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A King, with excess resources asks for two swords to be build; one for ceremonial purposes and one for battle. The first will be used (as implied) for ceremonies and to heighten impressions/intimidating the neighbouring kingdoms. The second will be used for battle, preferably held in two hands but possible with one.

The question here is what design would be used for each sword?

To help answer the question we can assume that the King would want a sword (for ceremonies) that's majestic yet shows off his power, a sword that he would pass down to his son perhaps as a family treasure or symbol of the crown. A lot of the ones I've seen resemble rapiers, though this represents more of the elegant aspect than mighty.

The second sword would ideally be designed for use against any other type of sword, perhaps at the minimum able to exchange at least a single set of blows against an opponent. Design is less of a focus here with more emphasis on practicality.

To further help answer we'll assume that this King lives during the late 15th century in Europe and has brought in the top blacksmiths from all over the world with a wealth of treasure for the one that can design both his swords best for him. This King will spare no expense into the swords as long as they are of a top quality. It's worth adding that the King would have good experience with fighting and combat, perhaps not to the level of the Knights that fight for him but enough to say that he can hold his own well enough.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, ckersch, Hohmannfan, James, Frostfyre Jun 3 '16 at 3:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Anyone who knows anything about actual practical combat knows that it's not about the weapon - it's about the fighter. If the king is not trained in combat then it doesn't matter if you give him a rapier or a greatsword or a longsword or a scimitar - he will always lose to the trained knight with a dagger. In a similar fashion, there is no 1 "ultimate" weapon, as each weapon has its own weaknesses and could never be used in all circumstances. IMO this makes the question completely opinion based, as the most practical weapon for the king is the one he's the best with. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jun 2 '16 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ I would agree that this is primarily opinion based and is based on the tastes of the king himself. A 'ceremonial' sword would be distinguished by ostentatious ornamentation and heavy use of precious materials, rather than by being a particular style. A 'practical' sword would be simpler in design, of a functional construction...though perhaps still dolled up a bit since it belongs to a king. Ultimately...the kind of sword he commissioned would probably be the same kind of sword that his people primarily used, just fancier. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Jun 2 '16 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ Even with your additions, the answer is still, essentially: "Whatever kind of sword he knows how to use." Fighting with a bastard sword is different from fighting with a Zweihander, which is different from fighting with a rapier, which is different from fighting with an arming sword. The king is going to know how to use a particular kind of sword...perhaps 2 or 3 if he's really devoted...and so whatever fancy weapons he had commissioned would be of whatever kind of sword he was trained in. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Jun 2 '16 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ And to remark on the 'performs moderately well against swords,' the better answer to that is: "Better Armor." By the Renaissance era...fluted, articulated plate was so well made that it was nearly immune to swords; a slash would bounce off, a thrust would be deflected, and there were no easily exposed weak points. As long as you weren't pinned down and forced into a position that exposed a gap in your armor, swords weren't much of a threat. That's why poleaxes and warhammers were so common, they could work like a metal punch to pierce armor that would shrug off a sword, or even early gunfire. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Jun 2 '16 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ @CEObrainz That's uh....quite the massive cultural difference between the two types of sword...each designed for fighting significantly different types of foe. You might have to do some explaining in your story as to how such radically different swords ended up existing in the same place. $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Jun 2 '16 at 20:14
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The BEST weapon to fight knights in the 1500s with is not a sword at all.

The late 15th century was the pinnacle of armor technology. Armor was made so as to deflect stabs from swords, and daggers. Their main weaknesses included weapons such as maces, axes, and pole arms (a lance counts as a pole arm right?) which could cave in the armor. There was also the armor piercing arrows. At this point and time in history I would suggest a ceremonial broadsword (cause they look epic*) and a mace/axe/lance for war.

Also note. Yes, fighting very much depends on skill but good weapons can't hurt can they?

*They probably have the most room for decoration as well.

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Flamberge

flamberge

The flamberge is an undulating blade that is found on both long blades and rapiers. When parrying with such a sword, unpleasant vibrations may be transmitted into the attacker's blade. These vibrations cause the blades to slow contact with each other because additional friction is encountered with each wave. Very large blades of the flamberge variety were viable for destroying halberds mid-combat, as an undulating edge causes far more damage when dragged along a tough material than a straight edge.

Ok they're 16th rather than 15th Century, but if you want ornamental they don't get much more impressive and they're also particularly effective in combat.

I know I shouldn't be answering this because it's too broad and opinion based but I really like the flamberge.

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  • $\begingroup$ Lol good answer. If you look in the comments it becomes less op pinion based. $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Jun 2 '16 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ Traditionally ceremonial swords had blunt tips - the king is king so doesn't need to fight, but also has power of life and death so the edge is for beheading. So quite the opposite of a rapier. $\endgroup$ – Pete Kirkham Jun 4 '16 at 17:07

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