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ACI´NACES

ACI´NACES (ἀκινάκης), a Persian sword, whence Horace (Hor. Carm. 1.27.5) speaks of the Medus acinaces. 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 20.7.10.) [SICA] 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. 1.2, § 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).

[J.Y] [W.W]

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.67
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.62
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.120
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.2
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