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The spatha, as it developed in the Late Roman army, became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages, at first adopted as the Migration Period sword, and only in the High Middle Ages, developed into the classical arming sword with crossguard. The use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or, in a modern context, as fencing.

In the Early Modern period, western sword design diverged into roughly two forms, the thrusting swords and the sabers.

One of the most important, and longest-lasting, types swords of the European Bronze Age was the Naue II type (named for Julius Naue who first described them), also known as Griffzungenschwert (lit. During its lifetime, metallurgy changed from bronze to iron, but not its basic design.

Naue II swords were exported from Europe to the Aegean, and as far afield as Ugarit, beginning about 1200 BC, i.e.

The thrusting swords such as the rapier and eventually the smallsword were designed to impale their targets quickly and inflict deep stab wounds.

The hilts of these swords were beautifully crafted and often contained false rivets in order to make the sword more visually appealing.

The Greek xiphos and the Roman gladius are typical examples of the type, measuring some 60 to 70 cm (24 to 28 in).

Swords from the Parthian and Sassanian Empires were quite long, the blades on some late Sassanian swords being just under a metre long.

just a few decades before the final collapse of the palace cultures in the Bronze Age collapse.

Naue II swords could be as long as 85 cm, but most specimens fall into the 60 to 70 cm range.

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