A sword is a bladed weapon (edged weapon) used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration.
In the most narrow sense, a sword consists of a straight blade with two edges and a hilt. However, in some cases the term may also refer to weapons with a single edge (backsword).
The word sword comes from the Old English sweord, cognate to Old High German swert, Old Norse sverð, from a Proto-Indo-European root *swer- "to wound, to cut". Non-European weapons called "sword" include single-edged weapons such as the Middle Eastern saif, the Chinese dao and the related Japanese katana. The Chinese jian is an example of a non-European double-edged sword, like the European models derived from the double-edged Iron Age sword.
Historically, the sword developed in the Bronze Age, evolving from the dagger; the earliest specimens date to ca. 1600 BC. The Iron Age sword remained fairly short and without a crossguard. The spatha as it developed in the Late Roman army became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages, at first adopted as the Migration period sword, and only in the High Middle Ages developed into the classical arming sword with crossguard.
The use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or (in an early modern or modern context) as fencing. In the Early Modern period, the sword developed into the rapier and eventually the smallsword, surviving into the 18th century only in the role of dueling weapon. By the 19th century, swords were reduced to the status of either ceremonial weapon or sport equipment in modern fencing.
The sword is said to be the emblem of military honour and should incite the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue. It is symbolic of liberty and strength. In the Middle Ages, the sword was often used as a symbol of the word of God. The names given to many swords in mythology, literature, and history reflect the high prestige of the weapon and the wealth of the owner.
Other articles related to "sword, swords":
... The Sword of Shannara is a 1977 epic fantasy novel by Terry Brooks ... Rings and historical adventure fiction, Brooks began writing The Sword of Shannara in 1967 ... Upon its release, The Sword of Shannara was a major success and the first fantasy paperback to appear on the New York Times bestseller list ...
... This sword became the model for the Mameluke Sword adopted in 1825 for Marine Corps officers and which is part of the dress uniform even today ...
... become the founder of the manufacture of so-called "new swords," or shinto, and to rank with Kaneie and Nobuie as a great designer and maker of sword ... Although he is said to have done metal carving for sword mounts, not a single sword guard that can safely be said to have been carved by him remains ... But he was not the first to make sword guards in the Umetada style ...
... "Crossed swords" redirects here ... For other uses, see Crossed swords (disambiguation) ... The crossed swords symbol (⚔ at Unicode U+2694) is used to represent battlegrounds on maps ...
... Sect and she is the only person who knows the secret in the Heaven Reliant Sword ... Miejue as leader of Emei and she is tasked with retrieving the hidden scrolls in the sword ... Zhou breaks the sword by clashing it against the Dragon Slaying Saber and obtains the Nine Yin Manual hidden in the sword's blade ...
Famous quotes containing the word sword:
“When the sword of rebellion is drawn, the sheath should be thrown away.”
—quoted in letter, Aug. 6, 1775, by painter John Singleton Copley on the subject of the American Revolution. British proverb.
“We soon saw, as he saw, that he was not to be pardoned or rescued by men. That would have been to disarm him, to restore to him a material weapon, a Sharps rifle, when he had taken up the sword of the spirit,the sword with which he has really won his greatest and most memorable victories. Now he has not laid aside the sword of the spirit, for he is pure spirit himself, and his sword is pure spirit also.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.”
—John Bunyan (16281688)