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SWORD

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The ordinary sword of the Greeks (xiphos, figs. 2 and 5), had a straight two-edged blade 16 to 18 inches long, and 2 to 2 1/2 inches broad; the handle, which was often made in one piece with the blade, was 4 to 6 inches long, and without a bend, but with a cross or shell-shaped guard. The scabbard was of metal or leather mounted with metal, and frequently covered the hilt as well as the blade (see fig. 1). It hung by a belt thrown over the shoulder, usually on the left side, on a level with the hip. At the beginning of the 4th century B.C., a sword of nearly double this length was introduced by Iphicrates for the light infantry called peltasts. A sword slightly curved on one side from the hilt upwards, and only sharpened on this side, was the machaira (figs. 3 and 4). This was the shape of the Spartan sword (xyele), which was peculiarly short. For the Roman sword, see GLADIUS.

Pictures and Media
Scabbard (Gerhard, Auserles. Vasenbilder, Taf. coi).
Sword (do.)
Sword (Millingen, Peintures des Vases, pl. v).
Machaira in sheath (ib. pl. lvii).
Sword (Monumenti dell' Inst., 1856, tav. x).
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