Many of the events of our long and turbulent past could only have been achieved through the power of the mighty sword. That's why we've collected 8 of the most famous swords to have ever graced the battlefield below, all of which are still intact today.
1. Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
Tomoyuki Yamashita was a Japanese WWII general, who became known as 'The Tiger of Malaya' after successfully conquering the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore. This sword's blade was supposedly created by the famous swordsmith, Fujiwara Kanenaga, in the 17th Century. Today it can be seen in New York's West Point Military Museum.
2. The Seven-Branched Sword
The Baekje Dynasty was one of South Korea's most powerful families, and it is believed that this unique sword was given to King Geunchogo of Baekje as a sign of praise by Eastern Jin in 372AD. At 74.9cm in length, this sword was clearly designed for ceremonial purposes and not for battle. It has an inscription on it that reads: “At noon on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month, fourth year of Taiwa era, the sword was made of 100 time’s hardened steel. Using the sword repels 100 enemy soldiers. Appropriate for the polite duke king.”
3. The Curved Saber of San Martin
José de San Martín was a great Argentine general, who played a huge role in the liberation of South America from Spanish rule. The curved sword that he acquired in London was said to be one of his most valued possessions, since he felt that its shape offered the greatest amount of maneuverability during battle. In his will, he referred to the sword as “the saber that has accompanied me throughout the War of Independence of South America."
4. Napoleon's Sword
Passed down from one generation to the next, Napoleon's famous gold-encrusted sword was eventually auctioned off in France for a whopping $6.4 million dollars. It is believed to have been used on the battlefield, is entirely unique, and made from the highest-possible quality materials that were available at the time.
5. Honjo Masamune
Masamune was a legendary 13th-century Japanese swordsmith, who is often called one of the greatest metallurgists of all time. The sword pictured above, called Honjo Masamune, is considered to be his greatest work of all, because it was used by the Shogun warriors during Japan's Edo period. In 1939, it became a Japanese national treasure due to its great historical significance.
Regarded as 'the Father of Europe', Charlemagne is considered to be one of the most powerful conquerors to have ever set foot on this planet. Unsurprisingly, his sword, Joyeuse, is highly precious, which is why it can now be found in the Louvre. It has a heavily-sculpted gold pommel, and its long grip was once encrusted with precious diamonds.
7. The Wallace Sword
William Wallace (1272-1305) was a Scottish knight who is most famous for leading the Scottish resistance in the Wars of Scottish Independence. He was eventually captured by England's King Edward I and was executed for treason. His sword's shaft is around 4 feet long and 4 inches wide, and weighs only 6lb. Historians believe that the sword above was used in both 1297's Battle of Stirling Bridge and 1298's Battle of Falkirk.
8. The Sword of Mercy
The Sword of Mercy is a legendary weapon that belonged to Edward the Confessor, Britain's final Anglo-Saxon king. It has a broken tip which, according to ancient legends, was broken off by angels to prevent wrongful killings. Today, it is part of the Crown Jewels and is one of the swords used during the coronation of monarchs.