Despite being the symbol of power, the sword is a weapon that has witnessed more wars, ceremonies and coronations than any other weapon throughout the history. The first sword ever was made of copper and appeared in the present-day Pakistan during the Bronze Age. Over the years, this weapon has been created of many different metals and a plenty of different types were mass produced to be used in battles in ancient and medieval ages. Even when the first fire weapons (such as muskets) appeared, many warriors, emperors, kings, royal generals and other noble people still preferred the long, shiny, sharp and mighty-looking sword.
In this modern age, when swords would be the least dangerous sort of weapon on a battlefield, there are some swords from history, mythology and literature that simply fascinate us. Most of those swords bring their own tale that includes bloodshed, mystery or something else. Whether because of lack of inspiration or an attempt to honor famous wielders and national heroes, the pop culture and the media have portrayed some legendary and mystical swords in millions of movies and books. Here is a list of 5 of the most famous legendary swords from history, with most wrapped in mystery.
Excalibur, the Sword in the Stone
The legendary sword pulled out of a stone by King Arthur is a tale that many teachers teach in schools. Even though many consider the Arthurian legend to be a myth, no one can tell for sure if it really happened or not. After the death of Uther, the High King of Britain, he had no heir to take the throne. However, Uther’s counselor, Merlin, had an idea to run the sword into a rock and the one who will be able to draw it will be the rightful heir. Many men have failed, but Arthur succeeded and so became a king. Another version of the story says that Arthur received the Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. A myth or not, the legend of Excalibur is among the most popular ones of all time.
The Seven-Branched Sword
The seven-branched sword is a mysterious sword that has been found in 1945 in Isonokami Shrine and many archaeologists and historians have taken turns in examining this piece of weaponry. With an unusual look with three protrusions pointing out on each side, this historical sword featured an inscription that has never been exactly translated. However, the inscription did reveal that this particular sword belonged to the Korean King of Wa, who gave it as a gift to a Japanese empress. Its delicate design indicates that the seven-branched sword has never been intended to be used as an actual weapon, but serve for ceremonies. Today, this sword is housed where it was found and is not on display.
La Tizona, the Sword of El Cid
La Tizona was the legendary sword of El Cid, a noble Spanish man, a famed warrior and an excellent military leader. He wielded his two swords for both Christian and Islamic armies, but there is a controversy if one of El Cid’s two swords was actually La Tizona or not. This sword has been given to King Ferdinand in 1516 and it has been passed down through his family until the Madrid Military Museum received it in 1944. After sixty years in possession of the current Marquis, the legendary Damarcus steel-made blade is on display in the Museum of Burgos, Spain. La Tizona is a 40.5 inch long and 2.4 pounds heavy sword.
The Sword of William Wallace
The enormous sword of William Wallace, the legendary hero of Scotland, has helped him lead a resistance against the English for years during the Wars of Scottish Independence. According to the legend, his sword’s scabbard, belt and hilt were made of human skin, after William and his fellow Scottish warriors flayed the body of Hugh de Cressingham, the treasurer of Scotland who used to flay Scottish war prisoners. However, many say that it is only a made-up story to make Wallace look like he was a barbarian. Also, no supporting evidence for this claim has ever been found. The man with a brave heart must have been about 7 feet tall to properly handle this enormous double-edged sword. Today, the historic sword of William Wallace is displayed in the National Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland.
Kusanagi, the Sword in the Snake
The list wouldn’t be complete without an entry from the country of ninjas and samurais. Kusanagi is a legendary Japanese sword with one of the most bizarre yet intriguing origins. Supposedly, the sword was found in a dead 8-headed snake that was killed by the god of seas and storms and its existence has been seriously challenged, as it tended to appear and disappear every now and then. The Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi is today housed in the Atsuta Shrine, but of course, it is not publicly displayed and it hasn’t been seen for centuries. However, the sword is used for some imperial coronation ceremonies, but even then it is wrapped in clothing and hidden from view.