(About) The First Crusade Sword: The Sword and the Cross
The First Crusader Sword has a long, straight-edged, fullered blade, whose originals would have had maximum cutting power. Its blade is hand-forged by the master-smiths of Darksword Armory, as certified by the dragon sejant inscription close to the hilt. It is made from dual-tempered 5160 spring steel and constructed with a peened full-tang, meaning it is capable of taking the knocks of re-enactment and simulated combat without damage. The cross-guard is a utilitarian cruciform, precisely like those of the original Crusader swords on which it is based. The grip is wet-formed leather for excellent comfort and security, and the pommel is a carefully weighted wheel to give the blade snake-like agility. It is shipped with a matched leather scabbard, and is available in a range of configurations: factory-sharp or blunted, and either with or without an high-quality leather sword belt. In all, this meticulously period-accurate First Crusade Sword would make a stalwart addition to any knight’s armory.
(History) The Real History of the Crusader States
This sword is heavy in your hand, as the relentless Middle Eastern sun heats your chainmail hot enough to fry an egg. You can’t wipe the sweat out of your eyes as you squint out of the slits of your great helm; you discarded your surcote days ago. The Seljuk skirmishers could come at you from any one of those valleys ahead – and your sword, presented to you specially by your liege, would be the only thing between you and death at the tip of a Turkish sabre…
The First Crusade: A Holy War For Worldly Gains
The First Crusade took place at the height of the medieval period, and marked a century of conflict between expansionist, militarised Western Christian aristocracies, and a series of Muslim states in the East. Don’t mistake this for a ‘religious war’, as it is too often seen: though both sides often couched their motives in holy language, the First Crusade was about territory, plunder and temporal power – just like conflicts today. It was sparked by the break-up of the Great Seljuk Empire at the end of the 11th-century – think of it like the fragmentation of the USSR in 1989, leading to peripheral conflicts and civil wars across an entire region. One such war, between the Sultanate of Rum and the Byzantine Empire, was seized upon by Christian power-brokers to declare a Crusade to defend the Holy Land – which just so happened to be a rich and valuable land thronging with pilgrims and merchants. Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos appealed to the Pope after heavy military defeats at the hands of the Seljuk Sultanate, calculating that the Papacy would relish the opportunity to increase its prestige by calling Christian nobles and peasants from all over Europe together to turn out the invader from the Holy Land.
And he was correct. As many as 100,000 crusaders carved their way across Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), turning the Sultanate out of its capital in the Byzantine city of Antioch. In 1099 they reached Jerusalem itself, establishing a network of Crusader States that would last for more than two centuries. This First Crusade Sword takes inspiration from the weaponry of the 15,000-or-so knights who made the long journey from Germany, France and Britain to participate in the Crusade.
- Total length: 34 3/4 inches
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Blade hardness: HRC 60 at edge/HRC 48-50 at core
- Blade length: 27 3/4 inches
- Blade width: 2 1/16 inches
- Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
- Grip material: leather
- Weight: 2.65 lbs