Why are swords curved in general?
Curved vs. straight swords [closed]
The difference lies in the function:
That's a pretty straightforward difference. They are shaped differently because they are used for different types of enemies and fighting styles.
Curved sword can generally cut better. This is because they have a longer surface area of the blade that will generally follow the movement of your cut and therefore be in contact with your target for longer. This can result in a deeper cut. With curved swords, you are generally trying to make what is known as a draw cut. In this case you cut something and slide the entire length of the blade against the target. This allows you to cut much deeper than just chopping.
Curved swords generally appeared in areas or ages where the contemporary enemy was light or unarmored. This is because the previously mentioned deep cutting is very effective against bare human bodies, but not so much against chain mail or plate mail. This has been the selling point for guns and that is why we see them more in the Middle East, ancient Egypt etc, where and at times when the enemy would have been more easily armored.
Swords in particular were generally designed to have some ability to pierce. While not every straight sword was necessarily designed to be pierced and definitely cut straight swords, historically the sharp increase in the use of straight swords in Europe, for example, was a response to a greater need for piercing skills.
Piercing weapons are more effective against armored opponents in my opinion. This is suggested in half-swording and other techniques that emphasized the use of the point of a blade to bypass armor. While every sword seeks to be the most optimal tool, often compromising cutting and cutting, it seems in Europe that the need for thrusting overtook the need for cutting at the beginning of the High Middle Ages. This is probably why swords became so popular during this period.
As we approach the Renaissance and the Age of Arms, and armor goes back to minimal, you will find curved blades in the shape of sabers return. Changes in sword design throughout history tended to follow changes in combat optimum in the region and time it was used.
Blacksmiths who knew these differences and military practitioners who wanted to survive naturally selected the best designs for each type of battle they faced. This is how these different swords were designed and why they were used and became popular. Purely for the best function (usually the compromise between cut and thrust), whatever was needed.
Some easy reading for you on why bent for cutting: http://raynfall.com/2539/the-physics-of-the-cut/
Why swords in particular overtook curved swords in Europe in the High Middle Ages (armament prevalence): http://www.thearma.org/essays/thrusting_vs_cutting.html#.WtDq0LpFy70
This isn't really official, but a good conversation on the subject: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1w4gbt/why_did_knights_still_use_swords_after_the/
Why some swords in particular weren't shown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVrYt5A3VyA
Tyler S. Loeper
Tyler S. Loeper
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