The Cluny Sword, a late 15th Century longsword, is one of Albions Museum Line Collection Swords – These are exacting recreations of specific, fine historical swords in the worlds museums. These recreations are founded on Albions sword expert Peter Johnssons hands-on research and analyzation of the originals.
The National Museum of Medieval Art in Paris, also referred to as the Cluny Museum, has an unusually fine late 15th C long sword on display. It was likely created in Southern Germany. The sword is is such good condition that the original grip is still in very good condition. The blade is a slim spike of steel with a diamond section. It is just thin enough for its width to have a useful edge in the mid third of the blade, where cuts tend to be made, while being stiff enough for very effective thrusts. The point is awl shaped and pretty thick, given how nimble it is.The blade is altogether expertly shaped, balancing the need for stiffness, with an economy of material to keep weight down and the edges keen. The bladesmith who forged it had a good eye for shape and a deep understanding of the functional reality of sword blades.
As you grasp this sword you are struck by how very quick and well balanced it is, nimble and light like some rapiers but with space for two hands. It is well balanced, not just in that it is very sweet, light and responsive, but also in that it is so clearly and purposefully suited for a fast type of sword play, that relies on precise thrusts and well aimed and timed cuts. For a weapon of this character, designed for encounters where speed and agility will be a deciding factor, it may perhaps be tempting to classify it as a civilian weapon. While it would surely be very useful in a fight between unarmored opponents, we must not forget that swords of this type are depicted in late 15th C paintings of military saints in full armour. In art of this period we also see young men about town, or on horse back in civilian clothes, with swords such as this strapped to their waist.Being favored for both unarmored and military use, perhaps this kind of very handy long swords are predecessors of the rapier?
The sword shows evidence of having been used in combat, there are some cuts on the blade spine from another sword. The guard has nicks caused by a blade and the grip has a deep gouge where the index finger would normally rest. Hopefully, the wielder was grasping the sword closer to the pommel when his opponents blade found the mid-section of his grip. The Cluny sword stands out not only because it is a splendid example of its type, but also because it is such a beautiful example of the swordsmiths art. Its maker combined supreme functionality with a highly developed sense of form, creating an object that perfectly expresses the spirit of its time.
Albions recreation of this sword has a blade that has been hand ground to shape and tempered for the right mix of flexibility and edge retention and finished to a satin polish. The crossguard and pommel are of blued steel and the grip is wood covered with tight leather over cord. A leather chappe rainguard is fitted over the center of the crossguard.
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