The sword is in chivalry the ensign or symbol of knighthood, especially in defense of the cause of the Christ. The sword is said to be endowed with the qualities of justice, fortitude, and mercy. Hence the Knight is charged that he should never draw his sword unless convinced of the justice of the cause in which he is engaged, not to sheathe it until his enemies are subdued.

In Freemasonry, the use of the sword as a part of the Masonic clothing is confined to the advanced degrees and the Degrees of Chivalry, when, of course it is worn as a part of the insignia of knighthood. In the Symbolic Degrees its appearance in the Lodge, except as a symbol is strictly prohibited. The Masonic prints engraved in the eighteenth century, when the sword, at least as late as 1780, constituted a part of the dress of every gentleman, show that it was discarded by the members when they entered the Lodge. The official swords of the Tiler and the Pursuivant or Sword-Bearer are the only exceptions.

This page is adapted from the Glossary at Phoenixmasonry — Used with permission.

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