Albion Armorers Next Generation Hersir Sword
A hands-on review by Chad Arnow
Jan Petersen's categorization of Viking sword hilts, developed in 1919, has become the standard way to describe hilts of swords of that age. One style of hilt, known as Type H, enjoyed the longest life, being popular from around 800 AD to 950 AD. These hilts have guards with an elliptical shape when viewed from above. The sides of the guards are often curved or domed though early examples are peaked at the mid-point. The pommels are large and wide. Tangs on these swords are usually peened over the upper guard, while the pommels would be secured to the upper guard by two rivets.
While Petersen's typology has become standard for hilts, the blade typology of Alfred Geibig, written in 1991, enjoys wide popularity for describing Viking blades. One of these blade types, Type 3, featured edges and a fuller that tapered gently in width and was popular from the late eighth to the late tenth century.
Swords of the Viking Age have been an important part of the Next Generation lineup by Albion Armorers since its inception. Their early Viking models (the Vinland, Gotland, and Clontarf) featured one-piece pommel/upper guard assemblies that mimicked the traditional two-piece in appearance. Their newer models, like the Jarl, Huskarl, and Hersir, feature the more accurate two-piece construction. The Hersir, with its Petersen Type H hilt and Geibig Type 3 blade, is the subject of this review.
Measurements and Specifications:
Replica created by Albion Armorers of Wisconsin.
In the hand, it was comfortable when held in the handshake grip (where the hand is not at a 90-degree angle to the grip). This grip allows the pommel to slide by the heel of the hand as it should. Neither the pommel nor its wire wrap irritated my gloved hand at all. The 3 5/8" long grip is large enough for my big hands; it didn't feel cramped at all.
Fit and Finish
The blade is also nicely finished and is a great example of the type. The fuller is wide and shallow, yet is well-defined. The fuller terminates very nicely on one side of the blade. The other side is a shade less even in its ending, but still better than what is commonly found in the production sword market.
Swords like the Hersir are why Albion is at the forefront of production-level Viking-style swords. Albion Armorers has really nailed down the cross-sectional subtleties on their blades which contribute to performance appropriate for each type they reproduce. Its performance in cutting was fantastic. While not my main period of interest, I found this sword to have an attractive classic look. The accurate pommel construction, secure hilt assembly, performance, and overall level of fit and finish make the Hersir a great option for those with an interest in historically accurate Viking swords.
About the Author
Chad Arnow is a classical musician from the greater Cincinnati area and has had an interest in military history for many years. Though his collecting tends to focus on European weapons and armour of the High Middle Ages, he enjoys swords, knives and armour from many eras.
Photographer: Chad Arnow