Monday, December 12, 2016
3 Most Common Ceremonies That Feature Using Swords
For centuries, the weapon of choice for the Knights and fighting men of the world was the sword. Today, they are still in use, however not in the same vein. Now they are highly collectible, with a very colorful history behind them. We do still have ceremonies today, that use swords in their rites, and most are military ceremonies that have been kept alive.
In the early 12th and 13th centuries, a sword was forged called the Szczerbiec in Poland by one Radziwill. This was forged as a ceremonial sword and was never used in combat, unlike the original Szczerbiec which was a fighting weapon. The sword made by Radziwill was originally a sword of justice or the badge of office of the reigning local duke of that area’s judicial powers during the Age of Fragmentation in Poland.
Later this sword was used as a coronation sword that was specifically made mention of in an account of the crowning of King Casimier who reigned in Poland during the 1400’s.
It became a part of the Polish Crown Jewels and was used as the principal ceremonial sword in the coronations of almost all Polish kings until 1764.
The sword is now owned and displayed by the Wawel Royal Castle National Art Collection in Krakow. It is the only preserved article of the Polish medieval coronation insignia and holds a very prominent position of the museum’s Treasury and Armory permanent exhibition.
Swords are used by the military, in several of their ceremonies. The ceremony of the Change of Responsibility is one. The participants of this ritual are the Outgoing and the Incoming First Sargent’s. During the ceremony, each face each other, the Senior Platoon Sergeant draws the sword about 2” out of the scabbard and presents it to the Outgoing Fist Sergeant. He then passes the sword to the Company Commander, who in turn passes it to the New First Sergeant. It is a long ceremony with all the pomp and circumstance due it.
The Order of the Sword, which has been recorded as being use for the first time in 1860 when it was presented to General Robert E. Lee by his command. The ceremony was updated and adopted by the Air Force in 1967. The keeper of the sword is the chief master sergeant of the Air Force and is displayed at the U.S. Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon. There are only 16 persons to ever receive the honor to date, the latest in July 2016 at Robbins AFB to Lt. General James F. Jackson when he relinquished his command of the Air Force Reserve Command after 25 years. Every major command center has its own Master Sword which is displayed at the MAJCOM headquarters. The Order of the Sword ceremony was meant to recognize and honor military senior officers from colonel and above also to the civilians who are their equivalents. Given for significant and conspicuous contribution to the welfare of the Air Force enlisted forces missions effectiveness.
As you can see, the sword is still very much a part of our history, both past and present and will no doubt remain so for many years to come.