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181 Types of Swords from Every Corner of the Globe

Written By: David Mickov
Updated: June 21, 2023
Edited by: Juliana Cummings
Review by: Sebastian Szukalski (IPostSwords)

Welcome to the world of swords! Attempting to compile an extensive list of the world’s various sword types would be an enormous undertaking simply because there might be one too many of them. But fear not, for we here at SwordEncyclopedia have made it our mission to assist your exploration of the fascinating world of swords. Each sword type will be sorted into a category according to the continent on which it was made.

Although one of the most comprehensive collections of swords you’ll find online, please note that it is continually a work in progress. Some swords may be missing or unresearched at the moment, but that will change as time goes on and we gain access to more resources.

European Swords

European swords refer to the different swords used in Europe from ancient times to the modern era. These swords were used for combat, self-defense, and ceremonial purposes. Throughout the years, the swords were made from different materials like bronze, iron, and steel. They also had different blade shapes and hilts, with the cruciform guard straight sword being the most popular and recognizable European Sword today.

Ancient

Ancient Europe
The fight between the sword and the spear in ancient European times – Credits: Martin Klekner

Bronze was the first material utilized to create swords that were suitable for use in battle. The Celtics’ mastery of sword making along with their discovery of iron, resulted in a wide range of sword styles that would go on to impact generations of bladed combatants across Europe.

In much of European antiquity, the spear was the primary weapon in battles. As iron was replaced by steel, real and war effective battle swords were invented. Gradually, the use of swords spread throughout the whole of Europe.

Sword NameOrigin / RegionUsesCharacteristics
Aegean Arslan Tepe Dagger SwordsAegean & Modern Turkey 30th century BCCeremonial, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
15 to 23 inches (40 to 60 cm)
Crete Minoan & Mycenaean SwordsMinoan Civilization & Aegean 17th century BCCeremonial, ThrustingOne or Two-handed, Double-edged, Straight
30 to 45 inches (75 to 115 cm)
Naue SwordsCentral / Western / North Europe 16th /12th century BCCeremonial, Warfare, Thrusting & SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
24 to 31 inches (60 to 80 cm)
Late Bronze Age & Iron Hallstatt SwordsWestern / Central Europe 9th / 7th century BCCeremonial, Symbol of Status, Warfare, Thrusting & SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
20 to 31 inches (50 to 80 cm)
Celtic & La Tene SwordsCeltic Europe 6th / 5th century BCCeremonial, Symbol of Status, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
20 to 51 inches (50 to 130 cm)
XiphosAncient Greece 6th / 5th century BCWarfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight, Leaf-shaped
18 to 24.5 inches (45 to 60 cm)
FalcataIberia 6th / 5th century BCWarfare, Ceremonial, Ritual, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Forward swept
24.5 inches (60 cm)
Kopis & MakhairaAncient Greece 6th / 5th century BCWarfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, Forward swept
26 inches (65 cm)
SicaThracian / Illyrian / Celtic 5th century BCAgriculture, Daily-tool, Warfare, Combat, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, sickle-like radical curve
16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm)
AcinacesScythian / Persian 5th century BCCeremonial/ Ritual/ Symbol of Status/ Warfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged
15 to 23 inches (35 to 60 cm)
RhomphaiaThracian 4th / 3rd century BCAgriculture, daily-tool, Warfare, SlashingTwo-handed, Single-edged, sickle-like shape
30 to 51 inches (75 to 130 cm)
GladiusIberia / Celtic / Ancient Rome 3rd / 2nd century BCWarfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
18 to 25 inches (45 to 65 cm)
FalxDacia 2nd / 1st century BCAgriculture, daily-tool, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, sickle-like shape
20 to 51 inches (50 to 130 cm)
SpathaRoman / Celtic 1st century BC / 1st century ADWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged
20 to 40 inches (50 to 100 cm)

Medieval

Middle Ages Europe
A Late Middle Ages battle scene using  medieval swords – Credits: Stallion

When it came to weapons, the sword held the highest regard throughout medieval Europe. Not only was it a great weapon of combat, typically passed down from generation to generation, but it had also become a symbol of status as a person is knighted using a sword.

The Spatha, along with other ancient swords, likely influenced the design of the earliest swords used during this time period. Blacksmiths from the Carolingian era were mostly responsible for spreading it over Europe. The first cruciform hilt crossguards appeared and these swords were mostly used for slashing.

Cutting through chain mail required a big sword, and that’s exactly what early medieval warriors developed and used with time. Longer, more pointed thrusting swords were developed as a response to the rise of effective plate armor in the late middle ages.

SwordOrigin / RegionUsesCharacteristics
Migration / Merovingian SwordCentral Europe / Frankish 4th century ADWarfare, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne-handed, Straight’ Double-edged, small guard
27 to 35 inches (70 to 90 cm)
Ring SwordCentral Europe / Frankish 5th century ADWarfare, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, ring pommel, small guard
27 to 35 inches (70 to 90 cm)
SeaxCentral / North Europe 5th / 6th century ADDaily Tool Activities, agriculture, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Straight with blade ridge 14 to 31 inches (35 to 80 cm)
Carolingian / Viking SwordFrankish 8th century ADWarfare, Symbol of Status, Trade, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, double-edged guard
27 to 39 inches (70 to 100 cm) 
UlfberhtFrankish 9th century ADWarfare, Symbol of Status, prestigious, SlashingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, blade inscriptions
27 to 39 inches (70 to 100 cm)
Knightly/ Arming SwordCentral Europe 10th / 11th century ADWarfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, cruciform guard
28 to 37 inches (70 to 95 cm)
ParamerionEaster Roman Empire 12th / 11th century ADWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Curved
26 to 36 inches (66 to 90 cm)
Crusader SwordEurope 12th centuryWarfare, Religious ideals, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Straight, Cruciform guard
28 to 37 inches (70 to 95 cm)
Templar SwordEurope 12th centuryWarfare, Religious ideals, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Straight, Cruciform guard
28 to 37 inches (70 to 95 cm)
LongswordCentral Europe 13th / 12th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Fencing / Dueling, Martial Arts, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Straight, cruciform guard
40 to 51 inches (100 to 130 cm)
Hunting SwordCentral / Western Europe 13th / 12th centuryHunting, Symbol of Status, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight or Curved,  single or Double-edged, short crossguard
18 to 31 inches (45 to 80 cm)
MesserGermany / Central Europe 13th century ADWarfare, Martial Arts, Fencing / Dueling, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Straight and slightly Curved, crossguard
36 to 43 inches (90 to 110 cm)
AnelaceCentral / Western Europe 13th / 14th century ADDefensive civilian weapon, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
16 to 24 inches (40 to 60 cm)
FalchionWestern / Central Europe 13th / 14th centuryWarfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight and slightly Curved Single-edged, sharp tip
27 to 38 inches (70 to 95 cm)
EstocFrance 14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, hunting, ThrustingTwo-handed, Straight, sharp tip point, needle like, different guard types
27 to 52 inches (68 to 130 cm)
Bastard SwordWestern / Central / South Europe 14th / 15th century ADWarfare, fencing / dueling, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Straight, cruciform guard
23 to 43 inches (80 to 110 cm)
Hand and a Half SwordWestern / Central / South Europe 14th / 15th century ADWarfare, fencing / dueling, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Straight, cruciform guard
22 to 32 inches (55 to 80 cm)

Early Modern & Modern Period

Modern Europe
Napoleon’s Dragoons (heavy cavalry) using the sword to attack in the 19th century – Credits: Mitchellnolte

In the Renaissance military revolution, firearms grew essential but swords, embodying aesthetics and lethal functionality, were still crucial, especially for cavalry. Early 16th-century infantry utilized thrusting swords, while cavalry wielded larger, double-edged variants for combat against mounted and dismounted adversaries, swinging downwards at infantry.

Over time, swords, particularly the eastern-influenced curved sabre spread via Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, became more prevalent among cavalry, creating a new standard for European swords. Despite their elegance, their lethality was undoubted.

SwordOrigin / RegionUsesCharacteristics
BackswordBritain / Western / Central Europe 14th / 15th century ADWarfare, Fencing / Dueling, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Straight, Knuckle Guard
33 to 39 inches (83 to 100 cm)
StilettoItaly 15th century ADCeremonial, Warfare, Symbol of Status, Thrusting One-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Short guard
15 inches (40 cm)
ClaymoreScotland 15th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, fencing/dueling, SlashingTwo-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Large crossguard
47 to 55 inches (120 to 140 cm)
Karabela / SzablaEastern Europe / Poland / Hungary 15th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Straight crossguard
30 to 35 inches (75 to 90 cm)
Schiavona / Slavonic SwordItaly 15th / 16th centuryWarfare, Fencing/Dueling, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight, basket, knuckle or Straight guard
SarassHungary 15th / 16th centuryWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Curved, Straight crossguard, yalman
27 to 36 inches (68 to 90 cm)
SpadoneItaly 15th / 16th century ADWarfare, Fencing / Dueling, Martial Arts, Slashing, ThrustingTwo-handed, Double-edged, Straight, Large crossguard with second feather guard
65 inches (165 cm)
CinquedeaItaly 15th / 16th century ADCeremonial, SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, broad blade, art canvas
22 inches (55 cm)
Hybrid SwordsWestern / Central / Southern Europe 15th / 16th century ADCeremonial, experimental, Symbol of StatusOne-handed, glove handle, pistol, shield with spikes, Double-edged
20 inches (50 cm)
ZweihanderGermany 16th century ADWarfare, Fencing / Dueling, Slashing, PiercingTwo-handed, Double-edged, two sets of cruciform / narrowed guards
5 to 7 feet (150 to 220 cm)
FlambergeGermany 16th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Fencing / Dueling, Slashing, PiercingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, flame-like blade
20 to 86 inches (50 to 220 cm)
KatzbalgerGermany 16th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, s-shaped guard
28 to 31 inches (70 to 80 cm)
Boar SwordGermany 16th century ADHunting, Ceremonial, ThrustingTwo-handed, Straight, Double-edged tip, two sets of crossguards
43 to 53 inches (110 to 135 cm)
Side SwordItaly 16th century ADWarfare, Fencing / Dueling, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight, different crossguards
35 inches (90 cm)
Hanger SwordCentral / Western/ Southern Europe 16th century ADSecondary, Warfare, Symbol of Status, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight or Curved, single or Double-edged, short crossguard
25 inches (65 cm)
Executioner’s SwordCentral / Western Europe 16th century ADCeremonial, SlashingTwo-handed, Straight, Double-edged, blunt tip, cruciform guard
32 to 35 inches (80 to 90 cm)
RapierSpain 16th century ADCeremonial, fencing/dueling, Martial Arts, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, different styles of guard
45 to 53 inches (114 to 135 cm)
Main-GaucheCentral / Western Southern Europe 16th / 17th century ADCeremonial, Fencing / Dueling, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight and needle like, Large crossguard with basket
21 inches (55 cm)
BroadswordWestern / Central Europe 16th / 17th century ADWarfare, Martial Arts, Fencing / Dueling, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight, basket or Knuckle Guard
35 to 43 inches(90 to 110 cm)
Sword CaneCentral / Western Europe 16th / 17th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of Status, dueling, defensive, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, needle like, No Guard
37 to 51 inches (95 to 130 cm)
Pistol SwordsCentral / Western Europe 16th / 17th century ADExperimental, firing, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, short or long blade, Curved or Straight, small or large pistol 
SmallswordWestern / Central Europe 17th century ADCeremonial, fencing/dueling, Symbol of Status, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, needle like, knuckle or crossguard
24 to 33 inches (60 to 83 cm)
European SabersEastern / Central Europe 17th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, different styles of guard
27 to 43 inches (70 to 110 cm)
ShashkaEastern Europe / Cossack 17th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, fencing / dueling, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, No Guard
31 to 41 inches (80 to 105 cm)
CutlassUnited Kingdom 17th century ADWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, Knuckle Guard
28 to 36 inches (70 to 90 cm)
Pirate SwordWestern Europe 17th / 18th centuryWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, basket hilt
28 inches (70 cm)
Pillow SwordCentral / Western Europe 17th /18th century ADCeremonialOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight, Straight crossguard
15 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm)
Dragoon SabreCentral / Eastern / Western Europe 18th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingOne-handed, Curved or Straight, single edged, Knuckle Guard, heavier than regular sabre
FoilWestern Europe 17th / 18th century ADFencing / Dueling, Martial ArtsOne-handed, Straight, Flexible, Knuckle Cup guard
35 to 43 inches (90 to 110 cm)
EpeeWestern Europe 17th / 18th centuryFencing/Dueling, Martial ArtsOne-handed, Straight, Flexible, Cup guard
35 to 43 inches (90 to 110 cm)
Sabre FencingWestern Europe 19th centuryFencing/Dueling, Martial ArtsOne-handed, Straight, Flexible, Cup guard
35 to 43 inches (90 to 110 cm)

Asian Swords

While the main weapon used by Asians during ancient times was the bow and crossbow, the sword played a great part, particularly during close quarters combat. Swordsmiths first made Asian swords from bronze which then evolved to iron and finally steel. In East Asia, there are multiple different steels such as wootz and tamahagane which are used in the creation of some of the most popular swords today.

Chinese Swords

China Swords
The use of Chinese swords that were highly effective in battle – Credits: kiddo 428

Before Japan, archaeological evidence suggests China was the initial sword manufacturer, using materials like copper, bronze, and eventually iron, leading to steel creation. China emerged as the principal sword production hub, influencing Asian metallurgy and design, despite spears and bows being the common weapons.

These swords, both straight and curved, were essential in combat, rites, and self-defense, serving as a status symbol. They also mark one of the first traces of Martial Arts with swords, serving as both a defense method and a philosophical guide.

SwordOrigin / DateUseCharacteristics
Copper Swords30th / 26 century BCCeremonial, Ritual, Symbol of StatusOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, No Guard
Bronze Swords16th / 12th century BCCeremonial, Ritual, Warfare, Symbol of Status, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, No Guard
20 inches (50 cm)
Zhibei dao (直背刀)11th century BCWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Single-edged, No Guard
20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm)
Long Quan Dao8th / 7th century BCCeremonial, Warfare, Symbol of Status, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, circle small guard
31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 cm)
Jian (剑)7th / 5th century BCWarfare, Ceremonial, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged. Small guard
20 to 40 inches (50 to 100 cm)
Duan Jian5th century BCCeremonial, Warfare, Symbol of Status, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, No Guard
15 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm)
Tai Chi Sword5th century BCMartial Arts, Ceremonial, EntertainmentOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, small hook guard
27 to 31 inches (70 to 80 cm)
Shuangshou Jian (双手剑)2nd century BC / 2nd century ADWarfare, SlashingTwo-handed, Straight, Double-edged, small guard
48 to 60 inches (120  to 153 cm)
Zhanma dao (斬馬刀)2nd century BC / 9th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingTwo-handed, slightly Curved, Single-edged,  round circular guard, large handle
59 to 80 inches(150 to 180 cm)
Dao (刀)2nd century BC / 2 century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne or two handed, Curved, Single-edged, round circular guard
23 to 70 inches (60 to 180 cm)
Hook Sword3th century BC / 16th century ADMilitia civilian defensive use, Daily Tool Activities and Martial Arts, SlashingOne-handed, Straight, hook like tip, bladed guard, dual-wielded
23 to 40 inches (60 to 100 cm)
Yanmaodao (雁毛刀)13th century ADWarfare, Martial Arts and Daily Tool Activities, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Straight and very slightly Curved, Round Guard
27 to 39 inches (70 to 100 cm)
Wo dao (倭刀)13th / 14th century ADWarfare, SlashingTwo-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Round Guard
39 to 47 inches(100 to 120 cm)
Achang or Husa Sword13th / 14th centuryEveryday tool like activities, Warfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, slightly Curved, two spiked blade tip, No Guard
23 to 31 inches (60 to 80 cm)
Nan Dao (南刀)14th / 15th century ADWarfare, Slashing, Martial Arts, Daily Tool Activities, entertainmentOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged, ring pommel, tassel
25 to 29 inches (65 to 75 cm)
Pian Dao (片刀)14th / 15th century ADWarfare, Slashing, skirmish weaponOne-handed, very strong radical curve, Single-edged
31 to 35 inches (50 to 90 cm)
Chang Dao (长刀)15th / 16th century ADWarfare, SlashingTwo-handed, Curved, Single-edged, round circular guard, large handle
3.9 to 5.9 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters)
Yanchi Dao (雁翅刀)15th / 16th century ADWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, round circular guard
31 inches (80 cm)
Liuyedao (柳叶刀)15th / 16th century ADWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, narrowed handle, round circular guard
35 to 39 inches (90 to 100 cm)
Miao Dao (苗刀)16th / 20th century ADWarfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two handed, slightly Curved, Single-edged, round circular guard
47 to 55 inches (120 to 140 cm)
Jiu Huan Dao (九环刀)17th / 18th century ADWarfare, Daily Tool Activities, entertainmentOne or two-handed, Curved with broad blade tip, 9 rings on the blade, ring pommel
Butterfly Sword (蝴蝶双刀)17th / 19th century ADMilitia combat, defensive tool, Slashing, Martial Arts, Fencing/DuelingOne-handed, Curved or Straight, single or Double-edged, hook guard, dual-wielded
12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm)
Tuan Lian Jian (團練劍)18th century ADCeremonial, entertainmentOne-handed, Straight, dual-wielded
12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm)
Niuweidao (牛尾刀)18th / 19th centuryMilitia combat, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Curved, broad blade tip, Round Guard
27 to 37 inches (70 to 95 cm)
Da Dao (大刀)20th / 19th century ADMilitia combat, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Curved, broad blade, Single-edged, hook guard
30 to 37 inches (78 to 95 cm)

Japanese Swords

Japan Swords
The samurai in Japan using their Katanas as a last resort in battle – Credits: Emkun

Initially importing swords from China, by 1000 AD, Japan had crafted their own style of single-edged, curved blades, detachable from their hilts, becoming valuable, meaningful heirlooms. Japanese swords and swordsmanship, emblematic of the legendary samurais, continue to hold renown.

A samurai’s sword, often kept under the pillow, would be gifted at birth and buried with him, symbolizing more than just a physical defense. These swords have influenced culture, values, and diverse Martial Arts.

SwordOrigin / DateUseCharacteristics
Chokuto3rd / 2nd century BCWarfare, Ceremonial, Ritual, Symbol of Status, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Straight, Single-edged, large pommel
27 to 35 inches (70 to 90 cm)
Tsurugi2nd century BCWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, Ritual, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged
12 to 27 inches (30 to 70 cm)
Tachi8th / 9th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne or two-handed, strongly Curved, Single-edged, large handle
23 to 33 inches (60 to 85 cm)
Uchigatana9th / 10th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingOne or Two-handed, Curved, Single-edged
23 to 27 inches (60 to 70 cm)
Tanto9th / 10th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Thrusting, Martial ArtsOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged
11 inches (30 cm)
Nagamaki11th / 12th century ADWarfare, SlashingTwo-handed, Curved, Single-edged, very large handle
35 to 47 inches (90 to 120 cm)
Kodachi12th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged
24 inches (60 cm)
Odachi12th / 13th centuryWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingTwo-handed, Curved, Single-edged
35 to 51 inches (90 to 130 cm)
Katana14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, Martial ArtsTwo-handed, Curved, Single-edged
39 inches (100 cm)
Naginata Sword8th / 12th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, Martial Arts, SlashingTwo-handed, Straight, Single-edged, polearm handle
4.9 to 9.8 ft (150 to 300 cm)
Wakizashi15th / 16th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged
12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm)
Daisho (Set of Katana & Wakizashi)14th century ADWarfare kit, Ceremonial, Symbol of StatusOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged
Masamune Swords13th / 14th century ADExceptionally made swordsOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged
Muramasa Swords14th / 15th century ADExceptionally made swords with folklore talesOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged
Sai Sword14th / 15th century ADMilitia combat, defensive tool, Martial Arts, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, dual-wielded, three blades
13 to 20 inches (35 to 50 cm)
Shikomizue16th / 17th / 18th century ADHidden cane sword, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Single-edged
20 to 27 inches (50 to 70 cm)
Iaito17th / 16th century ADMartial Arts, Daily Tool Activities, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged
23 to 43 inches (60 to 110 cm)
Shinai16th century ADBamboo sword for Daily Tool Activities, Martial ArtsTwo-handed, Straight
43 to 49 inches (110 to 125 cm)
Bokken14th century ADWooden sword for Daily Tool Activities, Martial ArtsOne or two-handed, Curved
Ninjato20th century ADMedia, assassinations, utility tool, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Straight, Single-edged
19 to 23 inches (50 to 60 cm)

Indian Swords

India Swords
An Indian War Painting where swords were used in the Battle of HaldiGhati – Credits: ArtUdaipur

India extensively used bronze and copper swords as early as the 20th century BC, including antenna swords and other double-edged weapons. Crucible steel, or wootz, developed in the 1st millennium BC, is integral to Indian swordsmanship. Indian swords, used in early forms of Martial Arts, are prestigious weapons that, despite being overtaken by modern tools, retain cultural significance.

SwordOrigin / DateUseSpecifics
Khanda5th century BC / 2nd century ADCeremonial, Ritual, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Slightly blunt/broad tip
37 inches ( 95 cm)
Urumi2nd century BC / 3rd century ADCeremonial, Ritual, Defensive, Warfare, Martial Arts, Slashing / WhippingOne-handed, flexible belt-like blade, many blades
4 to 5.5 feet (120 to 168 cm long)
Sousan13th / 14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Curved tip with yalman
31 inches (80 cm)
Pata / Gauntlet Sword13th / 14th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of Status, Dueling, Martial Arts, Warfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Glove handle and guard
27 to 31 inches (70 to 90 cm)
Hengdang14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Curved, No Guard, Large handle
35 inches (90 cm)
Talwar14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Daily Tool Activities and Martial Arts, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged
27 to 31 inches (70 to 90 cm)
Firangi15th / 16th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Martial Arts, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Knuckle Guard
35 inches (90 cm)
Odi Kathi16th / 17th century ADAgriculture, Daily Tool Activities, Symbol of Status, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edge, Broad Recurved tip
13 to 19 inches (35 to 50 cm)
Sukhela / Dhop17th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Straight, Double-edged, open or closed guard
33 inches (85 cm)
Indian Rapier17th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Fencing / Dueling, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, needle-like
47 inches (120 cm)
Moplah17th century ADCeremonial, Agriculture, Daily Tool Activities, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, Broad blade, No Guard
23 inches (60 cm)
Kirsch17th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of Status, Warfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Single-edged Slightly curved, Knuckle guard
35 inches (90 cm)
Naga Dao1st millennium ADAgriculture, Daily Tool Activities, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, Curved, Broad blade with two tips
17 to 25 inches (45 to 65 cm)
Ram Dao1st millennium AD / 1st millennium BCCeremonial, Sacrificial, Ritual, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Broad blade recurved tip
23 to 31 inches (60 to 80 cm)
Tegha / Indian Zulfiqar2nd millennium ADCeremonial, Ritual, WarfareOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Sharp or fork like tip, Heavy
47 inches (120 cm)
Aruval2nd millennium ADCeremonial, Ritual, Agriculture, Daily tool, Symbol of status, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Straight and curved blade tip, No guard
18 to 70 inches (45 to 180 cm)
Kayamkulam18th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged
33 inches (85 cm)
Golia19th century ADWarfare, SlashingOne-handed, Very strong curve, Single-edged
38 inches (95 cm)

Other Asian Swords

Other Asian Swords
Mongol warriors who played a role in spreading the use of the sword throughout Asia – Credits: About History

Throughout Asia, not only in known sword-making nations like China, Japan, and India, indigenous peoples developed unique blades for rituals and combat, like the curved sword used by steppe units. Central Asian nomads, successful medieval mounted soldiers, achieved victories over established civilizations using composite bows and powerful curved swords.

Swords, deeply rooted in the history and culture of many Asian countries, inspired Martial Arts and mythology, and are still in use for military and civilian purposes today.

SwordOrigin / RegionUsesCharacteristics
HwandudaedoKorea 1st century BCCeremonial, Ritual, Symbol of status, Warfare, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Straight, Double-edged, ring pommel, No guard
15 to 35 inches (40 to 115 cm)
KiemVietnam 1st millennium BC / ADCeremonial, Warfare, Symbol of status, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Straight
36 inches (90 cm)
PatagBhutan 6th / 7th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
23 to 31 inches (60 to 90 cm)
Turko-Mongol SabreEurasian Steppes 7th / 8th century ADWarfare, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved
30 to 40 inches (70 to 100 cm)
Kris / KerisIndonesia 8 / 9th century AD / 14th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of Status, Ritual, Warfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Double or single-edged, Straight or curved, Wavy blade form
6 to 19 inches (15 to 50 cm)
DhaThailand 12th / 13th centuryWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Curved, Large handle
19 to 25 inches (50 to 65 cm)
KampilanPhilippines 13th / 14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Ritual, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Slightly curved, Small guard
36 to 40 inches (90 to 100 cm)
In GeomKorea 14th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged
15 to 23 inches (40 to 60 cm)
BarongPhilippines 14th century ADAgriculture, Daily Tool, Ceremonial, Warfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved and broad bladed, No guard
15 to 23 inches (40 to 60 cm)
GuamVietnam 14th / 15th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved
23 to 35 inches (60 to 90 cm)
HwandoKorea 14th / 15th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Round guard
Guom TruongVietnam 15th / 16th century ADWarfare, Symbol of status, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Curved
27 to 35 inches (70 to 90 cm)
BoloPhilippines 16th / 17th century ADWarfare, Daily Tool, Agriculture, Martial arts, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, No guard
17 to 25 inches (45 to 65 cm)
KastaneSri Lanka 16th / 17th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Knuckle guard, Highly ornamented
20 to 27 inches (50 to 70 cm)
KukriNepal 16th / 17th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, No guard
13 to 19 inches (35 to 50 cm)
Tonkin GuamVietnam 16th / 17th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved
31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 cm)
PulwarAfghanistan 18th / 19th centuryWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Guard quillons toward blade
33 to 41 inches (85 to 105 cm)
PanabasPhilippines 18th / 19th century ADAgriculture, Daily Tool, Ceremonial, Warfare, Symbol of status, SlashingTwo handed, Single-edged, Curved, No guard
31 to 47 inches (80 to 120 cm)
Thanh GuamVietnam 19th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved
33 inches (85 cm)

Middle Eastern Swords

Middle East Swords
The 10,000 Persian infantry unit known as the Immortals – Credits: Alonso S. Vega

The transition from stone to iron blades originated in the Middle East, with these blades becoming key symbols of combat in many cultures. This region, a crossroads of Eastern and Western influences, developed a wide array of weapons including sickle-shaped, straight, and curved blades that influenced western history.

Following the founding of the Islamic religion, the Middle East adopted the curved sword as its primary weapon and became known for unique sword variants and the famed Damascus Steel artistry, renowned globally even in medieval times.

SwordOrigin / RegionUsesCharacteristics
Sumerian Sickle SwordSumeria / Mesopotamia30th / 25th century BCAgriculture, Daily Tool, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Sickle like shape, No guard
SapparaAssyria 13th century BCWarfare, Daily Tool, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Sickle-like shape
20 inches (55 cm)
Bronze / Iron Hittite swordsHittite 12th / 9/8th century BCCeremonial, Ritual, Symbol of status, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight, No guard
12 to 25 inches (30 to 55 cm)
AcinacesPersia / Scythia 5th century BCCeremonial, Ritual, Symbol of status, Warfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight
20 inches (55 cm)
Sassanian SwordPersian4th / 7th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Straight
29 to 39 inches (85 to 100 cm)
SaifArabic6th / 9th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Single or double edged, Straight / Curved, L-shaped pommel
35 inches (90 cm)
ZulfiqarArabic 7th century ADCeremonial, Religious ideals, Symbol of status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Two blade tips
39 to 43 inches (100 to 110 cm)
Scimitar SwordsArabic 9th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, L-shaped pommel
36 to 36 inches (76 to 92 cm)
Damascus Steel SwordSyria 9th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, Trade, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Single or Double-edged, Curved or straight, Water-like blade pattern
12 to 51 inches (30 to 130 cm)
ShamshirPersia 12th / 16th century AD Warfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, slashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Strong curve, L-shaped pommel
35 to 41 inches (90 to 105 cm)
KilijTurkey 14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, yalman (broad tip), cross guard, L-shaped pommel
27 to 43 inches (68 to 110 cm)
YataghanTurkey 14th / 15th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Daily tool, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Very slightly Curved, No guard
23 to 35 inches (60 to 90 cm)
MamelukeMamluk 19th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Curved, L-shaped pommel
37 inches (95 cm)

African Swords

African Swords
African warriors fighting the invaders – Credits: Warrior a Visual History

Ancient Egyptian ritual daggers evolved into diverse African swords, reflecting Arabian and Ottoman influences in the North and unique Southern Sahara traditions. These ceremonial yet lethal weapons, ranging from sticks to metal paddles, persisted beyond 19th-century European decolonization.

SwordOrigin / RegionUsesCharacteristics
KhopeshAncient Egypt 25th / 17 / 16th century BC Daily tool, Ceremonial, Ritual, Symbol of status, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, sickle-like shape, Single-edged
20 to 23 inches (50 to 60 cm)
Ancient Egyptian Short SwordAncient Egypt 16th to 11th century BCCeremonial, Decoration, Warfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, sharp tip
12 inches (32 cm)
Ancient Egyptian Long SwordAncient Egypt 16th to 11th century BCCeremonial, Decoration, Warfare, ThrustingOne-handed, Straight, Double-edged, sharp tip
16 inches (41 cm)
MambeleNorth East Africa 1st millennium BC / ADCeremonial, Ritual, Daily tool, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, sickle like shape curve, widened blade tip
22 to 30 inches (55 to 76 cm)
IdaWest Africa 7th / 8th century ADAgriculture, Hunting, Ceremonial, SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, No Guard, Straight, Broad blade tip
16 to 23 inches (40 to 60 cm)
Shotel / GuradeNorth East Africa 10th century ADCeremonial, Ritual, Daily tool, Warfare, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Strong curve, Small guard
40 inches (1 meter)
KaskaraNorth East / East Africa 14th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Cruciform guard
39 inches (100 cm)
TakoubaCentral / West Africa 14th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Double-edged, Straight, Cruciform, Large and broad guard
29 to 35 inches (73 to 90 cm)
NimchaNorth Africa 16th / 17th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, SlashingOne-handed, Single-edged, Pistol pommel with quillons guard
39 inches (100 cm)
AkrafenaWest Africa 17th century ADCeremonial, Ritual, Symbol of status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Broad blade tip, Large decorated pommel27 to 39 inches (70 to 100 cm)
Ada / OmozoWest / Central Africa 17th century ADCeremonial, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Curved, Single-edged, Broad recurved blade tip
15 to 59 inches (40 to 150 cm)
Ikakalaka / Kuba KondaCentral Africa 17th / 18th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, SlashingOne or two-handed, Straight, Crescent like tip, Double-edged
23 to 30 inches (58 to 76 cm)
MandingEast / West Africa 18th century ADCeremonial, Warfare, Slashing, Thrusting One-handed, Single-edged, No guard, Small leather handle
23 to 35 inches (60 to 90 cm)
DahomeyWest Africa 18th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Curved, Curved shape blade tip
15 to 39 inches (40 to 100 cm)
Al OlemEast Africa 18th / 19th century ADDaily tool, Agriculture, SlashingOne-handed, Double-edged, Straight with broad tip
15 to 31 inches (40 to 80 cm)
Ngombe / NguluCentral Africa 18th / 19th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Agriculture,  SlashingOne or two-handed, Single-edged, Unique number of curves and tips
21 to 29 inches (54 to 73 cm)
SengeseWest / Central Africa 19th / 18th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Throwing, SlashingOne-handed, Single or Double-edged blade, Snake or sickle like shape
21 inches (55 cm)
FlyssaNorth West Africa 19th century ADWarfare, Defensive tool, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Single-edged, Slight inward curve, No guard
12 to 38 inches (30 to 97 cm)
BilaoEast Africa 19th / 20th century ADCeremonial, Symbol of status, Warfare, Slashing, ThrustingOne-handed, Single-edged, Straight, Large pommel
17 to 24 inches (40 to 70 cm)

American Swords

American Swords
The battles of the conquistadors versus the Native Americans – Credits: Warrior a Visual History

Combat traditions among the peoples of the Americas had been evolving for millennia prior to the introduction of Europeans at the end of the 15th century. Since artillery or hardened metals were not available in pre-Columbian times, all military forces were composed of infantry. Wood, stone, copper, gold, and obsidian predominated as the primary materials for weapons. Since none of these would make for a good sword, they have yet to exist in battle.

The closest thing to a sword at the time were thorny wooden instruments. Once the Europeans arrived, they brought with them a new way of life that included the use of muskets and the art of making swords.

SwordOrigin / DateUsesCharacteristics
MacuahuitlMeso American 10th / 11th century ADRitual, Ceremonial, Symbol of Status, Slashing and bashingOne or two-handed, Straight, mace with bladed spikes
23 to 47 inches (60 to 120 cm)

Post-Columbian American (Continental) Swords

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An officer using a Officer’s Sword to lead his troops in the battle of Spotsylvania – Credits: Adam Cuerden

Given Europe’s prime, North and South America adopted European sword styles, particularly sabres. Despite the rifle’s rise to prominence, American Swords were still being manufactured and saw service in both battle and military ceremonies. Even today, they still play a vital role.

Most of these swords were based on European swords with little to no deviation as there was simply no need for it because of the use of long-range firing weapons. The early swords were simply labeled as Spanish, German, English, or European swords. 

Despite this, American swords are all fashioned after the European sword which was often a curved saber mostly used by cavalry troops or for ceremonial purposes. Some examples of American Swords include:

  • Hanger – Secondary swords that “hung” from the belts of soldiers. They could be straight or curved and most were used as one-handed weapons. They were made pretty simple and cheap, but very effective if used in battles
  • Artillery – These are the types of weaponry used by the artillery divisions. Such blades could be curved like a traditional saber or straight and short like a Roman Gladius. As a means of protecting artillery and stationary troops, they were developed for close-quarters battle and used one-handed.
  • Cavalry – The American cavalry swords were the most frequent blades used in battle, and they were typically curved and employed for slashing by mounted soldiers. The longest of the American Swords, these blades served as weapons as well as ceremonial instruments.
  • Naval – The swords carried by seafarers in the New World. They were the shortest of the American Swords and featured broad blades that were either curved or straight. It was used for thrusting and slashing in close quarters as this was the only form of sword fight that could occur between modern ships.
  • Officer – The American public favors officer swords above all other types of bladed weapons. They weren’t always employed in combat, but the higher-ranking officers almost always had one on them. Mostly ornamental, these curved or straight blades could also be used for stabbing and thrusting in combat.
  • Presentation – Nowadays, the most common type of American Sword is the Presentation Sword which was originally given as a sign of appreciation to officers or soldiers for their service and heroic deeds.
SwordOrigin / DateUsesCharacteristics
American (European style) SwordsAmerica 19th century ADWarfare, Ceremonial, Symbol of status, Slashing, ThrustingOne or two-handed, Single or double-edged, Straight or curved
17 to 47 inches(45 to 120 cm)
Masonic SwordEnglish / North American 18th / 19th century ADCeremonialOne or two-handed, Straight, Double-edged, Highly ornamental
15 to 49 inches (38 to 125 cm)
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