A sword is a bladed weapon intended for both cutting and thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration. A sword in the most narrow sense consists of a straight blade with two edges and a hilt, but depending on context, the term is also often used to refer to bladed weapons with a single edge (also referred to as a backsword).
Historically, the sword developed in the Bronze Age, evolving from the dagger; the earliest specimens date to ca. 1600 BC. The later Iron Age swordremained fairly short and without a
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The use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or (in an early modern or modern context) as fencing. In the Early Modern period, western sword design diverged into roughly two forms, the thrusting swords and the sabers
The thrusting swords such as the rapier and eventually the smallsword were designed to impale their targets quickly and inflict deep stab wounds. Their long and straight yet light and well balanced design made them highly maneuverable and deadly in a duel but fairly ineffective when used in a slashing or chopping motion. A well aimed lunge and thrust could end a fight in seconds with just the sword's point, leading to the development of a fighting style which closely resembles modern fencing.