Falchion MET 244431.jpg
Blade typeSingle-edged

A falchion (ən/; Old French: fauchon; Latin: falx, "sickle") is a one-handed, single-edged sword of European origin, whose design is reminiscent of the Chinese dadao, and modern machete. Falchions are found in different forms from around the 13th century up to and including the 16th century. In some versions the falchion looks rather like the seax and later the sabre, and in other versions the form is irregular or like a machete with a crossguard.


The blade designs of falchions varied widely across the continent and through the ages. They almost always included a single edge with a slight curve on the blade towards the point on the end and most were also affixed with a quilloned crossguard for the hilt in the manner of the contemporary arming swords. Unlike the double-edged swords of Europe, few actual swords of this type have survived to the present day; fewer than a dozen specimens are currently known.[1] A number of weapons superficially similar to the falchion existed in Western Europe, including the Messer, hanger and the backsword. Two basic types of falchion can be identified:

Cleaver falchions

One of the few surviving falchions (the Conyers falchion) is shaped very much like a large meat cleaver, or large bladed machete. This type is also illustrated in art (e.g. the Westminster Hall mural, shown to the right) The type seems to be confined to the 13th and 14th centuries.[2] However apart from the profile they present a very thin blade, often only 1.2 mm thick spines, 7 cm from the point with a slight taper leading near to the edge before dropping into a secondary bevel which brings the blade to a very acute edge while maintaining some durability. Current theories are that they were the anti-cloth armour weapon of the day.[3]

Cusped falchions

The majority of the depictions in art reflect a design similar to that of the großes Messer. A surviving example from England's 13th century (The Thorpe Falchion) was just under 2 pounds (0.91 kg) in weight. Of its 37.5 inches (95.25 centimetres) length, 31.5 inches (80.01 cm) are the straight blade which bears a cusped or flare-clipped tip similar to the much later kilij of Turkey.[4] This blade style may have been influenced by the Turko-Mongol sabres that had reached the borders of Europe by the 13th century. This type of sword continues in use into the 16th century.[5] Though it is now debated that it is an actual influence of the Turko-Mongol type sabres. It is now categorized as an independent development as the 13th century sabres don't have this type of cusp.

Other falchions

Falchion with long, wooden haft, from the Morgan Bible.

In addition, there are a group of 13th- and early 14th-century weapons sometimes identified with the falchion. These have a falchion-like blade mounted on a wooden haft 1–2 ft (30–61 cm) long, sometimes ending in a curve like an umbrella. These are seen in numerous illustrations in the mid-13th-century Maciejowski Bible.[6]

Other Languages
العربية: منجلي (سلاح)
Deutsch: Falchion
español: Bracamarte
فارسی: فالچن
français: Fauchon (arme)
한국어: 펄션
italiano: Falcione
kurdî: Şûrcozan
lietuvių: Falčionas
magyar: Falchion
Nederlands: Fautsoen
polski: Falchion
русский: Фальшион
српски / srpski: Фалкион
suomi: Falchion
українська: Фальшіон