Tisiphone « Peter Johnsson | Swordsmith




The ancient Greeks gave life to the immutable forces of fate and consequence in the form of the goddess Ananke, the personification of inevitability. The Furies are the vengeful agents of her immutable will. Tisiphone is the Fury who brings down retribution upon murderers, her name consisting of the Greek, “tisis,” meaning vengeance, and “phone,” meaning to murder. She reserved special cruelty for those who murdered a family member, an act that bore a unique abhorrence to the ancient Greek. “Dark, dark!” cries Sophocles’ Oedipus, “The horror of darkness, like a shroud, wraps me and bears me on through mist and cloud.”


Often depicted in blood-soaked robes, Tisiphone was regarded as the divine order’s minister of revenge. Tales of the Furies also portray them as the motivation for the very acts of perverse transgression that are theirs to avenge. Some poor soul might murder a family member under her influence, only to be driven to insanity and slow, withering death by her vengeance.


Curiously, legend also maintains that after the Athenian trial of Orestes, who killed his mother in retribution for murdering his father, Athena herself offered the Furies a home in the city and the position of guardians of childbirth and weather. In this way the Athenians came to regard the Furies as the manifestation of natural forces that were outside the control of mortals, a reminder that humans are limited and imperfect. Through the wisdom of Athena, the Furies, who once provoked fear and unrelenting guilt, also became known as the Eumenides (the Kindly Ones) who provided a means to channel fury and anger into the ability to act according to righteous understanding, which lies at the heart of justice in any civilized society.

Total length: 450 mm
Blade length: 300 mm
Blade width: 43 mm


Materials &Techniques: The blade is forged from 1084 and 15N20 steel in 550 layers of variable thickness. The guard and pommel are sculpted using a technique invented by the artist’s father and cast in bronze. The grip is bound with fine silver wire and is mounted with cast sterling silver ferrules.

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