The Castillon Arming Sword has a blade which is forged from C60 high carbon steel; its notable profile taper begins with a wide and durable base for the blade which tapers to acute and deadly thrusting tip ideal for penetrating into the weaker points and exploitable gaps of of 15th century armor, especially when coupled with half-swording techniques. Like many swords of this type, the main cutting portion of the blade retains enough width to ensure that it will cut and slash with decisive ability. This profile taper also serves to give the sword a balance that makes it quite responsive and easy to wield.
The hilt has a crossguard and pommel of steel and a grip of durable wood which is bound over with tightly-fitted leather. Pommel inserts of bronze embellish the pommel and the sword is assembled into the hilt with a robust peen over a peen block on the pommel – a method which creates a robustly assembled sword. Included is tough scabbard of wood which is wrapped in high quality vegetable-tanned leather and capped with a protective steel chape. A sword belt of thick black leather with a metal buckle and belt chape.
The Castillon horde of swords is a particularly famous cache of swords which were found in the River Dordogne near Castillon. Dated to about 1450, this notable find included some eighty swords with many of them sharing similar hilt stylings, which is suggestive of them having come from no more than a handful of English swordmakers who were supplying swords in large numbers for the English military expeditions in France.
How did so many swords end up dumped in the Dordogne river? These probable English swords were likely being sent upriver in a barge from the then English stronghold of Bordeaux as part of a resupply for fortified garrisons at Castillon or Bergerac before being capsized or wrecked, dumping its military cargo into the river bed. It is unknown if it was mishap, sabotage or ambush which caused the foundering of the resupply barge and its loss may well have been a disaster for the Castellan of an English-held castle – but it preserved a great time capsule of mid 15th century swords for arms and armor archaeologists.
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