The long history of the Japanese sword is divided into an accepted series of periods called Jokoto, Koto, Shinto, Shinshinto, and gendaito. [...]
These sword periods correlate with historical events or changes which influenced the methods of combat and type of sword being made, as well as the methods of construction and styles of blades. [...]
Because much of the written historical record concerning Japanese swords dates from the Momoyama to early Edo periods, and because of the changes in styles of swords around the end of the sixteenth century (the junction between the Momoyama and Edo periods), writers at this time referred to "old swords," i.e., Koto, to describe swords which were being made contemporaneously. More specifically, the term Koto referred to blades made before approximately 1600, while Shinto referred to blades made from approximately 1600 onward, at the beginning of the Edo period (1600–1868).
— Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths: From 1868 to the Present (Kapp, Kapp, and Yoshihara, 2002), introduction.
So that the file-leavings might not over fiercely,
Were they never so shower-hard, scathe the shield-bold,
— lines 1032 and 1033, Morris & Wyatt translation
þæt him fēla lāf frēcne ne meahte
scūrheard sceþðan þonne scyldfreca
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