6 Largest Swords in the World

The Heaviest Swords in History & Battle (True Weights Revealed) [Updated]

The Heaviest Swords in History & Battle (True Weights Revealed) [Updated]

Medieval and early modern swords are objects of fascination for modern day history buffs, bladesmiths, and film junkies

We have all seen medieval swords wielded in battle, whether in our favorite historical documentary or at a renaissance festival

While the medieval and renaissance sword is one of the most well-known weapons, it is also widely misunderstood thanks to media misrepresentations and inaccurate reproductions

When studying historical swords, one the most important characteristics to make note of is the weapon’s weight

This feature is also subject to debate in the scholarly world and among sword enthusiasts and fencers

This is a short list of the heaviest swords in history, but it is also an article dedicated to busting some of the most common myths about sword weight in the medieval and early modern periods

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the weightiest swords wielded by medieval and renaissance fighters

A discussion of average sword weights and some common misconceptions follows

Japanese Swords: Cultural Icons of a Nation; The History, Metallurgy and Iconography of the Samurai Sword

The German Zweihänder was a massive sword that weighed up to 10 pounds

This two-handed weapon was used ceremonially

Lestat (Jan Mehlich), CC BY-SA 30, via Wikimedia Commons

The German Zweihänder is perhaps the most outlandish sword of the early modern or renaissance era

This two-handed sword averaged 4 feet 7 inches in length and weighed 88 pounds or more

The sword saw battle in the early and mid 16th century

By the end of the century, the Zweihänder was used for ceremonial purposes

Zweihänder swords used in battle would have necessarily been smaller and lighter than those wielded in ceremony

Ceremonial specimens could weigh as much as 10 pounds!

Close-up of a medieval claymore

This sword was used in Scotland and was stylistically similar to the English greatsword and earlier Viking swords

Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The two-handed claymore was a Scottish sword developed as early as the 13th century

Scottish soldiers most commonly wielded this sword in the 15th-17th centuries in clan warfare and skirmishes with the English

Similar in size and design to the English greatsword, the claymore was also modeled after Viking swords

Soldiers in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 13th and 14th centuries used early versions of the claymore

The sword was last used in the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689

The claymore averaged 55 inches in length and weighed around 55 pounds

Regardless of design, the average Medieval sword used in battle weighed around 25-35 pounds

Surprisingly, swords in medieval and early modern Europe averaged 25-35 pounds

Celebrated sword expert and historian Ewart Oakeshott studied hundreds of medieval and renaissance swords over the course of his career and noted that most were very lightweight and manageable: 

“Medieval Swords are neither unwieldably heavy nor all alike – the average weight of any one of normal size is between 25 lb

Even the big hand-and-a-half ‘war’ swords rarely weigh more than 45 lbs

Such weights, to men who were trained to use the sword from the age of seven (and who had to be tough specimens to survive that age) , were by no means too great to be practical”(Oakeshott, Sword in Hand, p

Oakeshott worked in the 20th century, in a time when many misconceptions about medieval weapons were taken as fact

Sadly, Ffoulkes in 1945 even stated, “All the swords from the ninth to the thirteenth century are heavy, ill-balanced, and are furnished with a short and unpractical grip” (Ffoulkes, Arms, p

Imagine that, 500 years of professional warriors and fighting men had all gotten it wrong, but a museum curator in 1945 London, who had never been in a real sword fight let alone trained with real swords in any form himself, is able to inform us of the failings of these magnificent weapons

Oakeshott’s observations are confirmed by the many swords included in the Wallace Collection Museum in London

The majority of these single-handed medieval swords weigh no more than 4 pounds

Two-handed swords would have been heavier, but not nearly as weighty as one might think

Ewart Oakeshott, the most famous 20th century sword expert, handled hundreds of medieval swords and categorized them by style, function, weight, and other characteristics

Modern scholars and swordsman agree that the average medieval sword was well balanced, light, and easy to use

This conflicts with the popular notion that swords of the middle ages were heavy, cumbersome, and club-like

Dr Timothy Dawson explains that single handed swords weighed only as much as 35 pounds

Ceremonial swords like the Zweihänder discussed above could be much heavier, but were not used in combat

While many soldiers were quite strong from years of practice, it would not make sense for swords to be unnecessarily heavy

As stated above by John Clements, medieval bladesmiths and swordsmen had hundreds of years to develop functional, balanced swords that would be effective in the combat styles of the period

Single-handed swords are pictured in this illustration of the famous Battle of Agincourt by Enguerrand de Monstrelet

Enguerrand de Monstrelet, CC BY 40, via Wikimedia Commons

While the myth of the heavy sword is slowly waning in scholarly circles, the popular misconception of medieval sword weight continues to be perpetuated in films, tv shows, and other media

We hope this article and other sources online can help combat (pun intended) these misunderstandings while celebrating the uniqueness of the claymore and Zweihänder swords

A final note: while this article discusses European swords, the same information holds true for swords on other continents during this period

There are a few stories of swords in India weighing 40 pounds or more, but these stories lack substantial historical evidence

List of the Largest & Longest Swords in World History [Updated]

List of the Largest & Longest Swords in World History [Updated]

The sword is a well-known weapon that features in famous historical events, movies, video games, television, and books

Almost every culture in the world has utilized the sword at certain points in its history

This typically meant that swords were contained to a certain weight and length in order for a soldier to wield it effectively

However, this did not mean that all swords in all time periods were uniform in their construction

Some of the most fascinating swords in world history were large and long

From ancient China to Renaissance Europe, military professionals made use of large and long swords for specific purposes

The following are some of the longest and largest swords in world history

Each possesses its own unique characteristics, but all eight swords discussed also share some interesting similarities in their construction and purpose

The miaodao sword is one of several large swords in Chinese history

student, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Miaodao” is commonly used to refer to several large swords in Chinese history

The miaodao sword itself is a modern sword dating to the Republican era (1912-1949)

It averages about 12 meters or 47 inches long

While this sword is not commonly used in Chinese martial arts today, soldiers wielded it during the Second Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s to 1940s

The modern miaodao is part of a long history of large swords in China

This variation was used during the Tang Dynasty and measured 213 centimeters or 7 feet in length

Another formidable large sword was the zhanmadao

This blade was mainly used between 1129 and 1141 as an anti-cavalry weapon

The length of the blade made it ideal for cutting down an enemy’s horses

林義親, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Japanese ōdachi or nodachi was utilized by the samurai during the Kamakura period (1185-1333)

This sword was truly great at a weight between 22 kilograms and 145 kilograms and measuring 906 to 337 centimeters

Historians are not quite sure how a weapon of this size would have been carried onto the battlefield

Servants may have also carried the weapon alongside their masters

The ōdachi was less common than the famous katana but proved useful at striking down enemy horses

Because of its size, the ōdachi sword was best used for downward striking maneuvers by samurai foot soldiers

Besides being a deadly weapon, the medieval Japanese also offered the ōdachi to kami, or gods, at Shinto shrines

The Norimitsu is the largest known ōdachi in existence

It was crafted in 1446 and measures 376 centimeters or 12 feet long!

3) Oakeshott Type XIIa

3) Oakeshott Type XIIa

Simocarina, CC BY-SA 40, via Wikimedia Commons

Simocarina, CC BY-SA 40, via Wikimedia Commons

While medieval swords are sometimes called longswords, a few particular variations were indeed longer than the rest

Scholar Ewart Oakeshott organized medieval swords into several categories, and one of the largest is type XIIa

In the Middle Ages, the type XIIa sword was called a “great sword” or “sword of war” Soldiers wielded this type in the 13th and 14th centuries, with some swords appearing earlier or later than this range

Type XIIa was a larger version of the typical knightly sword of the time

It featured a two handed grip and a flat, broad, and evenly tapered blade

4) Oakeshott Type XIIIa

4) Oakeshott Type XIIIa

Dbachmann at enwikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Another uniquely large sword of the Middle Ages was Oakeshott’s type XIIIa This variation of the knightly sword reached its peak usage in the 13th and 14th centuries

Artwork of the time suggests that knights used the sword in as early as the 12th century and as late as the 15th

Type XIIIa is similar to type XIIa but has even larger proportions

The grip of this variation alone could measure 65 to 10 inches

Average type XIIIa swords measure 94 to 102 centimeters (37 to 40 inches)

These swords are recognized not only for their size but also their flat cross sections, broad and parallel blades, and half fullers

A Scottish claymore with its signature forward-angled cross hilt and quatrefoil ornamentation

Pearson Scott Foresman, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Scottish claymore is a famously large weapon utilized during the Wars of Scottish Independence and clan warfare

The sword was most common between 1400 and 1700 but earlier and later versions did exist

The Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 was the last major conflict to feature widespread claymore usage

Early claymore swords looked different than the type pictured above

These swords measured smaller and lacked the signature quatrefoil design of decorative overlapping circles on the cross hilt

This large sword measured an average of 140 centimeters (55 inches) long and with a 33 centimeter (13 inch) long grip

The largest claymore swords could weigh up to 55 pounds

A portrait of a Landsknecht soldier with his zweihänder

Marie Müller (1847-1935), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the most famous sword on this list is the zweihänder

This sword is well-known for its size

The zweihänder is categorized as a great sword by experts and could measure between 1445 and 199 centimeters, with 1706 centimeters being the average length

Two-handed great swords like the zweihänder are considered Renaissance weapons in their true form

While medieval swords often had two-handed grips, none were used in the same way as Renaissance great swords

Because of their size, soldiers wielded zweihänders and other great swords against pikesmen

The long blade of the zweihänder could easily knock aside polearms or even cut them in half

Only the largest and strongest soldiers such as the landsknecht could handle such a mighty weapon

These soldiers could slash and swing the sword while acting as guards

Details of the flammard sword’s wavy blade

Rama, CC BY-SA 20 FR, via Wikimedia Commons

The flammard is another example of a Renaissance great sword

This version featured a wavy blade that resembled a flame

Landsknecht mercenaries carried this unique sword in battles across Germany

A common myth surrounding the flammard sword is that it could more easily cut pikes than other swords like the zweihänder

While this curvy blade looks unique, the sword actually did the same amount of damage as other swords of this category

Landsknecht re-enactors with pole arms and a bearing sword

The final great sword variation to make the list is the bearing sword or parade sword

This type of great sword has caused some confusion amongst sword enthusiasts

Because many bearing swords look similar to the zweihänder, a common myth is that these swords were actually wielded in battle despite their large size

In reality, soldiers only ever carried bearing swords in ceremonial processions

It is perhaps best to think of them as parade swords to avoid confusion between them and the similar zweihänder

Bearing swords or parade swords were truly massive at 10 to 15 pounds, but their use as a ceremonial weapon means that they did little actual damage

Blade length determines size

Heavy swords are hard to handle and move

Despite their size, these swords were functional

Their size, design, and cultural importance intrigue people

In addition, these swords symbolize the art and science of sword making, whether utilized in battle, ceremonial, or prestige

Check out the 6 largest swords to ever exist

Prominent Owner/s: Japanese Samurai

The Japanese katana (also known as the katana sword) has grown in popularity in recent years, largely thanks to the rediscovery of its worth as an artistic creation

The number of times that exhibitions are conducted is growing, and the average age of attendees is becoming younger

Although the name “katana” was first used to describe a sword during the Kamakura era (1185–1333), the true history of bladed weapon crafting in Japan dates back over twenty centuries

The katana is the longest of the samurai swords, and it has a round or square guard with a single curving edge and a long handle that can accommodate two hands

It can reach a length of up to 60–80 centimeters and a weight of up to 11–15 kg

The katana was the longest sword used in feudal Japan, including by Ninja, Kendo, and Onna-Musha

Claymore Sword

Prominent Owner/s: Scottish Warriors

The Scottish claymore is a renowned massive weapon used throughout the Wars of Scottish Independence and in clan warfare

However, variations of the sword existed both earlier and later in history, with its peak popularity being between the years 1400 and 1700

Claymores were used in significant numbers for the last time in the main combat in 1689 at the Battle of Killiecrankie

The whole length of this massive sword was around 140 centimeters (55 inches), and it had a grip that was 33 centimeters (13 inches) in length

Claymore swords might weigh as much as 55 pounds at their heaviest point

The first claymore swords did not appear like the sort seen up there

These swords were shorter and did not have the distinctive quatrefoil pattern, consisting of ornamental circles overlapping on the cross hilt

Prominent Owner/s: German Landsknechts

Period Available: 14th – 16th century

The Zweihänder was the culmination of an increasing size trend that started in the 14th century and continued to the current day

It may weigh anything from 2 to 4 kilograms and up to 213 centimeters in length

The Zweihänder and other similar two-handed great swords are regarded to be the most authentic examples of Renaissance weaponry

Although medieval swords sometimes included two-handed grips, none of these weapons were used in the same manner as magnificent Renaissance swords

When facing off against pikemen, troops armed themselves with Zweihänder and other large swords due to their stature

The lengthy blade of the Zweihänder was designed to readily disarm polearms and even cleave them in two if necessary

A weapon of this magnitude could only be used effectively by the biggest and most robust troops, such as the landsknecht

Total Weight: 15 pounds

Total Weight: 15 pounds

Prominent Owner/s: Medieval Europeans

Source: Worcester Art Museum

A bearing sword is a type ceremonial sword that is very large and difficult to hold

These swords were not designed to be used in battle or for any other use; instead, they were displayed upright and richly ornamented

Bearing swords were employed in Europe at least as early as the medieval era and as late as the 18th century

Bearing swords, also known as display swords, typically weighed between 10 and 15 pounds, however due to their role as ceremonial weapons, they were not very effective in terms of real combat

The total length of one of these creatures may measure up to 227 centimeters

They were carried by royal bodyguards as a demonstration of authority and were used everywhere from the early to late periods

Total Weight: 147 kilograms

Total Weight: 147 kilograms

Total Weight: 147 kilograms

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

The Odachi Norimitsu is the longest Japanese sword, measuring 377 centimeters long and weighing 147 kilograms

The Odachi is one of the longest swords in the world and was typically crafted for use by Samurai in Japan

It is said that the odachi was one of the preferred weapons to use on the battlefield during the Nanboku-ch era, which included a significant portion of the 14th century AD and lasted for the majority of that time period

It has been documented that the length of the odachis made during this period was more than one meter

This weapon went out of favor within a short period of time

The primary reason for this was that it was not a practical weapon to employ in fights, which was the major factor contributing to its decline in popularity

Total Length: 1493 meters

Total Length: 1493 meters

Total Length: 1493 meters

Total Length: 1493 meters

Total Length: 1493 meters

Total Length: 1493 meters

Total Weight: Information Not Available

The sword of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad is the largest in terms of length

On December 16, 2011, the Guinness World Records measured the sword

The sword measures 1493 meters (48 feet 1179 inches)

A Disto D8 was used to take measurements of the sword in the center of the Al Saif roundabout, and a crane was used to examine the sword’s quality from the top to the bottom

At the annual ceremony for the Crown Prince Award-Al Saif, which took place at the Fujairah fort, the award was handed out to the recipient and presented to them there

7 Oldest Samurai Swords Ever Built

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