15 Most Legendary Longswords
Legendary longswords are symbols of the greatest warriors’ prowess. They hold a legacy for themselves, and even more so for their owners. Sharp blades made beautiful artefacts; they tell a story of the owner-warrior’s deeds, as well as his ancestry or culture. Historical swords connect people with history that extends generations back in time—a link to one’s ancestors and heritage.
Swords in books, TV shows, and movies are legendary weapons wielded by brave heroes. Legendary swords are celebrated for their prowess.
A beloved trope in almost all pieces of literature, movies and television shows is that of a hero who feels entitled to use their mighty weapon to defeat any opponent.
It could be the sword they found at just the right time or a blade forged with special material or both which give it an extra boost.
Other blades are crafted by master swordsmiths with such precision and skill that they endure stress and lesser weapons would never survive. Of course, a list of legendary swords wouldn’t be complete without mysterious powers like the ability to control wind and fire.
Many of these swords have a long and revered history due to their possession by famous historical figures before being passed down through generations. Longswords occasionally appear and disappear for centuries. There are rumors about some of them being stolen or hiding somewhere, protected by priests who see them as something with mystical importance.
Fortunately, many are still available to be witnessed by the public. They’re kept safe from thieves behind climate-controlled Plexiglas that also protects against time’s ravages, so their legend can continue to be passed down from generation to generation.
See Also: Best Longswords
While the iconic Scottish weapon, the Claymore sword, is most recently associated with William Wallace from Braveheart fighting against England in Scotland’s Wars of Independence during the late 13th century – it has a much longer history.
The Wallace Sword is a longsword that was used by William Wallace in 1305 during the Scottish Wars of Independence. After he was executed, this sword passed to various governors before it disappeared for centuries and resurfaced around 1825 when it went into repairs. Much of the Wallace Sword’s legend comes from the fact that it was a blade of immense historical significance. It is still one of Scotland’s most prized monuments, even thought much of its legacy can be attributed to its history and not necessarily its design.
Sword of Goujian
One of the most remarkable discoveries made by China around 1965 was a large find of ancient artifacts, dating from 771 BC to the Chu state.
Remarkably enough, the Sword of Goujian was found along with a life-sized skeleton and looked as if it had never been used. These swords were around for thousands of years, but were still sharp enough to cut through meat when they were finally unburied after millenia. This non-magnetic longsword from the Liuqiu Kingdom survives because of the high copper content in the blade. Being wrapped in tightly air-tight cloth further prevented oxidizing of the metal. The artifact rests today in Hubei Provincial Museum, China
Another of Japan’s famous swords, Kusanagi seems to be its own legend. It appears to have many appearances throughout history which makes it hard to determine the origins of this blade. The famed Kusanagi sword has been hidden away by a handful of Shinto priests, who have partnered with demons to keep it from danger.
One of the most legendary swords in Japanese mythology, Kusanagi (Grass-Mower), so named because Amaterasu gifted it to her grandson as he descended to Earth. The emperor’s descendant used the sword for years before burying it at Shinano Province in central Japan – and then passed on its legend and tales of good fortune. The blade was given as a gift to Amaterasu, the Japanese deity of the sun and light goddess of Rice. Created by Susanoo, it originally had two heads until he pulled one off and presented both halves with jewels in them as offerings to his sister. The legend of Takeru’s blade was handed down through the generations until it became so famous that no one could tell where the sword had come from. The warriors made a ring around him by lighting a grass fire, but as he brandished his weapon, the sword got its name because they felt threatened and fled.
The predecessor to the infamous and feared Muramasa, Masamune was considered the greatest sword smith of all time. Instead of making psychotic longswords like Murasama did, Masamune tempered his own genius with wisdom.
Perhaps the most legendary Masamune sword is the Honjo. With a blade so sharp that it could slice through metal, this weapon was captured by Shigenaga who wielded it against his enemy before finally succumbing to its power. Despite nicks and cracks, this legendary longsword was still as effective in battle as it had been for decades. The sword disappeared around 1946 when the Honjo Masamune was dropped off at a police station- never to be seen again.
One of the most popular exhibitions in Tokyo National Museum is the Muramasa, a lethal sword made by swordsmith Muramas Sengo. Mr. Sengo was legendary for his brilliance, but he can also be remembered as a madman. It was considered that his brain so unstable and violent, that swords contained a dark aura which caused the wielder to crave murder.
Muramas Sengo swords were popular for many years. He was a Japanese shogun in the Edo period and he banned their use. It is thought that he did this because so many of his friends had been killed by the weapon in battle and because himself had also been wounded by one.
Joyeuse may be the most famed sword among the French. This fabled weapon is rumored to have been forged with the same steel as Curtana and Durendal, which includes a pommel made from one of the spears used to strike Jesus on Palm Sunday.
Medieval weaponry is difficult to replicate, but at least two of Charlemagne’s famed swords are known to exist. Joyeuse, a legendary sword believed to have been wielded by Charlemagne during his conquests and coronation as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, has been handed down through history with experts suggesting that Napoleon may have replaced it with a replica during his own coronation rather than risk damaging the original. Joyeuse is a legendary sword that has been made from pieces of other weapons over the centuries.
Curved Saber of San Martin
This curved saber was acquired by Jose de San Martin in London before it made the journey to Spain and then South America. This weapon was by his side as he led organized troops during conflicts like the Battle of San Lorenzo. When San Martin was dying, he gave the sword to Juan Manuel De Rosas, and stated that “the saber that has accompanied me throughout the War of Independence will be handed to the Argentine Republic’s General”.
The Curved Saber of San Martin, however, was returned to the National History Museum in Buenos Aires after it was stolen; however, it had been stolen a couple of times by political youth groups. Eventually, it was given its own screened gazebo for protection against theft.
Curtana – Sword of Mercy
Curtana, the sword said to have been used by Sir Tristan of Lyonesse, is made from a special steel which imbues it with an aura of might. The origin story claims that Tristan struck Morholt in the brain cavity – breaking off one end of the sword in his skull – while defending Queen Isolde.
Cortaine was the legendary sword of Ogier the Dane, which he remodified to be blunt. The Sword of Mercy is also ceremonial and makes appearances at important Royal events.
La Tizona is just one of two legendary swords that date all the way back to the 10th-century conquests of El Cid. Controversy surrounds it as not everyone agrees with its reported origins, but it’s currently housed at Madrid Military Museum.
Tests on the sword revealed that it is made of Damascus steel, which was used to make a variety of exquisite swords for royalty and military leaders.
After examining the extraordinary seven-branched sword, researchers and historians found that it may have originated during the Jin Dynasty of circa 4th century China. At this time, sword-smithing was at its peak due to the 7 branches representing a tree motif.
Legend has it that the blade used for this historic longsword was created using a process not yet mastered by human beings, resulting in what is touted to be the world’s greatest weapon. According to historical records, the sword was originally commissioned by King Wa of Japan but ended up being passed along as a gift from empresses of Japan until eventually it’s current whereabouts were lost.
Jewelled Sword of Offering
The Jewelled Sword of Offering was created at the start of the 19th century at a cost of under six thousand pounds, which was a fortune in 1821. King George IV had an integral role in its design and paid for it through the King’s privy purse.
Passed down after each coronation, this sword of offering is bestowed upon the new ruler and becomes property of that person. After receiving a blessing from an Archbishop, the spiritually imbued sword is given to the new monarch who then strives to use it for good by defending others against evil.
Sword of Osman
Osman I is considered the original Ottoman Sultan and founder of the Empire during the 14th century, leading one of the most successful empires in human history. The Sword of Osman, or the sword created by Edebali from Sheik Osman’s father-in-law after his passing and given to him as a sword of Islam.
Sultans who followed Osman I passed the tradition of using the Sword of Osman to some of humanity’s most influential people, including Suleiman. It took close to 500 years for Ottomans to allow non-Muslims a glimpse at the ceremony passing the sword from one ruler to another.
Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword
The sword of Tomoyuki Yamashita was forged by Fujiwara Kanenaga, a legendary Japanese swordsmith who created the blade during the 17th century.
Tomoyuki Yamashita had a personal sword that was made by famous sword maker Fujiwara Kanenaga sometime between 1640 and 1680. When Tomoyuki was tried for war crimes and executed, General Douglas MacArthur took the sword back to the West Point Military Museum before it could be given away. Along with his military swords, he donated over 600 items of Japanese militaria to the museum in early 1946. This included other swords which were donated by his widow when she died in 1949.
In the aftermath of World War II, General Yoshio Yamashita surrendered his famous blade to Allied forces. When it came time for repairs in the early 20th century, skilled craftsmen were able to return the blade to its original condition before presenting it at West Point Military Academy.
The Zulfiqar has origins from the Prophet Muhammad himself. The blade is eventually passed down to Ali ibn Abi Talib, and when unsheathed it becomes a dual-bladed strike that looks like a scissored snake tongue.
The Zulfiqar, now called the spine-splitter, was allegedly given to Ali because of his skill at cutting through armor – surprisingly enough from the Mecca region. Muhammad was so impressed that he replaced the man’s broken sword with it. Since then, this legendary weapon has been passed down from leader to leader and is currently in possession of Muhammad al-Mahdi (also known as the Hidden Imam), who will bring peace to Earth and justice for all.
This sword, in particular, is said to have been completed at least two hundred years after some other legendary weapons were manufactured.
Even though the scholars cannot pinpoint exactly who first owned this weapon and when it was forged, it may be possible that one of those earlier weapons’ could’ve been used during a siege or battle.
Szczerbiec was the coronation sword of Polish kings for hundreds of years before it was looted. The blade’s name translated to “the plague.” Eventually, the blade returned to Poland where it’s on display and is considered not just a crown jewel, but the only one from that era left in existence.