Anatomy of the Sword
Please note: This page does not contain information on Japanese swords. That would require a page all to itself! And there is such a page on the Net. Go to the Japanese Sword Index for information on Japanese swords, blades, hilts, etc.
Anatomy of the Blade
Point: Self-explanatory. The very tip of the blade.
Foible: Weak half of the blade.
Forté: Strong half of the blade.
Point of Percussion: Merging points of the forté and foible - the best place to strike.
Ricasso: An unsharpened section of the blade extending out from the handle. Best place to look for a maker's mark.
Edge: The sharp part of the blade, used for slashing.
Fuller: A groove down the center of the blade, for strength and lightness. Usually misnamed blood groove, as there is a myth that the groove is to let the blood run off.
Ridge: A raised edge on the middle of the blade; the opposite of a fuller.
Anatomy of the Hilt
Tang: The part of the blade that extends all the way through the handle. If it doesn't extend all the way, then it's called a rat's-tail tang.
Quillion: The cross-piece of the sword. This is a type of guard. Another type is a disk guard, which is a small circle that provides little protection for the hands.
Handle: The part of the hilt that you grip onto.
Pommel: The "cap" on the end of the hilt. It helps hold the hilt together.
Capstan Rivet: A rivet holding the end of the tang to the pommel.
Knuckle Bow: A single strap running from the quillon to the pommel. Guarding the front of the hand.
Backstrap: A metal strap running down the back of the handle, resting in the palm of the hand.
Ear: A small half-circular extension of the backstrap on either side of the handle.
Langets: Small extensions of the guard that hold the sword secure in the scabbard.
Pas D'Ane: Finger ring between the quillon and dish guard.
Sword Knot: Decoration that hangs from the guard, usually a symbol of rank for officers.
Ferrule: A metal washer between the guard and handle. It's there to make sure the handle doesn't work loose.
Anatomy of the Scabbard
Drag: Tip of the scabbard, it's the part that drags on the ground.
Carrying Rings: Parts that dangle from the scabbard so you can attach your sword to yourself.
Bands: Rings around the scabbard that are attached to the carrying rings.
Throat: The open part of the scabbard that the blade slides into.
Information is from Sword Terminology
A broadsword blade and hilt
Two European swords
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A saber and sheath
A Japanese sword blade
Mounting of a Japanese sword