The Romans called swordfish xiphias gladius, gladius being the name of the short sword carried by soldiers. The fish, which can grow to over a thousand pounds, are quite fearless and have been known to attack ships with their built-in weapons. Fish sellers in Italy are always careful to display the head with its awesome sword, often several feet long, alongside the trimmed swordfish. Not only is it an eye-catching sight, but it also ensures purchasers that they are getting the real thing.
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