Carried by the fierce Scottish Highlanders from 1400-1700, the claymore sword has become well-known for its heavy blade and intimidating length. It's a sword so mighty, it takes two hands to wield. Discover the history of this amazing blade and what made it one of the most prolific weapons of its era, thanks to American BladesPro.
Translating to 'great sword' in Scottish Gaelic, the claymore was used in many battles throughout the Medieval and early modern period. First used during the Wars of Scottish Independence, the sword was smaller and included a quatrefoil hilt before it evolved into the large two-handed weapon that struck fear into the hearts of enemy soldiers.
The Scottish claymore is such a prestigious sword, replicas such as the one shown in the image above are still being forged today.
After the sword was modified into a bruting blade, it was the Scots primary choice of weapon throughout the clan wars with the English. The claymore became so effective in combat that the English decided to forge a similar version of the two-handed weapon called the 'greatsword' to level the battlefield. For several centuries the sword was commonly used in warfare but after the Battle of Killiecrankie where Jacobite forces defeated the Scottish army led by Hugh Mackay in 1689, soldiers began to use alternative weapons. While the claymore was slowly phased out of the battlefield, its legacy has lived on since various Scottish regiments are still using the sword in the 21st century.
Dimensions and Capabilities
Due to its size and capabilities, the sword has withstood the test of time and is still relevant today. An average claymore is 140cm (55 in) in total length, 33 cm (15 in) in grip, had a 107cm (42 in) blade and weighed 2.5kg (5.5 lbs). Fuilteach Mhuirt, (translated to 'bloody weapon of killing' in English), is the biggest claymore on record. It is 10 kilograms (22 lbs) in weight and measures at 224cm (88 in). According to historians, this colossal sword was carried by a member of the Maxwell Clan during the 15th century.
Along with its hulking size, the claymore is also known for its powerful capabilities. When forged correctly, the claymore's blade can slice through bullets and cut through flesh in one stroke.
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Influence on Popular Culture
Due to the claymore's rich history, powerful capabilities and enormous frame, the sword has significantly influenced popular culture. Box office hit, Braveheart, featured the claymore when the film hit the silver screen in 1995. The main character, William Wallace (portrayed by Mel Gibson) carried the sword throughout the movie, launching the fearsome blade into popular culture stardom. During the film, the claymore was used in many outstanding battle scenes and gave viewers a cinematic view of the blade's power and size.
Current WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre, has begun raising his grandfather's claymore above his head before marching to the ring, adding to the sword's influence on popular culture. The proud Scotsman uses the intimidating blade to pay homage to his home country and strike fear into the hearts of his opponents.
Proudly donning his ancestors' kilt and wielding the claymore, McIntyre honours his Scottish heritage in front of the millions of fans within the WWE universe.
In addition to McIntyre's exciting entrance, Forged in Fire, a competitive show that showcases elite bladesmiths around the world, hosted a challenge based on the claymore. The two remaining competitors of the show were tasked with forging a replica claymore that resembled the iconic sword. Unlike Braveheart, this episode allowed viewers to experience the formation of the sword and the amazing power the two-handed blade possesses.
If you enjoyed this article on the claymore, be sure to check out our post that compares Longswords and Broadswords Here. Read the post to get a further understanding of the difference between the two categories and find the blade that suits you.