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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Middle Period Anglo-Saxon Sword Reply to topic
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Lawrence Moran





Joined: 25 Feb 2007

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 1:19 pm    Post subject: Middle Period Anglo-Saxon Sword         Reply with quote

Here is my quandry...After much time overseas and in Iraq, I am finally back in a place where I can start to do some Living History and Re-enactment things in which I have been interested. I have narrowed my period of inerest down to the Middle to Late Anglo-Saxon period in Great Britian. Generally speaking, I looking at about 800-1000 BCE as my focus. I want to stay pre-Conquest and am shifting from the Norman to the Anglo-Saxon era.

I need to acquire a new sword that fits that period. I like the Thegn from Albion's NexGen line but its about twice what I can afford to spend at the moment. Given that the persona I am developing is intended to be a common warrior I am not sure I really need a weapon of that quality in any case (not that I would not love to have it for the collection...) Would a Viking sword fit into the period? Something like one of the variant Type X's or should I focus on a Type L for the historical accuracy?

My budget allows for about 500 USD for the sword as I still have to work on the garb and the other kit items. Any suggestions? Is anyone doing an Anglo-Saxon sword circa 800-1000 BCE of acceptable quality in the 500 USD range?
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Mike Arledge




Location: Indianapolis, IN
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would suggest taking a look at the Armour Class Saxon sword, which even comes in a blunt version. I believe www.viking-shield.com has some in stock. It is a nice sword for the money, I used to own one. It should fit the bill.

Good luck!

Mike J Arledge

The Dude Abides
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lawrence, have you considered a Del Tin? Models DT2071, DT2080, and perhaps DT 2100 are well within your price range, and are great or reenactors.
Christopher Gregg

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Tim May




Location: Annapolis, MD
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Definitely check out the squire line offering from Albion at www.viking-shield.com . One is based off of the Ballinderry sword, from Ireland, while the others are distinctively more northern, based on finds (as far as I can tell from Peirce's Swords of the Viking Age) from Finland and Norway.

I'd still argue that any of them could work though, due to the large viking influence in England, and the very closeness of Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon culture.

I too would love a Squire Line Thegn.
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know this may be met with howls of derisive laughter, but... Since you are just starting out, are enacting a common soldier and budget is an issue, Have you considered using an axe? Cheap as, if you make it yourself, and it is not hard to do with some pretty basic metal-working skills.
Just a thought
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tend to agree with Lawrence; axes and spears are the best way to start your collection on a budget, and depending on how early in the era you are exploring, swords might just be out of reach for the common man.

You get a lot of bang for your buck, and when the time is right you can buy the sword you want instead of the sword you can buy on the cheap.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Lawrence Moran





Joined: 25 Feb 2007

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2009 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am most definitely looking at a spear...I suppose I could hold off on the sword for now and focus instead on the rest of the kit. Might be better in the long run anyway...
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not to mention you could learn to fence with the spear, which is a certain minority in the WMA sector Happy

M.

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Richard Hare




Location: Alberta, canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lawrence,

You asked about a Viking sword being suitable, and just wanted to say yes, this would be fine as well, as some would undoubtedly fall into Anglo-Saxon hands.
As the Norse races settled in much of east and northern England, the weaponry of these areas would likely show as much influence of the Norse homeland as it would of the Anglo-Saxon residents.
Also, there were raids on Norway, From England, (In support of a new King, and such like)
This would quite naturally bring 'souvenirs' back to the Brittish isles.

One must also remember that old swords, were revered, and a migration pattern would not be discaded by the owner, but would be passed down, as in the case of Skofnung, the famous sword of King Hrolf Kraki, removed from his burial mound after a coupleof hundered years, and used for a long time thereafter.

Not wanting to confuse the issue, but just wanting to" broaden the horizon" on what would be acceptable!

Cheers,

Richard.
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject: Middle period Anglo-Saxon sword.         Reply with quote

Hi lawrence,

If your beginning out then I tend to agree with Nat. There is always an understandable rush to purchase a sword, and in the enthusiasm poor choices can be made. I would tend to advise to save your money, do some research and keep in mind a personnel and unique commissioned sword for the future.

Also the sword you may purchase now may not meet the standard required by any society that you may join.

I think that getting the basics in clothing, shoes ect correct is equally important and rewarding and as you build on your 'persona' or 'impression' you can add the 'bling' later.

If you decide that re-enactment/living history is not for you then it will not have proved too expensive

good luck

Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Amen. Too many groups are crowded with reenactors eager to become "high-caste" warriors without much concern for representing the period accurately. In fact some make the sword a priority above authentic shoes. Happy
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Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword is the fun bit though, I'd get one. I like the MRLs for cheap sharps, if you want a really cheap blunt to start with try the hanwei practical viking which is like $100 and sturdy as a crowbar. I still have mine i bought like 8 years ago.

It all depends if you want to dress in the kit, or play with weapons, martial arts, cutting etc.

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Middle Period Anglo-Saxon Sword         Reply with quote

Lawrence Moran wrote:
Is anyone doing an Anglo-Saxon sword circa 800-1000 BCE of acceptable quality in the 500 USD range?
Just a little nit-picking, 800-1000BCE is bronze age, which is probably a bit early for what you have in mind Wink
BCE stands for "before the common era", or politically correct for before Christ.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
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Lawrence Moran





Joined: 25 Feb 2007

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nit picking acknowledged...fortunately I think everyone knew what I meant.

I already have a small sword collection (five) but none are appropriate for the period. To be honest, none are of exceptional quality in any event. I have zero LH or re-enactment experience and while I think I will enjoy it, I cannot be certain. All that aside, even if LH is not for me I am still a collector...

I think I will focus on the garb portion of the kit and save the major sword purchase for later. A spear is perhaps more to my liking for the envisioned persona in any event. As for the axe...I have seen two versions of axe history. Some people are telling me almost no one used an axe in battle and others are telling me it was a common weapon. The spear is quite obviously a common weapon. So...with that in mind, were Anglo-Saxon spears anything special? Any peculiarities on shaft length, blade types, or style of use? I suspect I have a great deal of personal research ahead of me but see no point in completely re-inventing the wheel here.

Incidently, thanks for the comments.
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Lawrence Moran





Joined: 25 Feb 2007

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean, I say the Hanwei practical swords. Are they intended for sparring practice or for actual combat re-enactments? The write up I saw was not very clear. At the moment, there is not much in the way of LH near enough to me for realistic travel. So...I am likely to break into this with the SCA. Its combat rules are intended to ensure safety rather than realism. Does anyone here know anything about SCA combat rules as it regards stuff like realistic sparring weapons. Albion (among others) has some nice practice swords...would any of them be appropriate for SCA style fighting?

I suppose I could just wait until Sunday and ask the local group I am meeting for the first time but few things are as impatient as new love...
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
As for the axe...I have seen two versions of axe history. Some people are telling me almost no one used an axe in battle and others are telling me it was a common weapon.


Axes were used a lot in bronze age Europe, then seemed to fall out of favor on the continent, and were for a long time considered churlish and crude (especially by the Franks, from what I gather). In norse society they never went away and are pretty common throughout history. Apparenly the stigma of axes was broken sometime after the Normanization of England, because by the Crusader Era they were being used rather famously by such leaders as Robert the Bruce and Richard Leoncouer.

Here is an interesting article that sheds some light oon the subject, for the viking era anhow:

http://www.hurstwic.org/library/arms_in_sagas...ummary.htm

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jan, 2009 1:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Quote:
As for the axe...I have seen two versions of axe history. Some people are telling me almost no one used an axe in battle and others are telling me it was a common weapon.


Axes were used a lot in bronze age Europe, then seemed to fall out of favor on the continent, and were for a long time considered churlish and crude (especially by the Franks, from what I gather).
Huh? Are you implying that the one people bearing the name of their throwing axes did not use axes in combat?
Jeroen Zuiderwijk
- Bronze age living history in the Netherlands
- Barbarian metalworking
- Museum photos
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jan, 2009 5:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm implying that according to Ewart Oakeshott in The Archeology of Weapons, axes fell out of favor for a period of time in continental Europe, but remained popular in Scandanavia from the bronze age to the gunpowder age.

[edit] page 257 : In the eleventh it had been regarded as rather an ungentlemanly weapon by Continental warriors; only Saxons and Scandinavians considered it fit ...

Hope that helps

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Kenneth Powell Hutchison




Location: United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jan, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: axes         Reply with quote

In most of what I have read, and thats not a lot, the axe was often the weapon of choice for the lower ranks of saxon and norse warriors. Called to fight from their farms they took what weapons they had available. Bows, also used for hunting, Spears same again and axes which is a sort of universal tool of the time.
what do you mean all the meads gone. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jan, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's important to note the difference between tool axes and fighting axes. I have a bearded "ship axe" which a ceorl might have used, with a hammer pole on the back. It's just a handaxe but it's proportions and handling are vastly different from a fighting axe with an equivalent cutting surface. In fact, though I haven't weighed it, I would guess that it weighes as much as my danish axe head which has double the cutting edge. Frankly it handles like a 2lb smithing hammer; not at all ideal for fighting (though hits like thunder when thrown).

I would think most reasonably well off farmers could at least afford a basic spear or small fighting axe, and a seax would have been on hand anyways. Even now the cost of a spear is such a tiny fraction of the cost of a sword it's almost laughable; especially considering what an effective tool a spear can be.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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