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Friday, October 13, 2006

Flamberge - Medieval Swords, A Study

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Also referred to as the Flamberg or Flammberg. The name derives in part from the old German geflammten, or flaming and from the French flamboyant. The flamberge is a form of the two-handed sword popular in Germany between the 15th and 17th centuries, especially among the Swiss mercenaries, the Landsknecht. The purpose of the wavy, flame-like blade is not clear as there is no demonstrated advantage to such an edge against armored or unarmored opponents. Often, the flamberge was used as a processional or court weapon; an undulating blade was undoubtedly more attractive than a plain blade in these cases. In any event, the flamberge was still a formidable weapon.

Source :

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A flamberge (meaning flame blade for the wavy resemblance to flame) is a sword (typically a rapier, though there were longswords as well) with a wavy blade, which, although beautiful to look at, also serves a practical function. When parrying with the blade, it can cause a series of unpleasant vibrations which can disrupt the technique of anyone who isn't correctly prepared. Also, when another blade came into clash with the flamberge, it was often slowed down as it slid across the waved formation of its blade. The name isn't entirely correct as it is a modern term for the form, and as such it is more properly called a "flambard" or "flammard".

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Also, a Flamberge is a large Zweihänder, a two-handed sword most commonly known from the Landsknechts of the 16th century and it, too, has a wavy blade. However its purpose was mostly for knocking away enemy pike- and spearheads (cutting off the heads was very hard as most had langets, strips of steel to protect them from just that) and chopping up the enemy hiding behind it, unlike the rapier, which was more often used for personal combat than the battlefield. There is an area between the hilt and blade called the ricasso which can be used as a prolonged grip, which were sometimes wired with leather and had small protruding hooks called Parierhaken, meaning, literally: parrying-hooks.
Flamberge was also the name of a sword borne by Renaud de Montauban. It was forged by the smith Galas, and was one of nine blades shattered by Olivier's sword, Hauteclere.

External links
Illustration of a flambard
extensive description of the flamberge
Retrieved from ""
Categories: European swords Matter of France Mythic weapons

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