Bastard Swords

Bastard Swords or Long Swords were made during the medieval 14th century period. These swords had special designs for better grip with one or both the hands. Bastard swords had long-shaped handles to allow the use of both the hands.

The term ‘bastard’ originated from the French words ‘Epee Batar De’, which means ‘hand and a half sword’. While the blade was the standard length, the handle grip was long enough to fit in two hands for additional power.

It was a popular sword used by 15th – century knights and also men-at-arms. The main feature was the extra long handle that helped to grasp the sword with both hands. The blade was also longer than an ordinary sword.

It was used for reaching out opponents and its better thrusting control. The medieval knights loved the power of this special sword, as they were used to handling weapons that were costly and unique.

Unique Design and Features


  • The versatile design and structure of the Bastard swords earned it much fame for having an uncertain look or a dubious appearance.

  • The medieval sword with twin-edged blade and a long handle was specially designed for using two hands

  • The normal length of the sword was between 40 and 48 inches.

  • The handle alone was 10 to 15 inches in length

  • Bastard sword weighed easily around 5 to 8 pounds

  • It could be used as both close and long contact weapon and could deliver a tremendous blow

  • The sword could cut, slice the limbs or heads of the enemies in one clean stroke

  • It was categorized in the ‘cutting weapon’ category by medieval armour-men

Training with Medieval Bastard Swords

Good warfare skills and perfect understanding of the techniques involved in medieval warfare was very essential for any soldier living in those times. The training period for a knight or soldier with Bastard swords was very day-long and time-consuming.

Such training was required to convert them into proficient swordsmen. A medieval knight was trained from an early age, as young as seven. The medieval Bastard swords were known as Pell. The Pell training helped soldiers try different deadly strokes and tactics during their training period.

Most warriors practiced the art of holding the sword to mow down dummy enemies. Expert swordsmen taught the knights some useful cutting, slicing, and thrusting techniques with the Bastard swords.

German & Swiss Bastard Swords

The German-based Bastard swords were in cruciform. These 16th – century swords had straight or curve designed quillions. They also had ring guards hilted arms. Some had advanced guards connected by a single loop.

Swiss Bastard swords were made with re-curved designed quillions plus ring guards. The curved blade and animal-shaped pommels were another interesting features of Swiss Bastard swords. In the later half of the 16th century, additional rings, side-rings, bars, and guards were developed for better grip and control of the sword.

New techniques were invented for superior protection of the hands and exposed fingers of the medieval warriors. Some warriors started avoiding using bulky gauntlets and brought new close-hilts that gave additional protection for the hands.

Handling Tactics of a Bastard Sword

The handling of a bastard sword needed some practice as it was hefty. The feeling of the sword gave a unique impression and soldiers felt that the sword moved quite effortlessly when used and had a good swing power. It could be well controlled and changed in direction to defeat the opponents.

Warriors used both hands to handle the sword. Even those desiring single-handed weapon used this sword and were surprised that it wielded easily despite its great weight. It was manageable and mobile for being such a largish sword. Knights and warriors appreciated its long grip, perfect balance, and smooth movements.

The sword was very versatile whether it was used as a one-handed or two-handed sword. Even the grip with its long nature gave the best leverage for cuts and swishes.

Availability of Replica Bastard Swords

Bastard Sword
Bastard Sword

Modern men have always been fascinated by the historical medieval period and their weaponry. Thanks to online sources, one can always find medieval weapons and replica items in art galleries and Gothic shops.

The medieval period was an intriguing one with brutal wars, romantic liaisons and superbly hand-crafted swords such as the legendary Bastard swords. You can find replica bastard swords in numerous historical museums and artefact stores.

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