The xiphos (/ˈksiːfoʊs/ KSEE-fohss; Greek: ξίφος)[1] is a double-edged, one-handed Iron Age straight shortsword used by the ancient Greeks. It was a secondary battlefield weapon for the Greek armies after the dory or javelin. The classic blade was generally about 45–60 cm (18–24 in) long, although the Spartans supposedly started to use blades as short as 30 cm (12 in) around the era of the Greco-Persian Wars. The xiphos sometimes has a midrib, and is diamond or lenticular in cross-section. It was generally hung from a baldric under the left arm.[2] The xiphos was generally used only when the spear was broken, taken by the enemy, or discarded for close combat. Very few xiphoi seem to have survived.

Stone's Glossary has xiphos being a name used by Homer for a sword. The entry in the book says that the sword had a double-edged blade widest at about two-thirds of its length from the point, and ending in a very long point.[3] The name xiphos apparently means something in the way of "penetrating light" according to researcher and swordsmith Peter Johnsson.[2]

The xiphos' leaf-shaped design lent itself to both cutting and thrusting. The design has most likely been in existence since the appearance of the first swords. Blades in bronze and iron are suitable for a leaf shape due to the softness of the metals in comparison to steel. Bronze swords are cast and are thus more easily formed into a leaf shape than iron swords, which need to be forged.

The early xiphos was a bronze sword, and in the classical period, would have been made of iron. The early Celtic La Tène short sword, contemporary with the xiphos, had a virtually identical blade design as the xiphos.

The leaf-shaped short swords were not limited to Greece, as mentioned, but can be found throughout Europe in the late Bronze Age under various names. Bronze leaf-shaped swords from as early as the late second millennium still survive.[4] The Urnfield culture is associated with the use of the leaf shaped bronze short sword. It is generally thought that iron swords had replaced bronze swords by the early La Tène culture about 500 BC. During the Halstatt culture a mixture of bronze and iron swords seem to have existed side by side. Iron tends to become severely oxidized (rusted) over the years, and few iron swords have survived, in contrast to bronze swords that age very well. Thus, much is known regarding the sword during the Bronze Age but less so in the early Iron Age. Bronze thrusting swords from the second millennium still exist in excellent condition.

The word is attested in Mycenaean Greek Linear B form as 𐀥𐀯𐀟𐀁, qi-si-pe-e.[n 1] A relation to Arabic saifun and Egyptian sēfet has been suggested, although this does not explain the presence of a labiovelar in Mycenaean.[12] One suggestion connects Ossetic äxsirf "sickle",[13] which would point to a virtual Indo-European *kwsibhro-.

Xiphos 2
Modern reconstruction of a Greek xiphos and scabbard.
Death Actaeon BM VaseF176
Actaeon holding a xiphos. Painted vase from Metaponto, c. 390–380 BC

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Qi-si-pe-e is thought to be the dual number nominative case form of *qi-si-po; that is, its meaning is "two swords". It is found on the PY Ta 716 tablet.[5][6][7][8] Mycenaean 𐀞𐀏𐀙, pa-ka-na, could be an attested form of φάσγανον, phasganon, the famous Homeric word for sword.[9][10][11] A sword is usually represented iconographically in Linear B by the ideogram 𐃉.
  1. ^ ξίφος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  2. ^ a b http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=6021
  3. ^ George Cameron Stone, A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "The Linear B word qi-si-pe-e". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of Ancient languages.
  6. ^ Raymoure, K. A. "qi-si-pe-e". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean.
  7. ^ "PY 716 Ta (2)". DĀMOS: Database of Mycenaean at Oslo. University of Oslo.
  8. ^ Heubeck, Alfred (1958). "MYKENISCH *qi-si-po = ξίφος". Minos (in German). 6: 114–116.
  9. ^ φάσγανον in Liddell and Scott.
  10. ^ "The Linear B word pa-ka-na". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of Ancient languages.
  11. ^ Raymoure, K.A. "pa-ka-na". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean.
  12. ^ Frisk, Griechisches Etymologisches Woerterbuch
  13. ^ Čop KZ 74, p. 231 f

The cinquedea or cinqueda is a civilian short sword (or long dagger). It was developed in northern Italy and enjoyed a period of popularity during the Italian renaissance of the 15th and early 16th centuries.

The name cinquedea means "five fingers", and it describes the width of the blade next to the guard. The blade was heavy, about 45 cm (18 in) in length, and tapered to a somewhat rounded point. The grip was simple with a small pommel, and the guard was curved with the concave side toward the point. There were typically several fullers along the wider sides of the blade to lighten the weapon. The wide blade was useful for decorative etching. The wide blade was also used for attacking rather than the point of the blade.This weapon was varied in size, being anywhere in size from 10" to 28". It was often carried in place of a knife or larger sword. It is depicted in period art as sometimes being carried horizontally next to the buttocks so that it could be drawn laterally from the back. The cinqueda was able to deal cutting blows unlike most other daggers because of its size and shape.

Classification of swords

The English language terminology used in the classification of swords is imprecise and has varied widely over time. There is no historical dictionary for the universal names, classification or terminology of swords; a sword was simply called "sword" in whatever language the swordsmen spoke.

Historical terms without a universal consensus of definition (i.e. "arming sword", "broadsword", "long sword", etc.) were used to label weapons of similar appearance but of different historical periods, regional cultures and fabrication technology. These terms were often described in relation to other unrelated weapons, without regard to their intended use and fighting style. In modern history, many of these terms have been given specific, often arbitrary meanings that are unrelated to any of their historical meanings.

Cuvier's beaked whale

Cuvier's beaked whale or the goose-beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), the only member of the genus Ziphius, is the most widely distributed of all the beaked whales. It is one of the most frequently seen beaked whales, despite preferring deep pelagic waters, usually deeper than 1,000 m (3,300 ft).The species name comes from Greek xiphos, "sword", and Latin cavus, "hollow" and rostrum, "beak", referring to the indentation on the head in front of the blowhole.

Dragon Quest Swords

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors is a role-playing video game developed by Genius Sonority and 8ing and published by Square Enix for the Wii game console. The game is a spin-off from the Dragon Quest series, and was first released in Japan in July 2007, and worldwide the following year.


Gladius (; Classical Latin: [ˈɡladiʊs]) was one Latin word for sword, and is used to represent the primary sword of Ancient Roman foot soldiers. Early ancient Roman swords were similar to those of the Greeks, called xiphos. From the 3rd century BC, however, the Romans adopted swords similar to those used by the Celtiberians and others during the early part of the conquest of Hispania. This sword was known as the gladius hispaniensis, or "Hispanic sword".A fully equipped Roman legionary after the reforms of Gaius Marius was armed with a shield (scutum), one or two javelins (pila), a sword (gladius), often a dagger (pugio), and, perhaps in the later empire period, darts (plumbatae). Conventionally, soldiers threw pilae to disable the enemy's shields and disrupt enemy formations before engaging in close combat, for which they drew the gladius. A soldier generally led with the shield and thrust with the sword.


Hesperoxiphion is a genus of flowering plants in the family Iridaceae, first described as a genus in 1877. It is native to northwestern South America. The genus name is derived from the Greek words hesperos, meaning "western", and xiphos, meaning "sword".

SpeciesHesperoxiphion herrerae (Diels ex R.C.Foster) Ravenna - Cajamarca region in Peru

Hesperoxiphion huilense Ravenna - Colombia

Hesperoxiphion niveum (Ravenna) Ravenna - Cajamarca region in Peru

Hesperoxiphion pardalis (Ravenna) Ravenna - Apurímac region in Peru

Hesperoxiphion peruvianum (Baker) Baker - Bolivia, Peru

Iris subg. Xiphium

Subgenus Xiphium is a subgenus of Iris. If considered a separate genus from Iris, it is known as genus Xiphion.

The Latin specific epithet Xiphium refers to the Greek word for sword Xiphos.All species in this subgenus are true bulbs, and are native to southwest Europe (southern Spain, Portugal and southern France) and northern Africa.Mainly known for the garden cultivars known as Dutch Iris, Spanish Iris and English Iris. They generally flower between early to mid-summer and each stem produces between 1 - 3 flowers.

Most bulbs should be planted in late autumn, 10 cm deep and between 5–10 cm apart.Section Xiphium

Iris boissieri Henriq

Iris filifolia Boiss.

Iris juncea Poir.

Iris latifolia Mill. – English Iris

Iris rutherfordii M Rodriguez,P Vargas,M Carine and S Jury

Iris serotina Willk. in Willk. & Lange

Iris tingitana Boiss. & Reut. – Morocco Iris

Iris xiphium L.Horticultural Hybrids

Iris ×hollandica (Spanish Iris, Dutch Iris)


A khanjali (Adyghe: Къамэ or Сэ, Georgian: ხანჯალი, or kinzhal when transliterating the Russian Кинжал) is a double-edged dagger often with a single off-set groove on each face of the blade. The shape of the weapon is similar to the ancient Greek Xiphos, the Roman Gladius, or the Scottish dirk; and has been used as a secondary weapon in Georgia and the Caucasus since ancient times.

Such daggers and their scabbards are usually highly engraved in gold or silver designs, and sometimes include embedded gemstones. The scabbard will generally feature a ball point extension on the tip, and the handle is usually made of materials such as wood or ivory.

Although part of the national Georgian men's traditional costume, the Circassian and Kuban Cossacks, among others, also wear this weapon – see burka (Caucasus). The Circassian dagger is known as the adigha gkama.

The Russian poets Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov both addressed celebrated poems to this weapon.


The term kopis (from Greek κοπίς, plural kopides from κόπτω – koptō, "to cut, to strike"; alternatively a derivation from the Ancient Egyptian term khopesh for a cutting sword has been postulated) in Ancient Greece could describe a heavy knife with a forward-curving blade, primarily used as a tool for cutting meat, for ritual slaughter and animal sacrifice, or refer to a single edged cutting or "cut and thrust" sword with a similarly shaped blade.


Makhaira (Greek: μάχαιρα (mákhaira, plural mákhairai), also transliterated machaira or machaera; a Greek word, related to μάχη (mákhē) "a battle", μάχεσθαι (mákhesthai) "to fight", from PIE *magh-) is a term used by modern scholars to describe a type of ancient bladed weapon, generally a large knife or sword with a single cutting edge.

Muhammed Suiçmez

Muhammed Suiçmez (Turkish: [muhamˈmed suˈitʃmez], born November 28, 1975) is a German guitarist and was the frontman of the technical death metal band Necrophagist.

Oceus Networks

Oceus Networks is a telecommunications company that provides mobile and fixed broadband network infrastructure. Oceus Networks is the approved exclusive provider of Ericsson communications technologies for certain segments of the U.S. federal government and the non-exclusive supplier to government agencies worldwide. It was founded in 2011 when Ericsson sold part of their business to a private equity firm.


A scimitar ( or ) is a backsword or sabre with a curved blade, originating in the Middle East.

The curved sword or "scimitar" was widespread throughout the Middle East from at least the Ottoman period, with early examples dating to Abbasid era (9th century) Khurasan. The Persian sword now called "shamshir" appears by the 12th century and was popularized in Persia by the early 16th century.

Synodontis xiphias

Synodontis xiphias is a species of upside-down catfish that is native to the Niger River basin of Nigeria. It was first described by German ichthyologist Albert Günther in 1864, from specimens obtained in the Niger River. The species name xiphias comes from the Greek word xiphos, meaning sword, which refers to the long snout that was observed on the stuffed type specimen.

The SWORD Project

The SWORD Project is the CrossWire Bible Society's free software project. Its purpose is to create cross-platform open-source tools—covered by the GNU General Public License—that allow programmers and Bible societies to write new Bible software more quickly and easily.


Throscodectes is a genus of insect in family Tettigoniidae. It contains the following species:

Throscodectes xederoides

Throscodectes xiphos

Throscodectes xiphos

Throscodectes xiphos is a species of insect in family Tettigoniidae. It is endemic to Australia.

Types of swords

This is a list of types of swords.

The term sword used here is a narrow definition. This is not a general list of bladed weapons and does not include the machete or similar "sword-like" weapons.


Xiphopteris is a defunct genus of ferns in the family Polypodiaceae. The name is derived from two Greek words: xiphos, "sword", and pteris, "fern".The name "Xiphopteris" can no longer be used because its type species, Xiphopteris serrulata has been transferred to Cochlidium. Because Xiphopteris is polyphyletic, some of its species were not transferred to Cochlidium with the type species. For these, the name Xiphopteris has been used provisionally, pending their reassignment to other genera.

South Asia
Western and
Central Asia
Southeast Asia

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