Top 15 Legendary & Fictional Swords


A sword is made up of a chisel and a haft, with one or two edges for severing and penetrating, and a point for the assault. Swords have been used in warfare since times of yore. Many stories have been blend about and around certain reputated swords, belonging to both real and chimerical characters. We regale here with an account of some legendary swords that continue to captivate us to date.

These cutlass, being purely military weapons, are a regalia of power, dignity and exaltation, and all cultures have legends of unsurmountable swords.  The stories of these swords are not the reminiscence of the weapons, but also an account of their wielders. Here are some legendary swords from history, mythology and literature.

 

1. Zulfiqar

zulfiqar
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Zulfiqar (‘bifurcated’) is a well-known sword of Islamic history owned by Hazrat Ali, by many accounts, Muḥammad (PBUH) presented Zulfiqar to a young Ali at the Battle of Uhud. During the battle, Ali struck one of the fiercest adversaries, breaking both his helmet and his shield. Muhammad (PBUH) remarked “There is no hero but Ali and no sword except Zulfiqar”. By most historical accounts, Ali used the sword at the Battle of the Trench to cut a fierce Meccan opponent and his shield in two halves. The opponent was Amr ibn Abdawud, whose strength was often compared to that of a thousand men. No one had dared to fight him except Ali, who killed him with one powerful blow. Though Amr wore strong armor and carried powerful weapons, he is said to have been no match to Ali and his sword. The scimitar is one of the oldest and best known symbols of Islam. The sword was also used in the Battle of Karbala by Imam Hussain, and as a result it is seen as a symbol of honor and martyrdom. And it is now believed by the Shias to be in the possession of Imam Mehdi.

 

2. Nasril ( Andúril)

Andúril Nasril
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In J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional prehistory of the world (Arda), Narsil was the sword of King Elendil of the Dúnedain who used it in the War of the Last Alliance against Sauron, the sword in a later age was reforged as Andúril . It appears in The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.

Elendil, however, was killed during the battle and Narsil was broken in shards. His son Isildur then used the hilt-shard of Narsil to cut the One Ring from the finger of Sauron, thus defeating and vanquishing him. The shards of Narsil were passed on as heirloom, until the sword was reforged during the War of the Ring and handed over to Aragorn, who renamed it as Anduril (Sindarin for “The Flame of the West”) Aragorn receiving the sword was an action recognizing him as an heir of Isildur and the rightful king of Gondor. It is also referred to as ‘the sword that was broken’.

 

3. Flaming Sword

Flaming Sword
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A flaming sword is a sword glowing with flame by some supernatural power. Flaming swords have existed in legend and myth for thousands of years. According to the Bible, a Cherub with a flaming sword was placed by God at the gates of Paradise after Adam and Eve were banished from it (Genesis 3:24).
“He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims,
and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the
way of the tree of life.”  Genesis 3:24
Eastern Orthodox of Christianity tradition says that from the time Jesus was born, the flaming sword was removed from the Garden of Eden, making it possible for humanity to re-enter Paradise.

 

4. Excalibur

Excalibur
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Excalibur is the legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur’s lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. The sword was associated with the Arthurian legend very early. In Welsh, the sword is called Caledfwlch .

There are two swords that appear in Arthurian legends: the Sword in the Stone, which only Arthur could wield, thereby proving his rightful kingship; and the sword given to him by the Lady of the Lake. In some versions there is only one sword, while in others, the Sword in Stone is broken and later Arthur receives Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. Having a magical origin, the sword was unbreakable and its scabbard protected the king from physical harm. Morgan Le Fay, Arthur’s half-sister, stole the sword. It was recovered but the scabbard was lost, hence allowing King Arthur to be mortally wounded in the Battle of Camlann. Arthur orders one of his knights to throw back the sword in the enchanted lake, and when done so, a hand appeared from the waters to catch it, taking it beneath the water from where it had first emerged.

 

5. Kusangi-no-Tsurugi


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Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (is a legendary Japanese sword as important to Japan’s history as Excalibur is to Britain’s, and is one of three Imperial Regalia of Japan. It was originally called Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (“Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven”) but its name was later changed to the more popular Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass Cutting Sword”).

It was discovered from the body of a giant serpent. In the reign of the XII Emperor, the sword was gifted to Yamato Takeru, who was led into an open grassland as a trap by a warlord. The plan was to ignite the grass and burn Yamato to death. In desperation, Yamato started cutting the grass with his sword and discovered to his amazement that he could control the wind. Using this power, Yamato expanded the fire in the direction of his enemies, defeating them. It was after this incident that Yamato named the sword as “Grasscutter Sword”. Yamato was later killed in a battle by a monster when he ignored his wife’s advice to take the Grasscutter sword with him. The moral of the story: Always listen to your wife. However, In The Tale of the Heike, a collection of oral stories transcribed in 1371, the sword is lost at sea after the defeat of the Heike clan in the Battle of Dan-no-ura, a naval battle that ended in the defeat of the Heike clan forces and the child Emperor Antoku at the hands of Minamoto no Yoshitsune. In the tale, upon hearing of the Navy’s defeat, the Emperor’s grandmother led the Emperor and his entourage to commit suicide by drowning in the waters of the strait along with the three Imperial Regalia, including Kusanagi. Although the Minamoto troops managed to stop a handful of them and recovered two of the three regalia, Kusanagi was said to have been lost forever.

 

6. The Sword of Damocles

Sword of Damocles
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Damocles is a figure featured in a single moral anecdote concerning the Sword of Damocles which was a late addition to classical Greek culture. The figure belongs properly to legend rather than Greek myth. Damocles was a courtier in the court of King Dionysius.

The Damocles of the anecdote was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a fourth century BC tyrant of Syracuse. Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority, Dionysius was truly fortunate. Dionysius offered to switch places with him for a day, so he could taste first hand that fortune. In the evening a banquet was held where Damocles very much enjoyed being waited upon like a king. Only at the end of the meal did he look up and notice a sharpened sword hanging directly above his head by a single horse-hair. Immediately, he lost all taste for the amenities and asked leave of the tyrant, saying he no longer wanted to be so fortunate.

Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives. Cicero uses this story as the last in a series of contrasting examples for reaching the conclusion he had been moving towards in this fifth Disputation, in which the theme is that virtue is sufficient for living a happy life. Cicero asks
“Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?”
A slightly different moral to the story of the Sword of Damocles is that, “The value of the sword is not that it falls, but rather, that it hangs.”

 

7. Master Sword



The Master Sword (also known as The Blade of Evil’s Bane or as the Sword of Time) is typically the most powerful weapon in a Zelda game for general usage; with the exception of the Biggoron Sword, Gilded Sword, Great Fairy’s Sword, and the upgrades in A Link to the Past. The Master Sword will usually have a power level of two or three times that of the starting sword. Zelda  states that the sword was created by Ancient Sages. However, Skyward Sword, which takes place before the events of Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, reveals that the Master Sword was originally once known as the Skyward Sword, where it rested in a floating island above the clouds known as Skyloft. The backstory to A Link to the Past  reveals the Master Sword’s purpose as the sword which could combat the power of an evil person misusing the Triforce.

 

8. Vorpal Sword

Vorpal Sword
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The Vorpal sword is the only sword in the literature that can go “snicker-snack”. It appears in what is said to be one of the greatest ‘nonsense poems’ in English: “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass. It is the story of a young boy slaying a monster known as ‘Jabberwock’ using the Vorpal sword. Lewis Carroll published Through the Looking-Glass in 1871. Near the beginning, Alice discovers and reads “Jabberwocky”. The word “vorpal” appears twice in the poem, which describes a young boy’s quest to slay a monster. Here is the Poem (Link).

As with much of the rest of the poem’s vocabulary, the reader is left to guess at the meaning of “vorpal” from the context. It is commonly assumed to mean “deadly” or “sharp” words often used to describe swords, but some readers have imagined other properties the word could describe. Alexander L. Taylor points out in his Carroll biography The White Knight that “vorpal” can be formed by taking letters alternately from “verbal” and “gospel”.There are many speculations as to what “Vorpal” means. Lewis Carroll, however, confessed, “I am afraid I can’t explain ‘vorpal blade’ for you – nor yet ‘tulgey wood.” Vorpal sword has recently been featured in several role-playing video-games.

 

9. Shamshir-e-Zomorrodnegar

Shamshir-e-Zomorrodnegar
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Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar “The emerald-studded sword” is a sword in the Persian legend Amir Arsalan. The witch mother of a hideous horned demon called Fulad-zereh used a charm to make Fulad-zereh’s body invulnerable to all weapons except the blows of a specific sword called Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar.

This blade originally belonged to King Solomon, and was carefully guarded by Fulad-zereh, not only because it was a valuable weapon, and indeed the only weapon that could harm the demon, but also because wearing it was a charm against magic. A wound inflicted by this sword could only be treated by a special potion made from a number of ingredients, including Fulad-zereh’s brains.

 

10. Lightsaber

Lightsaber
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A lightsaber a popular weapon, was introduced in sci-fi series Star Wars  and the franchise’s Expanded Universe. The lightsaber consists of a polished metal hilt which projects a blade of energy (plasma) about one meter long. The lightsaber is the signature weapon of the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts, both of whom can use them for offence, or to deflect blaster bolts. Its distinct appearance was created using rotoscoping for the original trilogy, and digitally for the prequel trilogy. The lightsaber first appeared in the original Star Wars film (1977) and every Star Wars movie to date features at least one lightsaber duel. In 2008, a survey of approximately two thousand film fans found it to be the most popular film weapon.

The lightsaber’s blade cuts through most substances without resistance. It leaves cauterized wounds in flesh, but can be deflected by another lightsaber’s blade, or an energy shield or wall. Some vibroswords and shields made with cortosis are also able to deflect them as seen first in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and later on in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and The Force Unleashed. An active lightsaber gives off a distinctive hum, which rises in pitch and volume as the blade is moved rapidly through the air. Bringing the blade into contact with an object or another lightsaber’s blade produces a loud crackle. Here’s how a lightsaber works. (Link).

 

11. Glory of Ten Powers

Glory of Ten Powers
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The Glory of Ten powers is a legendary Chinese sword, said to be created in Tibet by husband and wife magicians of the ancient Bön tradition. The love of the couple when creating the magical sword caused a great spirit to enter the weapon. The sword gained the power to protect the wearer using its magical powers. The sword is said to have been eventually captured and burned by the family’s enemies and the sword made into a magic talisman. Said in the 1930s work of Tang Hao to be possessed by Hua Tuo, the famous Chinese physician who lived during the Three Kingdoms era. Chinese literature is littered with references to this amulet just as English works often mention Excalibur.

 

12. Gram Sword

Gram Sword
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In Norse Mythology , the god Odin plunged a sword into the tree Barnstokkr in the hall of the Völsungs during a wedding and declared that he who could take it out would receive it as a gift. Only Sigmund was able to do so. Later, during a battle, Sigmund fights an old man, who is actually Odin in disguise; Odin shatters the sword and Sigmund is killed by others. As he lies dying, he tells his wife that his son would one day make a great sword from the fragments. The prophecy was fulfilled as his son Sigurd reforged the sword. Handle, guard and pommel were plated in silver and highlighted with 24-karat gold details. The sword’s stainless steel blade was massive and jagged edged and Sigurd killed the dragon Fafnir with it. In the Nibelungenlied, Siegfried’s sword is called Balmung ; in Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, it is called Nothung .

 

13. Sword of Omens

Sword of Omens
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Children growing up in the 90s would be well-familiar with the cry: “Thunder… Thunder… Thunder… Thundercats! HOOOOOOO!” Yes, it’s the shout of Lion-O from the Thundercats cartoon series to summon the Thundercats using his Sword of Omens. The sword contains the mystic Eye of Thundera in its hilt, the source of Thundercats’ power. It is normally in the form of a dagger resting within Lion-O’s claw-shield, but it grows into a full-fledged sword when Lion-O swings it around and utters the Thundercat signal. The sword can also grant Lion-O the second-sight to see where danger awaits him.

 

14. Durendal

Durendal
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Durendal or Durandal is the sword of Charlemagne’s paladin Roland in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. According to Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso it once belonged to Hector of Troy, and was given to Roland by Malagigi (Maugris). The name probably comes from the French verb “durer”, “to endure”.

In The Song of Roland, the sword is said to contain within its golden hilt one tooth of Saint Peter, blood of Saint Basil, hair of Saint Denis, and a piece of the raiment of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the poem, Count Roland attempts to destroy the sword to prevent it from being captured by the ambushing Saracens and creates La Brèche de Roland in the Pyrenees in the process. But Durendal proves indestructible, so he hides it beneath his body along with the oliphant, the horn used to alert Charlemagne. Local folklore claims Durendal still exists, preserved in Rocamadour, France. An inscription on Ogier the Dane’s sword Curtana read My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durendal.

 

15. William Wallace’s Sword


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Though there are different sides to every story, there is one underlying truth about the tales of the Scottish hero William Wallace. He was a man of big deeds who used a big sword. Our 13th century two handed great sword is likely a sword that the fearsome hero would’ve been eager to use. With its 40-inch blade balanced by a solid steel cross guard and heavy steel pommel, this sword has tremendous potential in the hands of a skilled swordsman. The leather wrapped ricasso allows one to choke up on the blade to offer better balance when fighting in close quarters while both guard and pommel offer them selves as stout striking points in time of need.

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50 thoughts on “Top 15 Legendary & Fictional Swords

  1. New Moon, the sword of Cutter in “Elfquest”, should have been part of that collection…..

  2. I wonder why the Hattori Hanzo Sword didn’t make it into the list.
    🙂

    Other than that: .. impressive

    regards,
    Jens

  3. If the Sword of Omens is in this list, then where are the Power Sword (He-Man) and Sword of Protection (She-Ra)??

  4. I can think of two more – the Tetsaiga from the excellent anime Inuyasha and The Sword that kills Gods from the current comic book series the Sword.

  5. Zulfiqar is the only well deserved one and the one that there is proof of existence
    the cartoonish ones should not be included

  6. Many of these swords are not legendary, like the Sword of Omens or the Light Saber, they should go on a list of top 15 fictional swords instead.

  7. Joel is right! The Sword of Truth, and also the sword Brisingr of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. There really should be a list of top Legendary Swords, then Top Fictional swords….That would be easier to discern and distinguish… I’ve never even heard of some of those swords, or their wielders to be honest.

  8. zulfikar is real great and trusted sword..and also 1 another is “sword of tipu sultan”..i listen this sword’s weight is 20 kg.whn tipusultan die no body come to near his body coz he is too danger.real tiger

  9. Where is Sephiroth’s Masamune? You cannot have a legendary sword list without the Uber Weapon Masamune!

  10. SURE, The Religion of Peace(TM) adherent would hawk his fundie goals. Pics, or it didn’t happen applies here too, you know. Take your fatwa elsewhere

  11. I cannot believe you left out Hrunting, Beowulf’s sword.
    Yet you include the sword from Thundercats, and some reader want to include some sword from Zelda.

  12. Hattori Hanzo’s sword IS there, incorrectly listed as Glory of Ten Powers or something…a katana is a Japanese weapon…NOT Chinese.

  13. Although less impressive as the Master Sword (for its properties of repeling Gannondorf’s evil) it is one i prefere over the Master Sword anyday … The Master Sword even making it in this list made me lol for a while…. +1 vote for Cloud’s Buster Sword ^_^

  14. Yes, a lot of these swords are fictional. It will never cease to amaze me how many people can’t read the title of an article.

  15. Blades I’d have picked
    Stormbringer… a very nasty soul-stealing blade.
    Cryknives from the Dune novels.
    Sting, Bilbo’s (and later Frodo’s) trusty Elven dagger.

  16. i agree with u it is a real sword used by a real hero and should be respected for the sword is only one of a kind and it is real

  17. What about cloud’s sword at advent children? the one that divides into many? xD

  18. i read somewhere about a rune sword ‘caustically and irrevocably associated with the ages past and present but never future’. Does that help?

  19. why isnt Zantetsuken on this list. its like the most famous blade in history. it was weilded by Odin

  20. i really think the buster sword or at least revovler should be in this list and ultima weapon would be perfect too

  21. SWORD ENTRIES NEEDED:

    FICTION: Stormbringer (Elric), Mournblade (Elric), Sting (LOTR), Green Destiny (CTHD), Sword of Gryffindor, The Atlantean Sword (Conan), The Sword of Shannara, New Moon (Elfquest)

    HISTORICAL: Tizona (El Cid), Colada (El Cid), Hauteclaire (Oliver), Crocea Mors (Julius Caesar), Sword of Attila, Sword of Alexander (Gordian Knot), Sword of Joan of Arc,

    MYTH: Clarent (The sword in the stone), Arondight (Lancelot), The Grail Sword (Percival), The Singing Sword of Conaire Mor, Joyeuse (Charlemagne), Fragarach, Laevateinn, The sword of Peleus, Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar (Solomon), Sword of Damocles,

  22. I think the legendary sword of Kith-Kanan should have been in this. Many people have not read the Dragonlance series,but it is a very famous sword.

  23. Wow. super nice collections and descriptions of swords.. i had fun reading it.. i love the glory of ten sword. whew.! thanks.

  24. I have missed the “Sword of Mars”
    It was a sword send by the God of war (Mars) to Aid Attila the Hun. He was one of the greatest Warlords in Europe and the leader of the Hunnic empire.

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