|Place of origin||Ancient Egypt|
|In service||c. 3000–1300 BC|
|Used by||New Kingdom of Egypt|
Kingdom of Israel and Judah
|Wars||Battle of Kadesh|
Battle of Qarqar
|Length||avg. 50–60 cm (20–24 in)|
A typical khopesh is 50–60 cm (20–24 inches) in length, though smaller examples also exist. The inside curve of the weapon could be used to trap an opponent's arm, or to pull an opponent's shield out of the way. These weapons changed from bronze to iron in the New Kingdom period.[failed verification] The earliest known depiction of a khopesh is from the Stele of Vultures, depicting King Eannatum of Lagash wielding the weapon; this would date the khopesh to at least 2500 BC.
The khopesh fell out of use around 1300 BC. However, on the 196 BC Rosetta Stone, it is referenced as the "sword" determinative in a hieroglyphic block, with the spelled letters of kh, p, and sh to say:
- Shall be set up a statue ..., the Avenger of Baq-t-(Egypt), the interpretation whereof is 'Ptolemy, the strong one of Kam-t'-(Egypt), and a statue of the god of the city, giving to him a sword royal of victory, ...
Although some examples have clearly sharpened edges, many examples have dull edges that apparently were never intended to be sharp. It may therefore be possible that some khopeshes found in high-status graves were ceremonial variants.
The word khopesh may have been derived from "leg", as in "leg of beef", because of their similarity in shape. The hieroglyph for ḫpš ('leg') is found as early as during the time of the Coffin Texts (the First Intermediate Period).
- Wise, Terence (1981). Ancient Armies of the Middle East. Osprey Publishing. pp. 23–25. ISBN 978-0-85045-384-3.
Hamblin, W.J. (2006). Warfare in the Ancient Near East (softcover ed.). Routledge. pp. 66–71. ISBN 0-415-25589-9.
- Howard, Dan (2011). Bronze Age Military Equipment. Casemate Publishers. pp. 31–34. ISBN 978-1-84884-293-9.
Loades, Mike (2010). Swords and Swordsmen. Pen & Sword Military. pp. 1–21. ISBN 978-1-84884-133-8.
- Budge, E.A.W. (1989) . "Rosetta line 6". The Rosetta Stone (unabridged, softcover, reprint ed.). Dover Publications. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-486-26163-8.
- Coffin Texts: CT V, 9c, B1C
- Wernick (2004). "A khepesh sword in the University of Liverpool Museum". JSSEA. 31: 151–155.
- Massafra (2009). Le harpai nel Vicino Oriente antico. Cronologia e distribuzione. Rome La Sapienza Studies on the Archaeology of Palestine & Transjordan. Vol. 09. Roma (published 2012).