Cloven Swords?
I had a couple questions about the functionality of cloven, or forked-tongue swords. I've always thought that cloven swords looked cool but does the fork have any adverse affects in battle, like splitting or cracking from force? I know that very few swords are/were actually made cloven, but if they were used back then I'm sure they could be used now. Also, could a sword be altered to become cloven or is that too extreme for a blade to be reheated and altered?

If by "forked" you mean a sword with a blade that splits in two parallel blades, what I know of sword forging tells me you generally get a lessened structural integrity in relation to the amount of material used. Unless the blade is made for a highly specialized purpose, you're better off with a normal sword with the same mass.

If you're talking about a sword with parallel edges, those are actually very poor weapons. While "two blades = twice the cutting power" seems sound in theory, it's actually the other way around. Aligning two blades will distribute the force between them. The ironic result is a weapon with only half the cutting power in relation to its weight.

Anyway, it might help if you could provide an example of the kind of sword you're talking about.[/i]
This is horrible and ugly example, yet it is as good as it gets as far as the research I have found, hence the questions requesting information about forked-tongue blades.

Thanks for the info, maybe this can help.

[ Linked Image ]
That would be the Kingdom of Heaven Saladin sword, right? In one of the documentaries for the movie, they actually feature a historical shamshir with the kind of parelell edged double tip I mentioned above.

These kind of double-tipped swords from the Islamic world is actually an allusion to a double bladed sword that the prophet Mohammed was supposed to have captured in battle at one point. As such, they served a certain religious significance to Muslims even though they are really much less practical then regular swords. I'm not sure if they were ever actually used in battle or were just a ceremonial symbol of the owner's faith.

As for the original question, it's pretty much what I already said: the fork serves no real practical purpose, and may actually have a worsening effect on thrusts. Also, any impact on one of the forks will have to deal with the amount of stress generated by the entire blade. This makes it less durable. If the fork goes all the way to the point of percussion, the effect could be catastrophic.
Well, the theory that the zulfiqar/dhu'l fiqar/however-you-spell-it sword was a ceremonial rather than a practical weapon is probably the closest approximation we currently have to the truth, since the overwhelming majority of illustrations from the Islamic world depict the Muslim warriors wielding swords without a cloven point. And we see no mentions whatsoever of the cloven-pointed sword's advantages or disadvantages in any surviving manuals of warfare from the medieval Islamic world.

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