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Oakeshott Typology


Ewart Oakeshott was an amateur historian who wrote a number of books on medieval arms and armor. He is particularly noted for the improvements he made to the classification of swords.

Until him swords were categorized according to their hilt. He included the shape and size of the blade in his classification of swords.

The "Oakeshott Typology" is now a commonly accepted guide for classification of swords.


Something to keep in mind when it comes to sword types and swords from the past. There was no such thing as a "Typology" A blacksmith or armorer from the past didn't say "Let's make a Type XX sword". There was no such classification of swords. They made swords based on other criteria. Much of which is lost to time. This means that not all swords made through the centuries easily fit into a class. There is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to classifying swords. The Oakeshott typology is however a great and pretty comprehensive guide for identifying and classifying swords.

The Archaeology of Weapons

Oakeshott first introduced this typology in his book The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry




As a note of interest the company Albion swords has made all the swords in the Oakeshott typology.

(Petersen Typology) /Wheeler Typology - Petersen created a typology of Viking swords based on the different styles of hilts. And this typology was further modified and refined by Wheeler who combined the hilt typology with the addition of blades types. And Wheeler numbered them I thru IX (1-9). This is why The Oakeshott typology starts at 10.

There is also another typology created by Geibig. This typology focuses on swords between the 8th and 12th centuries. In Geibig's typology there are 14 types based on blade typology and 19 types based on pommel shapes (with subtypes).

The Oakeshott Typology

The Oakeshott Typology


A knight and his weapons

A Knight and his Weapons

Take an engaging journey back in time, when battles were fought with swords, lances, maces, and an array of well-crafted devices that could be elegant and ornate, brutal and efficient, or both. This accessible, lively, and informative book explores many facets of the medieval world of weaponry. Did you know, for instance, that in the fifteenth century ""fight books"" with drawings guided knights in the proper use of weapons? That the average medieval warrior became a full-fledged fighter by the time he was fifteen years old? Or that armor made by a master could, by modern standards, cost the price of a Rolls Royce?



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