I apologize for the dissertation here and not to make things more confusing but there is also the text in "The Field of Cormallen", RotK - "On the throne sat a mail-clad man, a great sword was laid across his knees, but he wore no helm. As they drew near he rose. And then they knew him, changed as he was, so high and glad of face, kingly, lord of Men, dark-haired with eyes of grey." We know that at Helm's Deep Aragorn wielded Anduril one-handed - "Near the bottom stood Aragorn. In his hand still Andúril gleamed, and the terror of the sword for a while held back the enemy, as one by one all who could gain the stair passed up towards the gate." Does "In his hand" mean he wielded it only one-handed or that he had at least one hand around the hilt?" Was this an actual "great sword" or are we just getting a Hobbit's perspective in that all swords above a short sword are "great swords"? I think Tolkien knew his swords so I think we should assume that the Professor was using the historical connotation here. Now "great swords" can typically be two-handed to hand and a half as there is much debate over the exact "mark" that makes them one or the other, whether you go to the profile standpoint or the functionality standpoint.
Now being Dunedain, Aragorn was tall - "Aragorn, direct descendant of Elendil and his son Isildur, both of whom had been seven feet tall, must nonetheless have been a very tall man ..., probably at least 6 ft. 6; and Boromir, of high Numenorean lineage, not much shorter (say 6 ft. 4)." [Tolkien Papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford]
Hammond & Scull (eds) - Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion: Page 229
Now myself, I am 6'-3", 240 lbs and have 30" long arms. I'm a few inches shorter than Aragorn for sure but for years my weapon of choice for individual and controlled sword sparring has been a 48-3/4" Johann Schmidberger Austrian Masterpiece. The sword has a 37-1/4" blade, an 11-1/2" quillon/cross-guard (very useful for off-setting an opponent's thrusts or trapping an opposing blade and for protecting any openings especially in a grapple. The long cross-guard is especially handy in the use of the Mordhau or "murder strike". The hilt is about 9-1/2" with an additional 2" scent stopper pommel. I think this sword could best be described as a hand and half although the hilt is somewhat long and these measurements approximate many historical examples from the 15th and 16th centuries. In my opinion my sword falls somewhere between the Oakshott type XIIIa and the Oakshott Type XX category. Of course this is only my opinion but I think this sword in my mind at least, approximates Anduril in size.
I have used this sword one handed with a buckler (see Paulus Kal Fechtbuch, among others) although it is of course more unwieldy this way to one not so used to its length and weight. We know Anduril is reforged and that Aragorn is a bit shorter than Elendil the Tall so as Michael Martinez says, "Narsil was a very ancient sword, said by Aragorn to have been made “by Telchar in the deeps of time”. The blade would have been made for a Noldorin prince or warrior and only eventually found its way into the hands of the Numenoreans. By the time it came down to Elendil he was considered to be very tall for a Numenorean (hence his nickname, “Elendil the Tall”). Aragorn was much shorter than Elendil. When Andúril was reforged one must presume that Elrond’s smiths made a sword that Aragorn could wield comfortably."
But I have to agree with my Ranger brethren here that such a sword is more unwieldy in the forest so on wilderness excursions I sometimes wear a shorter sword at my waist. When I do carry the longer sword, I use a specially made scabbard that has a strap that goes over one shoulder. This way it doesn't drag the ground or the quillons and hilt length interfere with life as it would if it were worn at waist level. This version might be more suited to a Ranger traveling roads, plains and fields as many of the Rangers did near the Shire and Bree (although Aragorn's sword was broken and of little use at that time). We do know he carried at least the hilt and one foot section at his side for it says, "He stood up, and seemed suddenly to grow taller. In his eyes gleamed a light, keen and commanding. Throwing back his cloak, he laid his hand on the hilt of a sword that had hung concealed by his side....." Did he perhaps carry the rest of the shards in his bag and wear the sword at his side as a sign of rank or possible intimidation to an enemy? Of course, we cannot be totally sure of Tolkien's knowledge of various sword types but here is a good link to a study of his archaeological knowledge: https://dc.swosu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cg ... t=mythlore
We can tell at least that he studied swords extensively in literature at least for we have this from the Volsunga Saga when Sigurd inherits his father’s sword Gram: “keep well withal the shards of the sword: thereof shall a goodly sword be made, and it shall be called Gram, and our son shall bear it, and shall work many a great work therewith” and “So he (Regin) made a sword, and as he bore it forth from the forge, it seemed to the smiths as though fire burned along the edges thereof”. And this of Aragorn, “Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen”. I think it safe to say that Tolkien was perhaps familiar with sword history. At least he doesn't use the term "broadsword" for any sword in his works to my knowledge, a term that would have been at home with any Victorian era armchair sword aficionado.
'I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace. Minas Anor as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens, not a mistress of many slaves.'