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My A to Z theme is fencing and swordplay, focusing mainly on fencing terminology, but with a few favorite movie fencing moments thrown into the mix too.
Yesterday, I discussed grips and guards, both components of today's word: Hilt.
Hilt: The handle of a sword, consisting of guard, grip, and pommel. Also, in real swords, it consists of the tang, a hidden element.
Yesterday I discussed the grip and the guard, so now I'm going into the other two basic elements, the pommel and the tang.
The pommel is the counter weight at the end of the grip, and in modern fencing swords usually screws into the hilt base and holds the hilt together. A hilt without a pommel would fall apart, and the blade would be unbalanced. (Sometimes, on historical rapiers, a "button" held the pommel in place at the end, but I don't see this on many modern blades, even those made for re-enactments.)
The tang is a continuation of the blade inside the hilt. The longer the tang, the more stable and strong the sword. In fencing the tang is fairly short, because the blades don't generally take hard side hits. However, in re-enactment swords and broadswords, the tang needs to be the full length of the hilt, or at least extending to where the pommel becomes a part of the hilt.
These are just the basics of sword hilts, and that's as fancy as it gets for fencing blades.
However, if you're into re-enactments and rapiers, you might want to know some of the other terms. I found more at Props by Eric Hart, which has a great pic of different parts of a traditional rapier hilt, with definitions for each part.
Here's that pic:
Here's another pic from a long-sword style (at the moment, I'm focused on the hilt, but you are welcome to check out the other parts):
From a katana, the hilt is relatively the same again:
Also, if you want to check out some really cool, and expensive re-enactment blades, you can check out Albion Swords.
I did a little research for this post and learned a few new things. Have you learned anything new for A to Z?