The History of Swords
Swords have changed with the abilities of man to forge and work metals. The first swords are generally considered to have appeared around 2,000 BC during the Bronze age.
The Bronze Age
As the ability to work metals improved longer blades were possible to make and the dagger evolved into the sword. This happened in various parts of the world during the bronze age (2,000 BC to ca. 1400 BC). The bronze age sword was predominantly a stabbing weapon with a very small leaf shaped hilt.
The Iron Age
Around the 13th century BC Iron working skills brought forth the Iron sword. And although it is mosly inferior to the well made bronze sword it was an easier sword to make and could be produced in mass quantities. This meant that an armies could be supplied with swords. The Iron sword made a tremendous advance when it was discovered that by adding a small amount of carbon during the smelting process steel could be made. This created a sword far stronger and durable than the iron sword.
The Middle ages
Around the 11th to 13th century ad the sword had its first major change. The quillion or cross guard was added. The swords of this period were both single edged and double edged and were predominalty used as cutting weapons.
The Late Middle Ages After the 13th century
As Armor made advances in its abililty to protect so the sword also made advances in its ability to thwart the defenses. Some of the advances during this time are the longer handle which allowed for two handed use and a variety of specialized swords that could cut and thrust; seeking out weaknesses in armor.
The Modern Era
One of the biggest advances in the modern era was the development of the basket that protected the hand. This first appeared in Rapiers. Advances in metal working created swords that were lighter and quicker yet stronger. As weapons technology advanced the sword made the transition into a gentlemanly accoutrement used only for personal defense and then finally as sidearms became more available the sword fell from common use.