This impressive bronze weapon is a stabbing/thrusting sword from ancient Persia, and would have belonged to a high-ranking member of the greatest empire the world had ever seen. The Achaemenid Empire marked a great colonial expansion throughout the second half of the first millennium BC, resulting in the inexorable rise of a centralised administration which had a voracious appetite for luxury items.

Perhaps the most revered craftsmen were the smiths, who produced astoundingly ornate high-quality prestige artefacts for the emerging ruling class, including the highest ranks of the military. The resulting achievements of Persian smiths were in demand throughout the Middle East and beyond, and this piece demonstrates why. It is a highly attractive and well-formed piece, with a stone pommel, an elongated iron-riveted handle (possibly originally clad with wood plates) and a curvilinear mount wrapping around the near end of the blade. However, it is also a practical and technological item, with a slender, straight and tapering blade which is strongly constructed with a central strengthening spine that produces the so-called ‘blood groove’ which facilitates easier stabbing and wrenching the blade from one’s opponent’s body in a battle context. This is an impressive piece of ancient art, and a compelling conversation piece for any collection or sophisticated domestic interior.