Sword Buying Guides & Symbolism

Guide to Authentic Samurai Swords How to Buy a Medieval Sword Studying the Italian Rapier The Mystique of the Sword
Honest and detailed advice about selecting a Japanese sword Guide for the beginner to avoid confusion when buying a Medieval sword Fascinating look at the tradition of Italian martial arts and modern sword competition Swords and their power and prestige in history and literature

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The Mystique of the Sword

The sword is a spectacular weapon that has served as a symbol of power, kingship, and heroism in many cultures since ancient times. Forged from the bronze or iron of the Earth, swords have taken on many mystical properties in legends and lore. Literature reveals the sword as the scepter of authority that man is given from the Earth.

This is clearly seen in Arthurian tales with the famous legend of the sword in the stone. Only the true king can draw the blade from the stone, which demonstrates that the Earth shall bestow the power and authority. Then the image Lady of the Lake as she gives and takes back the most famous of swords Excalibur reinforces the connection of the sword to the Earth's power, especially the elemental and fertile force of water. The king receives the sword from the divine forces of the Earth. It is never truly his.

The allure of swords comes also from their intimate nature. A sword is a weapon of close personal combat. A sword is not a projectile weapon. It is a dangerous extension of the body. One must be brave to use it, and therefore, a sword has an inherent quality of courage.

In the hands of a warrior whether from history or legend, a sword possesses a tangible potency. The blade is long and sharp, admittedly phallic, and, as a weapon, it makes up for our shortcomings as an animal. Lacking fangs and claws, humans are soft and nearly defenseless, but with a sword, fierce monsters and foes will be slain.

Beyond the spiritual and animalistic appeals of swords, they also derive value within the economic realities of societies. A sword is not a poor man's weapon, especially in antiquity. Refined metal ore was needed to produce a sword along with the skilled hands of a weapon smith. The resources and talent needed to make a sword meant that a sword automatically exemplified prestige and power.

Literature favors this socioeconomic fact. Often in a story, the sword is necessary for kingship, as in Arthurian legend. The Lord of the Rings epic carries on the tradition of kingmaking swords. Aragorn, although the heir of Isildur, also needs to have the broken sword of Isildur remade for him to truly take on the trappings and respect of the kings of old.

Even outside of legend and popular literature, swords endure in their popularity during impersonal and technological modern times where nifty electronic devices bestow prestige and the power of information. Many martial artists maintain the old ways of the sword, and hobbyists and collectors eagerly create a thriving trade in swords.

The other articles at this site have been written by knowledgeable sword enthusiasts. Explore the many ways and cultures that inspire contemporary followers of the blade.

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