Historical Inaccuracies in Wonder Woman

Let me start by saying that Wonder Woman is an amazing film and quite possibly the best DC superhero film since the days of the Christopher Reeve “Superman”. A definite breath of relief from the train wrecks that have been made in the recent past like Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman. It is a top tier piece of cinema and I recommend it to everyone that asks me about going to see it. That being said like with most films that touch on historical points there are some minor inaccuracies in the movie.

Ignoring the blatant inaccuracy of the Ancient Greek demi-goddess fighting among the Allied forces during World War I, what will be looked at with scrutiny is the God-killer sword that she wields for the duration of the movie.

The sword that the God-killer is based off of is the Xiphos or for the Romans the Spatha. The Xiphos is a short one handed sword meant for slashing and stabbing. The main things here for the Xiphos being that it is short and one handed.

This is where Wonder Woman’s version of the Xiphos judging by the handle and her ability to easily put two hand on the handle for more leverage after losing her shield at one point leads my to believe that the handle is more along the lines of hand-and-a-half length. As far as the blade goes it is longer than the traditional Xiphos blade but only about as long as the blade of an arming sword.

 

 

Why would they choose to go a route of historical inaccuracy when other portrayals of Wonder Woman take into account how the swords were forged in the time of the Greeks? Most notably the versions used in the recent game Injustice 2. That can be answered by thinking aesthetically. Two-handed swords or Hand-and-a-half swords look much cooler to modern audiences than a short one-handed sword. Speaking from personal opinion of course. I personally prefer a two-handed sword to a one-handed but can still see the use in a one-handed especially paired with a shield.

Now the question remains how could they fix the historical inaccuracy of the almost two-handed xiphos used in the movie? It’s pretty simple, all that has to happen is the handle shortened about a half inch from where it is now. This would put the handle at the length that it should be allowing Wonder Woman to run around fighting crime and world ending disasters with a historically accurate sword. The blade might be a tad long but if the character design is overhauled then comic fans will be up in arms about some minor changes. This is where costume and prop designers could take a few notes from video game developers. As previously stated Injustice 2 gives Wonder Woman historically accurate portrayals of her sword which there are multiple of. They still make them look aesthetically pleasing while keeping the design correct.

And to play devil’s advocate a bit with myself the question of shortening the sword handle to fit a more historically accurate portrayal of a xiphos, what would happen to the design of the handle? Could the prop designers and fabricators still make the sword as ornate and shrink the handle down? Personally I believe that they could. The design on the handle is that of two serpents intertwined like the ones Hercules strangled as a baby. Could a talented prop builder keep the intricacy of this design were the handle smaller? Absolutely they could, a good prop builder would know how to compensate for the shorter handle and keep the design the exact way that they wanted it.

Wonder Woman is an amazing movie and definitely a step in the right direction for DC. They have their first relatable character in the recent past and this is taking into account all the movies they have put out since they have started trying to compete with the MCU in regards to movie success. The small historical inaccuracies could be fixed incredibly easy and I hope they are but, if they aren’t I will be here to offer scholarly words to try and fix the issues that I see.

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