The Cutlass...most commonly associated with romanticized pirate tales, this was a real workhorse of a sword. Finding recognition before the 17th century, the cutlass was adapted by many cultures as an excellent weapon. It quickly became one of the most prominent blades used in maritime combat. The thick steel being able to handle rough cutting tasks through both rope and wood, while the shortness of the blade also made this sword adept for fighting in the close quarters below decks. Although it is stereotyped as a pirate weapon, the cutlass was also quite handy on land. The curved edge of the blade making it viable on horseback, the short style also made it handy enough to use as a machete. Another fantastic feature of the cutlass was the inclusion of the basket hand guard, yet another aspect that would make the weapon preferable in combat even for a novice fighter. The design was so versatile that the U.S. Navy officially adopted it and there are records of use well into the 20th century!