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A Brief History of the Boar Sword

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Joey is an undergrad at the University of Alabama studying History and Economics. He has many interests including the History of the World.

The Hunting Estoc

In the 15th century, while other nations were hunting big game, such a boar, on horseback with spears, the Germans had decided to add an element of danger and use a French sword called an Estoc instead.

The Estoc was created by French Swordsmiths earlier in the century as a way to counteract heavy plate and chainmail armor. Although the Estoc could slash, it was mainly used for thrusting into your target. Hence where it gets its name, Estoc, which is "thrust" in French.

The Estoc was not only selected for its thrusting ability, but also because of its strong and long blade that was able to be thrust into an animal without bending or breaking under all of the pressure.

The Boar Spear

Prior to the use of the Estoc, most boar hunting was done by boar spear. The main difference between a boar spear and a regular spear is that a boar spear has a large crossguard or wings after the blade. The reason that this crossguard was placed there is so that the crazed boar would not work its way up the shaft of the spear and be able to attack the user. It would also act as a way to prevent over-penetration into the boar while hunting.

A German boar spear

A German boar spear

The Best of Both Worlds

Combining both the Boar spear and the French Estoc the Germans created the infamous Boar Sword.

This sword consisted of a thin yet strong unsharpened blade that met a crossguard, or wings, midway through. Once passed the second crossguard the blade became deadly sharp. The second crossguard was not only to prevent the boar from riding up the sword but also so that the hunter would not over-penetrate and get his blade stuck in the pig.

In most cases, the "spear" tip of the sword was removable and was only held in place by a bone or wooden pin. Once the pin was removed the crossguard and heavy spear tip could be removed. However, in some cases, the sword was built fixed in this fashion and could not be adjusted at all.

a-brief-history-of-the-boar-sword

The Untraditional Tip

However not every boar sword had the second crossbar. As the excess metal for a second crossbar would be expensive, some swordsmiths instead made the bladed edge in a wavy uneven pattern.

They did this so that there would be more surface area for the blade to catch on the pig once it had cut inside of it. The shaft of the blade was also still very blunt so that once the entire end of the blade was inside the boar, an incredible amount of friction would have to be overcome if the hunter were to continue thrusting.

a-brief-history-of-the-boar-sword

Although this fascinating sword was rarely used and, never used for military means, it is an interesting look into the medieval world, in terms of arms and armor. How one culture's weapon of war becomes another's tool hunting shows people in the modern world how ideas and items transform as they go through different cultures and locations. The German Boar Sword is just one example of this phenomenon, but there are many things that have been altered and changed just from geological and ideological boundaries.

© 2020 Joey Dykes