Swords were once the quintessential weapon for a warrior. Today, they are usually old relics held in museums across the globe. Throughout time, technology has advanced and designs of swords have changed, often fueling debates about which swords were the most deadly, durable, or unique. The question remains however, which swords were the most legendry of all time? This list seeks to answer that question.
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It may mean “joyful” in French, but this weapon was held by Charlemagne – a man who was the King of Francs, Emperor of the Romans, conquered Italy, and was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III. Once known as the only sword known to be used for coronation ceremonies for the Kings of France, today it rests in the Louvre Museum in Paris. There are rumors that it was supposedly forged from the same materials as Roland's Durendal and Ogier's Curtana.
6. Sword of Goujian
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Unearthed in 1965 in Hubei Province, China, this legendary sword is a beautiful example of Chinese metallurgy. King Goujian of Yue, whose reign was between 496 BCE and 465 BCE, allegedly used this sword during the last major struggle between Yue and We where he paved the way to victory. King Goujian was known for using an unusual war tactic: sending prisoners out in the front lines of battle to commit suicide by decapitation in order to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy. The Sword of Goujian is not without its own unusual characteristics either – this sword has barely seen rust in over 2,000 years.
5. Marengo Sword
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The gold-encrusted Marengo Sword belonged to none other than Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Before he was Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte drove Austrian forces out of Italy during the Battle of Marengo in June 1800, strengthening his political image. It’s said that the sword’s design is Egyptian-inspired: Napoleon noted during his Egyptian Campaign that curved swords could slice through people like butter, so he wanted to give himself an edge in battle.
4. Tizona (sword of El Cid Campeador)
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This sword has medieval Castilian written all over it – literally. Wielded by El Cid Campeador, a legendary knight who conquered and ruled Valencia until his death, this is a true relic of Spain. El Cid was a student of Roman and Greek military strategic books, often using psychological warfare as he fought against the Moors in Spain during the 10th century.
3. Wallace Sword
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Standing at 5 feet 6 inches and weighing in at six pounds, this killer Claymore was used by William Wallace, a Scottish patriot who fought courageously during the Wars of Scottish Independence at the end of the 13th century. After Wallace was victorious at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 (where the sword was allegedly used), Wallace became the Guardian of Scotland. Unfortunately his battling came to an end in 1305 when he was captured and hung for high treason by the English. Still, Wallace’s legend lives on to this day.
2. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
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The “Tiger of Malaya” General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese Army served during World War II. Yamashita’s claim to fame is the fact that he invaded and conquered Malaya and Singapore in 1942. The real story here though is that this resulted in the absolute largest surrender in British history, when Yamashita’s 30,000 soldiers effectively captured 13,000 British, Indian, and Australian troops.
1. Crocea Mors (sword of Julius Caesar)
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The legendary Crocea Mors, Latin for “Yellow Death,” was Julius Caesar’s sword that he took to battle against the British. According to the History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth, this sword was said to inflict a mortal wound to anyone it touched. When Prince Nennius of Britan fought Caesar, Caesar lodged the sword into his enemy’s shield, forcing him to retreat. It was later that Prince Nennius used the powerful Crocea Mors to slay as many Romans as he could. Oddly enough, it seems the legend may have been true as 15 days after Nennius fought Caesar he died from a wound inflicted by Crocea Mors.