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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2004 6:40 pm    Post subject: Viking Sword with Gold Inlaid Hilt, 10th Century         Reply with quote

A Magnificent Viking Sword, with Gold Inlaid Hilt, mid 10th Century


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The broad double-edged blade with shallow fullers, one of its faces polished to display to best effect its pattern-welded construction. Iron hilt comprising short cross-guard and pommel of so-called 'tea cozy' or D type, both elements inlaid with narrow bands of gold, incised with a chevron pattern.

Overall length: 37 1/2 in; Blade length: 31 3/4 in



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Viking swords are classified by a typology devised by Dr. Jan Petersen in his seminal work De Norske Vikingesverd, published in 1919. This particularly handsome sword falls into the broad range of Type X, being the final evolutionary stage in the Viking period and immediate predecessor of the early Medieval sword. The pommel is of particular interest, where single twisted gold wires delineate, on the upper part, vestigial outlines of what, on earlier swords, would have been a pommel of distinct trilobate form. Jan Petersen illustrates several examples in his thesis. In the Statens Historiska Museum, Stockholm, there is a very similar detached pommel, found near Linköping, Östergötland. The same D shape pommel, together with its short cross-guard, features on swords depicted on silver coins from Viking Northumbria, around 950, notably coins of Eric, son of Harold Bluetooth, and also the so-called Peter's Pennies minted in York.

The blade shows the diverse processes of Viking pattern welding technology which became an integral part of the legend and folklore that surrounded the arcane mysteries of swordmaking, and furthered the reputations of notable swordsmiths. The nomenclature of the different patterns highlights this: from the Sagas come words like Blodida (blood eddy), Ann (swathes of cut corn) and Idvarp (an intestinal weave). Such evocative similes tend to conceal the complex metallurgy arising out of the need to fashion weapons acceptable to a formidable warrior society. The weakness inherent in using naturally differing iron ores and brittle steel of erratic quality was widely recognized. The repeated process of hammering and welding layers of precisely planned twisted iron and steel rods enabled the Viking smiths to ensure that the qualities of flexibility as well as hardness were incorporated into the areas of the blade where they were most needed.

Many are the songs that have been sung about the fighting prowess of the Northmen, not least by themselves, but they did enjoy the advantage of superior weapons forged by the latest technology as the tools of their trade. A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine (from the fury of the Northmen, O Lord deliver us) was no empty prayer even for men used to arms, let alone monks cowering in abbeys and monasteries, or frantically hiding ecclesiastical treasures from gold-hungry Northmen. Indeed, entire populations, from Ireland in the West to Russia in the East, were traumatized by the waterborne assaults of the Vikings; it is noticeable that a large proportion of Viking swords now extant have been either river finds or unearthed close by creeks and estuaries where the longships could moor up.

To modern minds, the Viking period, from the middle of the 8th century through to the end of the 11th century, provides a constant fascination. This was a society openly addicted to violence, which saw war, pillage and ultimately death in battle, with an afterlife in Valhalla, as the only fit destiny for a brave and noble warrior. Yet it was also a society that achieved outstanding journeys of discovery, both by sea and land, established highly successful agricultural settlements and communities, and displayed the highest artistic expression in their artifacts. This magnificent and beautiful sword surely offers, in its purpose and appearance, a fitting distillation of these opposing elements that epitomize the Vikings and their culture.

Literature:
Wheeler, R. E. M.: London and the Vikings, London, 1927.
Oakeshott, E.: Records of the Medieval Sword, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1991, p. 24.

Provenance:
Teck A. Wilson Collection


Copyright © 2001 Peter Finer

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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Viking Sword with Gold Inlaid Hilt, 10th Century         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
A Magnificent Viking Sword, with Gold Inlaid Hilt, mid 10th Century

The broad double-edged blade with shallow fullers, one of its faces polished to display to best effect its pattern-welded construction. Iron hilt comprising short cross-guard and pommel of so-called 'tea cozy' or D type, both elements inlaid with narrow bands of gold, incised with a chevron pattern.

Overall length: 37 1/2 in; Blade length: 31 3/4 in


Absolutely beautiful! I want one! Big Grin

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Nathan...

Thanks for posting this beauty... Great info also.

For those interested in Viking swords, Jeroen Zuiderwijk in the Netherlands has posted a link on SFI to his new museum pics of Viking Swords.

http://1500bc.com/vikings_centraal_museum_utrecht/index.html

Well worth the time to take a look. I like Jeroen's museum pics because they give seldom seen oblique shots of swords. It gives a better idea of the overall shape. (Once at his site just click the small pictures at the bottom to see a larger image.)

enjoy,

ks

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
Hi Nathan...

Thanks for posting this beauty... Great info also.

For those interested in Viking swords, Jeroen Zuiderwijk in the Netherlands has posted a link on SFI to his new museum pics of Viking Swords.

http://1500bc.com/vikings_centraal_museum_utrecht/index.html

Well worth the time to take a look. I like Jeroen's museum pics because they give seldom seen oblique shots of swords. It gives a better idea of the overall shape. (Once at his site just click the small pictures at the bottom to see a larger image.)

enjoy,

ks


Kirk
Thanks for this link. The pommels on those two labelled '13' are worth looking at as contributions to the handling discussions, and the level of preservation on some (like the one, about 17 and 18 counting across, that has either lost a pommel or never had one) is positively eerie (it's not a modern reproduction is it?).
Geoff
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Joe Yurgil





Joined: 01 Jun 2004

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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

<jaw drops> oooooooooooooooooo Big Grin the hilt.... the blade...... wow. Cool
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
[The pommels on those two labelled '13' are worth looking at as contributions to the handling discussions, and the level of preservation on some (like the one, about 17 and 18 counting across, that has either lost a pommel or never had one) is positively eerie (it's not a modern reproduction is it?).
Geoff



Hey Geoff...

I see your point on the handling issue... the thickness of the pommel on "13" would make it difficult or painful to "palm the pommel." And the other sword (17 or 18) you spoke of is probably a type L with a missing pommel. It appears to have rivet holes in the upper guard.

ks

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
[The pommels on those two labelled '13' are worth looking at as contributions to the handling discussions, and the level of preservation on some (like the one, about 17 and 18 counting across, that has either lost a pommel or never had one) is positively eerie (it's not a modern reproduction is it?).
Geoff



Hey Geoff...

I see your point on the handling issue... the thickness of the pommel on "13" would make it difficult or painful to "palm the pommel." And the other sword (17 or 18) you spoke of is probably a type L with a missing pommel. It appears to have rivet holes in the upper guard.

ks


Yes. Now you mention it, I can see the holes you mean. Thanks for the eye guidance. Interesting that the rest should be so good and the pommel missing. Intentionally removed? Unfinished?
Geoff
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Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

Spotlight topics: 6
Posts: 820

PostPosted: Tue 23 Nov, 2004 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
[The pommels on those two labelled '13' are worth looking at as contributions to the handling discussions, and the level of preservation on some (like the one, about 17 and 18 counting across, that has either lost a pommel or never had one) is positively eerie (it's not a modern reproduction is it?).
Geoff



Hey Geoff...

I see your point on the handling issue... the thickness of the pommel on "13" would make it difficult or painful to "palm the pommel." And the other sword (17 or 18) you spoke of is probably a type L with a missing pommel. It appears to have rivet holes in the upper guard.

ks


Yes. Now you mention it, I can see the holes you mean. Thanks for the eye guidance. Interesting that the rest should be so good and the pommel missing. Intentionally removed? Unfinished?
Geoff



Hi Geoff...

It is definitely a non-nonsense, heavy duty kind of sword... so my guess is that the pommel cap was as plain as the sword. It fell off during use and the owner probably did not think it was worth the effort to get new one... And the sword worked just fine the way it was. Even looked a little like the new Q types... Just my $0.02.

ks

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
View user's profile Send private message


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