Weapons of Sci Fi-Fantasy: Part 1 – The Sword

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A mythic weapon common to both Sci Fi and Fantasy genres, the sword was probably invented as an improvement on the caveman’s club. Requiring several blows to defeat an enemy, the club lacked the swords bladed edge which could dismember or slay in a single blow. From Ogami Itto‘s Dotanuki to Luke Skywalker‘s lightsaber, the sword continues to be a remarkable topic.

The invention of the sword dates back to around 3,500 B.C., when the nomadic Kurgan peoples of the steppes of northern Europe and Asia Minor first learned metal working techniques from the Transcaucasians, who inhabited the border region between Eastern Europe and Asia. The warlike Kurgans, based on archeological evidence left behind in their early cave drawings, worshiped the life taking power of the sword like a god (from The Chalice and The Blade, by Riane Eisler, pp. 45-48).

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Past, Present, Future

Today we see the sword brandished by warriors in films, books and video games ranging from Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones to the Star Wars and Gundam franchises. While modern day combatants prefer the gun (“a coward’s weapon”, according to the Dark Knight, Batman), the sword remains THE battle instrument for champions both heroic and villainous. Perhaps the blade is making a comeback based on the hyperpopularity of contemporary fictional characters such as Deadpool, Wolverine and Psylocke.

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