The Earl Sword
(About): The Rugged Sword of a Knight Prepared for Anything
By the end of the Crusader period, the tradition of knighthood was firmly set across all of Europe. Lords maintained a class of trained killers, whose strong Christian ethic and chivalric ideology often only barely kept their aggression in check. A key part of their armory was the knightly sword, by now fully realised as a symbol of knightly prestige. Our Earl Sword is a glorious representation of a 13th-century knightly sword, drawing together all of the heroic chivalric values into a beautifully re-created arming sword.
A Jack of All Blades
The blade of the Earl Sword is a deadly design from the era of ‘transitional armor’ – it conforms to Oakeshott Type XII. It’s a handsomely tapering blade that ends in a long, sharp point, and has a foreshortened fuller. This configuration was perfected to balance between cutting strength and thrusting power – a knight in the 13th century had to be equipped to defeat lighter armors, but also to burst mail and exploit weaknesses in early plate armor. It has been hand-forged by Darksword Armory’s master smiths in 5160 steel, and is tempered to a dual-hardness of 60 HRc at the edges with 48-50 HRc at the core.
A Cock of the Hat
The hilt of the Earl Sword is a stark, functional masterpiece. It is forged in mild steel, a rugged material that will stand up to the rough and tumble of re-enactment and roleplay. The cross-guard is a simple High Medieval cruciform, perfect for the battle swords of the period. The grip is a secure oxblood leather wrap, providing an excellent grip surface. The pommel is a unique and somewhat unusual type: a ‘cocked-hat’ style that was retained from earlier Norman and Viking swords, this weapon’s direct ancestors. It elevated this weapon from a production-line sword to a unique personal weapon. The Earl Sword is constructed with a secure full tang, peened into place: it is a fully functional battle-ready weapon that can be used safely in light combat. Its handling characteristics are fantastic – it has been painstakingly designed to move swiftly in the hand, and faithfully reproduces the agile feel of the historical originals.
This sword is not for the faint-hearted. It will imbue you with the fire of a fierce medieval knight! You could incorporate it into a fully historically faithful re-enactment, pairing it with an outfit of chainmail and our Crusader great helm – but it is also minimalist enough to be brilliantly versatile in portraying a huge range of fantasy characters, from mercenaries and guards to knights and kings. Your imagination is the only limit!
(Curiosity): Normans and Knights
The High Medieval arming sword is inextricable from the development of the knightly class as a whole. Its direct ancestor was the Norman sword, a long, straight-edged but slender sword that was wielded by mounted Norman noblemen. The Normans were descended from Norse colonists, who had settled in North-Western Frankia (modern France) in the 10th century, and their cavalry tradition emerged from a heady cocktail of Norse martial culture and Carolingian horsemanship. In fact, we get the world ‘earl’ from the Norse word ‘jarl’ – meaning a chieftain or leader under a king. Military nobles were at a loose end for much of the time, and the Church tried hard to instill piety and a chivalric code to restrain their worst impulses. This chivalric ideology caught on as the Crusades began, and thus the French Christian chivalric knights who undertook the campaigns in the Holy Land (wielding their knightly swords) were bestowed with enormous cachet and status. Quickly the entire knightly class of Europe took on this fashion, which was to become a permanent feature of states right through into the modern era. The Earl Sword embodies the duality of the knightly tradition – will you use it for good or for evil?
Total length: 39 inches
Blade length: 32 inches
Blade width: 2 1/8 inches
Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
Blade hardness: 60 HRc at edge ; 48-50 HRc at core
Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
Grip material: Leather
Weight: 2 lbs. 13 oz.