When it comes to the most famous swords, we’re not talking mythical or movie props. We’re talking real swords from history. And whether you believe their origin story or not, these swords are revered and currently sit in museums or private collections.
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These are the 6 most famous swords from history:
6. Charlemagne’s Joyeuse
One of the greatest rulers in world history, Charlemagne, used a sword called Joyeuse:
There are actually two swords that are known as Joyeuse. One sword is kept in the Louvre Museum in France, while the other, a saber sword, is kept at Weltliche Schatzkammer in Vienna.
The blade displayed in the Louvre is believed to have been partially built from Charlemagne’s original sword. The sword is unique because it is made up of parts from different centuries. The gold pommel is made in two parts, while the long gold grip is decorated with diamonds.
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5. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
Another Japanese master swordsmith was Fujiwara Kanenaga, who forged many fine katana swords in the 17th century.
He forged the sword of Tomoyuki Yamashita in the mid-1600s. During the World War II combat operations, the General of the Japanese armed forces known as Tomoyuki Yamashita carried this deadly sword, now a centuries-old relic and on display in Singapore.
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4. General Jose de San Martin’s Curved Saber
One of the prized possessions of the Argentine General Jose de San Martin was the Curved Saber, which he purchased in London. San Martin had great regard for the curved blade of this sword and believed that it was the perfect sword for battle.
Due to this, he even equipped his cavalries of Granaderos with similar weapons designed for charge attacks. The Curved Saber remained with General San Martin until he died. It was later handed to the General de la Republica Argentina, Don Juan Manuel de Rosas.
3. The Honjo Masamune
Masamune was a famous Japanese swordsmith who is regarded as one of the world’s greatest metallurgists. Though not much is known about Masamune’s life, it is believed that he was active during 1288-1328.
The most famous sword made by Masamune is named Honjo Masamune. The Honjo Masamune represented the Shogunate during Japan’s Edo period, and it was passed down from one Shogun to the next for generations to come.
Japan named this sword a national treasure in 1939. The last known owner of the Honjo Masamune was Tokugawa Lemasa, who handed over this weapon and 14 other swords to a police station in Mejiro, Japan, in 1945.
Following this, in 1946, the Mejiro police handed over the swords to Sgt. Coldy Bimore of the US 7th Cavalry. Since then, the Honjo Masamune has gone missing, and its current whereabouts remain a mystery (or does it…)
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2. Ali’s Zulfiqar
Zulfiqar was the sword belonging to the Islamic leader Ali who was the son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad.
Ali ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661. According to records, the famous sword Zulfiqar was presented to Ali by Muhammad himself during the Battle of Uhud.
Zulfiqar is a significant symbol of the Islamic faith and is admired and revered by Muslims worldwide. It is currently in the Topkapi museum in Turkey.
The sword Zulfiqar is actually a scimitar, meaning a sword with a curved blade. Ali is believed to have used this sword at the Battle of the Trench, which was a famous attempt to lay siege to the city of Medina.
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1. Napoleon’s Sword
Napoleon Bonaparte became France’s political and military leader in 1799 after he staged a coup d’etat and took power. Five years after this, the French Senate proceeded to declare Napoleon as the emperor of France.
While on the battlefield, Napoleon carried a sword and pistol. He was known for owning a huge collection of artillery and arms, and his weapons were said to be made from the best materials.
In 2007, a gold-encrusted sword belonging to Napoleon was auctioned in France. It fetched over $6.4 million and was purchased by an anonymous buyer.
This sword was used by Napoleon himself in many battles, and in the early 1800s, Napoleon presented this sword to his brother as a wedding gift. The sword has since then been passed down from generation to generation in the Bonaparte family. France declared the sword to be a national treasure in 1978.