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 "swords, sword":
... emerged to 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 guards ... 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 ...
... who knows the secret in the Heaven Reliant Sword ... 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 ...
... The Sword of Shannara is a 1977 epic fantasy novel by Terry Brooks ... of the 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 ...
... In recognition of his bravery, he was presented a sword for his part in attempting to restore Prince Hamet Karamanli to his throne at Tripoli ... 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 ...
... "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 ...
Famous quotes containing the word sword:
“Every other evening around six oclock he left home and dying dawn saw him hustling home around the lake where the challenging sun flung a flaming sword from east to west across the trembling water.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)
“With a pen in my hand I have successfully stormed bulwarks from which others armed with sword and excommunication have been repulsed.”
—G.C. (Georg Christoph)
“Your master Robin Hood lies dead,
Therefore sigh as you sing.
Here lie his primer and his beads,
His bent bow and his arrows keen,
His good sword and his holy cross:”
—Anthony Munday (15531633)