Sabre and two handed sword history.

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Tiddles
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Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:14 am

Hi.

Firstly.
I am trying to research the history of the curved blade sword in 9th and 10th century Europe.

The most common reference I find is about the Hungarians brings the "sabre to Europe in the early 10th century.

Secondly.
I cant find a reference to two handed swords in Europe before the 12th century. But i am sure the idea is much older then that.

Tiddles.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby OldRatRus » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:34 am

curved swords came from Nomads.it is their invention(6-7 century).I know that there are finds of saber on Ukraine and Alania and Kievan Rus.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Medicus Matt » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:03 am

Tiddles wrote:
I cant find a reference to two handed swords in Europe before the 12th century. But i am sure the idea is much older then that.



In an era when the spear is the primary weapon and your shield is your best friend, a two handed sword is a really, really bad idea.


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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby chrisanson » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:24 am

Medicus Matt wrote:
Tiddles wrote:
I cant find a reference to two handed swords in Europe before the 12th century. But i am sure the idea is much older then that.



In an era when the spear is the primary weapon and your shield is your best friend, a two handed sword is a really, really bad idea.



no if its the bloke your fighting :wink:



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:24 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
Tiddles wrote:
I cant find a reference to two handed swords in Europe before the 12th century. But i am sure the idea is much older then that.



In an era when the spear is the primary weapon and your shield is your best friend, a two handed sword is a really, really bad idea.


From personal experience that is not necessarily true. It depends allot on the skills of the combatants. And the Dane axe in a two handed weapon.
But that is not the question here.

What I need to know is the history of such weapons in 9th and 10 century Europe.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby OldRatRus » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:47 pm

what part of Europe you interested?
it's big) and there lived different nations)
I can help with materials about saber...
but they are all one-handed



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:52 pm

OldRatRus wrote:what part of Europe you interested?
it's big) and there lived different nations)
I can help with materials about saber...
but they are all one-handed


Hi.

Yes please to all the saber info you have. I am aware that most if not all where single handed.
All the research I can find concentrates on one sword possibly owned by Charlemagne and the sudden arrival of the Hungarians. I assume they are related to the Hun of Asia.

Looking at easter Europe with trade connections with western Europe.

My request for early two anded swords if for straight and curved blades.

Hope you can help.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby OldRatRus » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:37 pm

what is written in Wikipedia about the appearance of the saber is not quite right...
Saber appeared in the VII century as a result of the modification broadsword.From the middle of VII century, they are known in the Altai, in the middle of the VIII - in the Khazar Kaganate and distributed among the nomads of Eastern Europe.
length of the blade 60-80 cm.
All saber one-handed).
First Image-saber from South Ural(9-11 century)
next-broadsword from South Ural(7-8 century)
Attachments
маж_0165.jpg
saber from South Ural(9-11 century)
маж_0130a.jpg
broadsword from South Ural(7-8 century)
Last edited by OldRatRus on Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby OldRatRus » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:46 pm

At the end of IX - X century, swords from the nomads come to Russia.In the north, they reach up to Minsk, Novgorod.By the X century, the length of the blade Eastern sabers grows up to 1 meter , width was 3,0-3,7 cm, thickness about 0.5 cm. Since the second half of XI to XIII century the average length of the blade is increased to 110-117 cm. In X-XI century saber appear in the Arab world, but initially did not get there so widespread feeling competition from the usual straight bladed weapons.
Attachments
ris01_1_.gif
Shestovitsa's sabre - Ukraine




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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:18 pm

OldRatRus wrote:I helped you?


Very much so :D

Thank you :thumbup:

You :rock:

No to sort out the two handed question :wink:

Tiddles.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Hobbitstomper » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:13 am

Earliest picture I have seen of a 2H sword in use is late 13th/early 14th and scandinavian. The Germans may have used them a bit earlier than this but not very successfully.

The weakest link in a shield wall is the bloke without a shield and carrying a weapon that is shorter than a spear. In re-enactment fighting a smart thing to do is target anyone with a dane axe and break through the hole they leave. It works most times. I think a dane axe user needs lots of armour and dedicated support. Like the 2 shield and spear men in that famous Norman picture of a dane axe user that gets in all the books.

A 2H sword would be be less effective against horses as an axe but have the same disadvantages. Once the armour gets better they start being more useful.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby OldRatRus » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:56 am

I agree with Hobbitstomper.
two-handed sword (Claymore) appear in the late 13 th century...
I hope my posts really helped you. and excuse me for my bad English :angel:



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Neil of Ormsheim » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:08 am

If you want to use a sabre, please remember to bring your horse! It's a cavalry weapon first and foremost, used from horseback against either other cavalry or broken and fleeing infantry. It is not the weapon of an infantry warrior. Someone in my group recently aquired one and was dead chuffed with it until they tried to use it in training. 10 minutes later, they reverted to a nice, sensible, straight sword.

As for two handers; I always thought that they were developed, in part, to deal with an increase in plate armour being worn and as a way of shouting "I've got a great big todger!" across the field of battle without going hoarse.


Lurv 'n' Kizzez

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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:24 am

Hobbitstomper wrote:The weakest link in a shield wall is the bloke without a shield and carrying a weapon that is shorter than a spear. In re-enactment fighting a smart thing to do is target anyone with a dane axe and break through the hole they leave. It works most times. I think a dane axe user needs lots of armour and dedicated support. Like the 2 shield and spear men in that famous Norman picture of a dane axe user that gets in all the books.


That's what I said....just not in as many words. :wink:


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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:21 pm

Yes I agree that using a sword as your primary weapon. Even a sword and shield in a shield wall is going to seriously reduce your life expectancy.

It is as a secondary weapon that they come in to there own. I know when I did Tewkesbury with the Hussites we had sword men behind the pole line to take out people who had broken through. We also deliberately let people through the line thus creating a gap in the operants line.

We could debate the pros, cons and tactics of these weapon's on the field.

But what I need is the history of such weapons in the 9th and 10th century Europe.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:27 pm

Neil of Ormsheim wrote:Someone in my group recently aquired one and was dead chuffed with it until they tried to use it in training. 10 minutes later, they reverted to a nice, sensible, straight sword.


Probably because he did not know how to use it as they perform very differently to a straight sword.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Benedict » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:51 pm

From my (limited) research into this, I gather that sabres (or possibly 'proto-sabres') only came into use in the Islamic world in the later eleventh century, under the influence of Turkish military elites, though they may have been used by Turks earlier (ie tenth century). I suspect that the slightly curved Byzantine parameion fits a similar timeline, though I claim no expertise.

As others have said, there's not much sign of sabres in western europe in the ninth/tenth century. Possibly in the east, in the hands of steppe tribesmen (eg the Magyars who 'became' the Hungarians?) and quite possibly some of those in what became Russia. I don't know a great deal about eastern Europe in this period - sorry.

However, it's worth noting that single-edged swords with a slight curve (on the other side) are found from Scandinavia (particularly Norway) in this period. Whether they are an evolution of curved seaxes (scaled up to sword-length and sword fittings) or an imitation of sabres seen in the east is something I can't answer. However, they are quite definitely swords (and handle like a sword). I also have a sabre (courtesy of Armour Class) and I'd echo Neil's point that it is a very different weapon requiring a very different style (and, yes, preferably a horse).



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby kael » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:34 pm

I think the Paramerion came into use at the beginning of the 12thC. Certainly Roman armies based on Maurice's organisation didn't used curved blades (always referred to as Hurulean (sp?) - Germanic type), so that date line seems appropriate. The blade looks very similar to the previously posted images rather than the more curved Turkish variants (12th-13thC).

The Scandinavian blades, often referred to as "Norwegian Langsax's" in re-enactor parlance are - for all intents and purposes - straight blades. I think Ian Pierce links them to Steppe-nomad proto-sabres but it's been a while since I read 'Swords of the Viking Age' so I couldn't say for sure.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby WorkMonkey3 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:15 pm

Tiddles wrote:Hi.

Firstly.
I am trying to research the history of the curved blade sword in 9th and 10th century Europe.


Which part of Europe? West/East? Kind of a big difference.

Tiddles wrote:Secondly.
I cant find a reference to two handed swords in Europe before the 12th century.

Because there weren't any. The Two handed sword is developed as a responce to better armour in the 13th/14th C if you were the only grinning idiot who turned up to a 9th/10th C fight holding a two handed sword while everyone else was armed with spear and shield, do you know who would be the very first person to die in that battle? ;)


I get that foreboding feeling of a very unrealistic story developing involving an hungarian two handed scimitar wielding viking in the service of the English king in the 800's.

*shudders*



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:49 pm

WorkMonkey3 wrote:
Tiddles wrote:Hi.

Firstly.
I am trying to research the history of the curved blade sword in 9th and 10th century Europe.


Which part of Europe? West/East? Kind of a big difference.

(T) This question I have already answered.

Tiddles wrote:Secondly.
I cant find a reference to two handed swords in Europe before the 12th century.

Because there weren't any. The Two handed sword is developed as a responce to better armour in the 13th/14th C if you were the only grinning idiot who turned up to a 9th/10th C fight holding a two handed sword while everyone else was armed with spear and shield, do you know who would be the very first person to die in that battle? ;)

(T) No its the grinning idiot who dues not pay attention that gets killed first.

I get that foreboding feeling of a very unrealistic story developing involving an hungarian two handed scimitar wielding viking in the service of the English king in the 800's.

(T) I get the foreboding feeling that I have also said I am researching two handers in general.

My caricature needs to have eastern trade connections because my wife comes from Asia and would like to portray an Asian.

Also at witch point did I say the sword was to be used as a primary weapon. I much prefer a nice heavy spear or Halberd as a primary weapon. If all you are left with is your sword then you are probably in the smelly stuff.

Tiddles.
Last edited by Tiddles on Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:50 pm

Just a thought.

I have come across references to a Norman Long Sword.

The pictures I have found of it show that it had a long handle. Weather it was used as a two hander or a hand and a half I don't know.
My understanding of hand and a half swords is that they are primarily used single handed but have the option of using two hands.

On a separate note I would love a Claymore but would have change period and nationality :D



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby WorkMonkey3 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:28 pm

Tiddles wrote:
Also at witch point did I say the sword was to be used as a primary weapon. I much prefer a nice heavy spear or Halberd as a primary weapon. If all you are left with is your sword then you are probably in the smelly stuff.

Tiddles.



A halberd, cool, so you time travel as well?

Interesting.

I've been thinking alot about this, then I remembered something! I looked it up and I found some evidence of the use of two handed swords in scandanavia prior to the 1100's

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1Yurh7/ww ... -of-biorn/

That's the link for it.
Very useful.

Wm



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:13 pm

A halberd, cool, so you time travel as well?

Interesting.

I've been thinking alot about this, then I remembered something! I looked it up and I found some evidence of the use of two handed swords in scandanavia prior to the 1100's

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1Yurh7/ww ... -of-biorn/

That's the link for it.
Very useful.

Wm[/quote]

Hi WorkMonkey3 .

Thanks for the link 8-)
Helbard is I think a modern word for what the Vikings calld Atgeir's.
http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5813

Image



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby WorkMonkey3 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:15 pm

That picture you linked is of an example from the 1500's...

As for the link on myarmoury,

I think the author seems desperate to be able to "proove" the existance of a viking halberd type of thing, he seems dismaid at the fact no museum can give an example of a burial with one in (because there aren't any) but is still pressing ahead and making one, which seems abit odd owing to the distinct lack of archaeological/pictorial reference. I could say..."I believe Anglo Saxons wore full tournament jousting armour in the 7th C" But without anything to substantiate it, then what's the point?

The Atgeir is clearly a long bladed hewing spear, rather than any type of pole-axe or axe/spear hybrid, something like a type E3 under Swantons classification I'd imagine, with a long blade, and a wider socket to accomodate a thicker shaft for two handed thrusting and cutting, unlike normal spear heads which have smaller heads and narrower sockets to accomodate a narrow shaft for single handed thrusting and throwing, It's not any type of axe weapon, because it has "GEIR" in the name, which, like the Old English varient "GAR" means "SPEAR"

Wm3



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:58 am

Thanks WorkMonkey3.

I have to say I had come to a similar conclusion regarding the myarmoury thread. He dues seem to very desperate for what he wants to use to have some historical backing.

But I am sure that then and as now the idea of modifying and agricultural tool and sticking it on a long stick is not a new one.

As for a Atgeir based on your description I already have one. A long bladed spear head on a heavy shaft. Min has strips of metal going from the head to about 18" down the shaft to protect the wood from sword blows and add strengh to the socket.

I am still researching the two handed sword. Several people from different groups have said they did or could have existed but cant give a solid reference.

I find single handed swords very uncomfortable due to an agricultural injury many, many years back.

Tiddles.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby PaulMurphy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:52 pm

But I am sure that then and as now the idea of modifying and agricultural tool and sticking it on a long stick is not a new one.


"Sven, why have you turned up with a cut-up hoe instead of a spear, and a cauldron on your head instead of a helmet, when King Erik's laws clearly state that you must have a helmet, spear and shield?"
"Um..., I've been thinking, and there's really no reason why I couldn't make use of an agricultural implement instead of bothering with a spear"
"Idiot. You are to be fined half your weregild for turning up with inadequate equipment, and sent home in disgrace. Now get out of my sight!"

{Everyone else} "What a tw@t", "I told you he was soft in the head, his father was just the same", "Hahahahaha, hoping to kill some vegetables along the way were you Sven?"

Just because you've been brought up in a liberal society where you have been encouraged to question everything and "it really doesn't matter what you use because it could have been done, and after all it's not a question of life or death, is it", doesn't mean that those 1100 years ago were similarly at liberty to do the same. It didn't happen, partially because peer pressure and the need to conform in a militaristic and tight society was much stronger then than now, and partially because for them it _was_ a matter of life or death, and they stuck with what was known to work.

Imagine today you invented a safety system for a car which prevented injury when driving into a solid wall at 90 mph, but it could only be tested by having a live person in the car under such circumstances, and with all other safety equipment removed. Would you be keen to volunteer to try it out in your new car knowing you'd die if it didn't work, or would you prefer they left the brakes, airbags and steering in place since you know those have worked in the past?

Your spear with metal strips down the side is a similar problem - there's no evidence for it being done, because by adding the weight to protect the shaft and keep it in one piece for 2-3 seasons, you make it slow and more tiring to use, whereas in the period they didn't bother because it was a waste of metal, was more likely to get you killed, and in any case spears don't normally last more than about 5 minutes under battle conditions, and that's if you are lucky. It's a re-enactorism caused by not wanting to replace your kit after every show.

Quoting "people from different groups" is a cop-out, I'm afraid - as none of them have any evidence, they're all trying to justify the weaknesses in their own policies, and by ignoring the fact that lots of people say there weren't any in favour of those who say there were but can't produce any evidence, you are being highly selective and reading it as you'd like it to be rather than how it is.


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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby WorkMonkey3 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:22 pm

Tiddles wrote:I am still researching the two handed sword. Several people from different groups have said they did or could have existed but cant give a solid reference.


Well all kinds of crap finds it way into a re-enactment scenario and is peddled to the public by the user as being "authentic" or "historically correct" so if they can't back it up with evidence, which they can't. Then I wouldn't pay them too much interest. Saying it "could" have existed doesn't really help either, of course they had the technology to potentially make a two handed sword, but then they also had the technology to make a steam powered motor bike, but unless one of them turns up in a grave along with biker leathers and riding helmet + horns, I won't hold my breath. I don't automatically write things off under the old "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" line, but you do have to consider the economical, social, cultural etc factors that would go into anything, and I don't think something like a two handed sword would fit into their cultural vision, because it just wouldn't be useful or neccesary.

If you've got a dodgy wrist why not trying something like a hand axe, with a small light head, or a lang-seax (just not very long) 23inches or so can be relatively light, and very fast.

I broke my wrist when I was younger and I struggle with heavy single handed swords sometimes as well so I feel your pain.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby Tiddles » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:38 pm

PaulMurphy wrote:
But I am sure that then and as now the idea of modifying and agricultural tool and sticking it on a long stick is not a new one.


"Sven, why have you turned up with a cut-up hoe instead of a spear, and a cauldron on your head instead of a helmet, when King Erik's laws clearly state that you must have a helmet, spear and shield?"
"Um..., I've been thinking, and there's really no reason why I couldn't make use of an agricultural implement instead of bothering with a spear"
"Idiot. You are to be fined half your weregild for turning up with inadequate equipment, and sent home in disgrace. Now get out of my sight!"

{Everyone else} "What a tw@t", "I told you he was soft in the head, his father was just the same", "Hahahahaha, hoping to kill some vegetables along the way were you Sven?"

Just because you've been brought up in a liberal society where you have been encouraged to question everything and "it really doesn't matter what you use because it could have been done, and after all it's not a question of life or death, is it", doesn't mean that those 1100 years ago were similarly at liberty to do the same. It didn't happen, partially because peer pressure and the need to conform in a militaristic and tight society was much stronger then than now, and partially because for them it _was_ a matter of life or death, and they stuck with what was known to work.

Imagine today you invented a safety system for a car which prevented injury when driving into a solid wall at 90 mph, but it could only be tested by having a live person in the car under such circumstances, and with all other safety equipment removed. Would you be keen to volunteer to try it out in your new car knowing you'd die if it didn't work, or would you prefer they left the brakes, airbags and steering in place since you know those have worked in the past?

Your spear with metal strips down the side is a similar problem - there's no evidence for it being done, because by adding the weight to protect the shaft and keep it in one piece for 2-3 seasons, you make it slow and more tiring to use, whereas in the period they didn't bother because it was a waste of metal, was more likely to get you killed, and in any case spears don't normally last more than about 5 minutes under battle conditions, and that's if you are lucky. It's a re-enactorism caused by not wanting to replace your kit after every show.

Quoting "people from different groups" is a cop-out, I'm afraid - as none of them have any evidence, they're all trying to justify the weaknesses in their own policies, and by ignoring the fact that lots of people say there weren't any in favour of those who say there were but can't produce any evidence, you are being highly selective and reading it as you'd like it to be rather than how it is.


Hi Paul.

At first I thought you where being a pratt and making a personal attack.

But now having red your message a couple of times I see your point.

I did not know about the militaristic society of the 10th C. I am still learning about the part of history.
Although I did think the Vikings where less formal than the Saxons when it came to equipment. And had more personal choice about there equipment.
Certainly in later Medieval armies there was modified tools used as weapons. Take the archers hammer, used to bang in defencive stakes but also re-enforced for hitting people. And the pole axe or halberd developed from tools.

Yes the strips of steel on my spear is a re-enactment modification. Thats because some groups (Tewksbury was a common place for this) like to chop spear head off, not funny considering you are left with an sharp bit of expensive wood.

Again I agree with the comment of "well some one said". It annoys me when people say they no the answer but let you down by not actually having evidence.

But also it annoys me when people say something did not exists. When they can not 100% prove that something did not exist or did not happen.

Tiddles.



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Re: Sabre and two handed sword history.

Postby WorkMonkey3 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:46 pm

The burden of proof is on those who say it DOES exist to proove it exists.

I cannot prove a two handed sword did not exist in viking times, how can I 100% disprove a statement like that? That's like saying, proove the flying spaghetti monster doesn't exist, you can't! But you can take reasoned arguement, and contemporary evidence (drawings/words etc) and come to a conclusion that way.

It is that sort of arguement that has led to an explosion of generally wang Rus vikings wherever you go, just about anyone doing viking period re-enactment wants to be rus...for some reason.
Sure, Rus Vikings could have made their way into Sweden and onto a long boat bound for England, I can't 100% disproove that, but I know a whole army of them didn't invade England at any point. :wink:




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