14 Most Famous Swords in History
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.
Not only did the wielders of these swords make history by their incredible acts of bravery, but these swords held their own, and protected these historical figures until their last moments. From curved blades to samurai swords, there are a variety of famous swords in history that should be talked about, like these best examples.
14. Tizona Sword
This famous sword was carried by Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid, who was a Castilian knight and warlord in Medieval Spain. He dominated the Levante of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 11th century, and reclaimed Taifa of Valencia from Moorish control.
Diaz de Vivar became well known for his service in the armies of both Christain and Muslim rulers, and after his death, he became Spain’s celebrated national hero and the protagonist for one of their most epic poems, El Cantar de mio Cid, showcasing how strong, valiant, loyal, just and pious he is.
The weapon that he carried with him was the Tizona, one of the most famous swords, and is currently on display at the Museum of Burgos after being purchased from the Army Museum in Toledo for 1.6 million euros.
13. Sword in the Stone of San Galgano
Galgano Guidotti began his life as a knight, and was said to have led a ruthless life, and was declared a Saint in 1185, a few years after his death in 1181. After an encounter with St. Michael, the Archangel, Galgano changed the course of his life. He changed to become a Knight of God and be a part of his celestial militia. From there, Galgano had several visions of St. Michael and Jesus and the saints, who exhorted him to take on life of penance as a hermit.
As the Knight tried to make a cross, he was trying to use the sword to cut wood, but when the blade wouldn’t cut the wood, he threw the sword down in frustration, and there it stayed stuck, with no one being able to extract it.
The word of Galgano can be seen near the Abbey of San Galgano. The handle of the sword protrudes from the stone, referencing the fictional famous sword, Excalibur.
This famous sword belonged to Roland, who was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne and became one of the main figures in literary cycle Matter of France. Rolance was responsible for defending Francia’s frontier against the Bretons.
According to an epic tale or poem, La Chanson de Roland, the sword was brought by an angel to Charlemagne who gave it to Roland. In the poem, the sword contained a tooth of Saint Peter, blood of Basil of Caesarea, Hair of Saint Denis, and a piece of the raiment of Mary.
Roland used the sword during the Battle of Roncevaux Pass where he held off the Saracen army troops long enough for Charlemagne’s army to retreat to France, thus doing mighty damage like slicing the Saracen King Marsile, and even decapitating the King’s son, which sent the army back.
Later, Roland tried to destroy the sword by hitting it against marble to prevent it from being captured, but it found to be indestructible. After being wounded, Roland hid the blade beneath his body as he lay dying.
11. Sword of William Wallace
This two-handed blade was owned by William Wallace, a Scottish knight who led a resistance during the First War of Scottish Independence. He is known as a legendary hero of Scotland as he fought for independence from the British, and iconic figure in history. This blade is said to be used during the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. However, the Scots were defeated at the Battle of Falkirk, which led to his soon death.
After Wallace’s execution in 1305, the sword allegedly went to John de Menteith, the Governor of Dumbarton Castle, however there were no records of this. It later appeared in 1505 that King James IV of Scotland was repairing the sword with a new hilt and plummet.
Today he is commonly known throughout the world thanks to Mel Gibson’s portrayal in the 1995 film Braveheart. Although there were several inaccuracies in the film, there is still a lot of significance that they featured in the film to showcase the Scots love for Wallace.
The sword is depicted as a long blade that is both straight and double edge, but due to the edge being rather blunt, it can be considered for a Claymore.
10. 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.
9. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
Another Japanese master swordsmith was Fujiwara Kanenaga, who forged many fine katana swords in the 17th century, like this famous sword.
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.
8. General Jose de San Martin’s Curved Saber
Another famous sword in history is one of the most prized possessions of the Argentine General Jose de San Martin, 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.
7. 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 famous 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…)
6. 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 famous 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.
5. 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, making it one of the most famous swords in history.
4. Seven-Branched Sword
The Seven-branched sword was not used for battle, rather as a ceremonial sword due to its peculiar shape. One each side of the central blade, there are three protrusions that combined with the central blade tip make seven branches of the sword. The blade itself is two and a half feet long and made of iron, with inlaid gold inscriptions on either side of the central blade.
It is said that the sword was given by the King/Crown Prince of Baekje–an ancient kingdom in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula–to the King of Wa, ruler of Japan. There is a debate on the relationships between these two rulers, as the inscription on the sword holds some ambiguity to whether the two countries were in alliance or not.
Now, the sword resides in the Isonokami Shrine in the Nara Prefecture of Japan.
3. The Sword of St. Peter
Claimed to be owned by the Apostle Peter, this sword cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant at the time of Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemen. The blade itself is wide-tipped, and similar in shape to a dussack or a machete.
After being in the possession of Peter, the sword made its way to Rome and stayed there for several centuries. In the 10th century, it was brought to Poland as a papal gift from Pope John XIII to Miezko I or Bishop Jordan.
The sword has found its permanent home in the Archdiocesan Museum of Poznan, Poland.
2. Sword of Goujian
Found in a tomb in China fifty years ago, the Sword of Goujian is both an immaculate artifact and incredible piece of craftsmanship. When the sword was found, the edge was still razor sharp, and there was no rust on the blade itself. This is due in part to a rust-proof sulfide coating on the blade, and the scabbard was air-tight, keeping the blade preserved for nearly a thousand years.
It is regarded as a state treasure in China today, and is as legendary as Excailber is to the west. The sword is one of the earlier known Jian swords and is 21.9 inches long. Based on engravings on the side of the blade, the sword was made for the King of Yue for his personal use, which happened to be Goujian based on research.
The current location of the sword is the Hubei Provincial Museum in China.
1. The Dōjigiri
A certified national treasure in Japan, the Dōjigiri is the oldest surviving katana-style blade in all of Japan. Created by the school of Yasutsuna between 1000-1100, it is the magnum opus of the school’s creations. The blade itself is curved with a hardened core and hamon pattern, measuring to 80 centimeters long.
According to legend, the sword earned its name by killing the most deadly and feared demon of its time, Shuten-Dōji. Currently the sword resides at the Tokyo National Museum.
What is the most famous sword ever?
Excalibur, also known as King Arthur’s sword is the most famous sword in history. Creating a round table and a group of fierce knights, King Arthur was able to unite Britain against Anglo-Saxon invaders with Excalibur by his side.
Who made the strongest swords in history?
Masamune, a Japanese swordsmith, is regarded as one of the world’s greatest metallurgists working from 1288-1328. His weapons have reached legendary status over the centuries, and have made our list of top famous swords in history.
What is the strongest sharpest sword ever?
Using a technique from 2000 years ago in India, Damascus swords are the strongest sharpest swords. They are sharp enough to slice a falling piece of silk in half, and can split stones without dulling.
Swords are impressive pieces of metal work, and must be crafted over hundreds of hours to create pieces like these fourteen swords. These swords were made all around the world, proving that this weapon was quite useful for anyone, whether it be just for decoration or to go to battle.