- Curved Saber of San Martin
José de San Martín was a famous Argentine general that lived from 1778-1850. He was the primary leader of the southern part of South America’s struggle for independence from Spain. San Martín is a South American hero and the 1st Protector of Perú. Under the lead of San Martín, Peruvian independence was officially declared on July 28, 1821. In the state of Argentina, the Order of the Liberator General San Martin is the highest decoration given out.
San Martín admired the saber’s curved blade and felt that the weapon was maneuverable and ideal for battle. For this reason, he armed his cavalries of granaderos with similar weapons, which he deemed important for charge attacks.
- Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
During his military career, Tomoyuki Yamashita owned a personal sword that contained a blade manufactured by famous sword maker Fujiwara Kanenaga sometime between 1640 and 1680. The weapon had its handle remade in the early 1900s. The Samurai sword was surrendered by General Yamashita, along with his army, on September 2, 1945. It was taken by General MacArthur and given to the West Point Military Museum where it remains today. The sword is one piece in a great collection of military arms housed at the West Point Museum.
- Seven-Branched Sword
In 372, King Geunchogo of Baekje paid tribute to Eastern Jin and it is believed that a Seven-Branched Sword was created and given to the king as a sign of praise.
The weapon is a 74.9 cm long iron sword with six branch-like protrusions along the central blade, which is 65.5 cm. The sword was developed for ceremonial purposes and was not built for battle. In 1870 a Shinto priest named Masatomo Kan discovered two inscriptions on the Seven-Branched Sword. One of them states “At noon on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month, fourth year of Taiwa era, the sword was made of 100 time’s hardened steel. Using the sword repels 100 enemy soldiers. Appropriate for the polite duke king.”
The Seven-Branched Sword contains many statements, but the most controversial involves the phrase “enfeoffed lord,” used when describing the King of Wa as a possible subservient to the Baekje ruler. The sword is an important historical link and shows that a relationship did exist between the East Asian countries of this era. The original Seven-Branched Sword is currently housed in the Isonokami Shrine in Nara Prefecture of Japan. It is not on display to the public.
- The Wallace Sword
The William Wallace sword is located at the National Monument in Stirling, Scotland. The shaft of the sword measures 4 feet by 4 inches in length (132cm) and it weighs 6.0 lb (2.7 kg). The sword is said to be the weapon that Wallace used at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Falkirk (1298). The pommel on the sword consists of an onion-shaped piece of gilded iron and the grip is wrapped with dark brown leather. The hilt or handle that is currently on the Wallace sword is not the original. It is believed that the sword has been modified on separate occasions.
- Tizona – El Cid’s Sword
El Cid owned and used many different swords in his lifetime, but the two most famous are Colada and Tizona. Tizona is a sword that was used by El Cid to fight against the Moors. The weapon is one of Spain’s most cherished relics and is believed to have been forged in Córdoba, Spain, although considerable amounts of Damascus steel can be found in its blade. Damascus steel was primarily used in the Middle East. Tizona is 103 cm/40.5 inches long and weighs 1.1 kg/2.4 pounds. It contains two separate inscriptions, with one listing a manufactory date of 1002 and the other quoting the Catholic prayer Ave Maria. Tizona is currently on display at the Museo de Burgos in Spain.
- Napoleon’s Sword
On the battlefield Napoleon carried a pistol and a sword. He owned a large collection of arms and artillery. His weapons were one of a kind and included the best materials. In the summer of 2007, a gold-encrusted sword that once belonged to Napoleon was auctioned off in France for more than $6.4 million dollars. The sword was used by Napoleon in battle. In the early 1800s, Napoleon presented the weapon to his brother as a wedding gift. The sword was passed down from generation to generation, never leaving the Bonaparte family. In 1978, the sword was declared a national treasure in France and the winner of the auction was not identified.
- Sword of Mercy
The Sword of Mercy is a famous weapon that once belonged to Edward the Confessor. Edward the Confessor was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. He ruled from 1042 to 1066 and his reign has been characterized by the crumbling disorganization of royal power in England. Shortly after Edward the Confessor’s death, the Normans began to expand into England, led by the infamous William the Conqueror.
The Sword of Mercy has a broken blade, which is cut off short and square. In 1236, the weapon was given the name curtana and has since been used for royal ceremonies. In ancient times it was a privilege to bear this sword before the king. It was considered a merciful gesture. The story surrounding the breaking of the weapon is unknown, but mythological history indicates that the tip was broken off by an angel to prevent a wrongful killing.
Zulfiqar is the ancient sword of the Islamic leader Ali. Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661. By some historical accounts, Muhammad gave Zulfiqar to Ali at the Battle of Uhud. Muhammad admired Ali’s power and strength on the battlefield and wanted to present him with the cherished weapon. The sword is a symbol of the Islamic faith and is admired by millions of people.
Zulfiqar is a scimitar, which refers to a West Asian or South Asian sword with a curved blade. It is said that Ali used the sword at the Battle of the Trench, which is a famous siege attempt on the city of Medina. During the battle, Muhammad, Ali, and other Muslim defenders built trenches to protect Medina against the much larger confederate cavalry
- Honjo Masamune – The Famous “lost sword”
The most famous of all Masamune swords is named Honjo Masamune. The Honjo Masamune is so important because it represented the Shogunate during the Edo period of Japan. The sword was passed down from one Shogun to another for generations. In 1939 the weapon was named a national treasure in Japan, but remained in the Kii branch of the Tokugawa family. The last known owner of Honjo Masamune was Tokugawa Iemasa. Apparently Tokugawa Iemasa gave the weapon and 14 other swords to a police station in Mejiro, Japan, in December of 1945.
Shortly thereafter in January 1946, the Mejiro police gave the swords to Sgt. Coldy Bimore (U.S. 7th Cavalry). Since that time, the Honjo Masamune has gone missing and the whereabouts of the sword remains a mystery.
Joyeuse is the name of Charlemagne’s personal sword. Today, there are two swords attributed to Joyeuse. One is a saber that is kept in the Weltliche Schatzkammer in Vienna, while the other is housed at the Louvre in France. The blade on display at the Louvre claims to be partially built from Charlemagne’s original sword. The sword is made of parts from different centuries, so it can be hard to positively identify the weapon as Joyeuse. The hilt of the sword indicates a manufactory date around the time of Charlemagne. The heavily sculpted gold pommel is made in two halves and the long gold grip was once decorated with diamonds.
Charlemagne’s sword appears in many legends and historical documents. Bulfinch’s Mythology described Charlemagne using Joyeuse to behead the Saracen commander Corsuble as well as to knight his friend Ogier the Dane. After the death of Charlemagne, the sword was said to have been contrarily held by the Saint Denis Basilica and it was later taken to the Louvre after being carried at a Coronation processional for French kings.