Khopesh sword with the cartouche of Ramesses II
A bronze Khopesh sword inscribed with the cartouches of King Ramesses II. The Khopesh is an Egyptian sickle-sword that evolved from battle axes. The blunted edge of the weapon’s tip also served as an effective bludgeon, as well as a hook. This Khopesh sword is made of bronze with a typical length of 57.5 cm.
The Egyptian term “khopesh”, hinted at the resemblance to the foreleg of a cow or an ox, as well as it was its owner’s “mighty arm”. The khopesh first appeared in the Middle Bronze Age, in the centuries before 2000 BC, and went out of use after 1200 BC.
The Khopesh is sickle-like shape with the cutting edge on the convex side of the blade that evolved from battle axes. A typical khopesh comes this length, though smaller examples also exist. The inside curve of the weapon could be used to trap an opponent’s arm, or to pull an opponent’s shield out of the way.
Various kings are depicted with a khopesh, and some have been found in royal graves, such as the two examples found with Tutankhamun.
The khopesh was a unique and distinctive weapon with a curved blade that originated in the Bronze Age. It was primarily used as a slashing weapon, effective for close combat and infantry warfare.
The inside curve of the weapon could be used to trap an opponent’s arm, or to pull an opponent’s shield out of the way.
The khopesh held significant cultural and symbolic value in ancient Egypt. It was not only a practical weapon but also a symbol of power and authority.
Over time, the popularity and use of the khopesh declined as other weapons, such as the longsword, became more prevalent. However, during its time, the khopesh was an iconic weapon in ancient Egyptian warfare and an important part of their military history.
New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, ca. 1279-1213 BC. Dimensions: length: 57.5 cm (22.6 in); width: 4.8 cm (1.8 in). Now in the Louvre. E 25689