sword_of_strength-coc-ornatewarriors_of_eternity-cornerstones-defeatedSWORD of STRENGTH

Classification: Magic item;
    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,
    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 Removed from its scabbard, it reduced to the size of a sword suited for whomever had withdrawn it.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 worlds.

    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.


(Conan 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).

sword_of_strength-coc-giant_hilt (Conan 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.

(Conan 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. 

(Conan 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.

(Conan 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.sword_of_strength-coc-shrink-to-fit

    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 relentlessly.

    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.

    Though pleased at this victory, which brought them closer to their goals, Noyo was revulsed by Conan's savage slaughter.

(Conan 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.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Noyo transported Conan (who kept the sword at his side), Dreeme, and herself to Anshan, the capital of Iranistan.

(Conan 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."

(Conan 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.

sword_of_strength-coc-staff-full(Conan 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 speed and 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 energy blast.

(Conan 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. 

(Conan 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 could be that chosen one, using the Cornerstone's power to redeem the dark and violent world.

Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Gil Kane.

    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.

Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation

Some insight courtesy of creator David Sexton:

     I discovered the original Cornerstones of Creation on your Appendix website as I was investigating magic in Marvel and the idea of the number 4 as a repeated theme in Marvel. And, of course, the way that Tarot fits into all that.

     When I saw the C of C on your site I connected it to Tarot and then the 4 Elder Gods. I knew that Gaea was Earth and Rose fit with her, that the crown was the Serpent Crown, and that the Sword which signifies intellect and the mind was Oshtur.

     So then I was like how would a mirror work with Cthon and I realized that the Darkhold was the mirror of Chthon. A reflection of his twisted vision for the world.

     In Marvel Tarot, it appears as the Ace of Wands (see image on right--Snood; the Ace of Swords is the Sword of Bone, the Ace of Cups is the Serpent Crown, and the Ace of Pentacles is the Ebon Rose)

     In the image of Ian McNee using the Cornerstones of Creation, the Black Mirror is just a magical construct to symbolize the Mirror.

     In my mind, the Darkhold itself is the Cornerstone. Possessing the Last Chronicle of Chthon / Darkhold page allowed Ian to access the Darkhold's power (as far as the Cornerstones of Creation is concerned).

The Serpent Crown. The Ebon Rose. The Sword of Bone. and the Darkhold. Those are the four Cornerstones

The Cornerstones of Creation received a mini-profile in the Talismans of Mystic Power of the Mystic Arcana handbook. It stated:

The Cornerstones of Creation refers to a set of four unique artifacts of the ancient world. The Sword, the Rose, the Crown, and the Mirror are related to air, earth, water, and fire, respectively, and some ancient texts have connected them with four entities known as "Elder Gods." Individually possessed of vast power, some have theorized that if the four Cornerstones were gathered together and used correctly, the very fabric of reality could be altered. This is why the true names of the items have been obscurred throughout history...

    After re-re-re-re-reviewing all the stories and speaking to the creator, it seems clear that the Handbook entry offers the best solution...the Cornerstones' reality-altering power changed their nature...or their natures were altered.

    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.

Profile by Snood.

The Sword of Strength should be distinguished from:

It has no known connections to

images: (without ads):
Conan the 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)

Conan the Barbarian#128 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
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: 04/10/2020

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Items