This Hand and a Half Sword has a twisted steel hand guard with wooden grip.
The bastard sword, or contemporary espée bastarde, is a type of sword dating from roughly the early 15th century. It received its name for fitting into neither the one-handed sword family, nor the "two handed sword family", thus being labelled a "bastard". These weapons featured longer grips similar to those found on the longswords. The extra space was not enough to allow both hands entirely, however, but was enough to provide for the use of a couple of fingers or a part of the palm, providing some extra leverage. The grips of bastard swords often feature a "waisted" appearance, as in the Oakeshott Type XVIa. The bastard sword, more so than the great sword, plays into the "hand-and-a-half sword" classification, as some great swords provided considerably more than an extra "half" hand for gripping. Similarly, the shorter length of the weapon at roughly 45 to 55 inches (115-140cm) put the sword halfway between the shorter single-handed sword and the larger (and occasionally fully two-handed) great sword.
Like all other types of swords, the bastard sword existed in a number of configurations, generally tending towards a strongly tapered and thicker blade as time went on. This manifestation, along with a relatively small blade length in relation to hilt length, gave the sword a very precise and reactive nature that served well for cutting or thrusting, much like a side-sword. The form of the bastard sword began very much like that of the greatsword, based in the beginning of the 15th century off transition swords evolving from the spatha. Like the transition swords, the first bastard swords featured a plain or cruciform cross-guard (cross) and a round or wheel pommel. Later development of the weapon, however, saw the inclusion of curved quillions, ring guards, and compound hilts similar to those on baskethilts (swords like the schiavona that nearly enclosed the entire hand in a protective guard). These served to provide increased protection for the wielder's hands and may have also positively affected the balance of the weapon.
Such swords with compound hilts include the German Reitschwert, a form of cavalry sword, and the "Degen" or "Knight's Sword". It is possible, however, that these swords are in fact a single-handed manifestation of the estoc.
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