The present paper deals with the origin and function of the earliest swords in the Near East and Europe. The use of this kind of weapons can possibly traced back to examples discovered at Arslantepe/Malatya in Eastern Anatolia which can be dated as early as 3000 BC. In the Near East and the Aegaean the first swords were usually elongated versions of local daggers and show no clear typological affinities to each other. With the Aegeaean Typ A rapiers we have the first European swords which had great influence on the development of similar weapons in the Central Europe and probably also on the Iberian Peninsula. Within only a few generations the knowledge of the sword spread to most parts of Europe. The earliest Near Eastern and European swords were primarely used for presentation of status and ceremonial purposes. Starting with the mass production of the Typ A and other European types they were also used in combat.
Keywords: early swords, Early Bronze Age, Near East, Europe.