The term kopis (when used in Ancient Greece) describes a heavy knife that features a forward curved blade that was primarily utilized for slicing meat, animal sacrifice, and slaughter.
It can also refer to single-edged cutting or cutting and thrusting swords that feature a blade that has a similar shape.
About the Kopis
The ancient Greeks commonly utilized the single-edged blades for battle; however, straight, double-edged tools were considered to be more versatile in the martial arts just like the xiphos.
The heavy infantry hoplites preferred the straight swords yet the downward arch of the kopis made the weapon highly suited for mounted battle. Xenophon a general and writer had recommended the use of the single-edged kopis sword for cavalry in one of his works called On Horsemanship and states.
I highly recommend the kopis more than the xiphos; because of the horse’s height, the cut of the kopis will be much better compared to the thrust delivered by a xiphos. The wording and description of Xenophon clearly suggest that the kopis was considered as a specific alternative within the more general class.
Origin of the Kopis
The kopis is said to have originated in Greece in the fifth century BCE; the weapon replaced the broad slashing swords and also replaced the earlier versions of these.
It had a curved shape that was specifically fashioned to inflict wounds using a downward slash; it also featured a convex blade and back that was made specifically to add weight to a weapon right towards its tip.
There are some scholars claiming that the kopis sword had an Etruscan origin since similar swords have been found in Etruria during the seventh century BC.
A couple of Greek art also exhibits Persian soldiers carrying an axe or the kopis instead of the straight-bladed swords; additionally, it was also claimed that the yatgan weapons utilized during the Ottoman Period was a direct descendant of the kopis.
As a substitute to the xiphos, a number of Spartans chose the kopis blade as their secondary tool; it was one of the dreaded pieces for battle since it was also known as a savage hacking tool in the form of a bulky and arched iron sword.
Warriors were able to utilize the weapon more as an axe than a sword; plus, the weapon was also capable of inflicting deeper and deadlier wounds compared to those made by the xiphos or the spear.
Speaking of the kopis is quite difficult without comparing it to the Iberian falcata since both weapons share similarities that have been distinguished throughout history.
Although this is the case, some historians believe that the similarities between the two swords were just a coincidence since there were a lot of little differences between the two weapons the kopis was a weapon of its own and it was never a descendant of the Iberian falcata.
The kopis sword could be utilized on foot or on horse since its sheer slicing power is definitely undeniable; whether or not the kopis originated from the Etruscans (just like what some scholars suggest) or it is a sibling of the falcata from the Iberians.
The kopis was a truly powerful, durable, and effective single-handed blade that was definitely a piece that was excellent for the battlefield.
Characteristics of the Kopis Sword
The kopis sword was known as a single-handed weapon and early samples of the piece had a length of about sixty-five centimeters, giving it an almost equal measurement to the spatha; later samples from Macedonia appeared to be shorter where its blade length measured around forty-eight centimeters in total.
The kopis generally featured a single-edged blade that leaned forward right at the point; its edge had a concaved portion which can be found close to the hilt.
The shape of the blade was usually referred to as a recurved blade and it helped distribute the kopis weight, allowing it to deliver adequate blows with the momentum of an axe while simultaneously maintaining a sword’s long cutting edge. Also, the blade was capable of delivering adequate thrusts which was also necessary during battles.
When it comes to the edge of the blade, it was commonly narrow along the portion that was close to the hilt; it gradually gets wider towards the tip to provide distributed weight when the kopis delivers blows with the power and momentum of an axe.
Despite these, the kopis blade continued to keep the cutting edge of a sword that allowed the wielder to execute effective and adequate thrusting attacks.
Furthermore, the kopis sword was usually compared to the modern Iberian falceta and also the shorter Nepalese kukri. Kukri is a Greek feminine noun and the difference of its meaning from the makhaira sword is not readily clear in ancient and classic texts.
Kopis for Sale
For an individual who is interested in getting their hands on a finely-made kopis sword, it can now be purchased from various online weapon stores. The replica kopis sword for sale appears just like the traditional weapon, retaining its classic shape while also featuring an almost straight back edge.
The replica’s blade is also curved and wide along the tip, plus this also features curved fullers that are carved right into the blade’s length to decrease the weapon’s weight.
Just like the traditional blade, the hilt of the replica kopis sword for sale is also just as impressive and attractive as the original; moreover, it also features a finely made curved handle that is adorned with ornate designs.
The kopis for sale comes in two categories: the fully functional blades and the decorative pieces. The fully functional ones are adequately sharpened and are ready to utilize for cutting and training practice; these can also be used for various historical re-enactments for plays, movies, and the like.
As for the decorative kopis, these make great display items to decorate one’s home or it can also be a new addition to a sword enthusiasts growing collection of classic pieces.
Though before purchasing, always keep in mind that it is best to do a little research on the seller or shop that is offering the kopis sword for sale; make sure that these are legitimate and that they offer replica swords that are made of high-quality materials.