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CAUTION – THIS IS A FULLY FUNCTIONAL MARTIAL WEAPON – DECOMISSION THE BLADE BEFORE WALL MOUNTING. DO NOT USE FOR SPARRING. DO NOT USE FOR THEATRICAL OR RE-ENACTMENT PURPOSES. CHECK THE LAWS IN YOUR STATE OR COUNTRY PERTAINING TO WEAPONS OWNERSHIP BEFORE MAKING YOUR PURCHASE. STORE SAFELY AND HANDLE WITH CAUTION.
Interwoven iron rings, known as chain-mail or simply mail, formed the standard armour used in battle for over a millennium. Warriors of many centuries, from Roman legionnaires to knights of the crusades, relied on hauberks (shirts) of mail. Against armour of this type, a blade form emerged that nearly as long-lived as the mail itself. These were wide and flat, tapering little in width, yielding an optimal shape for executing powerful cuts. This type of blade was passed through the ages and was as favored by the Vikings as it was by the peoples the preceded and followed them.
Though the blades varied little, existing swords of the Viking era show a wide variety in hilt components. We see swords from the late Viking era that illustrate everything from typically Viking hilts to classic wheel-pommeled knightly swords. One form of hilt that saw use in the Viking age and in the transition to the High Middle Ages is known as the "gaddhjalt." People of the Viking era were known to name things in a very literal manner (there is a well-known story of a sword named "Leg-Biter"): "gaddhjalt" literally means "spike hilt." This form gets its name from a long, slender guard that tapers in thickness toward its ends. This guard is often paired with a brazil-nut-shaped pommel (as is the case with this example). These swords saw their highest level or popularity between 1000 and 1150 AD, and were (without doubt) also used in the First Crusade.
Measurements and Specifications:
Weight: 1.427 kg
Overall length: 93 cm
Blade length: 75.5 cm
Blade width: 6.1 cm at base
Grip length: 10.4 cm
Guard width: 18 cm
Point of Balance: 6 3/4 inches from guard
Center of Percussion: ~20 3/4 inches from guard
Oakeshott typology: Type Xa blade, Style 1 guard, Type A pommel
Though its point of balance may seem, on paper, to be placed rather far out, this sword handles very well. The taper of the long blade no doubt has a hand in this. The sword flows easily through cuts I made without any sign of being sluggish or slow to recover, with no unusual vibrations during cutting. While it worked quite well from a standing position, I feel this sword would probably be at its most effective when raining down blows from horseback. The longer blade would give added reach against un-mounted opponents while the blade presence would give the cut the "pop" it needs. As a thrusting weapon, its point is more suitable than most swords of the era, though the balance lends this sword best to heavy cutting.
Some modern reproductions of this sword type have relatively thin grips, which are only comfortable to wield when wearing gloves. Ungloved, they seem fine at first, but then cause some mild cramping in the hand after a few minutes of wielding. This sword, however, has a 3.7cm wide grip with two cord risers, so it’s designed for comfort.
While I would not classify this as a quick sword (it’s best to be honest about these things) it is an agile one. The long blade makes for a sword that is well suited for long sweeping cuts from the back of a horse. It would also give good service to a warrior fighting on foot, allowing him a good sense of reach from behind his shield. Cutting with this sword (using the traditional Japanese cutting medium of rolled and water-soaked tatami mats) yields no surprises. The sword tacks well into and out of any cut. All cuts can be cleanly executed with no perceivable vibration being felt. Despite the serviceable point, this is a sword dedicated to the cut. Nevertheless, the sword would have been reasonably effective against the mail and soft body armors of its period. Whether fighting in a shield wall, or trying to defeat the same from horseback, this sword (and those originals it is based upon) would be well-suited to the task.
This handsome functional weapon would not have been out of place in the hand of a Viking or at the Battle of Hastings. It handles just as you would imagine a sword from this time to handle: with a great deal of authority in the cut without being sluggish or clumsy.
Fit and Finish
This is a really well-executed sword. The thickness of the pommel tapers away from the hand, while the pommel's edges taper more. These three-dimensional qualities are things most photos don't show fully and are details often missed by modern makers. The grip's black leather cover is, as always, expertly finished. Cord risers (rings of cord placed underneath the leather grip cover) really contribute to a solid and secure grip. The blade tapers in width and thickness as it moves away from the grip. The blade is also nicely finished. The fuller extends to within 20cm of the point and is evenly and cleanly finished throughout. All of the parts are fit tightly together with no gaps and no rattling.
I recently bought this sword as my first "live" sword, owning many blunt/re-enactment sword before this one.
The sword itself isn't overly heavy and the balance helps greatly with cutting, you don't have to be an experienced swordsman to be able to pull off a cut with this sword, you start the motion and it takes care of the rest, even with an edge that isn't razor sharp.
The steel is definitely hard enough to take some abuse, having cut into plywood, through milk bottles, and even busted a couple of links cutting into some round riveted chain over padding I had lying about, but soft enough that sharpening and honing the edge isn't overly time consuming.
My only criticism is with the scabbard, and it's only a very minor thing, most swords that I own and have seen from around this time period have a belt loop as opposed to the bayonet style frog sling, though this is just a personal preference as a re-enactor.
Overall I love this sword and plan on keeping it for a long time, might even consider getting buried with it one day in the future, it's my sword and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Cheers to the team at Medieval Shoppe Dan on 21st Jul 2017
I've had my eye on the Late Viking sword for a while from the Medieval Shop. I also have an interest in the famous Viking Ulfberht sword. The Late Viking sword from the Medieval shop in my view is a copy of the Ulfberht , with out the famous name on both sides of the sword blade.
This will be as close as I get to an Ulfbert so I purchased the sword. I'm very happy with it. The sword is well made and the handling and balance of the sword seems to be almost effortless.
Have a look at the reviews on you tube with (ThegnThrand) on the Late Viking sword.
Well worth the money. Unknown on 26th Mar 2016
great quality and finish cuts really well lots of fun to be had here. Quick postage and hope to visit your shop in person soon. Just watch Thegn Thrand's videos about this sword on you tube. Ragnarr on 21st Oct 2015
Absolutely beautiful sword, handles really well. Well made, Delivered rediculously fast. Well worth buying. B.W. on 22nd May 2015