Not many people need swords today, but everyone surely respects the sword. The sword was the weapon of choice for humanity for millennia before guns came and took the top spot. Armies with the best swords and swordsmen could topple empires and shape them in their name, which is why our world today has a lot to do with how well our ancestors could handle the sword. While its glory days are long forgotten, some swords found away of making themselves immortal, either because of the skill of their famous wielders or the myths that accompanied their kills. Legends about swords are part of every continent’s history, but these 10 happen to be the most legendary ones still in existence today.
The Seven Branched Sword
This was not really a badass combat sword, as you may think. The seven branches are simply three delicate protrusions on each side of the 2.5ft sword, and the tip of its main shaft makes the seventh branch. It has inscriptions that say the sword was given to the king of Japan by the crown prince of Baekje (Modern South-West Korea), and it was manufactured by a man known only as xxx. The mystery around its existence is obvious, considering there are few facts about the relationship between Japan and Korea in those years. The sword’s exact purpose is not known either, as it could have been an act of peace, or declaration of war. The sword is kept in the Shinto Shrine of Japan that houses other imperial regalia and is not available for public viewing.
The sword of mercy
The sword of mercy or the Curtana is a crown jewel of the UK used in the coronation of British Monarchs alongside the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Spiritual Justice. This particular one is especially legendary because it is associated with a man called Tristan, a knight who sat at King Arthur’s round table. Some also say that it was the sword of King Edward I or also known as Edward, the confessor. The sword’s tip was squared off after being broken, probably in battle, so it cannot be used to fight. Its sheath is also squared off, making it more of a long ceremonial knife than a sword. The myth that surrounds it has turned it into the most revered sword in the UK.
The sword of san Galgano
This legendry sword is still on display at the Montesiepi Chapel in Italy. It appears to be thrust inside a rock, which is strange because swords, although powerful, were not so good at sinking into rocks. It was discovered in the ruins of The Abbey of San Galgano, and the legendary saint is believed to have wielded the sword. He was a fighter and an ardent supporter of the pope in the 12th century.
Legend has it that he saw a vision of the archangel Michael and another one of Jesus, Mary, and the twelve disciples who instructed him to forsake his earthly wealth and dedicate his life to the church. He replied that that for him was as easy as thrusting a sword into a rock, and sure enough when he thrust the sword in the rock, it sunk through like a knife through butter. Scientific analysis of the metal and the rock have since confirmed that the sword existed during the said period.
Joyeuse is French for joy, although this sword didn’t bring any joy to its victims if its legend is anything to go by. It is believed to have been the favourite sword of the French king Charlemagne. Its legend can be drawn back to 802AD to the legendary blacksmith Galas, who allegedly took three years to forge the sword. It was said to have been so bright that it blinded the Wielder’s enemies in battle. It was also believed that whoever wielded the Joyeuse could not be poisoned, which is quite hard to believe. Anyway, it won many battles for Charlemagne and became one of the most important relics of French history. It has since been declared a historical treasure of France and resides in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The Sword Of Goujian
Chinese history also holds a tale of some legendary blades and although this sword has beaten all of them. The sword is believed to have belonged to King Goujian, who ruled the Chinese state of Yue over 2500 years ago. It was unearthed by archaeologists in 1965, but it was in a surprisingly perfect condition for a two and half millennia piece of iron. It even cut one of the archaeologists that unearthed it when he tried to test the potency of its edges. Legend has it that the sword was forged with some kind of magical powers that helped preserve it for those years, although the scientists said that its bronze carvings helped preserve it from rusting away. Whatever the reason, it is now the most legendary sword in China.
Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
The Yamashita Standard is the law of prosecuting generals and commanders for atrocities committed by their troops in the war. It became famous after the controversial execution of General Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese forces that defeated the British army and took control of Singapore during WWII. He also put up the ferocious defence of Malaysia that lasted until after the surrender of Japan in the war, making him the last Japanese general to surrender after the war.
He was the most feared Japanese commander by the allied soldiers and became known as the Tiger of Malaya. He was captured by US forces after his surrender and hanged in 1946, but his sword, which was a major part of his fame, was kept by a US general before it started making rounds in military museums around the world. It is now one of the most famous WWII relics.
William Wallace was a leader of the Scottish resistance against the English army and one of the most revered Scottish Legends. He is famous for defending the Stirling Bridge at the expense of many English soldiers. After fighting British advances for years, William Wallace was betrayed by a sheriff in 1305, captured and delivered to King James I of England. After his execution, little is known about his sword until the 16th century when King James IV allegedly requested a blacksmith to create a bind for it. He has since remained a hero in Scotland where his sword now lies in a glass casing at the National Wallace Monument Museum in Stirling Scotland. Some, however, doubt that it is the actual Wallace sword because it is over 5ft long, and Wallace would have had to be 7ft tall to wield it.
Tizona The Sword Of El Cid
El Cid, or just the Cid, is a Spanish hero and swordsman famous for uniting Christians and Muslims in the city of Valencia in the 11th century. He was a knight previously from Castile, but his exemplary fighting skills saw him become an important part of King Ferdinand I of Spain’s legacy. His sword Tizona however, had a reputation that superseded the Cid himself.
It is believed to have helped him defeat the Moors, who allegedly surrendered at the very sight of Tizona. He also used his sword to conquer Valencia and bring the warring religious sides into a union creating a peaceful city away from King Ferdinand’s palace. Some people also say that Ferdinand later used Tizona to defeat the Moors for good after El Cid’s death. It is still kept in Burgos Spain in a museum in memory of the Cid.
The Zulfiqar Scimitar
The war between Rome and the Ottomans was popularly known as the war of the straight swords against the curved swords. The curved swords, known as scimitars, were the preferred sword for the Ottomans, who considered it the best sword for beheading the enemy. The Zulfiqar’s current location is kept a secret by the owners, but it is believed to have been blessed by the prophet Mohammed and the angel Michael to defend the famous Imam Ali Bin Talib. Mohammed allegedly gave the scimitar to Ali while he was fighting in the siege of Medina after every other sword he had was broken.
The Curved Saber Of San Martin
San Martin is the most famous freedom fighter in South America who left the Spanish Royal Army and joined the guerilla wars of Independence in Argentina. He had a curved sabre that he carried with him throughout the war from Argentina to Peru, leading to his legendary tittle, the saint of the sword. He used similar curved swords to arm his cavalries. His honourable resignation from the army after the independence of South American countries added to his legend, which is why many people consider him the only person that fought for Argentinian independence with no corrupt motives. His sword is now kept in Argentina as a symbol of American freedom.