Yet another sword post from me!

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SvenNygard
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Yet another sword post from me!

Postby SvenNygard » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:05 pm

I've managed to find a guy who is willing to help me make myself a viking sword next summer, and I was just thinking about styles...

I'm most likely going to use these fittings from Mercia Sveiter;

http://www.re-enactment.co.uk/product_i ... i93ui1abb1

But I'm really interested by the idea of a two handed Viking sword. I've seen pictures of a few, and they are basically just slightly longer and have a longer handle. I was wondering, did this type of sword have any provenance with the vikings, or is this just another reenactorism (Albeit a very cool one :D )?


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EnglishArcher
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby EnglishArcher » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:29 pm

You might try posting the question over at myArmoury.com.

Someone on there will definitely have an answer for you.


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PaulMurphy
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby PaulMurphy » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:56 pm

Any two handed sword quoted as "Viking" is fantasy, rather than a re-enactorism.

Take a look at Oakeshott and Peirce. In the Viking period, the longest blades are around 90cm in length, and the grips are conspicuously small to the extent that most would be uncomfortable or impossible for the majority of modern hands.

The first requirement of a two handed sword is a grip long enough to allow two hands to be used. The first evidence for a lengthening of the grip to allow the second hand to be used comes with Oakeshott's type XIIa, which is dated from about 1250 onwards. Even arguing for the Viking period in Europe lasting well beyond that in England, that's pushing it somewhat, and even then it is more of a hand and half sword as the blade length is still only around 110cm.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but on a re-enactment forum I'd hope you'll want to get it right


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Wynflaed
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Wynflaed » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:16 pm

AFAIK Paul is spot on. Also - and this might be a "teaching your grandmother to suck eggs" post, in which case I apologise - don't forget that if you want a nicely-balanced sword, the optimal length will depend on the weight of the hilt fittings as well as the length of the grip.



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SvenNygard
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby SvenNygard » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:53 pm

Thanks guys, I thought that would be the case :P

I shall be making a single hander then, and when it is done, I shall post some pics for you all :D


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ChaseAED
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby ChaseAED » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:04 pm

If you really want to be a viking and use an edged weapon two-handedly, you could try a sword-length longseax. The tangs of many such finds are sufficiently long to indicate their handles could accommodate two hands, and theyre very versatile and comfortable to use this way.
Image
Here's my dad's particularly vicious looking replica of the Seax of Beagnoth / Thames Scramseax next to a sword of the same period. Arguably such seaxes are scarier, less elegant weapons, but if you want to have your cake and eat it too, it might be worth looking into.

Link to my Dad's article on evidence of the use of Seaxes two-handedly


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SvenNygard
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby SvenNygard » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:21 am

*Drooling* That is a very sexy seax you have there :D

I shall be looking into getting one of those at some point too :lol:


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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:51 am

ChaseAED wrote:Here's my dad's particularly vicious looking replica of the Seax of Beagnoth / Thames Scramseax next to a sword of the same period.


Just a couple of things.
1. It's not a scramseax...or at least it's probably not (because nobody knows what Gregory of Tours was referring to when he used the term)
2. There's about 200-300 years between that sword and that seax.

Anyone taking a two handed sword to a spear and shield fight is
a) No damn good in a shield wall
b) Going home full of spear holes.


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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Hobbitstomper » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:18 pm

18" bladed long knife is a general purpose tool used across the world in agricultural societies. They are all pretty much the same because that is what works as a heavy cutting tool. They come in 1 and 2 handed varieties. They are sometimes used as weapons (eg by Filipinos in WW2) but they are usually better at cutting sticks.

Earliest scandinavian picture I have seen of someone using a sword 2 handed was from about 1260.



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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby ChaseAED » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:58 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
ChaseAED wrote:Here's my dad's particularly vicious looking replica of the Seax of Beagnoth / Thames Scramseax next to a sword of the same period.


Just a couple of things.
1. It's not a scramseax...or at least it's probably not (because nobody knows what Gregory of Tours was referring to when he used the term)
2. There's about 200-300 years between that sword and that seax.

Anyone taking a two handed sword to a spear and shield fight is
a) No damn good in a shield wall
b) Going home full of spear holes.

Ok, firstly, I called it a langseax, or seax in my post. The term "Thames Scramseax" just happens to be the name by which this particular find is known by.
It's precisely due to the issues with the term, that I chose not to use it outside of the context of that particular item, and then, only accompanying the better name "Seax of Beagnoth" as a means of increasing the likelihood people will recognise the item I'm referring to.
Regarding the sword, yes, it's not from the same century as the Seax of Beagnoth. I was using it as a size comparison for blade length, for which it is perfectly appropriate. We can argue for hours about what a "period" is, anyway, and you're not going to convince me that this size comparison is erroneous.

Regarding your comments about the disadvantages faced by a warrior wielding a two-handed weapon, I'd agree. However, shields get disabled by angons, or pulverised by axe-blows. If you're outside the shieldwall and find yourself without a shield, your spear is going to do you very little good; you have no response to a warrior that gets beyond the 1.5m range/ past your spearpoint. In those circumstances I'd much prefer an edged weapon, be it a sword, a hand-seax, or a longer seax as above.

You should also recognise that these weapons, unlike later two-handed swords, are facultatively two-handed, not obligate. There's nothing to say you can't use it with a shield, and it's an excellent weapon secondary to a spear.


Aed Thompson, Thegn of Merca

http://www.thethegns.blogspot.com

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Medicus Matt
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Medicus Matt » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:44 am

ChaseAED wrote:Ok, firstly, I called it a langseax, or seax in my post. The term "Thames Scramseax" just happens to be the name by which this particular find is known by.


But even the article that you've linked to points out the problems of using the term, so it seems unwise to perpetuate it when 'Seax of Beagnoth' is more than adequate. Just a bugbear.

Regarding the sword, yes, it's not from the same century as the Seax of Beagnoth. I was using it as a size comparison for blade length, for which it is perfectly appropriate. We can argue for hours about what a "period" is, anyway, and you're not going to convince me that this size comparison is erroneous.


I didn't say that it was, I was just pointing out that, contrary to your statement, they really weren't from the same period. Whilst I agree that, to a wider audience, 'Anglo Saxon' or indeed 'Early Medieval' might count as one period but, in a specifically early medieval part of a forum, I think 300 years is a bit too big a slice, don't you?
Otherwise you'll have people in Vendel helms at Hastings.....again. :wink:

However, shields get disabled by angons, or pulverised by axe-blows. If you're outside the shieldwall and find yourself without a shield, your spear is going to do you very little good; you have no response to a warrior that gets beyond the 1.5m range/ past your spearpoint. In those circumstances I'd much prefer an edged weapon, be it a sword, a hand-seax, or a longer seax as above.


Oh I agree with you there. Longer seaxes make an excellent side arm;better to have one than nothing at all and using both hands would make it easier to block and parry in extremis. my comment about taking a two handed sword to a spear fight was aimed at the original poster.


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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby WorkMonkey3 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:18 pm

If this isn't an obvious troll I'll eat my own face.



torvikbloodynine
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby torvikbloodynine » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:27 pm

Greetings....try www.powning.com for some tasty examples - fantasy style swords but with dark age themes. Good luck!



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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Sigurdson » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:11 pm

I know this is an old thread but I have difficultuy in buying into the two handed use of the longer gripped early period seax, a friend has several high quality copies and comments, the longer gripped seax when held single handed close to the blade makes for an effective thrust, when held at the rear single handed then it acts similair to a machete and makes for an improved chopping action at the forward third of the blade, these actions can be made holding a shield in the other hand, great for the press of the shield wall. Would I carry a longer gripped seax just in case I needed to use it in a two handed grip in extremis? Unlikely.

regards
Sigurdson



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SvenNygard
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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby SvenNygard » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:44 am

Ok thanks guys, so the two handed 'viking' swords are just a bit of a fantasy thing. I had thought as much, but didn't hurt to ask :P

I think I'll have a closer look at the Seaxes, they do look like a very useful sidearm to have.

By the way, what is the proper way to pronounce Seax (If there is a proper way)?


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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Captain Reech » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:56 am

Most people say "Sax" and "Langsax"

Pronouncing it another way might cause the Blacksmith some confusion over your intentions...
"Blacksmith, I want a longsex."

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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:29 am

SvenNygard wrote:By the way, what is the proper way to pronounce Seax (If there is a proper way)?


Seax (pronounced 'Say Axe' or 'Sea Axe'..depending on regional accent) in Old English and 'Sax' in Old Norse....so it'd depends on whether your Englisc or Scando-Tramp. :wink:


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Re: Yet another sword post from me!

Postby ChaseAED » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:39 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
SvenNygard wrote:By the way, what is the proper way to pronounce Seax (If there is a proper way)?


Seax (pronounced 'Say Axe' or 'Sea Axe'..depending on regional accent) in Old English and 'Sax' in Old Norse....so it'd depends on whether your Englisc or Scando-Tramp. :wink:
Props for noting the regional variation; most just assume blanket use of Old-West-Saxon. I'd add that it's believed that in Mercia it would've been "Sax" as in Scandinavia (just as Sword is "Sword", not "Sweord" like in OWS).


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