SWORD of STRENGTH
Sword of Sorcerous Might;
active in the Hyborian era (present since the distant past; see comments)
Creator: Primal Gods (aka "Elder Gods"; see comments);
if the Sword of Strength is an incarnation of the
Sword of Bone, then it would have been created or re-created by Oshtur
User/Possessors: Conan, Pau-Styss;
guarded by the Warriors of Eternity;
watched over by the Cult of Creation, notably its priestess, Noyo;
if the Sword of Bone is an incarnation of the Sword
of Strength, then it has also been used consistently by the Pale
Horseman and its various incarnations (under the direction of Agamotto), including Cadaver (Cody Fleischer), as well as Joshua Pryce.
Group Membership (More of a collection): Cornerstones of Creation
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#128 (November, 1981)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Sword of
Strength is a weapon of great destructive power. It can destroy beings
of magical power otherwise resistant to conventional injury.
In its natural state, the sword
looked to be close to 15' long. Within its scabbard, it rested on a
pair of braces. Removed from its scabbard, it reduced to the size of a sword suited for whomever had withdrawn it.
The Sword of Strength can alter
its form into that of a staff (and presumably other weapons) in order
to engage in formal combat with another such weapon.
According to Noyo, it is the
Sword of Strength that gives man his courage, his fortitude, his
fierceness, and his pride.
The air around even the inert,
sheathed sword seemed to be charged with an ineffable aura, an energy
that made those near it (or, at least, Conan) feel that if it was
harnessed it could give a man enough power to lay waste to a hundred
The Sword of Strength contained
great magical power, although its full nature was unrevealed. United
with the other Cornerstones of Creation, it could potentially unleash
vast magical power, but only to beings pure of heart; unpure beings
would be destroyed by this power.
the Barbarian I#128 (fb) - BTS) - In the distant past, the Primal Gods (also sometimes referred to as "Elder Gods"; see comments)
created four items, imbuing each of them with one of the four elements
of the cosmos' creation: The Sword of Strength, the Crown of Wisdom,
the Mirror of Beauty, and the Rose of Peace.
Throughout the ages, the sacred Cornerstones of Creation were jealously
guarded by the Cult of Creation. Knowledge of their Earthly hiding
places was known only to the hand-picked priestess of the gods.
Noyo was chosen as the Priestess of the Cult of Creation (see comments).
the Barbarian I#129) - The Warriors of Eternity were all once human
warriors who had sought to claim the Sword of Strength.
Failing to overcome (and presumably being slain by) the existing Warriors (see comments),
they each became one of the Warriors of Eternity, immense, virtually
immortal zombie-like creatures serving as guardians of the Sword.
the Barbarian I#128 - BTS) - Under duress to recover the Cornerstones
of Creation for the wizard Pau-Styss in order to save her husband,
Laynnen, Noyo transported herself,
Conan (Laynnen's childhood friend), and her and Laynnen's son, Dreeme, to the Black Kingdoms a short distance from
the Warrior's graveyard.
the Barbarian I#128) - As the trio arrived at the graveyard surrounding
the Sword of Strength, Conan, overwhelmed by the palpable energy
charging the area and ignoring the gravestones, rushed forward to claim
the Sword. However, as Noyo warned him of the threat, the Warriors of
Eternity began to emerge from their graves.
the Barbarian I#129) - Noyo advised Conan that her magicks were useless
against these creatures and that the Sword of Strength could only be
won by strength. Conan then engaged the creatures, but he was then beaten down by the giant Warriors.
When Noyo urged him to
reach the Sword as it was the key to victory, Conan leapt past the
Warriors and raced to the Sword. With supreme effort he grasped the hilt and pulled the
immense Sword from its scabbard, after which it shrunk to fit his frame.
Noyo noted how the Elder Gods had rewarded Conan
after he had proven himself worthy of the Sword and that, backed by
their power, nothing could bar his way.
Conan then rushed
forward, swiftly gaining confidence in the Sword's power and using it
to hack into the Warriors.
Though they initially fell under Conan's assaults,
the Warriors rallied and surrounded him anew. Calling on the war-cry of
his Cimmerian tribe, Conan attacked savagely, slashing at the Warriors
As he progressively dismembered and/or felled the
Warriors, Conan achieved union with the Sword, accessing the power of the "Elder
Gods" and becoming the embodiment of strength. Against such
power, the Warriors were slaughtered.
Conceding defeat, the Warriors returned to the ground from which they had crawled.
With the task complete, the power of the "Elder Gods" departed from Conan, who sank to his knees, trembling.
pleased at this victory, which brought them closer to their goals, Noyo was
revulsed by Conan's savage slaughter.
the Barbarian I#129 - BTS) - With the Warriors having failed at their
goal of protecting the Sword of Strength, the vengeance of the Elder
Gods would be great.
the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Noyo transported Conan (who kept the sword at his side), Dreeme, and
herself to Anshan, the capital of Iranistan.
the Barbarian#129 - BTS) - When Conan noted
his intent to use the Sword of Strength to force their target,
Zoroazztor, to yield the Crown of Wisdom to them, Noyo advised him
that Zorazztor could only be defeated by wits alone: "Such are the laws of creation -- by which I am sworn to abide."
the Barbarian#129) - Nonetheless,
Conan initially provoked a confrontation, hurling the Sword of Strength
at Zoroazztor, who easily dodged it but then became distraught when the
blade struck some of the books in his immense library.
Conan ultimately reclaimed the Sword and stole the Crown (after
Zoroazztor had defeated Noyo in the mystic challenge), distracting
Zorazztor by setting fire to his tomes.
the Barbarian#130) - While Conan wielded the Sword of Strength in some
vain attempt to drive off the flames that threated himself and his
allies, Noyo mystically transported them (along with the Sword and the
Crown) to Khitai.
In an alley, they were confronted by a masked, ninja-esque warrior
(subsequently identified as the Guardian of Beauty). As Conan
battled the warrior, the Sword of Strength transformed into a staff to
match his attacker's weapon. Conan was outclassed by the warrior's
took several blows until Noyo mystically granted him expertise in such
Eastern combat. Ultimately, after the warrior unmasked as a beautiful
woman and attempted to drain Conan's soul, Noyo, via the Sword-staff,
filled Conan with power to subdue the warrior.
After they claimed the Mirror of Beauty and the Rose of Peace, Noyo
transported them to Pau-Styss' base/fortress. Having exhausted her sorcerous energies, Noyo told Conan that he could use the Sword
of Strength to slay Pau-Styss.
Conan outfought Pau-Styss with the Sword, but Styss
turned into mist, reformed behind Conan, and struck him down with an
the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - Styss then forced Noyo to bring forth the Cornerstones,
which Styss transformed into their sidereal states and spoke the chants
to claim their power. Ultimately, however, the power consumed him,
leaving him a skeleton before that crumbled to dust.
the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - Laynnen noted that only
the "chosen one," the one pure in heart, could tap into the
Cornerstone's power without harm. Laynnen further indicated that Dreeme
that chosen one, using the Cornerstone's power to redeem the dark and
Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Gil
If each of the Warriors of Eternity was once a
human seeking the Sword of Strength, then it would logically follow
that there was once a first warrior to seek the Sword, but whatever stopped
him (I'd say "or her," but they were all males) is unrevealed.
- Perhaps the initial challenge was just the drawing of the immense
Sword from its sheathe (which took all of the mighty Conan's strength),
and that warrior failed that and became the first Warrior of Eternity,
with subsequent challengers either being slain by the Warriors or
failing to unsheathe the Sword.
- Or maybe there was some other initial challenge, with the
Warriors becoming the new challenge only after a sufficient number of
them were accumulated?
- Or maybe the Elder Gods' magic allowed them to magically bypass
temporal limitations, such that there was a group of Warriors of
Eternity even when the first human sought and failed to claim the Sword.
Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation
We don't know how old Noyo was (well over 500
years old, but possibly much older, and whether she was the original
Priestess of the Cult of Creation, or whether she was the most recent
in a succession.
- In the past, we have always considered the Elder Gods of
the Hyborian Age (never specifically named and sometimes referred
to as the Primal Gods and the Creation-Lords) to be distinct from the
true Elder Gods (Chthon, Gaea, Oshtur,
and Set; with others having long since perished) and to possibly be the major gods mentioned elsewhere in the Conan series: Crom,
Mitra, Asura, and possibly Set..."
- However, the Mystic Arcana series included the
Cornerstones of Creation and showed them to be associated with the
true Elder Gods. Between the two stories, the Sword of Strength from Conan I#128-130 would correspond to the Sword of Bone (associated with
Oshtur), used by Agamotto's Pale Horseman, with most recent incarnation being Cadaver; the Rose of Peace would correspond to the Ebon
Rose (associated with Gaea); the Crown
of Wisdom would correspond to the Serpent
Crown (associated with Set); and the Mirror of Beauty would correspond to the Darkhold
(associated with Chthon).
- In re-reading and re-reviewing both sets of
stories, I remain uncertain whether the Cornerstones in the Conan
stories are the same as those in the Mystic Arcana stories, and also
that the Elder/Primal Gods associated with the Conan stories are the
same as the true Elder Gods.
- With the span of 5000+ years, I
could see the Sword of Strength re-created as the Sword of Bone, but
they are not the exact same object, which is why I'm giving them
different profiles here.
- The Rose of Peace and the Ebon Rose
have no striking differences, so that's an easy re-creation; but,
again, they're not exactly the same.
Serpent Crown has an extensive history, but the corrupting influence of
the Crown of Wisdom would be consistent with the Serpent Crown; the
Serpent Crown has also existed in the form of the Helmet of Power.
Nonetheless, the Crown of Wisdom has a a specific history that will be
covered in its own profile.
- The Mirror of Beauty is the one that
that gives me a problem. It supposedly judged purity and could only be
used by one who was pure. The Black Mirror, however, was a reflection
of the Darkhold, a creation of Chthon, one of the most malevolent
beings associated with Earth. Obviously, it could have been that the
Mirror of Beauty was a trap to corrupt others, but the fact the
Pau-Styss was destroyed upon accessing the Cornerstones' power makes it
seem less likely that it was some seductive trick.
Interestingly, the one image in Conan the Barbarian
I#130 that shows the Elder Gods as appearing to be at least three completely human-looking males. Is
this just an image from Noyo's understanding of her masters? Did she
lack understanding of their true forms/natures and just assume them to
be human males who mystically combined their energies to generate a
living being? Were these beings actually avatars of the Elder Gods,
rather than the Elder Gods themselves? Or are there two different sets
of Cornerstones of Creation?
- I know the author of Mystic Arcana, David
Sexton, intended the Cornerstones in his stories to be the same ones
from the Conan stories, but he did tell me that he wasn't sure that would actually work out...
- This issue will likely remain
perhaps moot, depending on how the new Conan series fits in. It's
supposed to be a continuation of the older series, although they don't
necessarily plan to revisit much outside of classic Robert E. Howard
story themes. We shall see...
Profile by Snood.
The Sword of Strength should be distinguished from:
- SWORD of BONE -
Cornerstones of Creation, associated with Oshtur, weapon of the Pale Horseman,
transformed from his own rib--Secret Defenders
It has no known connections to
- Sword of the agent of Heaven - wielded by one of the Critics judging Darrel Daniel, used to send souls to Heaven--Man-Thing I#6
- Sword of the American Samurai - Gifted to the American Samurai by the Keepers of the Sacred Koan. Cuts through solid walls--Elektra I#11
- SWORD of APOCALYPSE - temporarily
used by Hulk
as Apocalypse’s agent War--Incredible Hulk II#457
- Sword of Asmodiar - wielded by demon Asmodiar against King Arthur Pendragon & Merlin, able to slay Asmodiar--Marvel Preview I#22
- Sword of Azrael - able to cut through virtually any substance--Wolverine III#48
- Sword of the Basilisk - Wielded by the demonic Basilisk to slay Satana--Marvel Team-Up I#80
- Sword of the Crusader - Empowered by Arthur Blackwood's ancestors, wielded by Blackwood as Crusader. Power varies with faith of its wielder--Thor I#330
- SWORD of DAMOCLES (Argos, Pyre,
Zona, Ulysses Dragonblood + Arcadia DeVille(q)) - Damocles foundation field
for Damocles Foundation--X-Force I#83
- Sword of Dawn - see Caliburn; wielded by Adam Crown--Knights of Pendragon I#16?
- Sword of Demonicus - Used by Mephisto to remove briefly Zarathos from Johnny Blaze--Ghost Rider II#76
- Sword of the Devourer of Souls Immense weapon wielded by Devourer of Souls, powered by infernal otherworldly force that ravages and numbs the body while paralyzing the soul--Savage Sword of Conan I#90
- Sword of Doom - see Twilight Sword--Thor I#337
- Sword of the Elder Gods Created by the Primal Gods of the Hyborian Era (sometimes referred to incorrectly as Elder Gods), used by Conan to slay the Devourer of Souls--Conan the Barbarian I#199
- SWORD of EVIL -
see BLACK BLADE--Wolverine II#1
- SWORD of FANGS of Earth-93060 -
weapon of Mantra--Mantra I#1
- Sword of Frey - Later held by Balder. Can fight of its own accord when unsheathed--Thor I#294
- Sword of Gagol - formerly wielded by Gagol, chief troll of Otherworld, used against Black Knight (Dane Whitman). Could be charged with flames--Hulk Comic #9 (1979)
- SWORD of GLORY (Mr. Albasini) -
North African fanatics/terrorists, allied with Silver Wolf--Sable & Fortune#1
- Sword of Gonra - forged by the Scorpion god for Gonra circa 19,500 BC, used to fight off army of invaders at the Temple of the Scorpion God. Enhanced fighting prowess--Kull the Conqueror I#9
- Sword of Graven Used to fight the Dragon of Set and protect town of Solvantha--Conan the Barbarian I#143
- SWORD of GONRA
- forged before 19, 500 B.C. by scorpion priest, granted power from the
Scorpion God--Kull the Conqueror III#9
- SWORD of JUDGEMENT (sic) - led by
terrorist Agamemnon--Marvel Two-In-One#10
- Sword of Justice of Earth-1211
- One of the three "Lost Treasures of Tao," formerly held by Suzuki Shosan, obtained by Simon Benedict, returned to Shosan by Sydney Taine.. Able to destroy supernatural beings--Nightside#3 (4
- Sword of Kamuu -
magic item originally wielded by pre-Cataclysmic Atlantean ruler Kamuu; powers amplified by the Eye of Zartra--Sub-Mariner I#62/2
- Sword of Korrek - wielded by Korrek of Katharta. Cleave most other metals, project mystic force--(Adventure into) Fear #19
- SWORD of LIBERTY - opposed by
"Ice" Phillips--Punisher War Journal I#52
- SWORD of LIGHT - given to Black
Knight (Dane Whitman)
by Lady of the Lake. Released energy stored within Shield of Night--Heroes for Hire I#2
- Sword of Master Pandemonium - Wielded by Master Pandemonium following his second transformation and alliance with Lore.--Scarlet Witch I#1
- SWORD of MIGHT - power item of
Merlyn, used by Reaver--Captain Britain I#1
- Sword of Mogul - wielded by Mogul of the Mystic Mountain, allowed him to match blows with the Mjolnir-wielding Thor--Thor I#137
- Sword of Naram-Sin - wielded by MAX reality's
Devil-Slayer/Shagish Chulepti, used by Danny Sylva to decapitate the
demon Belathauzer and the angel Gabriel--Dead of Night Featuring Devil-Slayer#3
- Sword of Nauda - wielded by Nauda of the Silver Hand (of uncertain connection to the Celtic God Nuadhu). Fire-covered, virtually indestructible--Marvel Comics Presents I#107
- Sword of Necromon - wielded by Necromon, leader of the Nethergods, against the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) & Arthur Pendragon, shattered by the Arthur's Excalibur--Hulk Comic#62
- Sword of Nox - created from Darkforce, wielded by the Fear-Lord Nox vs. Dr. Strange; steals souls as it slays--Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#38
- Sword of Omen - wielded by Omen of the Legion of Night. Banish or destroy demons--Legion of Night#2
SWORD OF POWER - Negative Zone; Baluurian vessel commanded by Tranjaar--Fantastic Four I#290
- Sword of Rimthusar - wielded by Rimthursar, the Cruel Striker, creator of the Menagerie; shattered by Thor's hammer, Mjolnir--Thor I#320
- Sword of Satan - granted to demon servant of "Satan" (Mephisto and possibly others) to
battle the Ghost Rider (John Blaze/Zarathos). Generate flames, slice
demon flesh--Marvel Spotlight I#7
- Sword of Scathach - Gifted to Cuchulain by his mentor, the prophetess Scathach. Highly durable--Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#3
- SWORD of SCONE - wielded by a
time-traveling Shadowcat in 1936, restoring Shadow King to corporeal
form. Disrupts psychic (and possibly other)
energies--X-Men: True Friends#3
- SWORD of SCOTIA
- the claymore used by
Red Ian Og, contains his spirit, allowing others to use it as the
Clansman--Marvel Graphic Novel:
Punisher: Blood on the Moors
- SWORD of SKELOS of the Hyborian
era - a pair of
swords empowered by a certain spell from the Book of Skelos,
allows the sorcerer to be directed to fly through the air and
kill a victim--Sword of Skelos; Savage Sword of
- Sword of Skulveig - formerly wielded by Skulveig, a fire demon of Muspelheim, eventually taken by his son Hrinmeer (a.k.a. Flame) who slew Skulveig. Composed of unidentified metal, at least previously coated with poison from the fangs of Cerberus--Thor Annual#18
- Sword of Stargod - origin unrevealed, wielded by Stargod of Other Realm, passed on to John Jameson when he gained the power of Stargod--Marvel Premiere I#45
- SWORD of SURTUR - spell that
apparently tapped into the power of the Twilight Sword, unwittingly
used by Jack Holyoak and briefly turned Dr. Strange into a frog--Doc Samson II#1
- Sword of Tem - Hidden by the "Elder Gods" near the imprisoned Dark Angels--Conan the Barbarian I#164
- Sword of Tolometh - associated with mystic beings Tolometh and the location Poseidonis,
shares property with scabbard, used to kill blind warrior from Yamatai--Conan the Adventurer#14
- Sword of Ultimate Shadow Wielded by Necromancer of
the High Evolutionary's Counter-Earth, used against Dr. Strange of true
Earth, claimed by the latter after Necromancer's defeat.
Scimitar-shaped, cause great pain, even to astral self & through
mystic defenses--Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#47
- Sword of Yama Seemingly gifted circa the 1870s AD to an Indian rebel known as the Mahdi, but Yama and his fellow gods actually only gave the Mahdi illusory weapons for attempting to order them about, and he died in battle against the British. Blade covered in fire--Amazing High Adventures#5
- Sword in the Star - Sentient sword, worshipped by
Wayfinder and his
people in reality-7414, traveled to Earth-616, created the Microverse to allow his people to escape demons attacking
them, then became the Enigma Force--Marvel Preview I#4
in the Stone - removed from anvil block by Arthur Pendragon, proving
his worth as ruler of Camelot--Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe
Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin entry
- Sword that Conquers All - over 15, 000 years old, granted to the Stygian warrior Katuman by the the sorcerer Shu-Onoru, who obtained it from his demon familiar Helgor. Able to shatter or melt most substances on contact, leaves trail of energy able to subdue most humans--Conan the Barbarian I#248
- Swords of the New Dawn - 1980's era white supremacist group, conflicted with Night Raven--Daredevils#11/3
- Swords of Secret Five blades of ancient power, includes Ginrei & Kurokaze--X-Men: Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame#4
- other "Sword or Strength" blades, characters, groups, etc
images: (without ads):
Barbarian#128, pg. 19, panel 2 (giant form, in scabbard, Warriors of Eternity graveyard);
#129, pg. 1 (ornate sword);
pg. 5, panel (Conan grasping himself hilt);
pg. 6, panel 1 (unsheathed, reduced to fit);
pg. 8, panel 2 (slaughtered by Sword of Strength-wielding Conan);
#130, pg, 7, panel 3 (transformed to staff);
pg. 11, panel 1 (full staff, absorbing energies from Guardian of Beauty)
Barbarian#128 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil
Kane (artist), Louise
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil
Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise
Conan the Barbarian#130 (January, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
First posted: 07/13/2019
Last updated: 07/13/2019
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