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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Do we know much about knives attributed to the Vikings?         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I know that some re-enactors playing the role of Vikings tend to carry a seax of some form as representing their side-knife. These could be utility type tools or even larger seaxes being carried as weapons.

I have read that this can represent a problem of some folks over-applying the seax form when it wouldn't be an accurate accompaniment for a Viking in period per se.

So do we have historical examples of knives which can be reliably attributed to the Vikings- knowing the the Vikings spanned a good period of time and lived and traveled over a vast area?

Does anyone here have a high quality reproduction of such a knife drawing form archeological information?

Thanks!
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Sep, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I did find this article which looks pretty good and does have some archeological examples.

http://www.warehamforge.ca/norse-knives/index.html
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This would be late Viking age. It's the only thing I remembered reading about a specific type of knife.

85. Of Hrorek's Assault

When the mass was finished Olaf stood up, held his hands up over his head, and bowed down before the altar, so that his cloak hung down behind his shoulders. Then King Hrorek started up hastily and sharply, and struck at the king with a long knife of the kind called ryting; but the blow was received in the upper cloak at the shoulder, because the king was bending himself forwards. The clothes were much cut, but the king was not wounded. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/08stolaf.htm
This is a rare example of layers of material stopping a blade in the sagas. I've always wondered why they stopped wearing cloaks in battle when maille became standard. I was thinking that maybe the gathered material on the left shoulder might help protect against a sword coming over the shield?
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok, technically, it didn't stop the blade, but it did save him. Though re-reading this I'm not sure whether the point made solid contact with the body or not.
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I might have to check in on this later if no one else does (I'm on my way to work) but if you are looking for archaeological finds of knives from the viking period there is a lot. The image database of the Swedish national history museum should turn up some. We also have a couple of rather famous and often reproduced knives from Gotland, that where found in graves intact with sheaths and bronze fittings.
There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep, 2012 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From Gotland http://www.arkeodok.com/Viking%20KnivesCD.html
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Sat 29 Sep, 2012 2:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
From Gotland http://www.arkeodok.com/Viking%20KnivesCD.html


That's the one I talken about!

I did a quick search for "knife" and "viking age" in the image database the Swedish History museum have online, and it returned 375 hits. Many are small tools or fragments. (An archaeologist friend of mine told me that many knife finds are slim shards of blades that have been sharpened over and over again...)

A few samples:

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=28508

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=304956

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=347624

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=347380

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=347546

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=347458

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=331660

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=331433

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=332865

http://mis.historiska.se/mis/sok/include_image_exp.asp?uid=337389
(A really nice find of seax-sheath fittings)

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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