a Persian sword, whence Horace (Hor. Carm.
) speaks of the Medus
It was a short and straight weapon, and thus differed
from the Roman sica,
Acinaces or Persian Sword.
which was curved. (Pollux, 1.138; J. AJ
] It was
worn on the right side of the body ( “insignis acinace dextro,
” Val. Flacc. Argon.
6.701), whereas the Greeks and Romans usually had
their swords suspended on the left side.
The form of the acinaces, with the method of using it, is illustrated by the
preceding Persepolitan figures. In all the bas-reliefs found at Persepolis,
the acinaces is invariably straight, and is commonly suspended over the
right thigh never over the left, but sometimes in front of the body. The
form of the acinaces is also seen in the statues of the god Mithras.
A golden acinaces was frequently worn by the Persian nobility, and it was
often given to
Statue of Mithras with Acinaces.
individuals by the kings of Persia as a mark of honour. (Hdt. 8.120
; Xen. Anab.
, § 27; 8.29.) That of Mardonius was among the spoils
of the battle of Plataea in the Acropolis at Athens; it weighed 300 darics
(Demosth. c. Timocr.
p. 741.129). The acinaces was also used
by the Caspii (Hdt. 7.67
). It was an object of
religious worship among the Scythians and many of the northern nations of
Europe (Hdt. 4.62
: comp. Mela, 2.1; Amm. Marc. 31.2