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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sat 13 Jun, 2009 9:23 am    Post subject: How narrow can a viking sword be?         Reply with quote

Viking swords typically have a reputation for being pretty broad as swords go, but I've been wondering; historically speaking, how slender could the blade of a viking sword be at the most?

Put another way, what is the most narrow viking sword recovered?

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Lair Stone




Location: Oregon, US
Joined: 13 Jan 2008

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat 13 Jun, 2009 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings Anders,

The book Swords of the Viking Age (Ian Pierce) shows the narrowest blade being 4.4cm for the Type 1 blade, Gleibig's classification, from the 7th-8th century. This blade had no distal tapering so the width of the blade would have a lot to do with the weight of the sword.

The book Early Medieval Swords from Central and Eastern Europe (Lech Mareck) examined 40 Viking Age swords and the narrowest of those was also 4.4cm.

Hope this helps.

Regards.
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sun 14 Jun, 2009 8:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That does help - it's nice to get such an exact measurement. Happy

4.4 cm is still kinda broad by my own standards, though I seem to have a preference for narrow blades in general. (The blades I design tend to be 3-4 cm broad at the most, more likely 3.5.)

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Jun, 2009 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders,

You might also be interested in the 'maekir', a lesser-known style of Viking sword that tapers progressively to a pointy tip, giving it an overall more slender appearance than the classic parallel-edged viking sword.

There's a reproduction of one (from an original in Oslo) in this thread: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=13558

There's also a very well-preserved example in the British Museum in London; I was just looking at it a couple of weeks ago.

-JD
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Jun, 2009 6:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had no idea such a weapon existed...thank you for enlightening me!

M.

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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sun 14 Jun, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Anders,

You might also be interested in the 'maekir', a lesser-known style of Viking sword that tapers progressively to a pointy tip, giving it an overall more slender appearance than the classic parallel-edged viking sword.


Oh, I'm always interested in learning about unusual sword-types. When I talk about the broadness of a sword, though, I mean the broadest part of the blade, regardless of taper.

(Incidentally, my favourite viking sword is actually the single-edged variety, due to my overwhelming preference to backswords.)

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 11 Sep, 2009 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A picture of the British Museum sword I was referring to has been posted in this thread:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=172056#172056
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