Martial prowess has long been the deciding factor in sorting the winners and the losers in history, and emphasis has been placed accordingly on those thins which enhance the fighting ability of a tribe, or a man, or a king. Over time these things became symbolic, and legendary.
Truth be told, it was almost always advances in weaponry which could be used by the common soldier which won the battles, from longbows to muskets, from gunpowder to gatling guns. But there has always remained this focus on the wartime leader, who throughout history has been judged on his armor and his weaponry.
The key focus of masculine power and dominance in such frameworks is typically the sword: what would Freud say, eh? From Excalibur, Arthur’s legendary weapon, to the Honjo Masamune, the nearly perfect katana lost less than a century ago, such swords survive only in myth and rarely as artifacts.
But some did survive. Here are six.
1. The Manx Sword of State
2. The Joyeuse
3. The Sword of Goujian
4. The Dōjigiri
5. The Sword of St Peter
6. The Sword of Simon de Bolivar
Top Image: Most legendary ancient swords have been lost, but a precious few survive. Source: pit3dd / Adobe Stock.
By Joseph Green