Texts - Sword, symbol of power, virtue and courage

Text invitation to exhibiton Sword, symbol of power, virtue, and courage

A sword probably means just a mere instrument of violence and bloodshed for a pacifist. For a romanticist it is, on the contrary, an echo of old-time duels and heroic acts, a ticket to the history. What can a sword mean for a modern person at the turn of the 2nd and 3rd millenniums?

During more than 3000 years the sword was the most forceful weapon for an individual for the fight at close quarters. Under its cuts not only a lot of warriors fell down, but by the hand of an executioner also a lot of heads of robbers, as well as high-born people were cut down. In the past, however, the sword was also perceived like a symbol of power, justice and protection against evil. It always had an extraordinary position among cool weapons. Swords were worshipped and called by names. People even believed that swords had their souls. The sword was an indispensable attribute of each hero in all epics and legends of the early Middle Ages, and it was often given magic power, indestructibility, and incredible strength by people. Sacredness of the sword began as early as during its production. Blacksmiths were from the ancient times considered to have been magicians and shamans because with the help of fire they were able to speak with hard metal. Sword producers undoubtedly belonged to the most esteemed among the blacksmiths. Production of the sword was perceived by people like creation of a new person. The sword producer forged first the body of the sword from steel and by hardening it he inspired the soul into it. A high-quality sword produced by a well-known producer was then verbatim weighed in gold, and it served faithfully to its master as well as his descendants.

History of swords is long. It started 3500 years ago, it means in the 15th century B.C., when first swords and short little swords appeared among the weapons of warriors of the middle Bronze age.Almost the whole half of the 1st millenium before the change of the epoch,the sword was connected tightly with the Celts, who were outstanding blacksmiths and warriors.After them legionaries of the world-power Rome with their short swords,came to our territory,as well as the Germanic Markomans, Kvads, later Heruls, Rugians and Langobards armed with simple long swords and also "royal" swords decorated with gold, silver and semiprecious stones.

The Germans were replaces by the Slavsin the central Europe. Their main weapon, it must be admitted, was an axe, but at the end of the 8th and especially in the 9th centuries the first real swords,high-quality products of Frankian sword producers from theRhine river basin appeared in our territory. They were about 90 cm, their blades were produced by the method of pattern-welding, cross-pieces and heads of their handles were decorated by brass incrustation.Some blades from imported specimens are signed by marks or signatures of the producer called ULFBERTH. Those in majority outstanding swords were obviously owned only by prominent warriors and members of Slavonic families of a high social level. In the period of Great Moravia in the 9th century, the number of swords increased, and it is supposed that some pieces could have been produced in the workshops of local Moravian blacksmiths. Mikulcice, Stare Město, and Breclav-Pohansko, the main strongholds of the old Moravians, belong to the best known find spots of early Middle Age's swords.

The swords reached the greates extension in the period of the supreme Middle Ages, when it became to be the main atribute of each knight. Besides cutting swords also stabbing swords became to be produced in connection with the development of the plated armours. The development of the swords was finished by a broadsword, a typical weapon of heavy mounted soldiers of the 19th century.

Text: Patrick Barta and PhDr L. Galuska CSc.
Translation by: M. Galuskova

replicas of historical arms