The name originates from the French ‘epee bartarde’, and may have been intended to signify the irregular nature or misleading appearance of the bastard sword. While it might be much the same length as a single-handed sword, the tang was long enough to allow the weapon to be wielded two-handed, which gave it greater versatility.
The bastard sword generally featured a double-edged tapered blade measuring 40-48 inches, and a hilt that allowed for two-handed use, measuring another 10-15 inches. It was favoured for its reach and superior cutting and thrusting, and was predominantly used by medieval knights. Despite its size, it rarely weighed more than 4.5 pounds.
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