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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Three originals Reply to topic
 
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2003 3:51 pm    Post subject: Three originals         Reply with quote

Thanks to Peter Johnsson, I got access to the museum storage in Uppsala, Sweden. Together with Peter and Eric McHugh, I had a field day. I documented three interesting swords, and there are some lessons to be made from them.

First out, the Ultuna Viking Sword:
This sword was found in a grave in Ultuna, Uppland county, Sweden. It is probably from the 10th century. Inventory number 3459. It is a rather simple weapon. The weight and point of balance ought to indicate a rather blade-heavy sword, but that isn't the case.

Statistics and measurements
Overall length: 928 mm (36.5")
Blade length: 762 mm (30")
Blade width at the base: 56 mm (2.2")
Blade thickness: 6 mm (0.24") at the base, 3.5 mm (0.14") 100 mm from the point
Pommel height: 46 mm (1.8"), width: 82 mm (3.2") (originally c. 85 mm), thickness 35 mm (1.4")
Handle to pommel length: 98 mm (3.9")
Width of guard: 92 mm (3.6"), originally c. 97 mm, thickness 27 mm (1.1")
Point of Balance: 155 mm (6.1") in front of the cross
Weight: 1340 grams (c. 2 lbs 15 oz)





The sword is interesting, as it is "heavy". The current fad for very light swords doesn't take into account that there were plenty of swords that weighed slightly more, without getting unwieldy.
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2003 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Next out is a 13th Century Sword from the Fyris River:
This sword was found in the 19th century together with two others in the banks of Fyris River in Uppsala, Sweden. It was probably forged in the first half of the 13th century. It is a rather large sword and relatively heavy, but it didn't feel unwieldy. The fuller has extensive inscriptions on both sides.

Statistics and measurements
Overall length: 1019 mm (40.1")
Blade length: 843 mm (33.2") (originally probably 875 mm)
Blade width at the base: 50 mm (2")
Blade thickness: 5 mm (0.2") at the base, 2.5 mm (0.1") 100 mm from the point
Fuller length: c. 735 mm, width 17 mm
Pommel height: 54 mm (2.1"), width: 59 mm (2.3"), diameter of inner disc 31 mm (1.2"), thickness 48 mm (1.9"), edge thickness 16 mm (0.6")
Handle to pommel length: 110 mm (4.3")
Width of guard: 210 mm (8.3"), thickness 10.5 x 9 mm (0.4" x 0.35")
Point of Balance: 90 mm (3.5") in front of the cross
Weight: 1628 grams (c. 3 lbs 9 oz)



Again, a "heavy" sword according to conventional wisdom, but actually quite nice to wield thanks to excellent mass distribution.
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2003 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Last is another 13th Century Sword from the Fyris River:
This sword was found in the 19th century together with the one above and another sword in the banks of Fyris River in Uppsala, Sweden. It was probably forged in the first half of the 13th century. It is a small, light sword which is very easy to wield. The pommel is octagonal. The fuller has inscriptions in gold inlay on both sides.

Statistics and measurements
Overall length: 895 mm (35.2")
Blade length: 740 mm (29.1")
Blade width at the base: 51 mm (2")
Blade thickness: 5.5 mm (0.2") at the base, 3 mm (0.1") 100 mm from the point
Fuller length: c. 570 mm (22.4"), width 12 mm (0.5")
Pommel height: 35 mm (1.4"), width: 40 mm (1.6")
Handle to pommel length: 110 mm (4.3")
Width of guard: 140 mm (5.5")
Point of Balance: 135 mm (5.3") in front of the cross
Weight: 890 grams (c. 2 lbs)





At almost half the weight of the previous sword, this is a lightweight which proves that 13th century swords weren't always the big, chopping blades we've come to expect.
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2003 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Bjorn for sharing

Something for everybody there, from the big manly sheering monster, to the lighter very quick sword....

Interesting pommel on sword #3........

swords are fun
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Geoff Freeman




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2003 7:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Big beefy tang on #3, it looks like
Geoffrey C. Freeman
Durendal Fencing Club
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Russ Ellis




PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2003 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Absolutely fascinating Bjorn. Do you have any more details on the find places of these swords and how they were actually stumbled upon? I'm not going to even try to type the Viking sword but if I was to make a guess I would say that number 2 there is a type X blade (hard to tell without seeing the rest of it) with a type H or I pommel and a type 1 cross. The other also looks like a X to me with a type 1 cross but as Angus says that pommel is a bit of an oddity. I would like to say it was a type T3 but I'm not sure that those were typically faceted. I'd say it's definately a T variant anyway. Happy I love this stuff. Anyone have some other ideas?
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Robert Zamoida




PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 4:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful swords! The last one reminds me of the Solingen Sword in Albion's Peter Johnsson collection; were there any similarities between the two?
Rob Zamoida
"When your life is on the line, you want to make use of all your tools. No warrior should be willing to die with his swords at his sides, without having made use of his tools."
-Miyamoto Mushashi, Gorin no Sho
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert Zamoida wrote:
Beautiful swords! The last one reminds me of the Solingen Sword in Albion's Peter Johnsson collection; were there any similarities between the two?


Not really - the Solingen is a rather more substantial sword. Compare the stats.

Solingen:
Overall length: 38.4"
Blade length: 32.125"
Blade width (at base): 2.38"
COG: 5.25" from cross
Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz

"Fyris River 2":
Overall length: 895 mm (35.2")
Blade length: 740 mm (29.1")
Blade width at the base: 51 mm (2")
Point of Balance: 135 mm (5.3") in front of the cross
Weight: 890 grams (c. 2 lbs)

Interestingly, the COG/POB is in the same spot.
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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Absolutely fascinating Bjorn. Do you have any more details on the find places of these swords and how they were actually stumbled upon? I'm not going to even try to type the Viking sword but if I was to make a guess I would say that number 2 there is a type X blade (hard to tell without seeing the rest of it) with a type H or I pommel and a type 1 cross. The other also looks like a X to me with a type 1 cross but as Angus says that pommel is a bit of an oddity. I would like to say it was a type T3 but I'm not sure that those were typically faceted. I'd say it's definately a T variant anyway. Happy I love this stuff. Anyone have some other ideas?


The Viking sword was found in a grave, but the others were found in (I think) the 1870's, probably during construction work.

Oakeshott's typology isn't all-encompassing, which is evident when one happens across swords that doesn't look like anything in his books. It is important to remember that even Oakeshott never regarded his typology as complete. But I would say a T3 variant, too... Wink
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Björn Hellqvist wrote:
Russ Ellis wrote:
Absolutely fascinating Bjorn. Do you have any more details on the find places of these swords and how they were actually stumbled upon? I'm not going to even try to type the Viking sword but if I was to make a guess I would say that number 2 there is a type X blade (hard to tell without seeing the rest of it) with a type H or I pommel and a type 1 cross. The other also looks like a X to me with a type 1 cross but as Angus says that pommel is a bit of an oddity. I would like to say it was a type T3 but I'm not sure that those were typically faceted. I'd say it's definately a T variant anyway. Happy I love this stuff. Anyone have some other ideas?


The Viking sword was found in a grave, but the others were found in (I think) the 1870's, probably during construction work.

Oakeshott's typology isn't all-encompassing, which is evident when one happens across swords that doesn't look like anything in his books. It is important to remember that even Oakeshott never regarded his typology as complete. But I would say a T3 variant, too... Wink


Actually, I don't recall saying anything about the pommel of sword #3 being odd, but being interesting.

Interesting in that similar pommels seem to become popular about a century and a half later than the estimated date of the sword. {shrug} Just goes to show how much we don't know about this stuff, and how an open mind is really, really nice in viewing this stuff....

Might be interesting for someone to make a sword similar without saying what the inspiration for it is, and let the "Period Nazis" get all excited about it........ before allowing as how Bjorn has photos of something similar........*g*

swords are fun
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Robert Zamoida




PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the stats Bjorn Happy When I looked at the shape of the blade the first thing that popped into my head was "Hey, that looks like the Solingen!" The stats defintely show a difference in overall mass. Just out of curiosity I played around with the number a little, basically comparing the ratio between overall length vs. blade length, and I did find something interesting; the ratios were not far off from one another, with the Solingen ration at approximately 1.20 and the Fyris #2 ratio at 1.21. Maybe this explains why the COG's are so close? Even though the overall mass differs between the two, perhaps it's distributed in a very similar way?
Rob Zamoida
"When your life is on the line, you want to make use of all your tools. No warrior should be willing to die with his swords at his sides, without having made use of his tools."
-Miyamoto Mushashi, Gorin no Sho
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you're right Robert. I also feel that this is a prime example of how medieval european sword manufacture was much more developed than commonly believed. Here we have two swords of different sizes, yet they're very similar in their common distribution. There were obviously principals and fundamentals in sword construction that were understood and followed as common course. Far from the common view of "Let's bang it out and see what happens".
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Russ Ellis




PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2003 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You are right of course Bjorn but I have this overwhelming urge to try to categorize these things by typology. Okay so I'm a simple guy with simple amusments. Happy

As you say Angus you merely said it was interesting. Okay fine I will say it's a bit of an oddity. Happy

Honestly I think a book of stories about how swords were found and by who would be totally fascinating. Sort of a history detective book.

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