This post captures the historic stories behind the famous legendary swords of the world.
The mastery of a sword is more than just an art. It is a combination of courage and a fierce spirit. The past is witness to some legendary swords that have etched their place in history. These swords have befitted the hands of some of the greatest warriors! What are the names of swords that instilled fear in some, while a sense of safety and protection in others?
We look at 10 legendary swords that carry on their thin sharp blades a legacy of worthy combat.
The sword of one of Islam’s most respected leaders Ali, Zulfiqar has many stories to tell. This double-blade sword was used by the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law in many battles. Muslims all over the world revere Zulfiqar as it symbolizes a deep faith. This legendary sword with a curved blade is also depicted in various Islamic inscriptions, talismans, etc.
Charlemagne was made Emperor of the Romans and is considered the founding father of German and French monarchies. Joyeuse was the name of Charlemagne’s sword and, its reference appears in many documents and historical legends. According to various accounts, Charlemagne used Joyeuse to behead Corsuble, the Saracen commander. Today, a blade built partially from the original Joyeuse is on display at Louvre.
One of the Four Holy Swords, Durandal is made from magic and alchemy. This legendary sword belonged to Ronald, the paladin of Charlemagne. Often considered of the same stature as Excalibur, it is believed, that an angel gave Durandal to Charlemagne, who then handed it over to Ronald. This golden hilted sword also contains sacred pieces, such as the strands of St. Denis’ hair, Saint Mary’s robe piece, Saint Peter’s tooth, and the blood of Saint Basil.
4. Wallace Sword
William Wallace from Scotland used the Wallace Sword in the Battle of Falkirk (1298). The sword remained with him until his death, after which it was handed down to other owners till it finally was placed in the National Wallace Memorial. The sword, is thus, a symbol of Scotland’s freedom.
5. Sword of Mercy
Belonging to the Anglo-Saxon king, Edward, the Sword of Mercy is an iconic piece of weaponry. The tip of the sword is broken off, and is considered as a symbol of mercy. It is one of the legendary swords used by the British Monarch during the coronation.
6. Sword of Goujian
The Sword of Goujian was excavated in Hubei, China in 1965. Surprisingly, it was untarnished and decorated with copper, bronze, and iron. This stunning sword belonged to Emperor Goujian, as inscribed on the hilt of the weapon. Goujian used this sword to lead his army to victory against the state of Wu. Due to its time-defying maintenance, the sword is a state treasure.
7. The Muramasa swords
In ancient Japan, Muramasa Sengo was a great swordsmith. According to the legend, the swordsmith prayed to the Gods for his swords to be ‘great destroyers.’ His prayers were answered, but the swords became fiercely dangerous. There have been numerous tales of the wielders of the cursed Muramasa swords getting killed or going crazy.
Famously known as the sword that Arthur drew from a stone that made him the legendary king, Excalibur is one of the most famous legendary sword. This sword is said to have special powers. While dying, the king Arthur asked Sir Bedivere to throw the sword into the lake. Suddenly, the Lady of the Lake’s hand emerged from the waters and caught the sword. As per the legend, the Arthur sleeps peacefully and one day he will wake up and come back with his sword again when his country would need him.
Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi is a famous legendary Japanese sword, which belongs to one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. Originally known as Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven), the sword’s name was later changed to the more popular Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass Cutting Sword”).
As per Kojiki, the God Susanoo met a grieving family, who lost 7 out of 8 daughters to the eight-headed serpent Yamata-no-Orochi, of Koshi. The serpent was returning to attack the last daughter. To save the daughter, the God Susanoo made a plan to defeat the serpent and in return, asked for the daughter’s hand in marriage.
As per the sources, the God instructed 8 vats of Sake (traditional Japanese wine) to be put on individual platforms positioned behind a fence with eight gates. As per the plan, the monster took the bait and put one of its heads through each gate. Within seconds, the God attacked the serpent and chopped off each head. Post chopping the heads, he proceeded to the tails. In the fourth tail, the God found a great sword and called it Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi.
10. Colada and Tizona
Both, Colada and Tizona are the legendary swords of El Cid Campeador of Spain (Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain). As per the history, the ruler won Tizona from its previous owner, King Yucef in Valencia. And, he won Colada in combat from the Count of Barcelona. Later on, he presented these legendary swords to his sons-in-law.
But later, as per the heroic verses of the Cantar de Mio Cid (Castilian epic poem), when his sons-in-law started beating his daughters and abandoned them, El Cid asked for all this gifts to be returned. Post which, he bestowed Colada upon Martín Antolínez, one of his knights. A sword, alleged to be Colada, is preserved in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Several factors go into making a sword special. However, legendary swords are remembered for their history and legendary wielders.