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The Greek Sword

Greek Bronze Sword

The Greek sword of the heroic ages is known to us in some detail from Homer's Illiad.

"Thus as he spoke, his sharp-edged sword he drew,

Ponderous and vast, suspended at his side."


I1., XXXII, 320.

"Then from beside his thigh Achilles drew his

Trenchant Blade."


I1., XXI, 192.

"Achilles drew and .... let fall his trenchant sword;

the two-edge blade was buried deep."


I1., XXXI, 133.

"O'er his shoulders flung his sword, adorned with

silver studs."


I1., II, 51.

"Around his shoulders slung, his sword he bore,

brass bladed, silver studded."


I1., III, 390.

"This said, a silver studded sword he gave,

with scabbard and with well-cut belt complete."


I1., VII, 335.

It is evident from this description that it was a sword for both cutting and thrusting, having a two edged blade made of bronze which we presume tapered to an acute point. The hilt was obviously highly decorated and some authorities state that it had a cross-guard of short, broad quillons whilst others say that there were no quillons and the hilt was a continuation of the blade as in the first type of Gallic hilt quoted above. The scabbard was carried slung on the back, and from Homer's description the sword lay low enough to be against the left thigh. This gives us very little clue as to the length of the blade, but most authorities give it as between 18 and 30 inches.

The Sword of the Historic ages of Greece was at first a copy, in iron, of the sword referred to above. However, there was introduced, very soon a sword which was to be the prototype of the standard Greek Military Sword. It was a much longer weapon, with a straight blade, and it was two-edged. It was therefore still a weapon for both cutting and thrusting. The Greek swordsmiths were very adept at fine ornamentation and they lavished all their skill on the decoration of both the hilt and scabbard of these Swords.

The Roman Sword


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