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The 16 Deadliest Curved Blade Swords From History

Written by: David Mickov
Published On: March 27, 2023
Edited by: Juliana Cummings

Swords with curved blades date back thousands of years and have been employed by several cultures and civilizations in battle. These weapons are dangerous, adaptable, and useful whether you’re on foot or horseback. The development of curved blade swords over time resulted in a wide variety of styles, each with its own illustrious past and cultural importance.

This article will mention some of the deadliest ones used in combat worldwide. We’ll begin with the most well-known examples, like the Katana, then move on to the ones with the most pronounced curves, like the Shamshir, and finally arrive at the earliest examples, the ancient Khopesh, whose curves resemble sickles.

1. Katana

Katana 3
The most popular Katana sword used commonly in modern media and games such as Elden Ring – Credits: Wiki Media

When discussing swords with curved blades, we must start with the Japanese samurai sword – the Katana. It might not be as strong as the legends and the internet says, but its sharpness and curve make it one of the most powerful cutting curved blades in history. It is one of the best-curved blades to try out today while using high-carbon steel to test its light weight and cutting power.

2. Tachi

Tachi
The earlier type of Japanese Katana – Credits: Royal Museum Greenwich

The Tachi, made 400 to 500 years before the Katana, started the trend of curved swords in Japan. It has a stronger curve than the Katana and is shorter, which makes it a great secondary slashing weapon that can easily be pulled from its scabbard (saya in Japanese) and plunged into the flesh of an enemy. It is presumed to have been used by the ninja combined with the smaller Tanto steel blade.

3. DaDao

DaDao
One of the deadliest curved blade swords in history, the Chinese Dadao blade – Credits: Mandarin Mansion

The Chinese Dadao sword has one of the most powerful curved blades ever crafted. It was made and used mainly to cut through bodies without armor. This blade is broad and wide and could easily cut off pieces of a person’s body with a single swipe, making it very popular throughout the 20th century.

4. Liuyedao

Liuyedao 1
The slashing and slicing Chinese saber known as the Liuyedao – Credits: Mandarin Mansion

The Liuyedao, also called the Willow Leaf Saber because of how its blade is made, is another very popular Chinese curved blade. This Chinese sword has a blade that curves almost backward, with the neck of the blade forward and the tip of the blade pointing outward. This design makes it possible to cut deeply into flesh or even through gaps in armor.

5. Kukri

Kukri
The Gurkha’s deadliest weapon still in modern-day use – Credits: Imperial War Museums

Kukri is the name of Nepal’s most dangerous short sword. It is a sword without a guard and with a recurved blade, making it the ideal curved weapon for slashing in close quarters. It was used in several past wars and the Gurkhas, a Nepalese military unit, still use it today for ceremonies and defense.

6. Talwar

Talward
The deadliest Indian slashing and slicing sword, Talwar – Credits: Met Museum

The Indian Talwar, also known as the Tulwar, is India’s most famous and well-known curved-blade sword. It was used in many of the country’s wars because it was so effective and completely replaced straight swords, like the Khanda, that had been used before. The Talwar was a great slicing weapon with a history of decapitating enemies.

7. Shamshir

Shamshir
The Persian Shamshier  has the most curved blade out of them all – Credits: Powerhouse Collection

The Persian Shamshir is the most well-known type of middle eastern scimitar with a curved blade. This sword’s blade curves more than any other blade in the world. It makes it a very good weapon for slashing when used on horseback or even in close combat, but because of its sharp curve, it is not very effective for thrusting.

8. Kilij

Kilij
The devastating Turkish Kilij sword with its broadening tip made for powerful cutting strikes – Credits: British Museum

During The Ottoman Empire, which spanned over 600 years, the Turkish Kilij was the most popular sword. It had a unique shape, known as a “blade-widening tip, or “yalman,” which made it excel at slashing and cutting. The Kilij influenced many other curved blades because of its ability to do so.

9. Kopis

Kopis
A modern reconstruction of the ancient curved Kopis sword – Credits: Wiki Media

The Kopis is an ancient Greek sword with a curved blade that makes it one of the most popular swords for hacking and slashing. It worked well as a secondary weapon once the spear was no longer useful in battle, and when used with a shield, it was often deadly, even against armor.

10. Falcata

Falcata
The very similar Falcata sword  could do devastating slashing and cutting strikes – Credits: Met Museum

The Iberian Falcata is a short sword very similar to the Kopis. It was feared by the Romans because it could sometimes slice through armor, thanks to its design and powerful cutting motion.  Some people think it could be thrown at an enemy like a boomerang because the blade is curved similarly. 

Khopesh

Khopesh
One of the oldest examples of curved blades in history, the Egyptian Khopesh sickle sword – Credits: Liberty Biblical Museum

The ancient Egyptian Khopesh, believed to have been developed during the 16th century BC, is one of the world’s oldest swords with a curved blade, It was likely influenced by the Sumerian Sickle. Its blade is curved like a sickle, and despite being bronze, it was an excellent weapon for powerful slashing attacks.

11. Falx

The worst nightmare of the Roman soldier thanks to its anti-armor abilities – Credits: Carl Richard

The Dacian Falx got its name from the ancient Dacians, as they commonly used it. It was the curved blade of Europe, changing how the Romans fought and what gear they wore in battle. The Falx and the bigger Rhomphaia have strong blades curved like a sickle and strong enough to break through shields and armor. It would be an ideal way to attack the enemy’s legs or torso and crack their helmets. 

Falchion

Falchion 1
The European curved Falchion that could slash like regular blades or hit like hammers – Credits: World History Encyclopedia

The Falchion was a single-edged European straight or slightly curved sword. It was very strong and could be used to cut or thrust. There are types with very wide or thin blades. Before sabers took over, these were the primary curved swords used in Europe. It had a full tang blade, which went through the handle and didn’t rely on its sharpness alone.

12. Shashka

Shashka
The Cossack Shashka sword with a thin curved blade and no guard for protection -Credits: Caucasus World

The Cossack Shashka is one of the fastest and most deadly European blades with a curved shape. This blade didn’t have any kind of guard to protect it, but it was the most popular weapon in the Russian Empire because it could attack effectively through unarmored opponents.

13. Cutlass

Cutlass
A curved Cutlass sword that ruled the seas and waves – Credits: Museum of the American Revolution

Throughout history, sailors and pirates have been known for using cutlass swords with curved blades. They are short and strong enough to be used for both defense and offense. Their curved blades let them strike quickly, and their large guards made them effective in close combat situations, such as on the deck of a ship. 

14. European Sabers

European Sabers
A typical look of the European Sabers featuring a curved blade with a pointy tip – Credits: Museum of the American Revolution

European sabers became the most common type of curved blade in Europe because they were made for quick strikes both on foot and, especially, while on horseback. Some military groups today still wear sabers as part of their uniforms, which became popular around the turn of the 19th century. Today these sabers are also one of the most popular stainless steel decorative swords.

Why Curved Blades?

Why Curved Blades
A single-edge sharpness on  both sides is shown in the first two examples; a single-edged blade that has its sharpness  extend throughout the entire blade – Credits: Skallagrim

The primary necessity and motivation for single-edged blades are the reduced cost and ease of upkeep. Creating them took less time, effort, and material, and they were easier to master. With only one side of the blade sharpened, there was still plenty of steel to be sharpened, as seen in the third picture above, so that the blades could be razor-sharp.

To further enhance the razor sharpness and give its blade durability, it was shaped into a curve. A curving blade could spread out its damage to the enemy more. Combined with a mounted user’s speed and momentum, it was very deadly, especially against unarmored opponents. Curved swords could inflict bigger and deeper slicing wounds, were less likely to get stuck in the opponent’s armor, and excelled at quick mounted attacks.

Sources Cited
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