What is a Kopis Sword?

Kopis Sword

The kopis sword was a single-handed weapon with a blade measuring up to 65 cm.

Later versions of the kopis sword from Macedonia had shorter blades, at around 48 cm. It had a curved blade, with the edge closer to the hilt being concave and the tip convex. This design gave it the ability to deliver powerful blows like an axe, while retaining a long cutting edge and thrusting capability. Some researchers believe it originated in Etruria, as similar swords have been discovered from the 7th century BC. You might find Kopis Swords for sale on eBay.

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Ancient Greeks utilized single-sided kopis sword blades in war, which is evident from artwork and literature. Even though the double-edged, straight, and more combat-ready xiphos is more commonly depicted. Hoplites, who were Greek infantry soldiers, preferred straight swords, but the kopis – with its downward curvature – was more appropriate for mounted combat. The renowned writer and general Xenophon suggested in his book On Horsemanship to use the single-edged kopis sword (which he did not differentiate from makhaira) when riding on horseback. His statement implied that he suggested a kopis sword rather than a xiphos, because when you’re on the back of a horse. This suggests that the kopis sword was perceived as a certain variety inside of a more general classification, and the expression makhaira represented any single-edged cutting sword.

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The Kopis is a special sword which has a curved blade, called a “recurve”, which is often used in the form of knives, combat knives, swords, and the well-known kukri. This blade is not just for how it looks, but it was created using physics, with the ability to deliver powerful slashes and the long cutting edge of a sword like an axe. The term for this sword comes from the Greek word Kopides (meaning cut or strike), and from the Egyptian word Khopesh (which stands for a hefty knife with a forward-curving blade).

The particular kopis sword was valued and recommended by generals to be used as a cavalry sword, as the recurve was more suitable for delivering blows while riding a horse, as opposed to the traditional straight bladed swords. Later on, in the 16th century, the kopis was replaced by the Persian shamshir, which is more similar to the cavalry sabers we recognize today.

The kopis is a single-handed edged weapon that originated in ancient Greece. It featured a forward-curving shape, initially intended for cutting meat, slaughtering, or animal sacrifice. Over time, its size and purpose changed, with early models being around 26 inches and later versions being as short as 19 inches. The concave shape of the blade, with the bigger area near the tip, provided a strong chop, like an axe. The handle was curved inwards to shield the user’s hand during the impacts. It’s thought that the kopis was the source of inspiration for the Nepalese Gurkha kukri.

1095 steel is the most widely employed high carbon steel for swords. Containing a carbon level of 0.95%, it is one of the highest carbon concentrations in any form of steel. The most typical high carbon swords are produced with 1045 steel, which has only 0.45% carbon content. 1095 steel has a reputation for its knack in preserving an edge, and has a hardness of 56-58 HRC. However, the downside of 1095 steel is that it is not very flexible, which is essential for swords to endure strong impacts without breaking.

To make the steel more flexible, clay tempering is used to make it more malleable. The clay is heavily applied to the blade to keep certain areas cool as the blade is quenched. The clay is applied everywhere besides the edge, so the edge remains hard and sharp. This tempering technique preserves the strength and sharpness of the edge while allowing the rest of the blade to be more supple. This method optimizes the strength of the blade and maximizes its sharpness, leading to an incredibly resilient blade with a razor-sharp edge.

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