Curtana, also Cortana or Courtain, is a latinized form of the Anglo-French curtein, from Latin curtus, 'shortened', used for a ceremonial type of sword.

Famous curtanas

The best-known curtana, also known as the Sword of Mercy or Edward the Confessor's sword, is a symbolically broken sword that is part of the traditional English regalia, now included in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

The Curtana is one of five swords used at the coronation of the kings and queens of England. The Curtana has a blade cut off short and square, indicating thereby the quality of the mercy of the sovereign; according to the mythological history of the sword, its tip was broken off by an angel to prevent a wrongful killing.

Carried in the coronation procession between the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Spiritual Justice. These three swords are believed to have been made for the coronation of Charles I of England, and were among the few items of the crown jewels to escape being melted down by Oliver Cromwell.

Curtana was also, according to legend, the sword of Ogier the Dane; it bore the inscription My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durendal.1

  • Note 1: Bullfinch's Mythology, Legends of Charlemagne, Chapter 24
Return to Main Index

Creative Commons License This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. Text is available
under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.