What is a Claymore? – An Introduction to Scottish Swords

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This time I wanted to clear up the confusion around the term “claymore”, which is most often incorrectly applied to two-handed swords with the characteristic quatrefoil tipped quillons. The word more accurately refers to the basket-hilted broadsword (or backsword in case of a single-edged blade) which became popular later in Scotland’s history.

So next time someone calls something a “claymore” that is not a baskethilt sword you can go full nerd and be like “akshually…”. 😉


Henry Walker, The Broadsword: A Curatorial Discussion (2016)

Cyril Mazansky, British Basket-Hilted Swords: A Typology of Basket-Type Sword Hilts (2005)

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#Claymore #Historical #Scotland

Skall, Skallagrim, what is a claymore, sword terminology, sword classification, Scottish Claymore, Highlander, two-handed sword, baskethilt, broadsword, museum, scottish swords, baskethilt backsword, greatsword, history of scotland, basket-hilted, sword, Lowlander, Highland sword, Canadian War Museum, claymore, 16th century, 17th century

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  1. Actually, no one is really sure whether claymore is the two-handed sword or the basket-hilted sword. So claymore can either mean Scottish two-handed sword or the basket-hilted sword.

  2. Good God almighty!
    I cannot believe your arrogance a man who cannot even pronounce Scots Gaidhlig properly lecturing us on how Gaels speak
    Sort yourself out mate. Stick to your own culture and stop helping the anti Scots unionists to destroy Highland identity and culture .
    Having now heard your insults to the Pipes, I be a bit more accurate
    You are an ignorant prick.

  3. So… I'm no professional linguist, but, if we were to make a name for the Scottish two-handed sword that is more accurate, would it be a Claydalive (if we apply the same rules of linguistic weardown that made Claidheamh Mór into Claymore)?

  4. I knew kilts were more modern… tartans are sort of more modern I think. The medieval scots would have worn chainmail as did the english, welsh, irish, franks etc… of those periods. It is known that the celtic speaking peoples may have used some type of plaid design for cloaks and maybe trousers but the kilt is more modern thing. I think the only accurate movie I see with the appearance of scots in the 13th century or 14th century was that recent movie about Robert the Bruce… which was not a bad film (Out Law King)

  5. I prefer to use claidheamh dhà laimh , two-handed sword, for the big one and reserve claidheamh mòr for the basket hilt piece. The clamshell hilt claymores are exceeding rare.

  6. Not gonna lie, I like the modern definition of claymore better. Not a fan of the crazy looking basket hilts or clam shell hilts personally. Super awesome to see all the different designs and types of “claymore” tho, historical weapon classification is cool but wack

  7. I knew it man I knew it I keep seeing that sort of all over the place it's too small to be a great sword it's definitely a battlefield weapon and it's definitely on the larger end of the longsword and it's good against light armor

  8. It's written Spada da due Mani but it would be said Spada due Mani. Some speaker's will even argue Spada…. da….due Mani….But I'd bet if you listened to a native speaker. You'll rarely hear that Da. Awesome! Video!!!!!! Clay-da-live Cool always wondered about that pronunciations.

  9. Dude yes, I'm a bagpipe player and I used to go to competitions/highland games. With bagpipes in the background all day, every single high-pitched noise afterwards sounds like a bagpipe!

  10. Actually the actual existence of the short kilts or half kilt is still disputed. There’s claim to be evidence that well before the 17th century the half kilt or short kilt was worn, not just the full kilt or great plaid.
    Unfortunately at the moment nobody can 100% agree. There are also paintings that were made before the modern version of the kilt became popularized that depict 15th and 16th century life with people in half or short kilts. They were usually take a wrap or plaid with them And these are also depicted. So the truth is, nobody really knows for sure. Right now we can only make assumptions.


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