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Thread: Viking bastard sword

  1. #1
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    Viking bastard sword

    "A what?", you say. I know, I am wierd. I like the width of the viking sword, with its not overly long blade. width 2.5-3" length 30-34" So on to my query. Anyone know who makes such a blade? I wish Gus did, but I haven't seen anything with those dimensions in hand and a half. I have also been thinking of a Grosse Messer, but there are only a few models on the market. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  2. #2
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    John Lundemo made this custom beauty. So you're not the only one who has ever wanted a viking bastard sword. I don't really know of any production blades with those lines.
    "The truth shall make ye fret."

  3. #3

    sword of bolvie

    I always liked the looks of this sword, based on the movie The 13th Warrior . It is off the Viking Metal Works site, by Glen Parrell. I am aware of all the complaints about Mr. Parrell droppping out of sight with outstanding paid orders. Too bad, he made nice stuff.
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  4. #4
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    Both of those swords are nice. Each is unique and has nice lines. They are what I'm looking for. Looks like I will shoot Lundemo a mail and see how much he charges. I will give Gus a holler too. Think he would be willing to alter one of his pieces for hand and a half?
    Is it the man or the hands that makes the art?

  5. #5

    Looking it up

    Actually, I have found something. Unfortuanately I can't remember the exact link so give me a bit. I remember back at the Estrella War three years ago I came across a great Viking Hand and a Half with a triangular Thor pommel. I couldn't afford it at the time, but I kicked myself. It was a functional piece sold by a very good merchant. Probably as good as you get going the retail route. It cost around $250-300. I stumbled on it again from the www.sca.org website under the merchant links section. Can't remember where exactly now. Give me a few days to a week. Can't promise anything sooner as there are a lot of sites to check. The only downside is that it is not a good sword for those without a bit of arm strength as its not exactly a light blade. Other than that its a wonderful blade.

  6. #6
    Jake Powning, possibly my favourite smith, has this piece:







    Now I'm a Celt, but as far as a Viking sword goes, that's as gorgeous as they come.

    "Farbauti the Cruel Striker

    This is a mythological sword inspired by the swords of the the viking era. It carries the story of how the Norse God Odhinn gained the wisdom of the runes, the grip has the trunk of Yggdrasil, the world tree, carved on one side with Odhinn's name carved on it. The pommel represents the crown of the tree and the guard and blade pattern represent the roots. Set in the center of the guard is the one eye of Odhinn. The scabbard has the first two stanzas of the Runatal written in the original old norse and in the elder runic futhork.
    "

  7. #7
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    That sword by Mr. Powning is absolutely beautiful. Unfortantly, it is a bit out of my price range. His carving is very impressive. I would love to have a couple of his pieces, make plenty of people in SCA jealous. That is awesome that he incorperated some viking mythology onto the piece.
    Is it the man or the hands that makes the art?

  8. #8
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    The main reason you don't see a lot of those on the market is because they have no historical context. Viking swords were single-handers. The long grips are nice, but not accurate to the genre.

  9. #9
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    A friend of mine reports this discovery:
    I just subscribed to Viking Heritage Magazine and received a great companion book called "Follow the Vikings" that provides an overview of Viking sites worldwide. It describes Grobina, Latvia as a "centre of Scandinavian settlement on the Baltic Sea" with no fewer than 3,000 burial mounds. There are three cemeteries in Grobina with grave goods of central Swedish and Gotlandic type. It also makes the point that Grobina was as close to Gotland as Birka, and, in a little understatement, says, "... some of the finds are unique in the Viking world."
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  10. #10
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    Redeemed!

    Gee, what does that look exactly like...

  11. #11
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    The tang on the Viking in the photo looks almost perfectly preserved. And, unless the guard and pommel were made from solid gold, the bronze shows little sign of oxidation. I would be cautious about drawing any conclusions from a photo like that.

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    hmmm... Where is the other guard though, the one that connects to the pommel? If it was dug up like that it is very peculiar. If it was found without fittings but those that are on it were laying next to it and put on by the archaeologist, that would also be peculiar.

    This is a peculiar photograph.

    i like the word peculiar.

    peculiar peculiar peculiar
    Semper Fidelis

  13. #13
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    Maybe that particular viking just had really big hands?
    "The truth shall make ye fret."

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Joseph L. Yurgil
    Where is the other guard though, the one that connects to the pommel? If it was dug up like that it is very peculiar. If it was found without fittings but those that are on it were laying next to it and put on by the archaeologist, that would also be peculiar.

    Assuming that the piece was found as-is, the near pristine condition of the guard and pommel are extremely unusual for a sword that should be roughly 1,000+ years old.

  15. #15
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    That is another thought that occured to me. There is some bit of the story to this sword we don't know so I would be hesitant to say this is truly a historical example of a Viking bastard sword. If someone knows anything about this though, please chime in.
    Semper Fidelis

  16. #16
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    There are several examples of near pristine hilts in "Swords of the viking age" and other books. So to me that does not raise any eyebrows.
    I can't put my hand on it at the moment ( ) but Oakeshott made mention in one of his books that long grips on swords were not uncommen from the 2nd century AD forward in Europe.
    In modern times a custom smith can make any blade in any shape or size the the customer feels the need for. Theirs no reason to think things were any different back then.
    All it takes is someone with the money who feels the need for it.

    Oakeshott also states in the "Archaeology of weapons" that after about 1350 nine swords out of ten have long grips. Easy to see why there is so much evidence. While swords with long grips were not as "Fashionable" in the viking age that certinaly does not mean they did not exist.

    It would be interesting to find out more about this sword. Is it's resting place known?
    There is no man worth a leke,
    Be he sturdy, be he meke,
    But he bear a basilard.
    -Unknown

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by Mike Luke

    In modern times a custom smith can make any blade in any shape or size the the customer feels the need for. Theirs no reason to think things were any different back then.
    All it takes is someone with the money who feels the need for it.

    Oakeshott also states in the "Archaeology of weapons" that after about 1350 nine swords out of ten have long grips. Easy to see why there is so much evidence. While swords with long grips were not as "Fashionable" in the viking age that certinaly does not mean they did not exist.

    You are right to some degree. True, someone with money can have a sword made however they want. I would hesitate to say that swords were "custom made" back then as we know it today but as there seems to be little evidence either way for the time and place we are discussing this is a moot point.

    Fashion isn't what i would consider the important factor here. The method of fighting using sword and shield is. The lack of armor available at the time meant most people carried their armor (shield) and the armor that did exist (chain by and large) can't stand up to blows that well though it will save a persons life. Contemporary military practices would make it seem that there would probably not be any historical examples.

    1350 is beyond the Viking era. Scandanavians at this point in history and for the better part of two centuries prior had been using swords of the same type which was common on the rest of the continant.

    Thas said, lack of evidence certainly does not mean there weren't any VBSs but it does not appear as if they were not in much use if any. To me, the one example we are looking at, seems to be rather dubious in its authenticity. It could be that they might be old fittings retrofitted to a "new" sword or there was a bungaling but well meaning archaeologist or it is indeed a rare true example of a VBS. The world may never know.
    Semper Fidelis

  18. #18
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    Alrighty, in answer to some of the questions being thrown around.

    The main reason you don't see a lot of those on the market is because they have no historical context. Viking swords were single-handers. The long grips are nice, but not accurate to the genre.

    This is true. Most Vikings relied heavily on a shield because the only armour used at the time, chain, was very expensive and hard to maintain. Hence, the typical viking sword is one handed. Keep in mind the shield was sometimes just kept on the back and a viking would use his alternative weapons in both hands(5+ feet shaft bearded axes, spears, sometimes a large club).

    Lots of talk on that sword hilt and fittings being too pristine. The scabbards were typically lined with fleece, allowing the lanolin to help preserve the sword from rust. I would not doubt that guard and pommel were made out of gold or silver. This instance looks gold. Vikings started by purchasing their swords from the Rhineland, finest in the world at the time. At which point they were fitted with the gold/silver encrusted pommel and gaurd. Charlemagne, quickly banned the export of the swords that were being used to raid his border. Vikings quickly picked up the art of pattern weilding and were soon surpassing the Rhineland smiths. They made truely amazing swords and were perhaps the best smiths in the western world. I have seen older Roman swords in just as good condition, sometimes better.

    Where did they get all the gold and silver?
    They were Vikings, they raid; its what they do. lol

    Sorry if I talk too much on the subject. I feel the Vikings kind of get over looked sometimes. To end my not so little spiel, I will say that I have seen a couple of Viking bastard swords in museums. I saw one in Nuremburg if I recall correctly, probably bought from a
    Scandanavian smith.
    Is it the man or the hands that makes the art?

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    Last edited by Ty N.; 08-30-2005 at 07:58 AM.

  20. #20
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    I think a lot of people are talking out of their butts in this thread.

    The sword in question is published in literature as being authentic.

    If you wish to prove it is unauthentic cite a published work that calls it into question.

  21. #21
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    Take it easy, ThomJ... no need to smite your fellow forumites because they don't believe everything they see or read.

    Speculation is what makes archaeology and history fun. For instance, it was only recently that we learned how Napoleon Bonaparte died (i.e. from arsenic poisoning).

    Not all history is static and irrefutable. I remember, back in my college days, every world history professor had his/her own ideas about what caused the collapse of the Roman Empire... maybe they were all correct, or only some were correct, or none of them were correct. They all had doctoral degrees, but they never quite agreed with each other.
    Last edited by Ty N.; 08-29-2005 at 06:20 PM.

  22. #22
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    That brings up the question: exactly what does the publication say about this sword? Is it supposed to be from Grobina? Is there a reference for a detailed description of this sword? These would all be useful points.
    NEM. PERV.T QUI N.N LEG.CERT.RIT

  23. #23
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    Yes, it's from Grobina.

    I did a search online and turned this up.

    There's not much information on this sword though, other than it was in fact found in Grobina:

    http://viking.hgo.se/Newsletter/NEWS1.pdf

  24. #24
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    Yeah, i found that too Thom. I wish there were more info in English or at least one of the miriad of languages represented in this forum.

    If its real; cool, a unique example of what must have been a rare sword. If its not (meaning that something in the photo is out of place rather than a forgery which I don't think any of us mean) then at least it give us inspiration for fantasy VBSs.

    While I am rarely a cinic, there are times where it is prudent to be one.
    Semper Fidelis

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    Last edited by Ty N.; 08-30-2005 at 07:58 AM.

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