The dagger is one of history's most infamous tools. This short, double-edge blade has been used in close combat for centuries. St. Peter used a dagger to slice off the ear of a Roman soldier on the night Jesus was arrested. When Caesar was stabbed over 23 times by his closest allies, the dagger was the weapon of choice. Since time immemorial, the dagger has existed primarily as a secondary defense in close combat. Yet today, it is a collectors item as well.
Origin of the Dagger
The dagger evolved out of prehistoric tools made of flint, ivory or bone. However, the first truly developed daggers appeared in the Bronze and Copper Ages, when pliable metals were first being mined. The function of these daggers was as backup weapons to maces, axes and javelins.
Early History of the Dagger
During the Renaissance, daggers transformed into precision-decorated works of art. Daggers were gilded and characterized by opulent stones and baroque patterns and owned by nobility. In early Egyptian societies, the dagger was also lavishly decorated and was primarily used as a ceremonial object. There is even evidence of these daggers in Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Dagger in Modern Warfare
As firearms revolutionized warfare, the dagger lost some of its popularity. However, daggers were still used in trench warfare situations, in which small bands of elite soldiers would attack unsuspecting armies.
By World War II, the dagger had lost much of its military use, but was still a utilitarian tool used by many soldiers for cooking, cleaning and first aid. Because of its cutting ability, it was also used, alongside the Bowie knife, to cut through glass and free downed soldiers from their planes.
The dagger was also a favored accessory of Nazi commanders and elite soldiers, who would wear daggers as part of their military regalia.
The dagger is a paradoxical symbol. Its small size and easy ability to be hidden makes it often associated with duplicity and treachery. However, because it is used in close-range combat, it is also associated with bravery.
Dagger Collecting Today
Today, there are thousands of dagger collectors across the world. Popular daggers are commando models, survival daggers and round table or antique daggers, which resemble dagger models of the past. Daggers are rarely used for combat outside of elite armed forces, but they are still functional tools that have a rich history that appeals to collectors around the world.
The dagger is one of history's most infamous tools. This short, double-edge blade has been used in close combat for centuries. Since time immemorial, the dagger has existed primarily as a secondary defense in close combat. Yet today, it is a collectors item as well.