The Schiavona was a true broadsword popular in Italy during the 16th and 17th century. It also gained popularity with Italy's trade partners during the latter phase of this period.

The sword seems to have developed in Venetia during the 16th century, from the swords of the slavic soldiers in the Doge Guard, often called Schiavonesca today. In fact, the word "Schiavona", in Venetian Italy, seems to mean "slavic woman" (which is also interesting because it seems to suggest that a weapon was considered female).

The Schiavona was a war sword, with a broader blade than the civilian rapier (this distinction is why the weapon is classified as a broadsword - it was broader than the more common, in non-military settings, sword of the time. Earlier swords of similar breadth are therefore not classified as broadswords), suitable for both cutting and thrusting. Like most swords of its time, the Schiavona's hilt was designed to protect the wielders hand, in a so-called basket hilt. These hilts were often elaborately ornated.

Not surprisingly, the Schiavona was a shorter weapon than the civilian rapier. A typical Schiavona blade seems to have been maybe 85-95 cm long, with two or more fullers running down the blade, and sharpened on both sides. The whole blade would typically weigh in at the 1-1.2 kg, the same weight as most single-handed swords to be found in Medieval and Renaissance Europe.

The weapon is similar, and probably a forebear of the English Mortuary Sword and Scottish claymore (the basket-hilted kind, not the two-handed weapon). Like the Mortuary sword, it was popular with cavalry.

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