The Claymore (from Scottish Gaelic claidheamh mòr, literally "very big sword") is a large two-handed sword used by the Highlanders of Scotland, at four and a half feet long it delivers death at a distance. It was the mid-range weapon of William Wallace.
- Mid Range
- Length: 4.5 feet
- Weight: 5.5 lbs
- Carbon Steel
The average Claymore was about 55" in total length, with a 42" straight, two-edged blade made from carbon steel and weighed about 5.5 pounds. Most Claymores had a wheel pommel often capped with a crescent nut, and a guard with two down-sloping arms ending in quatrefoils. The handle was long enough to accommodate both of the user's hands.
The single-handed variation of the Claymore was called a Claybeg. It was singled edged and had a basket hilt.
The concept of a two-handed longsword was impossible during the bronze or iron age since long swords could bend very easily. Only with the introduction of Medieval steel could such a sword be made.
The Claymore was a two-handed weapon and was used primarily for slashing, although it could also be used for stabbing. The overall weight of the blade combined with the strength of a two-handed swing allowed it to sever heads with ease.
The Holy Roman Empire would use an even longer sword during the early 1500s: the Zweihänder. Pier Gerlofs Donia, known for his size and strength, is credited for owning the biggest sword in human history: a 7ft long 14lb Zweihänder. Since The Renaissance was dominated by Pike And Shot formations; these massive swords could be substitutes for pikes. However as musket technology evolved, the swordsman became irrelevant on the modernizing battlefield (except for cavalry, which remained relevant until the early 20th century).
The Claymore was tested against Shaka Zulu's spear, the Iklwa. The William Wallace team claimed that the Claymore was a one shot, multiple kills, weapon. They also claimed that Wallace's specialty with the weapon was in decapitation.
To put this to the test, three skulls were placed on top of three different slabs of meat that were the same density as a human neck. The Claymore was to cut off all of the heads in one swing. Not only did the claymore easily lob off all three heads with one motion, it did it with incredible speed and power, making it Wallace's most effective weapon.
It was later tested against the Ishlangu shield, to see if the shield could stop the Claymore. The Claymore proved to be more than a match for the shield, going clean through and then nearly breaking the load cell it was being held on.
- The Wallace Sword is believed to be William Wallace's personal Claymore that he used in battle. It is shown in museums in the UK today.
- Fans were confused when the first historical mentioning of a Claymore was centuries after Wallace's life. Although the weapon did exist, it was classified and named as a large Broadsword at the time.