What is interesting, the confusion that has developed with the definition of the name of this weapon, still exists. Kopis translated from ancient Greek means "hack." According to one version, it was originally a heavy knife, the blade of which was bent to the ground. Such a tool was used for gutting fish, game, and also for slaughtering animals. According to another, a copis came to Greece from across the sea: its ancestor is called the sickle-shaped Egyptian sword with the very consonant name khopesh or khopesh. At the same time, the bend of the copis is not as pronounced as that of the "Egyptian", and the impact surface was the inside of the weapon, not the outside. This, as the researchers note, made it possible to deliver powerful slashing blows.
At the same time, in addition to the clearly chopping and cutting advantages of weapons, the Greek Copis had a sharp edge, suitable for striking and thrusting. Even before the famous campaigns of Alexander the Great, the famous Greek philosopher and historian Xenophon (430–356 BC) in the work “On the Cavalry,” advised horsemen not to use a straight sword (xiphos, 800–400 BC. ), which was in service with the Greek infantry, namely the curve. He explained this by saying that from the height of a horse’s back, a slashing blow with a curved sword would serve better than a (stabbing) straight blow. At the same time, the researchers note that Xenophon used two words one by one to describe the curved sword: in addition to the copy, he called this weapon a mahaira.
The word “Mahaira” was translated from ancient Greek as “battle” (makhe), but in modern language it means “knife”. In principle, it is believed that this term in the sources used to refer to a variety of bladed weapons. For example, according to Homer, this is a household knife of a small size. And from the works of the same Xenophon it follows that the mahaira is like the name of a sword in a broader sense, while the copy is a definition of its specific subtype. At the same time, what is their fundamental difference to the end is unclear. Experts suggest that the main difference between a copis and a mahaira may lie in the bend of a blade: a sword with a pronounced forward-curved blade is a copis, with a slight bend - a mahaira. The latter, among other things, was suitable only for cuts, but not for stabbing.
With the term "falcata" things are much simpler. It is known that this name was born in the 19th century, and by a misunderstanding: when translating from Latin, one of the researchers accepted the description of the sword (falcatus - curved as a sickle) as the name. Thus, the falcata is the same kopis. However, the name as a whole came into use to refer to the sword, which they began to fight on the territory of the Iberian, or, as the ancient Greeks called it, the Iberian Peninsula. Falcata began to appear around V - IV centuries. BC. Unlike the copy of the Spanish version of the sword, the sword was slightly larger and smoothly passed into the handle. At the same time, both the guard and the handle were often connected, thus more reliably protecting the hand from impact. Meanwhile, the length (on average, about 60 cm, which subsequently decreased) and sharpening of a part of the butt for stabbing in many respects were both in the copis and the falcata. However, it was about the Iberian blades that the Romans wrote that no helmet could withstand the impact of such a weapon. He was impressed, as historians write, and the Macedonian king Philip, Alexander's father.
But the warriors of Alexander the Great himself, it is believed, used copies of them, along with spears. For example, according to the ancient Roman historian Quintus Kurthus, fighting in India, the Greeks chopped "the trunks of elephants with slightly curved swords that look like sickles." A Roman calls them "copy-cards." However, whether the copy was owned by the conqueror of Asia himself is not entirely clear: Plutarch writes that "Alexander wore a sword, a gift from the king of the Chinese, surprisingly easy and beautifully hardened" and adds that "in battles the sword was usually his main weapon." Anyway, it is with the campaign of Macedon that the subsequent appearance of such a Nepalese knife, as kukri, is associated in form similar to the Greek kopis, which is the so-called ancestor for the weapons of the Saxons and for the Vikings.