Posts Tagged ‘weapons’

Swords are Overrated

Posted: April 22, 2014 in On Writing
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Swords in fiction are overrated. There. I said it. They show up everywhere, being the weapon of choice for heroes and villains. Even pieces set in futuristic societies can’t escape the ubiquitous nature of the weapon.

Here’s the thing, swords were never that common. For one, they use an extraordinary amount of costly material to make. A spear with a wooden shaft, a hammer or axe with a wooden haft . Iron, and more importantly, steel, was never cheap. It requires quite a bit of specialized skill to forge a sword that will stand up to combat. It’s a time consuming process, and not something the village blacksmith is just going to be able to bang out with a bit of pig iron. To be sure, some armies were equipped with swords. The Roman Legions for example, but they are an anomaly as they were the product of a well-organized military state. The auxiliaries that fought alongside the legions? Not nearly so well equipped.

Swords require a lot of training.  It was a weapon of the warrior class, a group of individuals who were trained almost exclusively in warfare from a very young age, and not the sort of thing a commoner would ever have reason to learn.

So if not the sword, what then? (more…)