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What is the cinquedea sword from Forged In Fire?

The cinquedea's wide blade meant it was not much good for stabbing or hacking, but great for a fancy design
The cinquedea’s wide blade meant it was not much good for stabbing or hacking, but great for a fancy design

This week on Forged in Fire the two finalist have to craft a cinquedea, but what is this Italian sword?

The cinquedea became popular in renaissance Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was primarily used by civilians and resembled more of an intricate long dagger than a sword.

Cinquedea means five fingers and this is the width of the blade at the hilt, with this heavy blade tapering to a rounded point around 18 inches from the guard.

The grip was usually fairly simple but sometimes more elaborate ones were made, with the pommel typically being quite small.

The wide blade was often thinned out in places with fullers in order to make it lighter and the large area was usually used for elaborate decoration.

The cinquedea was usually carried instead of a knife or sword and paintings form the time show them being carried horizontally above the buttocks.

All indications are that these weapons were mainly used for display, to show off. Their widening towards the hilt makes them both poor for stabbing and the weight away fro the point means they are not very good for hacking either.

You can imagine wealthy merchants and other professions using these as a way to illustrate their wealth and success as they strolled around the bustling ports of a resurgent Italy.

 Forged In Fire airs on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM on History Channel. 

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact or follow him on Twitter.

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