Geek, gamer, writer, graphic artist. Ced's favorite shows and adventures are those that allow him to enjoy the world from his bedroom.
Whether in the East or West, legendary swords have long represented power and status.
To paraphrase the words of Taiwanese Wuxia writer Gu Long, swords are emblems of eminence. They are a projection of might and justice; and in many cases, regality too.
The following is a list of 250 famous legendary swords consolidated from world mythology, folkloric poems, fiction, and pop culture such as Anime. Use this list as inspiration for your creative needs or just to brush up on your sword trivia and lore.
- This list of famous and powerful swords is in no way exhaustive. For example, if every sword from Touken Rabu is included, this list would run into a five digit word count.
- For reasons of brevity, swords that are more famous as a group or pair are listed as one entry.
- Many entries do not have English names. For these, the most common translation is used.
- Chinese characters (kanji) for Chinese and Japanese swords are included.
- For easy searching of specific names, please use the search function of your browser. (CTRL-F/Command (⌘)-F on desktops)
- For easy reading, this list is divided into the following sections:
- A. Mythological Swords: Swords from world mythology and religion. Includes those mentioned in medieval folkloric tales such as epic poems.
- B. Historical Swords: Actual historical relics. Some are currently on display in museums.
- C. Fictional Swords: Swords introduced in written works. To differentiate from folkloric swords, titles mentioned are from the modern era.
- D. Pop Culture Swords: Swords from movies, cartoons, video games, Manga, Anime, etc.
A. Mythological Swords
Magical and powerful swords in mythology usually represent the blessing of strength and power by the gods. If not, they are a terse summary or extension of the wielder’s personality.
- Almace: The sword of Turpin, Archbishop of Reims in The Song of Roland.
- Ama-no-Habakiri: (天羽々斬) The immense “ten-fist” sword used by Shinto god Susanoo to slay the Orochi Serpent.
- Ame-no-Ohabari: (天の尾羽張) The totsuka-no-tsurugi (sword of length of ten fists) used by Shinto god Izanagi to kill his son Kagu-tsuchi. Izanagi did so after Kagu-tsuchi burnt his mother to death during childbirth.
- Arondight: The sword of Sir Lancelot in Arthurian legends.
- Ascalon: The supposed sword, or lance, used by Saint George to slay the dragon. Nowadays, frequently the name for powerful holy weapons in video games.
- Asi: In Hindu mythology, a sacred sword created by Brahma to defeat evil. Throughout the ages, it was wielded by different gods and heroes, including Shiva and Vishnu.
- Balisarda: The enchanted sword of Rogero in the Orlando Innamorato epics. It could easily split enchanted objects.
- Blutgang: The magnificent sword of Heime in Anglo-Saxon poems. Nowadays, often re-spelled as “Burtgang” in video games like the Castlevania Series.
- Caladgolg: The legendary sword of Fergus mac Róich in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. A two-handed sword said to emit rainbow-like arcs when swung.
- Caliburn: The sword that proved King Arthur’s lineage i.e. the world-famous sword in the stone. Depending on which version of Arthurian tales you’re reading, Caliburn might or might not be the same as Excalibur.
- Chandrahas: An indestructible sword given to Ravana upon the demon lord observing penance for offending Shiva. It was forecasted that should Ravana use the sword for evil, his days would be numbered.
- Chandrahrasa: The Buddhist sword of Bodhisattva Manjusri. Represents the wisdom to "cut away" the temptations/ills of the world.
- Cheng Ying: (程影) An elegant sword believed to be from China’s Zhou Dynasty era. Sometimes considered one of the ten legendary swords of the Middle Kingdom.
- Chi Xiao: (赤霄) The sword of Liu Bang, founder of China’s Han Dynasty. It is culturally considered as a representation of imperial sovereignty.
- Chrysaor: The golden sword of Sir Artegal in Edmund Spencer’s epic poem, The Faerie Queene. Said to be capable of cutting anything.
- Chun Jun: (纯均) A priceless Chinese sword said to be forged by master swordsmith Ou Yezi. Usually considered one of the ten legendary swords of China.
- Claíomh Solais: In Celtic legends, the magical sword of light wielded by Nuada Airgeadlámh the Silver Arm. In recent times, “Claiomh Solais” is often the name of end-game, powerful mythological swords in video games.
- Clarent: The ceremonial sword of peace used by Mordred to kill King Arthur.
- Coreiseuse: The sword of King Ban, father of Lancelot. The name means wrathful.
- Cruaidín Catutchenn: The mythical sword of Irish hero Cú Chulainn. You don’t want to see the Hound brandishing this when he’s in a foul mood.
- Cura Si Manjakini: According to the Malay Annals, a legendary sword of which the blade is possessed by Sang Sapurba, the ancestor of the Malay kings.
- Dáinsleif: The legendary sword of King Högni's in Norse mythology. Capable of inflicting wounds that will never heal. Like many other weapons in Norse mythology, it was forged by dwarves.
- Doujikiri Yasutsna: (童子切安綱) The superior blade used by Japanese folkloric hero Minamoto no Yorimitsu to slay the awful ogre Shutendouji. Nowadays, a staple in many Japanese fantasy stories and games.
- Durandal: The indestructible sword of Roland, legendary paladin of Charlemagne in classic French literature. A replica is embedded in a cliff wall at Rocamadour.
- Excalibur: The most famous mythological sword of all. King Arthur’s legendary blade continues to appear in many books, movies, video games, etc. Depending on which version of the Arthurian tales you’re reading, Excalibur could be capable of imbuing its master with supernatural abilities too.
- Futsunomitama-no-Tsurugi: (布都御魂剣) The totsuka-no-tsurugi (sword of the length of ten fists) used by Shinto thunder god Takemikazuchi during the quelling of the middle country. This legendary Japanese sword was later gifted to Emperor Jimmu.
- Galatine: The sword Gawain received from the Lady of the Lake.
- Gambanteinn: A Norse sword mentioned in the Poem Edda.
- Gan Jiang/Mo Ye: (干将/莫邪) The most famous and most referenced legendary swords of China. There are various stories behind their creation, nearly all gruesome. The pair is also considered by all to be one of the ten legendary swords of China, with a road in Suzhou named after Gan Jiang.
- Giant’s Sword: Typical name for the weapon retrieved by Beowulf during his underwater fight with the Grendel’s mother. It successfully slew the female beast.
- Girish: One of the many armaments of Hindu God Shiva.
- Gong Bu: (工布) An ancient Chinese sword said to be forged by master swordsmith Ou Yezi. Sometimes considered one of the ten legendary swords of China.
- Grail Sword: In Arthurian legends, the cracked holy sword that was repaired by Percival.
- Gram: The sword used by Sigurd to slay the dragon Fafnir in the Volsunga Saga. Probably the most powerful sword in Norse mythology.
- Harpe: The Greek name for a type of sickle. A harpe was used by Cronus to castrate his father. Much later, one was also used by Perseus to decapitate Medusa.
- Hauteclere: The beautiful sword of Olivier in The Song of Roland. Its defining characteristic was a crystal in its golden hilt.
- Hovod: The sword of Heimdall, the Asgardian guardian of the Bifrost Bridge. In the Thor movies by Marvel Cinematic Universe, this was re-imagined as a key for activating the Bifrost.
- Hrunting: The sword given by Unferth to Beowulf to slay the Grendel’s mother. Unfortunately, it proved to be ineffective against the monster.
- Kogitsunemaru: (小狐丸) The “little fox.” In the Noh play Kokaji, Kyoto swordsmith Munechika Kokaji created this legendary sword for Emperor Ichijō after receiving the mythical help of the Shinto fox deity, Inari.
- Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi: (草薙の剣) The “grass cutter.” Also known as Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (cloud gathering blade) and one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. In Shinto mythology, Storm God Susanoo discovered the sacred sword in the corpse of the Orochi Serpent. Nowadays, the sword regularly appears in video games, Anime, and Manga, and is probably Japan’s most famous legendary sword.
- Laevatein: A weapon mentioned in the Norse Poetic Edda poem Fjölsvinnsmál. Considered by some to be a sword, others to be the mistletoe projectile that killed Baldr.
- Legbiter: The legendary sword of Magnus Barefoot i.e. Magnus III of Norway, the last Viking King.
- Long Yuan: (龙渊) The “dragon pool/abyss.” Believed to be jointly forged by master Chinese swordsmiths Ou Yezi and Gan Jiang. Considered by most Chinese historians to be one of the ten legendary swords of China too.
- Mistilteinn: In Norse mythology, the magical sword of the draugr Prainn, who slew 420 men with it. Subsequently owned by Hromundr Gripsson.
- Murgleys: The sword of Ganelon, traitor and nemesis of Roland in the epic poem, The Song of Roland.
- Nægling: Given by Hrothgar to Beowulf after the latter killed the Grendel. Though repeatedly described as a magnificent sword, it broke from Beowulf’s strength during his final encounter with the dragon. The breaking of Nægling, and its predecessor Hrunting, is said to contain much metaphorical meaning.
- Nandaka: The sword of Vishnu in Hindu mythology. Represents wisdom.
- Précieuse: The sword of Baligant, the Saracen king in the epic poem, The Song of Roland.
- Ridill: In Norse mythology, the weapon of Regin the dwarf. Its most famous usage was to cut out Fafnir’s heart for roasting.
- Secace: In Arthurian legends, the sword used by Lancelot at Saxon Rock.
- Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar: (شمشیر زمردنگار) In the Persian epic Amir Arsalan, an emerald studded sword and the only weapon capable of harming the horned demon Fulad-zereh. Said to previously belong to King Solomon.
- Sheng Xie: (胜邪) An ancient Chinese sword said to be forged by master swordsmith Ou Yezi. Usually considered one of the ten legendary swords of China. The name means to triumph over evil.
- Skofnung: The famed sword of legendary Danish king Hrólf Kraki. Supernaturally tough and imbued with the spirits of the king’s twelve berserkers.
- Surtr’s Sword of Flame: In Norse mythology, the massive sword of fire used by the flaming giant, Surtr, to destroy Asgard during Ragnarok. The act was dramatically depicted in the 2017 movie, Thor: Ragnarok.
- Sword of Peleus: The magical sword of Peleus, father of Achilles. Its magic ensures victory in battle or hunt.
- Sword with the Red Hilt: In Arthurian legends, originally wielded by Sir Balin before sealed in the float stone by Merlin. Eventually used by Lancelot to fatally wound Gawain.
- Tai A: (泰阿) Pronounced as Tai-Ah. A deadly ancient Chinese sword believed to be jointly forged by Ou Yezi and Gan Jiang. Usually considered as one of the ten legendary swords of China.
- The Sword of Alexander: Supposedly the sword used by Alexander the Great to slice the Gordian Knot, thus setting in motion the prophecy that the man who unravels the knot would rule all of Asia. In the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a fake was briefly shown and discussed.
- The Sword of Saint Galgano: In Catholicism, Saint Galgano’s plunging of his sword into a rock, with ease, was symbolic of his acceptance of God. Today, an ancient sword protruding from a rock at Montesiepi is believed to be the holy sword.
- The Sword of Saint Peter: A relic in the Poznań Archdiocesan Museum said to be the very sword Saint Peter used to cut off the right ear of the high priest, during Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane.
- Thuận Thiên: Translated as Heaven's Will. The mythical sword of Vietnamese King Lê Lợi i.e. the ruler who liberated Vietnam from Chinese control after ten years of fighting from 1418 to 1428.
- Tyrfing: A cursed sword in Norse mythology that appeared in the Tyrfing Cycle. It never misses and gleams like fire. It would also always kill a man each time it is drawn, and was the cause of three great evils in the poem.
- Usumidori: (薄緑) The katana of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, legendary general of Japan’s Genji-Heike wars.
- Zulfiqar: The sword Prophet Muhammad received from Archangel Gabriel in Islamic traditions. Later gifted to Ali ibn Abi Talib.
B. Historical Swords
This section lists legendary historical swords that have survived till today, although the authenticity of many is debated. Nearly all are ceremonial swords or the relics of famous historical warriors.
- British Ceremonial and Coronation Swords: Consist of the Sword of Mercy (also called the Curtana), the Sword of Spiritual Justice, the Sword of Temporal Justice, the Sword of State, and the Sword of Offering. Previously included the Irish Sword of State.
- Colada: One of the two swords of Spanish hero Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar i.e. El Cid. It is on display within the Royal Palace of Madrid, but the authenticity of this relic is doubted.
- Joyeuse: The personal sword of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. A much-debated copy of the sword is currently displayed in the Louvre.
- Kogarasumaru: (小鴉丸) The “little crow.” A Japanese tachi sword believed to be forged by legendary Japanese swordsmith Amakuni. Currently part of the Japanese Imperial Collection.
- Kotetsu: (虎徹) Kotetsu refers to a Japanese swordsmith who lived during the Edo period. Thus, the name is nowadays used to refer to famous blades made by him. Of note, Shinsengumi captain Kondo Isami’s sword is often mistaken to be a Kotetsu, although have determined it is not.
- Lobera: The “wolf slayer.” Sword and symbol of power of Saint Ferdinand III of Castile. Currently conserved at Seville Cathedral.
- Masamune: The name is often mistaken to be that of a historical Japanese sword, when it is actually the family name of Japan’s greatest swordsmith. Actual blades forged by the legendary swordsmith typically also use the name as a suffix. For example, the Fudo Masamune.
- Muramasa: Muramasa appears as a cursed blade in many video games and Manga. Historically, though, it was the name of a Japanese swordsmith described as skillful but violent and borderline psychotic. A Muramasa blade is currently on display at Tokyo National Museum.
- Shichishito: Translated as the seven-branched sword and an archeological find currently conserved at the Isonokami Shrine of Japan. Believed to be an ancient gift from the Korean Kingdom of Baekje to Japan (Yamato). In the 80s, Shichishito was featured as the main weapon in Taito’s Fudō Myōō Den video game.
- Sugari-no-Ontachi: A Japanese ceremonial sword representing the regalia of Japan. Currently kept at Ise Shrine and introduced into the royal regalia by Empress Jitō.
- Sword of Essen: Also known as the Sword of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Believed to be a gift from Holy Roman Emperor Otto III to Essen to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Currently conserved at Essen Abbey.
- Sword of Osman: Named after the founder of the Ottoman Empire and previously an important sword of state for all Turkish coronations.
- Sword of Stalingrad: A ceremonial longsword forged and inscribed on the command of King George VI of the United Kingdom, and meant as an homage to defenders of the city during the Battle of Stalingrad. Presented on Nov 29, 1943, to Joseph Stalin and currently on display at the Battle of Stalingrad Museum in Volgograd.
- Szczerbiec: The coronation swords of Polish kings between 1320 and 1764. Currently displayed in the treasure vault of the Royal Wawel Castle in Krakow. It is the only surviving piece of the medieval Polish Crown Jewels.
- The Wallace Sword: An artifact displayed in the Wallace Monument said to be the sword of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace. There is much debate over this claim.
- Tizona: One of the two swords of Spanish hero Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar i.e. El Cid. Currently displayed at the Museo de Burgos.
- Yue Wang Gou Jian Jian: (越王勾践剑) Wikipedia lists this as the Sword of Goujian. An actual archeological find, it is currently exhibited at the Hubei Provincial Museum. The blade is famous for its untarnished state and incredible sharpness, and its near airtight scabbard.
C. Fictional Swords
Magical Swords in written works frequently fulfill some sort of plot-moving purpose. If not, they complement the portrayal of their owners’ personalities.
- A Nan: (阿难剑) A powerful Buddhist sword in the Chinese Shu Shan series of fantasy "Xianxia" stories. Probably named after Ananda, one of the Buddha’s ten key disciples.
- Albitr: The sword of Angela the herbalist in Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Cycle tetralogy. Angela claimed it could cut through anything, which seems the case, with the noted exception of the sword's scabbard.
- Aranrúth: The sword of the Kings of Númenor. Originally wielded by Thingol of Doriath.
- Backbiter: The sword of villain Luke Castellan in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
- Better Half: Yusa Emilia’s sacred sword in the Japanese light novel series, The Devil is a Part-Timer. Forged from heavenly silver, it could only be used by the offspring of a human and an angel. In the story, Emilia could manifest it at will.
- Bi Xue Zhao Dan Qing: (碧血照丹青) A cursed blade featured in The Handsome Siblings, an extended novel by Taiwanese Wuxia writer Gu Long. The blade emits a deathly emerald glow, with its name roughly translated as the bloodstained integrity. In the story, it was also considered a cursed sword.
- Bing Po Han Guang Jian: (冰魄寒光剑) An icy sword in several novels by Chinese Wuxia writer Liang Yusheng. Said to be forged from glacier ice.
- Blackfyre: The ancestral Valyrian steel sword of House Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Aegon IV foolishly gave it to his bastard son Daemon Blackfyre, who then rose in rebellion. Lost after the Blackfyre Rebellion.
- Blood Sword: The common name of the Sword of Life in Oliver Johnson and Dave Morris’ gamebook series of the same name. The sword is key to the arrival of paradise on Judgement Day.
- Brightroar: The ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword of House Lannister in Game of Thrones. Lost after Tommen II Lannister went missing during an expedition.
- Brisingr: The dragon rider sword of Eragon in Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle tetralogy. It was adorned with a sapphire and upon Eragon’s command, the blade would be engulfed by blue flame. Within the tetralogy, several other dragon rider swords were also mentioned, each represented by a distinctive color and gem. These were, Zar'roc (crimson), Arvindr (unknown), Undbitr (aquamarine), and Vrangr (white).
- Callandor: The most famous sword of Robert Jordan’s A Wheel of Time fantasy novel series. In the context of the stories, a male “sa'angreal” and alternatively called “the sword that is not a sword.” It could only be used by the Dragon Reborn.
- Chance: A legendary longsword originally wielded by Ganoes Stabro Paran in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
- Changshen Jian: (长生剑) The “longevity sword.” One of the Seven Weapons in a series of novellas by Taiwanese Wuxia writer Gu Long.
- Charon's Claw: In the Forgotten Realms stories, Charon’s Claw was a magical sword and gauntlet specifically designed to combat magic users. Their owner was Artemis Entreri, the arch-enemy of Drizzt Do'Urden.
- Clamorer: Sword of the Lord of Waterdeep, Peirgeiron Paladinson, in the Forgotten Realms novels.
- Dark Repulser: A longsword forged by Lisbeth for Kirito in Sword Art Online. It was forged using a Crystallite Ingot obtained during a special quest.
- Dark Sister: Visenya Targaryen’s Valyrian steel longsword in Game of Thrones. Lost during the Blackfyre Rebellion.
- Dawn: In Game of Thrones, the ancestral greatsword of House Dayne. Forged from the heart of a fallen star and said to be as pale as milkglass and as sharp as Valyrian steel.
- Dragnipur: A bastard sword with a black blade capable of absorbing all light in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
- Drynwyn: The sword of Prince Gwydion in Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain.
- Elucidator: Kirito’s primary weapon in Sword Art Online. He obtained this as a boss drop.
- Glamdring: The companion blade of Orcist in the Tolkien universe. Like its partner, it glows blue when in the presence of orcs. Most famously wielded by Gandalf.
- Glorious: Archangel Michael’s sword in The Shadowhunter Chronicles.
- Godsbane: In the Forgotten Realms stories, an evil sword used by Cyric during the Time of Troubles. In truth, the sword was a manifestation of Mask, the God of Thieves, who needed to absorb the souls of slain victims to survive. Cyric eventually realized the deception and broke the sword.
- Grayswandir: The sword of Corwin in Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber. Associated with the moon and the night.
- Graywand: The longsword of Fafhrd the Barbarian in Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.
- Gurthang: In Tolkien’s Legendarium, Gurthang was the sword of Túrin Turambar. Made of meteorite and reforged from the sword Anglachel.
- Gúthwinë: The sword of Éomer in Lord of the Rings.
- Hearteater: One of Joffrey Baratheon’s swords in Game of Thrones. The pommel had a ruby cut in the shape of a heart, held between a lion's jaw.
- Heartsbane: The ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword of House Tarly in Game of Thrones. Its distinctive feature was its bow-shaped hilt.
- Herugrim: Sword of Théoden, King of Rohan in Lord of the Rings.
- Huo Ling Jian: (火麟剑) The “fiery kirin.” A fantastical sword in the Feng Yun series of Chinese Wuxia novels. It possesses the ability to augment the inner strength of its wielder.
- Hywelbane: The sword of Derfel Cadarn in Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles. He obtained it from his dead swordmaster.
- Ice: The ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword of House Stark in Game of Thrones. After it was used to behead Eddard Stark, Tywin Lannister had it melted down and reforged into Widow's Wail and Oathkeeper.
- Ivlivs: Jason Grace’s Imperial Gold weapon in Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus series. Outside of combat, it appears as a gold coin. If the coin comes up as heads when flipped, it becomes a double-edged sword. If tails are the result, the coin becomes a lance.
- Jue Shi Hao Jian: (绝世好剑) Translates as the magnificent or the unparalleled sword. One of the most desired blades in the Hong Kong Wuxia novel series, Feng Yun.
- Lady Forlorn: The Valyrian steel ancestral sword of House Corbray in Game of Thrones.
- Lambent Light: Asuna’s rapier in Sword Art Online.
- Lightbringer: In Game of Thrones, a mythical sword forged and wielded by Azor Ahai, chosen champion of the Lord of Light. Said to glow and radiate heat.
- Lion's Tooth: Joffrey Baratheon's first sword. It was small and ordinary, and overall, quite unimpressive despite its name.
- Longclaw: The ancestral Valyrian steel sword of House Mormont in Game of Thrones. Previously wielded by Jorah Mormont before ending up in the hands of Jon Snow.
- Maellartach: In The Shadowhunters Chronicles, this was supposedly the holy sword used to evict Adam and Eve from Eden.
- Memory: One of three legendary swords at the heart of Tad William’s eponymous trilogy. The other two are Sorrow and Thorn.
- Mournblade: A demonic sword similar to Stormbringer in the fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock. Wielded by Yyrkoon, cousin and arch-enemy of Elric of Melniboné.
- Murasamemaru: (村雨丸) A legendary katana in the early 20th century Japanese epic novel Nansō Satomi Hakkenden. The name translates as village rain, with the blade named as such because it secrets dew that washes off the blood of victims.
- Nan Ming Li Huo Jian: (南明离火剑) One of the most powerful swords in the Shu Shan series of Chinese fantasy stories. Said to be tempered by Bodhidharma himself.
- Narsil: The legendary sword used by Isildur to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. Later reforged by Aragorn and renamed as Andúril.
- Needle: The smallsword given to Arya Stark by Jon Snow. Its petite size particularly suited Arya’s build and fighting style.
- Nightfall: The Valyrian steel ancestral sword of House Harlaw in Game of Thrones.
- Orcist: The companion blade of Glamdring and once wielded by Thorin Oakenshield.
- Qing Suo: (青索) One of the two most powerful artifacts in the Shu Shan series of Chinese fantasy stories. Roughly translated as the Emerald Lightning, and is the twin of Zi Ying.
- Rain Dragon: The sword of Judge Dee in various novels by Robert van Gulik. In the novels, Dee was a magistrate in the Chinese Tang Dynasty court.
- Red Rain: The Valyrian steel ancestral sword of House Drumm in Game of Thrones. Stolen during a raid.
- Rhindon: The sword of High King Peter the Magnificent in The Chronicles of Narnia. When you receive a gift like this from Father Christmas, you know you are destined to be king.
- Ringil: The sword of Fingolfin, High King of the Ñoldor in The Silmarillion. It glittered like ice and bit with chilling cold.
- Riptide: Percy Jackson’s trusty Celestial Bronze xiphos. Also known as Anaklusmos in Greek. Outside of combat, it takes the form of a pen and cannot be lost.
- Saika: (罪歌) The demonic sword at the heart of the second story arc of the Japanese Light Novel series, Durarara!! Saika was partly sentient, with an obsessive love for humans. However, being a sword, it can only express this love by slashing humans. With the exception of Sonohara Anri, any human cut by Saika is possessed and dominated by the blade.
- Scalpel: The rapier of the Gray Mouser in Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.
- Sihill: The sword given to Geralt by Zoltan in The Witcher novels. The runes on it translate to “may they perish.”
- Sikanda: In The Neverending Story, Sikanda was the magical and partly sentient sword given to Bastion by Grograman. It could only be used when it willingly departs its own sheath. Otherwise, great misfortune ensues.
- Sommerswerd: The holy sword of the Kai Order in the Lone Wolf gamebook series. The artifact is capable of enhancing the rightful wielder’s abilities. It is also one of the rare weapons in the series capable of killing a Darklord.
- Song Yang Tie Jian: (嵩阳铁剑) A featureless black iron blade mentioned in several novels by Taiwanese Wuxia author Gu Long. Ranked the fourth-deadliest armament in Gu Long’s stories.
- Sting: The weapon of Bilbo Baggins, and later on, Frodo. It was Elven-made and originally meant to be a dagger.
- Stormbringer: A demonic sword in several novels by fantasy writer Michael Moorcock. The weapon of doomed albino emperor Elric of Melniboné, it was black, with runes engraved onto its blade, and could absorb the souls of victims. Elric himself despised the sentient blade but could not live without the power it conferred on him.
- Sword of Gryffindor: In the Harry Potter series, a powerful artifact of Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogswart. Made of Goblin’s Silver, the magical sword is indestructible and capable of absorbing the essence of any substance that would strengthen it.
- Sword of Martin: In Brian Jacques's Redwall series of fantasy books, the Sword of Martin was, well, Martin the Warrior's sword. It started off being rather ordinary before reforged with meteorite into a superior blade.
- Támerlein: The "bringer of the final sleep" in Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Cycle tetralogy. Originally an emerald dragon rider sword before reforged into this form.
- Terminus Est: A mercury-filled executioner’s sword in Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer. The unique nature of the sword makes it deadlier on the downswing.
- The Christ-Blade: The sword of Sir Lancelot in Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles series.
- The Lady Vivamus: An exquisite rapier used by Oscar Gordon in Robert Heinlein’s Glory Road.
- The Morgenstern Blades: Heosphoros and Phaesphoros. In The Shadowhunters Chronicles, the pair was the family sword of the Morgenstern family.
- The Sword of Leah: The heirloom of the Leah family in Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. Able to slice through magic.
- The Sword of Shannara: An indestructible sword in Terry Brooks’ eponymous novel. Capable of revealing the truth in many situations.
- The Sword of Truth: A rather terrifying albeit unique sword in Terry Goodkind’s eponymous series. It can turn on its wielder if it had been used to kill someone who didn't deserve to die.
- The Twelve Swords of Power: Twelve powerful and legendary swords in Fred Saberhagen’s Books of the Swords. Each was forged by a deity and imbued with a unique power. The swords are, Coinspinner (Chance), Doomgiver (Justice), Dragonslicer (Heroes), Farslayer (Vengeance), Mindsword (Glory), Shieldbreaker (Force), Sightblinder (Stealth), Soulcutter (Despair), Stonecutter (Siege), Townsaver (Fury), Wayfinder (Wisdom), and Woundhealer (Mercy).
- Verminfate: The huge and unmarked broadsword of Rawnblade Widestripe in Brian Jacques' Redwall series of fantasy novels.
- Vorpal Sword/Vorpal Blade: Mentioned in Through the Looking-Glass as the weapon capable of slaying the Jabberwocky. Nowadays, the name is heavily used in D&D campaigns and video games.
- Wu Xing Jian: (无形剑) The “shapeless sword.” An invisible sword in the Shu Shan series of Chinese fantasy stories. Made from 3600 magical herbs.
- Ying Xiong Jian: (英雄剑) The “hero’s sword.” One of many legendary swords in the Feng Yun Wuxia novels.
- Yitian Jian: (倚天剑) The “will of heaven” is the most powerful sword in the stories of Hong Kong Wuxia writer, Louis Cha. It was also the companion to the Dragon Slayer Sabre and the key to an era-changing secret too. Probably the most famous sword in the Chinese Wuxia genre.
- Youlong Jian: (游龙剑) The “dancing dragon.” In various Wuxia novels by Chinese author Liang Yusheng, You Long Jian was the heirloom of the Tian Shan Sect.
- Zaiyun Jian: (载云剑) The “cloud cutter.” A mighty sword mentioned in several novels by Wuxia writer Liang Yusheng. It was said to be superior to the better-known Youlong Jian.
- Zar'roc: The sword of fallen Dragon Rider Morzan in Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Cycle tetralogy. The name means misery and the blade was responsible for the death of many dragons and their riders.
- Zi Ying: (紫郢) One of the two most powerful artifacts in the Shu Shan series of Chinese fantasy stories. Roughly translated as the Purple Lightning, and the twin of Qing Suo.
D. Pop Culture Swords
Like fictional fantasy swords, famous pop culture swords often serve a plot-moving purpose. Given the visual nature of many pop culture genres, these swords are frequently also designed to appear outrageous or otherworldly.
- Alastor: The “thunder sword” of the Devil May Cry video game series. One of the keys to unlocking Dante’s true inner might.
- Alucard’s Sword: As the name says, Alucard’s sword in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- Aquila: Ky Kiske’s broadsword in Guilty Gear. Its most distinctive feature is the hollowed out middle-section.
- Ashbringer: One of the most powerful swords in Blizzard’s Warcraft universe. Forged as a weapon against the undead, Ashbringer is most remembered as the sword of Tirion Fordring, and for shattering Frostmourne.
- Ashkandi: A huge greatsword in Blizzard’s Warcraft universe rumored to once belong to Anduin Lothar. A droppable loot in the Blackwing Lair raid.
- Atlantean Sword: The bastard sword of Conan the Barbarian in the Schwarzenegger film versions. Don’t even think of touching this weapon without the right muscles.
- Bai Gu Yin Yang Jian: (白骨阴阳剑) The “skeletal yin-yang swords.” Found within a tree demon and the key plot item in a 1960s Cantonese Wuxia movie.
- Baio Doku: (梅鶯毒) The prized katana of Kibagami Genjuro in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Balaraw: A magical sword wielded by Panday in the Filipino comics, Ang Panday. Fashioned from a meteorite, it takes the form of a dagger till Panday points it skywards.
- Balmung: Balmung is an alternate name of Gram. In the second Saint Seiya movie, it was the Sword of Odin and part of the Norse god’s God Cloth. Seiya used it to slice the golden ring used by Poseidon to control Hilda.
- Beatrix’s Sword: In Kill Bill, the samurai sword made for Beatrix Kiddo i.e. the Bride by master swordsmith Hattori Hanzō.
- Blade of Stormwind: Also referred to as the Great Royal Sword, this was the runeblade previously wielded by Anduin Lothar in Blizzard’s Warcraft universe. Unfortunately, it was broken by the Doomhammer during Lothar’s battle with Orgrim Doomhammer.
- Blazing Sword: The most powerful weapon of Voltron, Defender of the Universe.
- Brotherhood: The signature sword of Tidus in various Final Fantasy games. Other than its hooked tip, it’s famous for its beautiful, water-like blade.
- Buster Sword: The awesome and huge sword of Cloud Strife in the Final Fantasy game series. A signature of the beloved series.
- Chichi-Ushi: Nakoruru’s sword in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series. The name means father bull.
- Dragon Sword: (龍剣) The legendary blade of Ryu Hayabusa in Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden game series. Usable only by ninjas of the dragon lineage, and with a dark twin.
- Dragonslayer: Kliff Undersn’s signature weapon in Guilty Gear. A huge sword made from the fangs and scales of a dragon.
- Elvis: J’s beloved katana in Samurai Showdown Sen.
- Falchion: A falchion is a machete-like weapon in Renaissance Europe. However, in the Fire Emblem games, it is the revered Blade of Light of Archanea.
- Fireseal: (封炎剣) Sol Badguy’s signature weapon in Guilty Gear. Contrary to its name, the sword is capable of amplifying Sol’s fire powers.
- Flamberge: A great sword with a peculiar undulating blade in Dark Souls. Historically, longswords with wavy blades were also called flamberge.
- Frostmourne: The most notorious sword of Blizzard’s Warcraft universe. The runeblade was instrumental in the transformation of Arthas Menethil into the new Lich King.
- Fugodoku: (河豚毒) The blowfish poison. Haohmaru’s Katana in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Gorshalach: In World of Warcraft, Gorshalach was once the most powerful weapon in the universe, wielded by none other than Sargeras himself. When the titan succumbed to madness, the sword split itself into two to prevent Sargeras from wielding it. One half was then reforged by the mad titan into Gorribal, while the other half was remade into Taeshalach and claimed by Sargeras’ lieutenant, Aggramar. At the end of the Legion expansion, Sargeras plunged Gorribal into Azeroth before his capture by the other titans. This hateful act then set the stage for the events in the Battle for Azeroth expansion. Gorribal is also the largest non-natural feature ever seen in the MMORPG, requiring several minutes to fly from the embedded base to the hilt.
- G'valchir: In The Witcher games, a high-damage steel sword. Its equivalent was the silver sword, Moonblade.
- Hadōken: (波動剣) The three spiritual blades of the Getsu brothers stolen by the Dragon Bone Demon in Konami’s Getsu Fūma Den. In the game, protagonist Fūma is able to swing them to generate a phalanx of energy.
- Hahakuru: Rimururu’s kodachi in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Hina: A cursed katana in Love Hina. It contains the spirit of a mortal enemy of the Shinmei-ryu swordsmen. More horrifically, it could possess any living being, including animals.
- Hourin Ousai: (鳳麟・凰嘴) Iroha’s stylized butterfly swords in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Junkyard Dog MK III: Sol Badguy’s dual-purpose weapon in later Guilty Gear games. Other than a broadsword of sorts, it could also function like a rifle. Sol fashioned it by combining Fireseal and the Flash Fang, two of the OutRage.
- Justice Sword: Galford’s ninjatō in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Keyblade: The key-like swords used by Sora in the Kingdom Hearts series of games. They combat darkness. They open doors too!
- Kougon Onkokumaru: (紅鋼怨獄丸) The crimson blade of hellish grudge. Minazuki Zankuro’s fearsome sword in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Kurikara: (倶利加羅) The demon-slaying blade restricting Okumura Rin’s demonic powers in Blue Exorcist. Also referred to as the Kouma Sword (降魔剣). Based on the fiery dragon sword of Buddhist Guardian King Acala, worshipped in Japan as Fudō Myō-ō.
- Kusabimaru: (楔丸) The “main” katana weapon in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Unlike many other video games, the blade cannot be upgraded but could be enhanced with prosthetic tools. An heirloom of the Hirata family, with its secondary/companion blade named as Fushigiri (不死斬り).
- La Roche: Charlotte’s épée in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Lilarcor: An enchanted, talking sword in Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. It would have been inspirational, and the perfect combat advisor, had the entity behind the voice not been utterly moronic.
- Luke’s First Lightsaber: Luke Skywalker’s first lightsaber previously belonged to his father, Anakin Skywalker. As of Episode VIII, it is broken and in the hands of Rey.
- Masquerade: Kirian’s rapier in Samurai Showdown Sen.
- Master Sword: Link’s most famous and powerful sword in the Legend of Zelda games.
- Miroku: (弥勒) The huge claymore wielded by Mai in My-HiME.
- Monado: The futuristic blade at the heart of Xenoblade Chronicles. Within the game, Monado is capable of many things. For example, manipulating Ether, the building blocks of the world.
- Mugen: In D. Gray Man, the mighty sword wielded by exorcist Yu Kanda. It was formed from Innocence, a divine substance.
- Mugenjin: (無限刃) The horrific sword of Shishio Makoto in Rurouni Kenshin. Its finely serrated blade retains the body fats of victims, allowing Shishio to execute fire-based attacks. Mugen is also the Japan poetic name for hell.
- Nichirin Swords: (日輪刀): The blades of the Demon Slayer Corps in Kimetsu no Yaiba i.e. the Demon Slayer Anime. Forged using materials that absorb sunlight, Nichirin Swords grant human slayers the rare ability to slay demons. The color of each blade furthermore depends on its owner and is capable of conferring additional abilities.
- Oharae no Magagami Shizumaru: (大祓禍神閑丸) Hisame Shizumaru’s sword in Samurai Showdown III. The name, rather arrogantly, means Shizumaru’s Purge.
- Power Rangers Swords: The Power Rangers series featured many swords. Their names ranged from the simplistic to the exotic.
- Protector of Yamato: Steel Tiger and Sukehiro. The twin katanas of Yagyu Jubei in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series.
- Qing Ming Jian: (青冥剑) The Green Destiny. The precious sword at the heart of the award-winning film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
- Quel'Delar: A prismatic blade with a long quest chain in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Completing the quest rewards an achievement.
- Quel'Serrar: An ancient elven sword in World of Warcraft. The twin of Quel'Delar and a quest reward.
- Ragnarok: The awful demonic sword that Crona was forced to use in Soul Eater. It has a huge mouth that screams.
- Rebellion: Dante’s trademark claymore in the Devil May Cry series of games. A powerful magical sword that could be further empowered by Dante’s blood.
- Sakabatō: The famed reverse-blade sword in the Rurouni Kenshin Manga series. A testimony of Himura Kenshin’s determination to never again kill.
- Scissor Blade: (片太刀鋏 Katatachi Basami) In the Anime series Kill la Kill, the Scissor Blades was a gigantic scissors created to kill parasitic extraterrestrial organisms. After the death of its creator, it split into the Red and Purple Scissor Blades, but could be recombined.
- Seiryu: (青龍) Kazama Sogetsu’s ninjatō in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series. The name means green dragon i.e. the mystic dragon guardian of the east in Far Eastern mythology.
- Shalamayne: Previously, two elven blades forged during the War of the Ancients in the Warcraft universe. As of the Legion expansion pack, it is the weapon of Anduin Wrynn, the young King of Stormwind.
- Shisui: (止水) The “water stopper” is a white-wood katana, without a guard, wielded by Motoko Aoyama in Love Hina.
- Singer's Sword: Shu Ouma’s main void in Guilty Crown. Capable of other uses outside of being a longsword.
- Soul Blade: The Ether Gear sword of Homura Kōgetsu in Edens Zero. Homura could wield this as a single sword or as twin blades. Appearance-wise, the sword is red and futuristic.
- Soul Calibur: In Bandai Namco’s Soulcalibur series, this mythical sword was forged by King Algol after he was forced to kill his son; the latter was possessed by the evil sword Soul Edge. It is the bane of Soul Edge.
- Soul Edge: The parasitic evil sword at the heart of Bandai Namco’s Soulcalibur games. Sentient and capable of assuming the form of its owner, few could wield Soul Edge without being possessed by its malevolent spirit.
- Soul Reaver: The signature weapon of Kain the vampire in the Legacy of Kain video games. It is a classic flamberge i.e. wavy blade sword, with a touch of the macabre as befitting its dark master.
- Suzaku: (朱雀) Kazama Kazuki’s ninjatō in SNK’s Samurai Showdown series. The name means vermillion sparrow i.e. the mystic firebird guardian of the south in Far Eastern mythology.
- Sword of Hades: Primary weapon of Hades in the Saint Seiya manga series. Part of the Lord of the Underworld’s surplice too. In classic mythology, however, Hades isn’t known for wielding a sword. (Or Stygian Sword, as it’s called in the video game Hades) The weapon could be inspired by the traditional appearance of Thanatos in Euripides’ Alcestis.
- Sword of Omens: The retractable sword wielded by Lion-O in the 1980s cartoon series, Thundercats. It could project an image into the sky to summon other Thundercats. It could also grant the user visions.
- Sword of Power: He-Man’s sword in Masters of the Universe. “By the power of Grayskull, I have the POWER!”
- Sword of Protection: She-Ra’s sword in She-Ra: Princess of Power. “For the honor of Grayskull, I am SHE-RA!”
- Tessaiga: The powerful sword of Inuyasha, made from his father’s fang. It is capable of absorbing energy, and later in the story, is developed by the half-demon into a series of signature attacks.
- The Powerstar: An intergalactic artifact in the Blackstar cartoon series. It was split into the Powersword and the Starsword. Both are capable of enhancing the wielder’s abilities, shoot energy projectiles, store and release energy, and generate protective shields.
- The Sword of Freedom: The most powerful sword in the 1980s PC RPG game, Dragon Wars. Also the name of a 1950s drama adventure series in the United Kingdom.
- Thunderfury: In “vanilla” World of Warcraft, a legendary sword once wielded by Thunderaan, the Prince of Air. Described as the Blessed Blade of the Windseeker.
- Thunderseal: (封雷剣) Ky Ske’s signature weapon in Guilty Gear. Contrary to its name, the sword is capable of amplifying Ky’s lightning powers.
- Tokugawa Yoshitora’s Seven Katanas: The seven katanas of shogun heir, Tokugawa Yoshitora, in Samurai Showdown V. The katanas are, Nadeshiko (撫子), Shirayuri (白百合), Botan (牡丹), Tsubaki (椿), Asagao (朝顔), Yūgao (夕顔), Yoshitora (慶寅). Other than Yoshitora, all are named after flowers.
- Torikabuto: (屠痢兜) The demonic blade of Rasetsumaru in Samurai Showdown V. The name is nonsensical and is derived by perverting the Japanese kanji characters for the Chinese Wolfsbane plant.
- Toyako Bokuto: The wooden katana used by Gintoki Sakata in Gintama. Gintoki often claims the katana is a mere souvenir he purchased during a school trip to Lake Toya. However, it is actually made from the wood of an alien tree. A material that cuts through anything.
- Valentine: The signature weapon of Ivy in the Soulcalibur games. It was flexible and could expand and contract, thus greatly resembling a Chinese multi-segmented whip.
- Valmanway: The “blessed wind” sword in various Castlevania games. One of the most powerful swords in the series, Valmanway is capable of multiple strikes, and often speculated by fans to be a tribute to Tolkien's Manwë, the God of Air and Wind. Alternatively called Crissaegrim.
- Void Sword: In Konami’s Lords of Shadow II, the Void Sword was Dracula’s secondary armament. It absorbs life with every strike.
- Wado Ichimonji: Roronoa Zoro’s katana in One Piece.
- Xuan Yuan Jian: (轩辕剑) The sword of the Huang Di, the mythical founder of the Chinese civilization. In more recent times, also the name and key weapon of a series of fantasy RPG games by Taiwanese developer Softstar Entertainment Inc. In Chinese, “Xuan Yuan” is the courtesy name of the Yellow Emperor. The game series itself was also known as “Heavenly Sword.”
- Zangetsu: (斬月) The signature weapon of Kurosaki Ichigo in Bleach. A Zanpakutō, or soul-cutting weapon, Zangetsu undergoes various transformations in the series but consistently remains that of an oversized metallic blade. Of note, the Bleach series is full of fantastical swords, each possessing a shikai and bankai form. Other noteworthy Bleach swords include Abarai Renji’s centipede-like Zabimaru, and Kuchiki Byakuya’s elegant Senbonzakura.
- Zantetsuken: (斬鉄剣) The name Zantetsuken (iron slicer) has appeared in various stories but is most famous for being the astonishing sword of Goemon Ishikawa XIII in the Lupin III Anime series. Goemon has effortlessly sliced everything from guns to tanks with it.
Questions & Answers
Question: What is the name of Archangel Michael's sword?
Answer: I don't think there is a name for Mike's sword. It's usually just named as a Sword of Light, or Michael's sword, etc.
© 2018 Ced Yong
Dhanny on August 19, 2020:
Hi just wanna add your list. I'm from Indonesia. There are several famous sword such as Empu Gandring Kris (note: Empu means swordsmith, Gandring is obe of famous Javanese swordsmith who more or less has similar story as Muramasa in Japan. Most of his swords (Kris) has said cursed effects and magical properties.
Lunar-Eclipse on December 10, 2019:
SO MANY F**** AWSOME SWORDS!!!!
Josh on December 02, 2019:
The buster sword was inherited by cloud but belonged to angeal his mentor
Maria on October 26, 2019:
I have just bought a King Solomon sword replica for my husband for Christmas but I am seeing it is not as famous as I thought :)
Cameron on May 30, 2019:
No Stormbringer? The epic soul-stealing black sword of Elric of Melnibone, the Albino Emperor, Womanslayer, Kinslayer, Pale Prince of Ruins, White Wolf? Shame.
Ced Yong (author) from Asia on July 01, 2018:
Hi Brikkando! Thanks so much for highlight. (I've been rewatching too much old X-Men cartoons) Have corrected.
Brikkando on June 30, 2018:
A great list!
A few entries have "sentinel" in the description, but the word should be "sentient" (meaning self-aware).
Ced Yong (author) from Asia on April 10, 2018:
It's interesting how swords have always represented justice and sovereignty in most cultures. I wonder what anthropologists would say?
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 10, 2018:
I never thought there are so many types of swords and it is interesting how you classified them into these categories.