Updated: Dec 17, 2021
The Basket-hilted Broadsword is the main weapon we study at Saorsa. So what is it?
Here is a brief introduction of the Broadsword.
The Basket-hilted Broadsword is a classically Scottish weapon, used extensively by the Highlanders in the 17th and 18th centuries. It has a broadsword blade, which means it is sharp on both sides, and has a point. This makes it a cutting and thrusting weapon, although it’s primarily used for cutting.
The sword also has a large steel basket around the hand, hence its name. This provides a fantastic amount of hand protection and it changes the way the sword is used. The basket allows the guards to completely block off entire areas of the body without having to worry about the hands. It acts like a shield, guarding the body and head at the same time as the sword cuts into the opponent.
The Broadsword was used both extensively in the military in addition to single combat and honourable duels. Often paired with the targe, a small circular shield that was strapped around the forearm, the two made a deadly combination that was integral to the fearsome Highland Charge. After the Battle of Culloden which lead to the Highland Clearances, it became illegal to own a Basket-hilt or a targe.
However, masters of the time wrote down their training methods, stories and observations. Many of these masters were military men who trained soldiers, served in Highland regiments and faced the Highland Charge.
The history of the Basket-hilted Broadsword is a long and incredibly interesting one so keep an eye out for future posts where we delve into a little more detail about the sword, the practice weapons and their history.