The viking Sword was never any ordinary weapon. In fact, swords were great symbols of a great warrior. Because these swords were not easy to make, they cost an arm and both legs. So, they were a great symbol of prestige and status. Owners were buried with their swords or they could as well be inherited.
Memories from Viking Age
The history of the Scandinavia and especially Norway cannot be fully told without mentioning something about the Viking age. History books are rich with a lot of details about how the Vikings sailed through Europe, traded, raided and almost colonised the territory where they operated.
So much can be debated about how the Vikings did whatever they did and what exactly pushed them into some of the tyrannical activities. Some people may as well not wish to remember the havoc and fear that this group wrecked in Europe. Despite whatever feeling one has about them based on the historical accounts, it is not possible to completely wish them away.
In Scandinavia, the history of the Vikings is still alive as if it was yesterday. It is in the legends, books tucked in the shelves, artifacts such as old ships, operations base and many more.
One important weapon from the Vikings age which needs keeps us all reminded of the Vikings is the Viking sword. At the mention of these swords, anyone who had a clue about the Viking age already knows how much these objects were regarded during that age.
Needless to say, a Vikings sword can only be compared to the high end cars of this age, probably a Ferrari or Lamborghini. In a nutshell, these swords drew their uniqueness from being shaper, stronger, and more flexible compared to any others.
Interesting features of the Vikings Sword
The famous Viking warriors had a Viking sword. It was single-handed and possessed a wide fuller at the bottom of a blade’s length. The blades were approximately 30 inches long, while others were shorter or longer. Besides, they weighed less than 3lbs.
Viking swords were the most deadly and efficient weapons. In addition, they were highly valued as the Nordic owners would pass them to the next generations. During middle age, the Viking swords were so expensive because making them needed great skills to make them.
History of the Viking Swords
Viking swords refer to cold weapons made from the 8th to 11th century. Since a shield was the art of warriors’ equipment, the sword was supposed to be cool to wield and one-handed. A feature for most of the swords was to be short amid the guard and pommel to tightly fit.
With time, Viking smithery industrialised, and the form, size, and shape hilt changed. The change made it easy for historians to preserve the swords since each season had a prevailing and specific style. Even with the developments, steel manufacturing was not left behind. New techniques and technologies of steel manufacturing enhanced the development of narrow blades as shown below.
The way the Viking swords were made
During the Viking age, making a light, flexible, and strong sword was not easy. Thus, a skilled blacksmith having the correct materials was needed. Archeological findings have shown that there are inferior swords, and it means that hiring a Blacksmith was expensive.
The skilled Blacksmith during that period utilized pain-staking technique referred to as pattern welding in making a sword. The process entailed twisting and heating different kinds of iron bars as well as welding them slowly to the blade. The pattern welding technique made the blade flexible, strong, and beautiful.
What the Viking Warriors did in maintaining their swords
The Viking warriors used their swords in performing several actions. With time, even the strong swords turned to be dented, dull, and broken. Archeological evidence confirms that there are some swords, which were repaired. The ones that were broken into two were well welded together.
The Vikings were supposed to frequently sharpen their swords in making them ready for the battle. Most of the warriors sharpened them by themselves, although there were professionals who did the job perfectly well. Sometimes, during the battle, some swords would bend and break, but the Norsemen could straighten them.
Materials and decoration
The swords’ hilts were of different shapes and were made of antler, bone, as well as precious metals, including silver and gold. During that time, the sword was expensive and more effort was placed on the handle decoration.
The pommel, which was the blade’s counterweight for the sword to balance, helped in displaying precious metals inlays. Moreover, the blade blood groves most of the time, running in the middle. The saved valuable metal also made the sword to be light.
Swords as offerings and gifts
The Viking swords were introduced during the Viking period, and they are usually present in some burials. Most of the people of high status were usually buried with Viking swords, and it happened during the Viking age. It is important to know that not all the Viking warriors had swords because they were prestigious weapons that only a few people could afford.
The Viking swords were given as presents or gifts to individuals of high status in staying on good terms with them. Apart from being used as gifts, they were sacrificed in bogs and lakes. Most of the swords during the Viking age were found in the cross-rivers.
The popular sword brands
The main Viking sword brands were Ulfberht and Ingelrii. The two brands mainly represented two great blacksmith workshops. The brands appeared for a long period, maybe because the Blacksmith passed their knowledge to their sons. The Vikings believed that the swords from the two primary brands were superior as compared to the others.
The Ulfberht swords
They are approximately 170 medieval swords in Europe. They are dated from the 9th century to the 11th century and had blades inlaid with +VLFBERHT+ or +VLFBERH+T. Several bladesmiths used it for many centuries. It is also considered a strong Viking sword.
Ulfberht swords were made from high carbon steel with no inclusion of slag. In addition, they were strong and flexible. It was not stuck in a material when striking an armor or shield. Its durability made sure that it withstood several hits.
Most of the Ulfberht swords were from Rhineland. Besides, the Frankish origin is mainly assumed to be Norway, but other people believed that they were from Germany due to the high arsenic present in the iron.
Number and distribution
There were about 170 Ulfberht swords in Northern Europe. About 44 of the swords came from Norway, while approximately 31 of them came from Finland. Even with these numbers, the number of swords is still debatable due to the fragmentary conditions of some.
The swords came later after the introduction of Ulfberht swords. They came during the 11th century. Although it had the same qualities as Ulfberht swords, it was not so superior. Besides, it consisted of approximately 20 medieval swords.
Some of the good sword blades, which the Vikings acquired, were imported from Rhine areas. The blades had an inscription of “ULFBERTH,” name an indication of the best swords manufactured from steel of high quality during that time.
The Ulfberth swords were considered the master. The reason is that they produced swords in the Frankish empire from the 9th to 11th century. The swords became so popular during that moment that a ban was put on for their exportation.
The ban on exportation was placed as the Vikings had access to the high-quality swords that were helpful in ravaging the Frankish empire coastal region. Due to the ban, the neighboring territories commenced producing similar swords, and they even copied the name “ULFBERTH.” Unfortunately, they were of lower quality than the ones that were initially produced.