The origin of the sword had been lost to antiquity. The concept of a bladed weapon with a basic hilt had been found in a huge variety of cultures, and existed in a multitude of forms. Uses included military, religious and ceremonial applications. Over the millennia, this basic weapon type had been improved and altered due to changing technologies, alloys, and even fighting styles. The result being numerous incarnations of short-swords, heavy broad swords, agile rapiers, double-bladed swords, and even vibro-swords of many types which utilized an ultrasonic-vibration technology to improve cutting efficiency. The sword was doubtlessly the conceptual precursor to the lightsaber, yet both have continued to exist contemporaneously as the unique characteristics of the lightsaber preclude universal use or construction.
Sword variations utilized a wide range of materials, alloys, crystals, minerals, even bone, the goal being to produce sharper or harder blades, therefore able to do more damage and maintain their cutting edge. Powered swords, implementing vibration technology, decreased the coefficient of friction of their blades and thus were more dangerous. Many swords, particularly after the creation of the lightsaber, were designed laced with or composed of exotic materials such as cortosis, phrik, or obsidian enabling the wielder to engage and block a lightsaber blade. Regular swords were made out of metal (such as aurodium, durasteel, or others), plasteel, or highly bonded poly-layered ceramics.
The ubiquitous existence of the sword resulted in their use by many Sith and Jedi alike, even after the creation of the lightsaber. Ludo Kressh was one such Dark Jedi who used a sword as opposed to a lightsaber. Kressh's war sword was double-bladed, and, like a double-bladed lightsaber, was very dangerous to use. Naga Sadow used a Sith sword. In more modern times it has generally been the Sith or Dark Jedi who have used swords. The modern Jedi considered Swords to be "barbaric" in comparison to their signature weapon, yet some Sith are known to have preferred the more visceral feel of metal cutting flesh as contrasted to a blade of energy cleanly cutting and cauterizing.
Sith blades were often a cortosis alloy to protect them against lightsaber sparring damage. A pure cortosis blade, made of pure cortosis ore, also had the ability to cause lightsabers to short out for a small period of time on contact. The unique properties of this material in its pure and alloyed forms made it sought after, yet pure cortosis ore was a poor choice for standard swords as the blade was not very durable.
Although an ancient weapon type by the time the Galactic Empire rose to power, swords still saw use. Despite the proliferation of blaster technology the Sanyassans were known to use swords during the Galactic Civil War. Mustafar bandit swords were another more modern variation, and other swords were used by cultures, species, assorted martial arts and combat forms, and military organizations throughout the galaxy.
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- Galladinium's Fantastic Technology
- Alliance Intelligence Reports
- "Who Is That Alien? Ithorians & Gamorreans"—Star Wars Kids 8
- Arms & Equipment Guide
- The Essential Atlas
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- The Essential Guide to Warfare