tongue flame

Flame-bladed sword

A flame-bladed sword or wave-bladed sword has a characteristically undulating style of blade. The wave in the blade is often considered to contribute a flame-like quality to the appearance of a sword. While largely decorative, some attributes of the waved blade were useful in combat.

Flambard, flammard, and Flammenschwert

The terms flambard and flammard both mean "flame blade" and reference a normal cutting blade that had been forged with undulating or wave-shaped edges. The German word Flammenschwert translates to "flaming sword". This term encompasses the complete sword, not only the blade, as do flambard and flammard. These flame-bladed weapons most commonly took the form of the true two-handed sword or Bihänder. These weapons featured an exceptionally long grip and blade, as well as a long ricasso protected by a set of "parrierhaken" or parrying hooks also known as flukes. This upper guard protected the wielder's hand when gripping the ricasso. Used during the 16th century by the Landsknechts, the Bihänder found its place most commonly among pike squares. Here, the Bihänder was used in defense of important leaders by well-trained and experienced swordsmen, called Doppelsöldner (double mercenary) because they received double pay. It may have been the case that the wave-shaped edges were more useful for attacking the wooden shaft of an opponent's pike, cutting off the tip and thus rendering the pike relatively harmless. Contrary to popular belief, the undulating blades on these weapons do not impart a significantly greater or lesser ability to cut, slice, or thrust against a human target. Similarly, they do not especially weaken or strengthen the weapon; however, a sword with a flamed or scalloped blade has an increased cutting surface and a reduced overall mass. Its fashionable and eye-catching appearance, however, did lead to its use on larger, heavier ceremonial Paradeschwerter, or "parade swords".


The term flamberge, meaning "flame blade", is an undulating blade 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 caused the blades to slow contact with each other, as additional friction was encountered with each wave.

The term flamberge was misapplied by collectors and museums to blades that are historically named flambards and flammards. This misuse continues despite recognition of the error.

In literature

Flamberge was also the name of a sword borne by the fictional character Renaud de Montauban. It was forged by the smith Galas, and was one of nine blades shattered by Olivier's sword, Hauteclere.

Popular culture

Flame-bladed swords are found in a wide variety of video games, though historical accuracy differs. In Tales of Symphonia, for example, Kratos Aurion has a sword of flame aptly named Flamberge.

In a more accurate use, however, Medieval II: Total War features a foot soldier unit that uses two-handed swords in battle, available to the Holy Roman Empire and named Zweihanders and Forlorn Hope. Both units use straight-edged blades until their weapons are upgraded at a swordsmiths guild, after which they visibly become flambards. These men and weapons are available later in the game, reflecting their historical prevalence during the Italian Wars.

  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic series, an archangel is known for using a flamberge.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Ashnard, the king of Daein and main antagonist of the game, wields a sword called Gurgurant that bears a striking resemblance to a flame-bladed sword.
  • In the Soul series of fighting games, Siegfried Schtauffen has a flamberge as one of his weapons. Raphael Sorel also has a very similar flame-bladed sword named Reiterpallasch. Another character of the series, Nightmare, has a flamberge as an extra weapon.
  • Kain and Raziel, from the video game series Legacy of Kain, wield the "Soul Reaver", a weapon inspired by the flame-bladed sword.
  • In the Avernum series it is dubbed the "Waveblade" and is commonly used by the Vahnatai.
  • In the action RPG Drakengard 2, the main character Nowe can gain a sword called Flamberge.
  • In the German role-playing game The Dark Eye, flame-bladed swords are a typical weapon for members of the church of Rondra, the goddess of war. These swords look like a Flammenschwert and are called "Rondrakamm", meaning "Ronda comb" in German.
  • In the RPG Maker Program Series, the weapon flamberge was part of the RTP that came with RPG Maker VX.
  • The popular comic strip character Prince Valiant wields a Singing Sword named Flamberge.
  • In the Disney Movie Mulan, the character Shan Yu wields a weapon similar to a flame bladed sword.
  • In the MMORPG World of Warcraft flamberge is a two-handed sword with the straight edge. Simple flamberge can be bought in any capital city, enchanted flamberge only drops from monsters.
  • In the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, there is a sword named Flamberge, that can be used only for Knight and Crusader classes. There are another fire swords, as Solar Sword, and Fire Tongue.
  • In the upcoming MMOG Infinity: The Quest for Earth, the flamberge is a large, sword shaped space battleship.
  • In Blade Storm Hundred Years' War, the broadswords can be changed with flamberges later in the game.
  • In the Half-Life 2 mod, Age of Chivalry, one of the classes can wield a flamberge.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Kitana's war fans first are used as unhilted flame-like blades against a group of Shao Kahn's extermination squads.
  • In the Tales (role-playing game series) series, the Flamberge is a flame-shaped weapon with a resemblance to fire and with fiery attributes.
  • In Highlander: The Series, Grayson (James Horan), an 1,600-year-old evil immortal, wielded a flamberge in his duel against Duncan in season 1.

See also

External links

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