When using this listing, please keep in mind that your browser is likely to have a "find" command to search this page for specific text. As this site matures, descriptive material will accompany each reference. The following color codes apply to this bibliography: Maroon for major works which I have found to be of enduring interest, dark blue for catalogs of great collections & green for works published in the present and preceding year. Works in electronic media (CD-ROM and laser disk) are noted in brown.
Ashdown, Charles Henry, British and Foreign Arms and Armour (London: T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1909).
Boutell, Charles, Arms and Armour in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (London: Reeves & Turner, 1907).
Blair, Claude, European and American Arms; c. 1100 - 1850 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1962). Medieval swords are briefly discussed with several examples illustrated. Later sword forms and firearms are well covered.
Dean, Bashford, Handbook of Arms and Armor: European and Oriental Including the William H. Riggs Collection (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1915).
Demmin, August, Die Kriegswaffen in Ihren Geschichtlichen Entwickelungen von den Ältestern Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart (Leipzig: P. Friesenhahn, 1893) (German).
Koch, H.W., History of Warfare (New York: Gallery Books, 1981).
Laking, Guy Francis, A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries (London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 1920 - 1922). Five large volumes, long the standard reference, especially for armor. The first chapter is presently available online.
Norman, A.V.B. and Pottinger, Don, English Weapons and Warfare 449-1660 (New York: Dorset Press, 1979).
Peterson, Harold L., The Treasury of the Gun (New York: Golden Press, 1962).
Seitz, Heribert, Blankwaffen I (München: Klinkhardt & Biermann GMBH, 1981) (German).
Wagner, Eduard, Cut and Thrust Weapons (London: Spring Books, 1967). This large book covers swords from the Bronze Age through to the numerous national military styles of the 19th Century. Many of the same illustrations are recycled in the same author's much smaller format Swords and Daggers (London: Hamlyn, 1975).
Hoffmeyer, Ada Bruhn, Gammelt Jern: E. A. Christensens Våbensamling (Copenhagen: Våbenhistorisk Selskab, 1968). (Danish) This collection included artifacts ranging from the Bronze Age through diverse ethnological specimens of the twentieth century with many of the more outstanding items illustrated in black & white photographs in this catalog. A number of Viking Age (7) and later medieval (33) swords are included in this broad collection which also includes rapiers, small swords, and even a few polearms and firearms. This collection has largely been absorbed into the National Museum of Denmark.
Kienbusch, Carl Otto, The Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection of Armor and Arms (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963). This collection now resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
LaRocca, Donald J., "Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch and the Collecting of Arms and Armor in America," Bulletin [of the] Philadelphia Museum of Art Vol. 81, No 345 (Winter, 1985), p. 4 - 24. A brief history of the collecting of arms and armor, with special emphasis upon Mr. Kienbusch and his fellow American contemporaries such as Mackay, Hearst and Litchfield.
Phyrr, Stuart W., "European Armor from the Imperial Ottoman Arsenal," Metropolitan Museum Journal 24 (1989), p. 85 - 116. Includes background information on the Ottoman "battle trophies" collection formerly housed in the Byzantine church of St. Irene in Constantinople (now Istanbul) that should be of special interest to those interested in the group of European medieval swords with inscriptions related to the arsenal in Alexandria (Egypt), as most of these swords came through St. Irene. The article includes a number of photographs taken by Bashford Dean in 1920 when the church was still being used as a military museum.
Phyrr, Stuart W., "S. J. Whawell and the Art Market," Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue 11 (1994), p. 14 - 23.
Inoue, Tatsuo, "The Japanese Sword: The Material, Manufacturing and Computer Simulation of Quenching Process," Materials Science Research International Vol. 3, No. 4 (December, 1997), p 193 - 203. Available in its entirety on-line in html format. A description of the traditional methods of making the Japanese sword is followed by considerations of the differential quenching employed in the making of the Japanese sword (which result in the hamon or "temper line") and an analysis of the metallic structures, deformation and stresses associated with the traditional Japanese sword design.
Pleiner, Radomir, "Early Iron Metallurgy in Europe," in Theodore A. Wertime and James D. Muhly, eds., The Coming of the Age of Iron (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), p. 375 -415.
Sachse, Manfred, Damaszener Stahl (Bremerhaven: Wirtschaftsverlag, 1989) (German, presently available as an English translation of the second edition, 1993).
Thålin-Bergman, Lena, "Blacksmithing in Prehistoric Sweden," in Karin Calissendorff, et. al., Iron and Man in Prehistoric Sweden (Stockholm: Jernkontoret, 1979), p. 99 - 133.
Verhoeven, J.D., Pendray, A.H., and Dauksch, W.E., "The Key Role of Impurities in Ancient Damascus Steel Blades," JOM 50 (9) (1998), p. 58 - 64. Available in its entirety on-line in html format. Analyses of antique blades and the empirical work of Pendray lead to the conclusion that trace concentrations of Vanadium, Molybdenum or other carbide forming elements in the starting steel cake are necessary for the formation of the banded wootz structure along with the concomitant presence of high Phosphorus levels and its attendant hot short working difficulties. Even with the correct material, proper forging and heat treatment techniques were necessary for adequate pattern development.
Williams, Alan, "The Grosschedel Family of Armourers of Landshut and their Metallurgy," The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society Vol. XV, No. 5 (March, 1997), p. 253 - 277. Metallographic and hardness studies of a group of armors including overall photographs of armors as well as miscroscopic examinations. The brief Technical appendix (p. 266 - 267) contains a lucent explaination of what conditions produce which microstructures.
Williams, Alan R., "Manufacture of Mail in Medieval Europe: A Technical Note," Gladius 15 (1980), p. 105 - 134.
Dufty, Arthur Richard, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London (London, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1974). This book is an illustrated catalog of representative examples of both some of the more typical examples as well as many of the exceptional items in this great collection. Five plates are dedicated to nineteen medieval swords. Dufty's brief Preface and Alan Borg's Introduction provide an enjoyable history of this institution. The collection illustrated has since largely been moved to the Royal Armouries new home in Leeds.
Karcheski, Walter J., Jr., "New Acquisitions for the Higgins Armory Museum," Man at Arms 19-2 (March-April 1997), p. 14 - 15. The new items, illustrated in color, are an excavated hand and a half cut and thrust broadsword, an Eighteenth Century German executioner's sword and French Sixteenth Century partisan from the guard of Henri III.
Mann, James, Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour: Text with Historical Notes and Illustrations: Volume I (Armour) & Volume II(Arms) (London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1962).
Menghin, Wilfried and Hofmann, Rainer, Die Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Sammlung (Nürnberg: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 1983 (German).
Nickel, Helmut, Arms & Armor from the Permanent Collection (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991).
Norman, A. V. B., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour Supplement (London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1986).
Schneider, Hugo, Waffen im Schweizerischen Landesmuseum: Griffwaffen I (Zürich: Orell Füssli Verlag, 1980 (German). An excellent reference illustrating and describing swords and daggers in the Swiss National Museum in Zürich from the Migration Period (very few) through the medieval period (many) and into the Renaissance (the latest items are from the 1st half of the 17th Century). The monochrome illustrations are also excellent, though one regrets that only the hilt and base of the blade are illustrated for the longer weapons, and details of markings are frequently provided.
Scott, J. G., European Arms & Armour at Kelvingrove (Glasgow: Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, 1980). This booklet describes and illustrates highlights of the collections of arms and armour in the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum. (I have heard rumors that much, if not most, of the arms and armour are headed for storage; before planning a trip, a telephone call would be wise.)
Blair, Claude, "Welsh Bills, Glaives, and Hooks," The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society (Great Britain) Vol. XVI, No. 2 (March, 1999), p. 71- 85. Considerations on English staff-weapons from the late Middle Ages through the close of the 17th Century.
Wenham, S.J., "Anatomical Interpretations of Anglo-Saxon Weapon Injuries," in Hawkes, Sonia Chadwick, ed., Weapons and Warfare in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford: Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, 1989), p. 123 -139.
de Navarro, J. M., The Finds from the Site of La Tène: Volume I: Scabbards and the Swords Found in Them (London: The British Academy (by Oxford University Press), 1972). (in two volumes) Comprehensive survey of (Celtic era) swords and scabbards found at La Tène (Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland), including a comprehensive illustrated catalogue and analysis of the now widely dispersed finds.
Harding, Anthony, "Stone, Bronze and Iron," in Swords and Hilt Weapons (New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989), p. 8 - 19.
Pleiner, Radomir, The Celtic Sword (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). A well written, comprehensive monograph on the Celtic (La Tène era - 500 BC - 0) sword, dealing with the origins of the iron sword from bronze predecessors, the evolution of styles and manufacturing techniques, correlations with historic and literary sources and presenting the results of metallurgical studies. Strongly recommended for the serious student of ancient swords.
Blair, Claude, "Claymore and Other Gaelic Sword Terms," Journal of the Arms and Armour Society (Great Britain) XVI-1 (September, 1998), p. 12 - 13. A postscript to Mr. Blair's previous article (below) in which he cites further evidence that term claymore may accurately be applied to Scottish basket-hilted broadswords.
Blair, Claude, "The Word Claymore," in Caldwell, David H., Scottish Weapons and Fortifications: 1100-1800 (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, Ltd., 1981), p. 378 - 387. The academic citations to back up the legitimacy of calling the basket-hilted broadsword a claymore.
Earlshall, the Baron of, "Observations on some Blades found in Scottish Basket hilted Swords," Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue 13 (1996), p. 30 - 38. Includes a short section on basket hilts with medieval blades.
Oakeshott, Ewart, European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution (London: Lutterworth Press, 1980) (A US edition was concurrently released by Beinfeld Publishing, Inc. of North Hollywood, California.) In addition to swords, this volume includes pole-arms, maces and daggers, as well as armour, dating from the late 15th Century to the end of the 18th Century.
Williams, Alan R., "Seven Swords of the Renaissance from an Analytical Point of View," Gladius 14 (1978), p. 97 - 127. Report on the analysis of structure and heat treatment of seven European sword blades dating from the 16th through 18th Centuries.
Willis, Tony, "Scottish "twa handit Swerdis," Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue 13 (1996), p. 12 - 25. The majority of the swords discussed are post-medieval two handed swords of the Sixteenth Century.
Willis, Tony, "A Two Handed Gaelic Irish Sword of the Sixteenth Century," Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue 15 (1998), p. 18 - 27. A 16th Century two handed sword with an open ring pommel in the collection of the Royal Armouries, Leeds is illustrated and described along with contemporary illustrations of the type.
Clements, John, Renaissance Swordsmanship: The Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut-and-Thrust Swords (Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press, 1997) Introductory chapters on the rapier, the small (fop) sword and cut-and-thrust swords are followed by a series of line illustrations detailing the parts of these swords, variations of forms and manners of use. Mr. Clement's later book on medieval swordsmanship is listed on the main bibliography page.
Hutchinson, Fred, The Modern Swordsman: Realistic Training for Serious Self-Defense (Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press, 1998). This book presents swords less as obsolete artifacts and more as still potent weapons with applications in one's personal defense. A number of forms of sword are described in the first chapter, with the second concentrating on basic training techniques, the third on developing power, a fourth on drills for speed and accuracy, the fifth on advanced training and the sixth being fighting tips.
Herzog, Roman and Koller, Arnold, et. al., Die Alamannen (Stuttgart: Konrad Theiss Verlag, 1997). A large, heavy and very well illustrated book of essays on various aspects of Alemannic culture issued in conjunction with the touring museum exhibition of the same name. A large number of swords and related items are illustrated. (German)
DuChaillu, Paul B., The Viking Age (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1889). This work contains numerous old steel plate engravings of excellent quality and many interesting recitations from the sagas. A tendency to mix together artifacts from the early (Celtic) Iron Age through to the Norman Period may confuse inexperienced readers. Best avoided by those offended by politically incorrect Nineteenth Century chauvinism.
Graham-Campbell, James, Viking Artefacts (London: British Museum Publications, 1980).
Shetelig, Haakon and Falk, Hjalmar, Scandinavian Archaeology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1937). This reference covers the period from the earliest Stone Age remains through the close of the Viking Age and includes a chapter on weapons (p. 377 - 405).
World of the Vikings, (York: Past Forward, Ltd., 1992 (laserdisc) 1994 (CD-ROM). A joint project between the National Museum of Denmark and the York Archaeological Trust, the laserdisc (PAL on one side and NTSC on the other) and CD-ROM (available for PC or Apple) contain over 3,500 color images of Viking artifacts and sites contributed by museums across the entirety of the Viking world, to include seldom seen material from the eastern most reaches, with brief accompanying information. There are over one hundred pictures of swords, including close-ups, within this great wealth of material. The video disc also contains several brief video sequences (including one on pattern-welding) and music. On the CD-ROM find-place and collection information appear when you click the thumbnail image (This appears to have been missed in the documentation). Ordering and further information is available on the publisher's web site along with a necessary patch for Windows® users beyond Quick Time® v1.1.1.