Ultimate Guide to Swords

From katanas to samurais, the presence of swords in almost every legend, story, movie, book, or game is a testament to how much they have saturated our fantasies. Most swords are truly remarkable. But when a hero demonstrates authentic swordsmanship using a majestic sword, you will be able to understand more why these weapons are deeply rooted in our collective consciousness. 

Swords are something that symbolizes power, strength, protection, authority, and courage. Also, since it takes a lot of practice to master the use of swords, they are also great symbols for mastery, discipline, chivalry, and knighthood. On a more typical level, swords also represent the power of will and intellect to conceal, reveal, discriminate or unite. This is why swords come in various forms and abilities. They are also involved in many legends from different cultures around the world. 

If you are someone who’s into swords, whether on comic books, television series, movies, or video games, you’ve come to the right place. If you want to learn more, read on as we’re giving you the ultimate guide to swords. 

Brief Origin of the Sword

graphic art of Link’s Master SwordThe very first swords were developed from the evolution of the dagger, which is a knife with two cutting surfaces. Daggers, unlike traditional blades, give an increased ability to inflict damage as you can use both of its sides to attack singly or simultaneously. Therefore, swords were a natural development as they give significantly more reach. Since they are longer, they also allow for new forms of executing an attack, such as thrusting or slashing. 

People did not have the suitable materials for making swords before, making the weapons impractical for most of history until the start of the Bronze Age, which was around 3000 BC. However, even during those times, swords were only a bit extended daggers as bronze had its irregularities. Unlike the metals that we have today, bronze has a lower stiffness level. Therefore, swords made much longer than daggers were prone to bending even with minimal impact. 

The very first weapons classified as swords without any uncertainty were developed in the Late Bronze Age. Some of the first authentic swords that were 24 inches or longer were first discovered in Minoan Crete, and they were dated by archaeologists to about 1700 BC. The new class of swords was made from the discovery that bronzed can become stronger when tin and arsenic were added. 

The Iron Age sword replaced the Bronze Age swords. Iron Age swords were also short, but they are stronger. These iron swords gave way for the Roman Army spatha, the precursor of the European Middle Ages sword and the Old English sword. 

If you’d like to learn more about different kinds of swords, their parts, and the most famous ones in history, you can click the links below:

The Top 5 Famous and Deadly Swords in the World

knights fighting using swordsThere are many swords that have been used by prominent people in history. Among those, there were some that have truly stand out because of being great and deadly. If you are wondering what these swords were, here are the top five famous and deadly swords in the world:

1. Joyeuse

One of the supreme rulers in world history was Charlemagne, who became the King of the Franks in 768. When the year 800 came, he was named Emperor of the Romans, which was the position he held for the remainder of his life. His personal sword was named Joyeuse. In the present time, there are two swords attributed to this name. One is a cavalry sword that is kept in Vienna, while the other is at the Louvre in France. 

The Joyeuse appears in many legends and historical documents. According to Bulfinch’s Mythology, Charlemagne used Joyeuse to behead the Saracen commander Corsuble and also to cavalier his friend Ogier the Dane. When Charlemagne died, the sword was believed to have been rebelliously held by the Saint-Denis Basilica and was later taken to the Louvre. 

2. Honjo Masamune

Masamune was a swordsmith from Japan. He was widely viewed as one of the greatest metallurgists in the world. He made swords known as tachi and daggers, which all have a strong reputation for quality and beauty. Among all his swords, the most famous is named Honjo Masamune. It was an important sword, as it embodied the Shogunate or dictatorship during the Edo period of Japan. It was passed down from one Shogun generation to another.

The last known owner of this sword was Tokugawa Iemasa. However, he gave the weapon along with 14 other swords to a police station in Mejiro, Japan, back in 1945. The police then gave the swords to Sgt. Coldy Bimore in 1946. After that, Honjo Masamune has gone missing. It was among the most important historical artifacts to disappear after the Second World War. 

3. Zulfiqar

The primeval sword of the Islamic leader Ali was called the Zulfiqar. He reigned over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661. Muhammad was the one who gave it to Ali during the Battle of Uhud. It was a symbol of the Islamic faith, which is admired by many people. To know about the caliphate that existed in the 600s, the Umayyad Caliphate, read our article, Discover the Expansion and Decline of the Umayyad Caliphate.

The sword is a scimitar, which is a West or South Asian sword that has a curved blade. It was believed that Ali used it at the Battle of the Trench, which was a popular siege attempt on the city of Medina. 

4. The Sword of Mercy

This is a famous weapon that used to belong to Edward the Confessor. He was among the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. The sword features a broken blade, which was cut off short and square. The exact story of the breaking of the weapon is unknown. However, based on mythological history, its tip was broken off by an angle to prevent a wrongful killing. 

This sword is a part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. It is among the five swords used through the coronation of the British monarch.

5. Napoleon’s Sword

Napoleon Bonaparte was the military and political leader of France in 1799 after he staged a coup d’état. After five years, he was proclaimed emperor. In the early 19th century, Napoleon and the French Empire were engaged in conflict and war with all major European power. 

Napoleon carried a pistol and a sword on the battlefield. His collection of arms and artillery was large, and all of his weapons were one of a kind. In 2007, a gold-encrusted sword that once belonged to him was auctioned off in France for over $6 million dollars. However, the winner was not identified. That sword was used by Napoleon in battle, then presented to his brother as a wedding gift in the early 1800s. It was passed down from one generation to another without leaving the Bonaparte family. It was declared a national treasure in France.  

If you’re interested to learn more about swords in history and as well as in books and mythology, you can check out the links below for interesting articles about swords:

The Coolest Swords in Film and Television

woman holding a sword in a fighting pose

Swords are not just in history and books as they are also often depicted in film and television. In fact, sword fights are some of the most iconic action scenes in popular movies and television shows. With this, here are some of the coolest swords in film and television:

1. Longclaw – Game of Thrones

The Game of Thrones is indeed full of popular swords. But among all the blades in the series, the most iconic is Jon Snow’s sword, which is the Longclaw. It is a Valyrian steel sword that is known for never needing to be sharpened. It’s also durable compared to steel, and it can kill White Walkers. You can read our Introduction to the Longclaw Sword of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones to learn more about it. 

Also, here are other information about the different swords in Game of Thrones:

2. Anduril – The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is also a popular series that has plenty of iconic weaponry. One of the swords that stands out is Aragorn’s sword called Anduril. It was reforged from Narsil and was the sword that sliced One Ring off the hand of Sauron all those years ago. To learn more about the sword and what it can do, read our article about The Reforged Flame of the West – Aragorn’s Anduril Sword.

3. The Sword of Omens – ThunderCats 

The Sword of Omens is known to be the magical sword wielded by Lion-O in ThunderCartts. The sword features the Eye of Thundera, which allows Lion-O to summon his comrades. When it is not in use, it rests as a dagger. When the chant is called out, it grows into the iconic longsword. If you are interested to learn more about this sword, you can read our article, From the 80s ThunderCats Series – Lion-O’s Sword of Omens

4. Hattori Hanzo’s Final Blade- Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2

Hattori Hanzo was a master swordsmith and the firmer teacher of Bill in the Kill Bill series. But he swore off forging instruments of death until The Bride persuades him out of retirement for one last sword. For Hanzo, this katana was the finest he has ever forged. He even promised The Bride that no one can stand in her way with that sword. To learn more about it, you can read The History of the Bride’s Sword Made By Hattori Hanzo.

5. The Grass Sword – Adventure Time

In the cartoon series Adventure Time, Finn was gifted with some excellent swords, but one stands out, which is the grass sword. It is a blade that can fold around his arm. Even though it is made of grass, Finn has no trouble using it to cut through just about anything. 

6. Inigo Montoya’s Rapier – The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride movie features the ornate rapier that has an unfortunate history for the master swordsman wielding it. It was forged by Inigo’s father for the six-fingered Count Rugen before the vile Count utilized it to kill its creator. Inigo carried the sword ever since with revenge on the man who killed his father. If you want to know the full story about this sword, you can read our article, The Story Behind the Six-Fingered Sword from the Princess Bride.

7. The Ivory Katana – Highlander

The Ivory Katana is a great sword that is forged by a master swordsmith. It was the favorite weapon of Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, an immortal Egyptian. The sword then fell to the Highlander himself, Connor MacLeod. If you are curious about this sword, read our list of Things to Know About Duncan MacLeod’s Ivory Dragon Head Katana.

8. The Sword of Triton – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

When Blackbeard arrived on the scene, he wields the Sword of Triton, which gave him control of the Queen Anne’s Revenge and as well as all the ships he comes in conflict with. It made him popular on the high seas. 

9. Green Destiny – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Green Destiny is featured in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon movie. It is possessed by the legendary swordsman Li Mu Bai. However, it was stolen by Jen Yu, who utilized it to live an adventurous life as The Invincible Sword Goddess. To learn more, you can read our article, Introducing the Green Destiny Sword from the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

10. Excalibur – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

This list won’t be complete without the iconic Excalibur. It is a very popular sword that has been featured in many movies, television shows, and anime. One example is Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. If you’d like to learn more about this iconic sword, you can read our article, King Arthur’s Legendary Excalibur.

In addition to these iconic swords, there are many more out there that you can find in movies and television shows. If you’d like to discover more, check out the following links:

The Best Swords in Video Game History

In addition to movies and television shows, swords are also often showcased in many video games too. They are among the most common weapons used by video game characters to combat the villains in the game. With this, here’s a list of the best swords in video game history:

1. Master Sword – Legend of Zelda

Link’s Master Sword is also called the Blade of Evil’s Bane. It is a recurring legendary weapon in the Zelda franchise. It is a sword given to heroes who should earn the right to wield it. Learn more about it on our Introduction to Link’s Master Sword from the Legend of Zelda.

2. Buster Sword – Final Fantasy VII

Since Final Fantasy VII is arguably the best Final Fantasy franchise, it also has to have the best sword, right? It is an iconic sword as it is almost bigger than Cloud, the one who’s carrying it. To learn more about this sword, read our post, An Introduction to Final Fantasy’s Buster Sword.

3. Keyblade – Kingdom Hearts

Another iconic sword in the video game world is the Keyblade in Disney’s Kingdom Hearts franchise. It is Sora’s weapon of choice. It features two functions, which are a sword to fight and a key to open different Disney worlds in the game. 

4. Blades of Chaos – God of War

In the game God of War, Kratos uses the Blades of Chaos to kill enemies either from a distance or at arm’s length. This sword was made in the depths of Hades and was given to him after pledging his alliance to Ares, the God of War. 

5. Frostmourne – World of Warcraft

In the World of Warcraft, the blade that Lich King, Ner’Zhul, wielded was broken when the new king, Arthas, was defeated. Did you know that based on rumors, the Frostmourne was also loosely based on the Excalibur of King Arthur? Learn more about this sword in our article, Warcraft Lich King’s Sword – The Frostmourne.

If you’d like to know more about swords used in video games, here are more articles about them:

It is truly amazing to know that the use of swords has been showcased on many different platforms, such as in books, film, television, and video games. Swords have been around for thousands of years, but they are still considered one of the best weapons out there. We hope that the information we gave in this guide helps you learn more about swords.