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Acinaces (Greek: ἀκινάκης) was a Persian short and straight sword, to which Horace referred as Medus acinaces (Carmina, I.XXVII.5). The Acinaces was worn on the right side of the body (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica VI.701: insignis acinace dextro) and was not curved, and in that differed from the Roman sica (Iosephus Favius, Antiquities of the Jews XX.8 §10; calling them acinacae)
The shape and manner of wearing of the acinaces is illustrated in some of the figure reliefs in Persepolis. In the reliefs the sword is worn on the right side of the body or in front, but never on the left.
A golden acinaces was frequently worn by the Persian nobility, and it was often given to individuals by the kings of Persia as a mark of honour. Herodotus (Histories 8.120.1) tells us that when Xerxes (Ξέρξης) made a pact of friendship with the people of Abdera (Ἄβδηρα) he gave them a golden sword (ἀκινάκῃ) and a gilt tiara as a token of his respect. Herodotus also tells (7.67) us that the Caspians (Caspii) used a similar weapon; and (4.62.2) that among the Scythians it was also used in ritualistic context.
Xenophon (Anabasis 1.2.27, 1.8.29) report about Syennesis (Συέννεσις) giving Cyrus, among other things, an Acinaces (ἀκινάκην). Later, he reports that the most loyal chamberlain of Cyrus, Artapates (Ἀρταπάτης), ordered that he be slain upon the body of Cyrus or may have done so himself, for he had a golden dagger (ἀκινάκην) that was given to him as a token of Cyrus' affection to him.
- This article is based on Smith, W. (1878). A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities. London: J. Murray, a work that is now in the public domain.
- Rich, A. (1873). A dictionary of Roman and Greek antiquities (3d ed., rev. and improved ed.). London: Longmans, Green & Co. (in French.
- Enciclopedia della armi Italian