The Origin of Viking Swords
The earliest known Viking swords date back to the 8th century, and their design was heavily influenced by the swords used by the Germanic tribes that preceded them. These swords were typically double-edged and had a straight blade that measured around 70-90 cm in length. They were also characterized by a long, narrow fuller (a groove running down the center of the blade), which made them lighter and more flexible without compromising their durability.
As the Vikings began to expand their territories and engage in more frequent battles, they began to refine and improve their sword-making techniques. By the 10th century, the Viking sword had evolved into a highly sophisticated weapon, with a wider blade and a more pronounced taper that allowed for greater maneuverability in combat.
Design Features of Viking Swords
One of the most distinctive features of Viking swords is their hilt, which was often intricately decorated with elaborate patterns and symbols. The hilt typically consisted of a guard (or crossguard) that protected the wielder's hand from the opponent's blade, a grip made of materials such as bone or wood, and a lobed pommel that added balance to the sword and could also be used as a bludgeoning weapon.
The Significance of Viking Swords
Beyond their practical use as weapons, Viking swords also held great symbolic value for the warriors who wielded them. The sword was not only a status symbol, but also represented the warrior's honor, bravery, and loyalty to his lord or chieftain. In fact, the sword was such an integral part of Viking culture that it was often given a name, and believed to possess its own spirit or personality.
Although the Viking age ended many years ago, the legacy of the Viking sword lives on to this day. The craftsmanship and design of these weapons continue to inspire sword-makers like Windlass Steelcrafts, Hanwei and Darcksword Armories to continue the craft centuries later. They are enjoyed by collectors around the world, and replicas of Viking swords can be found in museums, reenactments, and even movies and TV shows.