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Sean Page




Location: Maine
Joined: 16 Jul 2015

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2015 7:40 am    Post subject: Looking for pattern welded "Spatha" type sword         Reply with quote

Hello, I am new here and reading some very interesting articles. I am looking for a sword based on something that would have been in use in Britain in the mid 5th century by a Briton. From everything I have been able to find is that the earlier Viking swords, or Hanwei Saxon sword are the closest designs, correct?

I want a fully functional blade because, well, I want a real sword collectible, not a toy. I also want a pattern welded design at least obvious in the fuller, as I think it is a beautiful look. Most of what I have seen out there is very expensive, but I found the Hanwei Godfred Viking Sword which seems like a good affordable option. I have read a little that the Saxon is a better option but I can't find it for sale. Why is it better?

Are there any other good options? If I end up with the Godfred, I would like to replace the hilt, grip and pommel. Is this a reasonably easy project?

Thanks!
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2015 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't seen any 5th century blades with such wide single fullers like on Hanwei Saxon. These are typical for later swords. 5th century is very early for such a blade. If I am wrong I would be happy to see similar blade of so early date.
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Sean Page




Location: Maine
Joined: 16 Jul 2015

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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2015 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That may be true. Do you have any suggestions for something closer to the time period?
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for pattern welded "Spatha" type sword         Reply with quote

Sean Page wrote:
I am looking for a sword based on something that would have been in use in Britain in the mid 5th century by a Briton. !


Then you're out of luck I'm afraid, as there are no surviving examples of British swords from the 5th century.
The British were, for the most part, Christian in the 5th century so they didn't bury their dead with grave goods.

You've got two options really.
1) Look to Irish weapons of the period (which have very distinctive blade shapes and will require commissioning), as at least two Irish tribes were active in Britain in the 5th century (not just as invaders, there's a possibility that some were in positions of power)
2) Look at mid-fifth century blades from a wider context. The best candidate from Britain would be the Feltwell spatha, which was hidden in the hypocaust of a bathhouse. Probably brought to the country by a Germanic warrior (possibly invader, possibly foederati), the blade, hilt and scabbard fittings are well preserved. The organic hilt fittings (wood or horn) have not survived.

Here's the drawing from the site report. I've got some photos as well if you're interested. It's on display in the Norwich Castle Museum.



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"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Sean Page




Location: Maine
Joined: 16 Jul 2015

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is good information, thanks!
Would you happen to have any links to appropriate Irish swords of the time?
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Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of ∆thelmearc
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cameron's Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1000 is a fine resource.
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2015 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Cameron's Sheaths and Scabbards in England AD400-1000 is a fine resource.


It is, but not for any British weapons of the period.

Sean, the subject of early medieval Irish weapons has been discussed here before. This thread is a good place to start:-
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=16016

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Sean Page




Location: Maine
Joined: 16 Jul 2015

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2015 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, thanks!
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Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of ∆thelmearc
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Jul, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
It is, but not for any British weapons of the period.

??????
Why not?
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Sat 18 Jul, 2015 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Matthew Bunker wrote:
It is, but not for any British weapons of the period.

??????
Why not?


Because there's a difference between British and English...especially in the early medieval period.

Cameron's book only covers 'Anglo-Saxon' (ie English) items.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of ∆thelmearc
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Jul, 2015 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Learn something new every day...
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Jul, 2015 7:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote
Quote:
Because there's a difference between British and English...especially in the early medieval period.


A question of terminology then so I can be clear on this for myself. In the early medieval period, to about 600 AD, "British" or Romano-British would be used for anything from the period before the Anglo-Saxon (and obviously, later, Norse) settlements, all the way back to pre-Roman times. Then "British" is not a useful or even strictly correct term to describe weaponry or culture until the Acts of Union beginning in 1600's. In between we can differentiate between Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Hiberno-Scots, Norse/Viking, Norman, English, Scottish. Is this understanding correct?

For Sean, I've found I.M. Stead's book British Iron Age Swords and Scabbards a useful, though expensive and somewhat technical resource. Not all the swords are pattern-welded though. For Irish Swords, I recently got "Studies on Early Ireland" with an essay "A Classification of Pre-Viking Irish Iron Swords" by Etienne Rynne, though my copy is used and was difficult to find. The link Matthew Bunker provided has an overview of the info. After I have a chance to read it, I'll be happy to post anything interesting I find not covered in the link.

Finally, for everyone, I'm also interested in the impact on Britain from the Franks in this time. I think there is strong evidence of Frankish trade and settlement to at least the southern coast and Kent area of England. If there are some good resources on swords in the time period 400 to 600 AD, this would be another helpful thing for both Sean and I. Certainly there are pattern-welded swords in Frankish territory, some of which probably were used in England.

I do not think the Irish swords with such distinctive blade shapes were pattern-welded, but I may find out otherwise shortly, or someone here might know.
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Sun 19 Jul, 2015 3:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:
Matthew Bunker wrote
Quote:
Because there's a difference between British and English...especially in the early medieval period.


A question of terminology then so I can be clear on this for myself. In the early medieval period, to about 600 AD, "British" or Romano-British would be used for anything from the period before the Anglo-Saxon (and obviously, later, Norse) settlements, all the way back to pre-Roman times. Then "British" is not a useful or even strictly correct term to describe weaponry or culture until the Acts of Union beginning in 1600's. In between we can differentiate between Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Hiberno-Scots, Norse/Viking, Norman, English, Scottish. Is this understanding correct?

.


In the context of this discussion, in the post-Roman/early medieval period, "British" should be thought of as an umbrella term for the native inhabitants of Britain as opposed to the non-natives (from the various Scando-Germanic, Irish etc tribes).
It's not a particularly accurate umbrella term, given the complexity and lack of cohesive identity which existed in Britain in the power-vacuum left after the collapse of Imperial control, but it's no worse an umbrella term than "Anglo-Saxon" when describing the myriad tribes which made up the Germanic incomers, which is why I prefer 'English' (or 'Englisc' if you want to be pretentious about it).

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Jul, 2015 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
or 'Englisc' if you want to be pretentious about it


Oh good I'll use that at the next social! Always nice to have the pretentious option at hand. Wink Thanks for the other stuff as well.

Sean, I'm not sure you can find a pattern-welded blade from this time period short of custom work. The 'Migration era' blades I see at a place like Kult of Athena don't have the right steel. Wulflund has some nice things but none of them are right either. If you did find something, the "pattern welding" might really be etching, not a different type of steel construction.
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