A swordsmith colleague of mine, Dan Maragni, once related an anecdote that he found profound. He was transporting a sword he had made from his home to his car when a child saw him and asked, innocently enough, “Hey mister, is that sword real?” He recalled how the child’s question made him stop and consider it at face value for a moment: here was a tool he had constructed by hand in a manner he knew was only a loose approximation of how a historical blade would have been produced, and which he had created based on information he knew was only a rough estimate of the geometry and profile of the original specimen it was taken from.
Yet, in essence it was certainly a “sword” by definition. He realized, logically, that you can take most any piece of modern steel, grind it into some sort of blade shape, heat-treat it in some way so it's hard yet flexible, put some sort of handle grip on it, and finally, sharpen it to some degree (or not) and it will certainly be capable of killing. It will be a functional weapon in some regard –but is it a real sword?
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