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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 11:37 am    Post subject: Cool info         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:

Ulf is not a word that means spark in any language that I know of. It means *Wolf* in ancient Germanic languages.
"Berht" is an ancient word for "Bright".

For the language geeks among us, Peter is entirely correct here and if it was Scandinavian in origin it almost certainly would have carried an r such as "Ulfr" or "Olfr" especially if associated with a name of someone. A "Berht" equivalent does not seem to appear in Scandinavian languages. The origin is almost certainly Anglo-Saxon/Frankish.

Peter Johnsson wrote:

During the preparatory work of "The Secret of the Viking Sword" I had many lengthy sessions over Skype with the producers of the film. During one of these talks I brought forward an idea that I had been told by Achim Wirtz, the german steel guru and blade smith:

-"Vlfberht" is a germanic kenning that combines the ideas of "Bright" and "Wolf". Vlf =wolf, Berht= bright.

Excellent, did he ever mention how he came to that realization? We where talking the other day about how we can't be the first folks to come up with this.

Peter Johnsson wrote:

We sill call the bloom a Lup, or Lupp. There are also sayings about the wolf in the smithy, but now in the meaning of something going wrong or getting dangerous. I think this is an ancient connection.

I did not know this. That is a very nice tie in and I can not think why it would not be related to this.

Peter Johnsson wrote:

There is undoubtedly something very unique and rare going on with these swords, with the extremely high carbon content and almost or completely slag free composition. A R Williams is convinced this is only possible to achieve with crucible steel.
I have heard other views on the matter from people who are experienced in traditional steel making methods: -a very skilled steel maker may have been able to produce high carbon steel of a very clean quality with other methods.

-Personally I cannot say if the crucible method is the only viable way. Since I have heard it equally strongly both propagated and refuted by people whose experience and understanding in these matters is greater than mine, I must keep an open mind in regards of that question.

I agree on the need for more info to nail this down in a clearer way. I do think we do not understand the iron/steel production of the early Europe very well and especially when we get back before 11-1200 or so. I have seen the small furnace idea and think it has some possabilities. It would help a bunch if some archeologist would find a couple :-)

But this may be needs a new thread to start tracking this down.

Thank for teaching me something new today Peter :-)

Craig
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Len Parker





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This http://www.vikingrune.com/2009/01/viking-swords-ulfberht-fakes/ has the steel coming from Afganistan and Iran.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
This http://www.vikingrune.com/2009/01/viking-swords-ulfberht-fakes/ has the steel coming from Afganistan and Iran.
Popular website and media have mostly run with the crucible steel hypothesis in the wake of the Dr. Williams media blitz back a few years ago. By and large, the counter-theories and holes in Dr. Alans hypothesis have not enjoyed the same exposure as has Dr. Williams hypothesis.

I'm not saying its definitely wrong, just don't accept it as proven fact

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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R. Kolick





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

on the Aristotle furnace idea where have these been found and from what time period do they date
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R. Kolick wrote:
on the Aristotle furnace idea where have these been found and from what time period do they date
They haven't found any. But by the same token, we dont have any solid evidence of trade in crucible ingots in Western Europe either.

What we have is writings of Aristotle that describe the process. We also have writings from 18th c Norway describing the process.

The process is not hard to do if you are already making bloomery iron. All one has to do is open the top of the bloomery stack and feed the iron back through again from the top

Again I don't think either theory is proven as right at the moment. I think it is important people understand the issue is currently unsettled and don't accept either as established fact.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Martin Christensen





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PostPosted: Mon 21 Apr, 2014 5:47 am    Post subject: Vikings         Reply with quote

Sure the Roman letters would not be typical to Vikings, however I don't think it can be dismissed that the Vikings played a significant role in the origin of these swords. The Ulfberht is primarily found in Scandinavia which suggest that the Vikings either forged them or bought them.
Though I don't find it unlikely that the Vikings didn't forge the blades themselves I find it extremely unlikely that the Vikings should somehow have stolen a large percentage of these swords from the Catholics, manufactured over a large time period. It seems like quite a stretch in my opinion. Also it is not like high quality steel is a common thing in the hands of Catholics at the time. The Ulfberht is a unique sword in Europe and it's only found in small quantities, other swords of this quality is simply not found.

The vikings were some of the most vigorous traders of the time and have a large record of objects from Central Asia, so that Vikings could have bought steel of high quality to Europe and perhaps have it forged by Frankish blacksmiths are quite possible I think.

Another thing to note is that crosses on Viking objects are not that uncommon and also Roman letters on Viking objects are not unique. However because of the date of the first Ulfberht swords, it would have been rare for sure.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Vikings         Reply with quote

Martin Christensen wrote:
Sure the Roman letters would not be typical to Vikings, however I don't think it can be dismissed that the Vikings played a significant role in the origin of these swords. The Ulfberht is primarily found in Scandinavia which suggest that the Vikings either forged them or bought them.
Though I don't find it unlikely that the Vikings didn't forge the blades themselves I find it extremely unlikely that the Vikings should somehow have stolen a large percentage of these swords from the Catholics, manufactured over a large time period. It seems like quite a stretch in my opinion. Also it is not like high quality steel is a common thing in the hands of Catholics at the time. The Ulfberht is a unique sword in Europe and it's only found in small quantities, other swords of this quality is simply not found.

The vikings were some of the most vigorous traders of the time and have a large record of objects from Central Asia, so that Vikings could have bought steel of high quality to Europe and perhaps have it forged by Frankish blacksmiths are quite possible I think.

Another thing to note is that crosses on Viking objects are not that uncommon and also Roman letters on Viking objects are not unique. However because of the date of the first Ulfberht swords, it would have been rare for sure.


Totally in agreement here. The wide spread of Ulfberth's from the Eastern Baltic to Western Europe points directly to Viking Trade routes from Central Asia (Tashkent and Samarkand, origin of many arabic silver coins found in Scandinavia), through the rivers of Russia to the Baltic and on to Western Europe.

The Ulf-berht name is a composite name between Scandinavian and West-Germanic Anglo-Frisian subgroup. Southern Jutland was populated by Frisian, Saxon and Danes and earlier by Angles as well). Danish-Anglish composite names are very common in the Dane Law as well.

So it gives us two likely major centers where a master smith with this name could provide elite warriors with swords that was traveling along this viking vast viking trade network. Hedeby (or the earlier Sliestorp 804-~850 AD) and Jorvik (York) would be the two most likely places.
Quentovic and Dorestad in Frisia and Birka in Sweden, Visby on Gotland, Novgorod & Staraya Ladoga in Russia to name a few other less likely possibilities as smith and merchants travelled a lot.
You were probably bound to some extent to a certain lord to produce swords as prestige gods, so it could in theory be every major center along this trade route.

The composite name is a composite of languages [sorry if it gets highly technical].
Ulf- pronounced /ulv/ is Scandinavian for wolf.
The Nordic sound change happening around ~700 AD eliminated W before rounded vowels. So English Worm is Danish Orm and Wulf became Ulf.
When NOT before rounded vowels it normally became V. So English Wrath, Danish Vrede. English Welsh. Danish Vælsk. [English turn older -sk into -sh]

-berht seems fairly certain to be Anglo(Saxon)-Frisian. The root form is in Old Norse -bjart = “bright, shining, illustrious“.

Note to what I saw in a post earlier: The Old Norse -r (from Proto-Germanic -az to Proto-Nordic -aR) is the nominative singular masculine ending like Latin -us or Greek -os.
The -r will not be used after the first element Ulf-. It's Philo-stratos in Greek and NOT Philos-stratos.
Remember it's the nominative masculine ENDING, so it only follows the full name. From archaeology: On the Gallehus horns from ~500 AD you have the name Hlewa-gastiR, it's not HlewaR-gastiR [Means Fame-Guest by the way] .
So Ulf- is the perfectly correct Viking Age Scandinavian form of the first part of the name. Ulf- is a noun of the strong declination in Germanic languages.
-berth (bright) is an adjective and so follows the noun! So the nominative masculine singular ending following the adjective in AngloSaxon would be - (nothing).

The pure Old Norse composite name would be Ulfbjartr [Ulf-bjart-r = Wolf-bright].
The pure Anglo-Saxon composite name would be Wulfberth.
The pure Old High German composite name would be Wolfbart. [Frankish -bert, like Dagobert = Day-bright].

But remember that spelling and dialects were all over the place at this period before “correct“ spelling was invented.

So Ulf-berth is actually a pretty good example of a Danish-AngloSaxon composite name and Slesvig-Holsten or the Dane Law are the two places where lots of intermarriages would take place as we can see from other types of names.

In modern Continental Scandinavian (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) the -r ending has become - (nothing) as in Anglo-Saxon and it is possible that happened already in the Dane Law period and spread home to Denmark and then on to Norway and Sweden (also Anglo-Saxon churchmen going that way). It is retained in Icelandic and Faroese as -ur.
Remember that “Old Norse“ is West Nordic and that Danish is East Nordic. Old Norse is NOT the ancestor of the Scandinavian languages. Danish is already a distinct dialect from 800 AD (but all Nordic Languages are easily understood until around 1200, when West Nordic and East Nordic speaking people start to have trouble understanding each other).

In the Danelaw you developed “Danglish“ (in fact really Anglo-Danish) which people there start to called English (and not Saxonish or something like that).
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