In the European High Middle Ages, the typical sword (sometimes academically categorized as the knightly sword, arming sword, or in full, knightly arming sword) was a straight, double-edged weapon with a single-handed, cruciform hilt and a blade length of about 70 to 80 centimeters. This type is frequently depicted in period artwork, and numerous examples have been preserved archaeologically.
The high medieval sword of the Romanesque period developed gradually from the Viking sword (spatha) of the 9th century. In the Late Medieval period (14th and 15th centuries), late forms of these swords continued to be used, but often as a sidearm, at that point called “arming swords” and contrasting with the two-handed, heavier long-swords.
Though the majority of late-medieval arming swords kept their blade properties from previous centuries, there are also surviving specimens from the 15th century that took the form of a late-medieval estoc, specialized for use against more heavily armored opponents. After the end of the medieval period, the arming sword developed into several forms of the early modern one-handed straight swords, such as the side-sword, the rapier, the cavalry-focused Reiterschwert and certain types of broadsword.