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Two handed sword
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Two handed sword

A two-handed sword, used as a general term, is any large sword that requires two hands to use.

For lack of a better word, the designation "two-handed sword" is also used when speaking about a weapon from the European renaissance. This kind of sword was often of the same length as the person wielding it, and had a very long hilt to allow leverage when cutting with it. Contrary to popular belief, two-handers made for combat use are actually quite light, averaging around 2.5 to 3 kilograms. Even so, with the mass distributed over a length of close to two metres, effective use took a man of substantial strength.

The manner of fencing with a renaissance two-hander differs radically from the earlier types of two-handed swords (such as the long-sword and the bastard-sword). Because of the inertia of the sword and its length, use of the weapon as a spear becomes feasible, whereas swings are rendered slower for the very same reason: Increased inertia because of length. Indeed, some scholars have theorized that the weapon was primarily used to attack pike formations, even though such weapons have been depicted being used in juridical duels.