Advanced Swords With Special Features You Never Considered
History has shown us a variety of unusual sword designs. Let's investigate some of the most advanced and famous swords ever invented!Design
It was cold steel in the hands of brave men that forged the history of our civilization. From short blades to enormous two-handers, history has shown us a variety of unusual sword designs. Many of them had some quite interesting advanced features that you've probably never heard of. Let's investigate 20 of the most famous swords in history!
Coming from India, this sword is a “whip sword” also known as the “curling blade”. This 2 millennium-old sword has a blade so thin and long that it can effectively be used as a whip. With such a flexible design, it's made primarily for slashing and you can hardly defend against it because it bends around shields or any other defending obstacles.
Urumi is also effective as a defensive weapon as fighters can whip it around their head to create a defensive bubble. Unsurprisingly, it's also very difficult to wield and dangerous to the user.
19. Tiger Hook Swords
These types of swords are traditional weapons associated with Chinese Kung Fu martial arts. Hook swords always come in pairs and are all about slashing. The hook tip is also used for grabbing weapons or tripping enemies.
The Crescent guards and the bottom of the hilt are also sharpened. What's especially cool is they can link together via hooks. When hooked, they turn into a long and flexible weapon, extending their reach.
This is a legendary saber of the medieval Orient. Scimitars were famous for their unusually strong, but light blades, due to the use of so-called “Damascus steel”, forged in a manner to provide both extreme hardness and excellent flexibility for their time.
The excellence of Scimitars on the battlefield also came from their curved design, which allowed cavalrymen to slice their opponents from shoulder to waist in full run while continuing to advance. Straight swords tended to get stuck.
This rare Egyptian battle sword of ancient times was derived from a battle ax and had a blade with a crescent-shaped upper half.
The curved top half provided excellent slicing and cutting power. The entire blades were about half a meter long, making them perfect for close-quartered battles. The inner part of the crescent blade was blunt and was used to disarm or trip opponents.
This was the preferred weapon of Indian Sikh warriors. Unusually, they used this sword with a straight, double-edged blade for slashing, which was enabled by its light, elastic blade reinforced with narrow strips of steel.
It had another interesting feature as well - a short protrusion on the bottom of its hilt to grab the sword with two hands in order to inflict heavier strikes.
15. Ngombe Ngulu
This odd looking sword comes from the cannibal Ngombe tribe of the Congo, who used it for ceremonial executions. The blade is elaborately designed for decapitating victims, since it's heavy and has a very sharp crescent-shaped top which is sufficiently curved for executioners to cut off victims’ heads in just one stroke.
The decorated back also assists bearers to carry the blade on their shoulder as the sword is heavy. After the ceremony was over, the tribe would then feast on what was left of the poor victim.
14. Nayar Temple Sword
This sword is closely associated with the Hindu Maa Nayar Devi Temple dedicated to the mother goddess Nayar. Even though it had a very mean look and a very sharp double-edged blade, it wasn’t necessarily used for military purposes.
Quite the contrary, it was mostly used for religious purposes. It even had small holes on the blade to attach charms or other trinkets.
13. Pata Sword
This sword is unusual because it has an integrated handguard, which is made in the shape of a gauntlet, providing almost complete protection for the swordsman’s hand. Inside the gauntlet is a shaft to hold the sword.
Since the sword is strongly supported by the arm, Patas were mostly used for powerful slashes and often wielded by mounted cavalry.
This single-edged long sword was the favored battle sword of various ethnic groups in the Philippines because of its very strong blade made from the Damascus steel pattern welding process.
The end of the blade is much broader and thinner than at its base requiring a heavy, divided hilt that balances the blade and is also thought to represent a mythical creature's open mouth.
Along with being used in battle, it was wielded for headhunting, as was the case for chief Lapu-Lapu, who defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan with it.
This is another sword from the Philippine archipelago. It was used equally as a tool and as a combat weapon. Distinguished for its proportionately long hilt made of hardwood, its uniquely long forward curving blade made it unique for swinging, so the sword was used for finishing off wounded enemies, though it was rarely ever used on the battlefield.
Today it's used domestically, for used mostly for clearing unusually dense vegetation and slicing large chunks of tuna fish.
These swords were versions of Macedonian Kopi swords used in pre-roman Iberia, which is present-day Spain. Similar to Kopi, Falcatas have forward curved single-edged blades, perfect for slashing as the weight pitches forward to the point, enabling it to deliver a blow with the momentum of an ax.
Their distinctive feature is a curved grip and an unusual hooked hilt without a pommel, providing better protection for your hand.
It was supremely effective, not only because of its shape, but also because of the quality of the iron used to make them, and the process they used to bury the steel to corrode its weak points.
This French sword, also known as 'tuck' in English, was designed specifically for defeating enemies in chainmail or plate armor. It was this, or concussive force; such as using a war hammer or mace. With a relatively dull edge, this sword would thrust through mail links or gaps in armor.
Rather than being thin, this type of sword usually has a triangular, square or diamond cross-section, so that it's strong and robust enough to be used.
This European sword gets its name from its distinctive wavy blade that resembles a flame. Dating to the 16th century, it had quite an unusual shape for its time. However, its awkward shape had a practical use.
With an increased edge surface, wavy blades inflict heavier wounds than flat ones as the sharp edges would drag through objects like a saw blade.
Also, waves helped defend the wielder as they added friction - preventing an enemy from sliding their blade over to injure you if you parry their attack. They were also reserved for distinguished swordsmen, so it was a way to showcase the swordsman's skill.
Zweihander in German stands for the ''two-hander''. Being an enormous medieval sword, it required two hands. Being over 2 meters long and weighing a few kilograms, they were carried across the shoulder. These enormous weapons were the result of the medieval trend of increasing sword sizes.
They were primarily intended to be used against spears or other spiked obstacles. Even though their blade was sharp on both edges, the real advantage was using their sheer weight to break opposing weapons.
Katanas are some of the strongest and sharpest blades of them all, which is why they were reserved for samurai. And while you may like to call them ''samurai swords'', that doesn't account for the different varieties of these swords out there.
Still, they're famed because of their quality for their time, which results from a centuries-old Japanese sword-making technique that helps remove impurities within the steel, creating a stronger blade.
Different variations of Katana's are layered for their specific purpose, but in general: they're tipped with a sharp edge while the core of the blade is softer and more flexible. Made in this manner, Katanas are both strong and flexible enough to withstand even the heaviest blows. They're often so sharp because they're polished for more than two weeks.
5. Executioner's Sword
Until the 16th century, standard swords were used for executions. But since then, special swords known as 'Executioner's swords' were used, particularly in Europe except for England, where they used Axes.
Intended for two-handed use, they were double-edged blades with a blunt tip, since it was never used. Being tools of “justice” they were decorated with symbolic signs, including images of Christ, and combined with moralistic inscriptions. One such German sword had an inscription: When I Raise This Sword, So I Wish That This Poor Sinner Will Receive Eternal Life!
The 3 holes at the end are also quite fascinating. They probably prevent the tip from being reshaped into a mundane weapon of war, or they were used to add weights to the tip for a heavier swing, or they could have made the blade whistle for dramatic effect.
4. Butterfly Sword
Though sometimes referred to as knives because of their length, they look more intimidating than any knife I've seen. Butterfly sword blades tend to be as long as human forearms, and almost always come in pairs, which is presumable where they get their name from.
They're also easily concealed and used in several Chinese martial arts for close-quartered fighting. Traditionally, the blade is sharpened from the middle to the tip, leaving the lower half blunt for inflicting non-lethal strikes.
The guard is designed to protect the wielder's hand and is also capable of being used like a brass knuckle. On the opposite side, the guard has a protrusion that can be used to hook an opponent’s weapon.
3. Cane Sword
Swordsticks or 'cane-swords' are deceitfully clever objects. They appeared at the end of the 18th century as a fashion accessory. Since at the time it became socially unacceptable to carry a sword around, many men and women found the sticks as a perfect hiding place for their blades.
Besides being used as a fashion accessory, cane-swords were then and now as well, used as self-defense weapons. The popularity of the weapon has never ceased. Today, you can find a whole specter of cane-swords online, even though they are strictly forbidden in many countries.
2. Combination Sword
The idea of combining firearms and cold weapons dates back to the first days of flintlock pistols. Since both weapons were typically used at the same time it was natural to try to connect them. The first combination swords appeared in the late 16th century. They were particularly favored among pirates, who used them for boarding purposes.
However, their design was also popular among posh aristocrats. Still, they had many drawbacks since the sword was always in the way of the pistol and vice versa; making the weapon an off-balanced sword and a heavy pistol!
This sword is considered the Muslim Excalibur! It was the most famous of the 9 swords of the prophet Mohamed, and the only one that is lost. Zulfiqar was actually a scimitar with a distinctive two-pronged point. The reason for such a design is unknown because the bifurcated point does not make for a better sword.
One legend says that the sword point was made in the shape of a snake's tongue, always targeting the enemy's eyes. The name itself may also give an answer, since in Arabic 'Zulfiqar' means the cleaver of the spine. Still, there are a variety of conceptual designs out there to conceptualize what it may have looked like and it's unusual, to say the least!
If you were impressed at these swords with special features, you might want to read about the most powerful and magical weapons in mythology. Thanks for reading!