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Joe Yurgil





Joined: 01 Jun 2004

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Fri 07 Oct, 2005 5:07 pm    Post subject: He-Man Axe in Norway         Reply with quote

I was perusing Egils saga Skallagrmssonnar today and read a curious passage:

Kveldulf had a gigantic double-bladed axe in his hand.

If I remember correctly there are a few pictures in medevial manuscripts with double-bladed single-handed axes. I know that these were not too uncommon in Islamic cultures but just how common were they throughout Europe? Was Europe influenced in this respect by Islamic cultures?

The time of this action was shortly before 900 AD in Norway and the time of writing wasnt until about 300 years later. It is possible that this is a later addition to the saga done to make Kveldulf seem even more ferocious (in fact he goes berserk in just the next sentence).

This begs the question: does anyone know of any photos of any European double-bladed axes from about this time period or have any thoughts on this topic at all at all?

Off topic: I couldnt help picturing He-Man while reading this.

Sj, ar s ek fur minn.
Sj, ar s ek mur mina ok systur mina ok brur minn.
Sj, ar s ek allan minn frndgar.
Sj, kalla eim tl min.
Bija mr at taka minn sta hj eim slum Valhallar, ar drengiligr menn munu lifa allan aldr.
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Alex Oster




Location: Washington and Yokohama
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 410

PostPosted: Fri 07 Oct, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remeber a thread similar to this a while back, and the only real good examples were of Indo-Persian decent. You might try seraching for double balded axes. Wink
The pen is mightier than the sword, especially since it can get past security and be stabbed it into a jugular.
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M. Taylor




Location: Chesterland, Ohio
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 128

PostPosted: Fri 07 Oct, 2005 6:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are you referring to This Thread?
"Only people not able to grow tall from their own efforts and achievements seek to subdue their fellow man."
"Only people not being able to find comfort in their own mind seek to silence others. " - Per Bylund
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Joe Yurgil





Joined: 01 Jun 2004

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Fri 07 Oct, 2005 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I did see that thread. I guess I was just hoping for something a little more....... archaeological. or something. Viking preferably.

What is the advantage to such a weapon? I can see how wide, sweeping movements would be effective in the heat of things but it seems as if putting something else, like a spike, on the other end just makes more sense.

Sj, ar s ek fur minn.
Sj, ar s ek mur mina ok systur mina ok brur minn.
Sj, ar s ek allan minn frndgar.
Sj, kalla eim tl min.
Bija mr at taka minn sta hj eim slum Valhallar, ar drengiligr menn munu lifa allan aldr.
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
Joined: 04 Dec 2003

Posts: 288

PostPosted: Sat 08 Oct, 2005 11:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's impossible to say with any certanity. If Kveldulf wanted a weapon like that I'm sure he could get it.

In my dialect "evening" is still pronounced "kveld"
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Shane Allee
Industry Professional



Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2005 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The double bladed axe probably wasn't all that uncommon in europe, it is just that it was a tool not a weapon. This one is probably Viking age and there might be more on the site as well. http://www.historiska.se/collections/fornbild...ildID=3113

I would imagine when we see reference to someone fighting with one of these that it is more of a way to show where the person came from, who they might be fighting for, etc. A way to connect heros and gods to certain groups of people.

Shane
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David McElrea




Location: Canada
Joined: 26 Nov 2003

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Posts: 438

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2005 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an Irish one from the British Museum. I believe it is early Christian, but it could be around the start of the Viking age. Either way, it may give some insight into Northern European double-bladed axes. Again, with Shane, I think we are looking at something that would have been a tool first and a weapon second, if at all.

David



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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2005 5:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The explaination could also be the translation from medevial Norse.
Probably the word used in the saga is "bryntroll".
Falk, who wrote the defining work on weapons in the sagas, defines "Bryntroll" as a double bladed axe, but he does not have any evidence for this. It is more likely that is an axe with a armour piercing spike, or even a kind of hewing spear.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Joe Yurgil





Joined: 01 Jun 2004

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2005 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling, you are exactly right. I just looked up the Norse text and it is indeed bryntroll. There I go thinking translations are perfectly accurate again. WTF?!

Good point about the axe as a tool Shane. I know that they have been around for some time, one blade being duller than the other for the purpose of getting though tough knots and what not. I guess I had this image of something similar to the Persain ones which are certainly meant to be weapons first and not a tool used as a weapon. Interesting about its apperance in literature too.

Thanks for the picture David. That is a perfect example of just the kind fo axe Shane spoke of.

Sj, ar s ek fur minn.
Sj, ar s ek mur mina ok systur mina ok brur minn.
Sj, ar s ek allan minn frndgar.
Sj, kalla eim tl min.
Bija mr at taka minn sta hj eim slum Valhallar, ar drengiligr menn munu lifa allan aldr.
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