony, we've got ladders," where anyone who presented the advertisement in national newspapers in their stores earned the discount. Many of these essentially refer to identical weapons, and the different names may relate to their use in different countries at different times. It also led to sponsor Home Depot cashing on Stewart's success with some promotions reminiscent of Stewart's Eldora Speedway drivers. Other terms include falchion, scimitar, cutlass, or mortuary sword. Tony was quoted as saying "I'm too fat for this," and recently purchased $17,000 worth of exercise equipment to remedy the problem. Europeans also frequently refer to their own single-edged weapons as swords--generically backswords, including sabres. Stewart has, following his second win of the season, begun a tradition of climbing the fence separating the fans from the racetrack after each victory, a practice adopted from two-time Indy 500 winner Hélio Castroneves .

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. In an apparently unrelated incident, Kyle Busch was also fined $10,000 and placed on identical probation for ramming Anthony Lazzaro's car after the Sirius Satellite Radio race, also at Watkins Glen. One strict definition of a sword restricts it to a double-edged weapon used for both slashing and stabbing. Stewart was also placed on probation until December 31st.
. Stewart was driving a Busch series car owned by Kevin Harvick at the time. 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. On August 16th Stewart was fined $5000 for hitting the car of another driver, Brian Vickers, after the completion of the Busch Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.

For any other type than listed below, and even for uses other than as a weapon, see the article Sword-like object. He won five races, including the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, a race that Stewart said he would give up his championship to win, and took with it the #1 seed headed towards NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup 10-race playoff. The main distinguishing characteristics include blade shape (cross-section, tapering and length), shape and size of hilt and pommel, age and place of origin. 2005 was one of Stewart's most successful years in the Nextel Cup. Swords can fall into categories of varying scope. In addition to placing fourth, the trio placed third in the Daytona Prototype class. The tang consists of the extension of the blade structure through the hilt. With 15 minutes left in the race, and with Stewart at the wheel, one of the rear wheels came off, finally ending their run.

It may also have a tassel or sword knot. The result does not show the trio's performance, however: they had dominated the race until the last two hours, when the suspension cracked. The pommel in addition to improving the grip, can also be used as a blunt instrument at close range. in a Boss Motorsports Chevrolet to take fourth place in the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race. 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). In 2004, Stewart teamed with Englishman Andy Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Middle Eastern swords, intended for use with the arm bent, had a smaller radius. He also still makes the occasional cameo on dirt tracks, appearing regularly at an ARCA race on dirt and at many prominent midget car events, USAC's Turkey Night Grand Prix, and the indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

European swords, intended for use at arm's length, had a radius of curvature of around a meter. Located in Rossburg, Ohio, Eldora is a half-mile dirt track known to many as "Auto Racing's Showcase Since 1954." Stewart began racing there in 1991 and continues racing in special events alongside other Nextel Cup drivers and dirt track legends. This allowed the blade to have a sawing effect rather than simply delivering a heavy cut. In November of 2004, Stewart became the owner of one of the most legendary short-tracks in America, Eldora Speedway. 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. His current driver lineup in USAC consists of Josh Wise in the midget, sprint, and Silver Crown cars and Jay Drake in the sprint car and Silver Crown Series. From the 18th century onwards swords intended for slashing, i.e. Yeley in 2003 and Jay Drake in 2004.

On Japanese blades the mark appears on the tang under the handle. He also collected owner titles in USAC's National Sprint Car Series with J.J. The ricasso normally bears the maker's mark. Yeley, and in 2004 with Dave Steele. 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. Stewart has won USAC car owner titles in the Silver Crown division in 2002 and 2003 with J.J. Many swords have no ricasso. In addition to his Nextel Cup gig, Stewart, nicknamed "The Columbus Comet" (for his present hometown of Columbus, Indiana), "The Rushville Rocket" and "Smoke", is also the owner of a World of Outlaws sprint car driven by Danny "The Dude" Lasoski.

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. He only won twice that season, but led more laps than he'd done the previous year and was highly competitive in the final races of the year. The section in between the CoP and the CoB is the middle. Driving a Chevrolet instead of his previous Pontiac ride (Gibbs switched), Tony actually had his worst Cup season, but it was still good enough for a 7th place finish in points. 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. As defending champion, Stewart managed to have a relatively incident-free 2003. The blade may taper more or less sharply towards a point, used for thrusting. At the end of the year, Stewart held off a charging Mark Martin to win his first Winston Cup championship.

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. Stewart went on to win the race immediately after being disciplined, and went on a tear in the final races, finishing consistently in the top five. 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. NASCAR put Stewart on probation for the rest of the season. 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. The second half of his season was plagued by an altercation he had with a photographer after the Brickyard 400. Three types of attacks can be performed with the blade: striking, cutting, and thrusting. He won twice early in the season though, but was only 7th at the halfway point of the season.

The name scabbard applies to the case which houses the sword when not in use. Tony started 2002 even more inauspiciously than he'd started his previous season, as his Daytona 500 lasted just two laps due to a blown engine. The sword consists of the blade and the hilt. Tony, understandably, earned a reputation for being NASCAR's bad boy. 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. Stewart was not allowed to practice until wearing one, and only managed to practice after his crew chief intervened. The last units of British heavy cavalry switched to using armoured vehicles as late as 1938. He confronted the same official at the race in Talladega after refusing to wear a mandated head and neck restraint.

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 resulted in another fine and longer probation. 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. At the same race, he also got into an incident with a reporter, kicking away a tape recorder. Even as a personal sidearm, the sword began to lose its pre-eminence in the late 18th century, paralleling the development of reliable handguns. He got into further trouble at Daytona, when he confronted a Winston Cup official after ignoring a black flag. 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. Stewart was fined and placed on probation by NASCAR.

The French martial art la canne developed to fight with canes and swordsticks and has now evolved into a sport. Gordon pulled a "bump and run" on Stewart to gain a better finishing position in a race in Bristol, and it resulted in Stewart retaliating in a post-race incident by spinning Gordon out on pit road. Some examples of canes—those known as swordsticks—incorporate a concealed blade. The season was not without controversy though. As the wearing of swords fell out of fashion, canes took their place in a gentleman's wardrobe. Statistically, he had a worse season than 2000, but he was the runner up to Jeff Gordon for the Cup championship. Both the smallsword and the rapier remained popular dueling swords well into the 18th century. He recovered to win three more races, and as he'd done before, ran near the front most of the season.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the shorter smallsword became an essential fashion accessory in European countries, and most wealthy men carried one. Amazingly, he walked away nearly unscathed. Both the rapier and the Italian schiavona developed the crossguard into a basket for hand protection. Tony's 2001 got off to a frightening start, as he was involved in a nasty crash in the Daytona 500 where his car violently flipped over several times. The rapier evolved from the Spanish espada ropera in the 16th century. The two are still heated rivals to this day, with Gordon always seeming to outlast his competetitor. 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. Stewart made his displeasure towards Gordon known in an obscenity-laden tirade.

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 most well known of these came at Watkins Glen, when he and Jeff Gordon tangled and crashed into each other. Though capable of penetrating even the thickest armor, it ultimately proved too unwieldy for common use. Tony also began to get some bad press for his on-track incidents. His "Vervierfachen Sie hat gereicht Blatt" was a sword nearly twelve feet in length, requiring two men to wield effectively. However, he "slipped" to 6th place in the standings because of a handful of DNFs, and an increase in the number of competitive drivers, among them his teammate Labonte, who won the Cup championship. The largest recorded sword was that forged by Gustav Heinshreck in the 16th century. Stewart showed no signs of a sophomore slump in Winston Cup in 2000, as he won six races.

Though light blades were retained by cavalry for some time, the infantry blade was eventually abandoned entirely. His attempt at "The Double" was mildly successful, as he finished in the top 10 at both races, but he fell 10 miles short of completing all of the miles. As armor thickened, blacksmiths labored to increase the size of the sword, resulting in such weapons as the bastard and two-handed sword. Tony also attempted to race 1,100 miles on Memorial Day, as he attempted to race the Indy 500 during the day and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte at night. This sword gradually became obsolete as thicker forms of armor rendered the piercing blade ineffective. Not surprisingly, he ran away with the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award. The estoc became popular because of its ability to thrust into the gaps in-between plates of armor. He finished his first year an unprecedented 4th in points, the highest points finish by a rookie in the modern era (since 1972), and only bested by James Hylton, who finished 2nd as a first-timer in 1966.

The longsword became popular due to is extreme reach and cutting and thrusting abilities. He won a pair of pole positions at short tracks, and tied a rookie record with three victories. Another variant was the specialization of armour-piercing swords of the Estoc type. He only failed to finish a race once, and even then he finished 9th. 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. Stewart spent most of his rookie season wowing people, as his car was often in the top 10. The main transition was the lengthening of the grip, allowing two-handed use, and a longer blade. In the 500 itself, Stewart ran near the front until problems with the car relegated him to a midpack finish.

From around 1300, in concert with improved armour, innovative sword designs evolved more and more rapidly. The Intimidator came out on top, but Tony had nonetheless impressed quite a few people with his performance. 900 AD (see Japanese sword), is also derived from the Dao. He showed courage in one of the Gatorade Twin 125 races, when involved in a great battle with Dale Earnhardt for the win. The Japanese Katana (刀; かたな), production of which is recorded from ca. Stewart started his Winston Cup career with a bang, as he qualified his No 20 Home Depot Pontiac in second place in his first Cup race, the Daytona 500. Derived from the Chinese Dao, the Korean Hwandudaedo are known from the early medieval Three Kingdoms. With that move, Stewart ended his three year career as a full time IRL driver.

Single-edged weapons became popular throughout Asia. Gibbs had enough confidence in Tony that he was moved into Cup for the 1999 season. However when a knight thrusts his sword, his defense is completely down, and a stab is easier to dodge than a slice. Stewart finished a solid 2nd place in 2 (of 31) starts, ahead of six drivers with more starts, and had an average finish that was comparable to some of the series' top 10 finishers. A stab is more fatal than a slice and difficult to parry. He came extremely close to winning his first Busch Series race in Rockingham, but was beaten on a last lap pass by Matt Kenseth. The swords were made to be for thrusting. On the Busch side, he finished in the top-five five times in 22 starts.

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. His season was something of a disappointment, especially as he finished last in the Indy 500 because of an engine failure. It is only from the 11th century that Norman swords begin to develop the quillion or crossguard. In the IRL, he won twice and finished 3rd in the championship. The Viking Age sees again a more standardized production, but the basic design remains indebted to the Spatha. The double duty did not affect his performance in either series. Vendel Age Spathas decorated with Germanic artwork (not unlike the Germanic bracteates fashioned after Roman coins). Stewart so impressed Gibbs that he was signed to drive the majority of the Busch schedule in 1998 to go along with a full-time IRL schedule.

The Spatha type remained popular throughout the Migration period and well into the Middle Ages. When Stewart was able to finish, he was in the top 10, and had a 3rd place in Charlotte. The Chinese Dao (刀 pinyin dāo) is single-edged, sometimes translated as sabre or broadsword, and the Jian (劍 pinyin jiàn) double edged. This time, he was racing for Joe Gibbs, the former (and current as of 2004) coach of the Washington Redskins who was having a lot of success with driver Bobby Labonte in Winston Cup. Chinese steel swords make their appearance from the 3rd century BC Qin Dynasty. As he had done the previous year, he raced a handful of Busch Series races. 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. Despite an average end to his season, finishing 7th, 14th, and 11th, and five DNFs, Stewart did just enough to beat Hamilton for the IRL title.

The Greek Xiphos and the Roman Gladius are typical examples of the type, measuring some 60 to 70 cm. He became the leading contender for the series' championship after a bad slump knocked points leader Davey Hamilton out of first place. By the time of Classical Antiquity and the Parthian and Sassanid Empires in Iran, iron swords were common. Tony finally got his first career win at Pikes Peak, where he led all but seven laps of a 200 lap race. Over time different methods developed all over the world. At that year's Indy 500, Stewart had a good enough car to win his first IRL race, as he led 64 laps, but tailed off near the end of the race and settled for 5th. Several different methods of swordmaking existed in ancient times, including most famously pattern welding. He failed to finish the first three races of a ten race schedule, but recovered to finish second in Phoenix.

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). Tony was poised to improve his IRL standing in 1997, but struggled with finishing at times. 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. He had more success in a one-time ride in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he finished 10th. Iron has the advantage of mass-production due to the wider availability of the raw material. In nine races, however, he had only a best finish of 16th place. The Hittites, the Mycenean Greeks, and the Proto-Celtic Hallstatt culture figured among the early users of iron swords. Tony also made a handful of starts in NASCAR's Busch Series that year.

Iron swords became increasingly common from the 13th century BC. When he wasn't racing Indy Cars, he raced stock cars. However Areliux, a celtian chief, made the "simitar" a sword that could kill with one hit. In 1995, Stewart became the first driver to win USAC's version of the Triple Crown, earning championships in all three of USAC's major divisions, National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown. All in all, these primitive weapons functioned more like sharpened bludgeons. Stewart was the USAC rookie of the year in 1991, and was the National Midget series champion in 1994. They were without later incorporated features, such as hilts and pommels. He raced three-quarter midgets for a handful of years before moving up to the USAC series.

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. Born in Columbus, Indiana, Stewart grew up racing go karts, highly successfully, winning the world karting championship in 1987. These were later dubbed machaira, or sword. . 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. Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart (born May 20, 1971), is an auto racing driver who has won championships in sprint cars, Indy cars, and stock cars. Hephastus hit upon the idea of making larger "knives" to assist the local tanner in skinning animals of their hides. 2002 and 2003 Virginia is for Lovers 200 (Richmond).

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. 2005 Hershey's Take 5 300 (Daytona). Sword production in China is attested from the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty. 1999 Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 (Richmond), Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500 (Phoenix), Pennzoil 400 presented by Kmart (Homestead). 1400 BC show characteristic spiral patterns. 2000 MBNA Platinum 400 (Dover), Kmart 400 (Michigan), thatlook.com 300 (Loudon), MBNA.com 400 (Dover), NAPA AutoCare 500 (Martinsville), Pennzoil 400 presented by Discount Auto Parts (Homestead). Swords from the Nordic Bronze Age from ca. 2001 Pontiac Excitement 400(Richmond), Dodge/Save Mart 350 (Sonoma), Sharpie 500 (Bristol).

Bronze Age swords with typical leaf-shaped blades first appear near the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and in Mesopotamia. 2002 MBNA America 500 (Atlanta), Chevy American Revolution 400 (Richmond), Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen (Watkins Glen), also won Winston Cup Championship. The hilt at first simply allowed a firm grip, and prevented the hand from slipping onto the blade when executing a stab. 2003 Pocono 500 (Pocono), UAW-GM Quality 500 (Charlotte). The sword developed from the dagger when the construction of longer blades became possible, from the early 2nd millennium BC. 2004 Tropicana 400 presented by Meijer (Chicago), Sirius at The Glen (Watkins Glen). Humans have manufactured and used bladed weapons from the Bronze Age onwards. 2005 Dodge/Save Mart 350 (Sonoma), Pepsi 400 (Daytona), New England 300 (Loudon), Allstate 400 at The Brickyard (Indianapolis), Sirius at The Glen (Watkins Glen), also won Nextel Cup Championship.

. The names given to many swords in mythology, literature, and history reflect the high prestige of the weapon (see list of swords). 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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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