Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search

We rely on the support of our members to help keep myArmoury.com operating
Please consider Enhancing Your Account or Making a Donation. Visit our Contributor Center to read more about how you can help.
This message is not shown to members who have an active subscription or are recent members of the Donating Members usergroup.

Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Viking Halberd Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next 
Author Message
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2006 8:46 am    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Wolfgang, Where is this piece, and what is the date given. Frankly I think this is probalby closer than anything else I have run across. It will do all of the things listed for a halberd, and could even be thrown, as is recorded. I have seen other polearms that would also fit the bill, but they were usually 2-3 hundred years later. I think this fits the bill. Can you send this to me so that I can have it printed out?
Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Wolfgang Armbruster




Usergroups: None


Posts: 322
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2006 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:
Wolfgang, Where is this piece, and what is the date given. Frankly I think this is probalby closer than anything else I have run across. It will do all of the things listed for a halberd, and could even be thrown, as is recorded. I have seen other polearms that would also fit the bill, but they were usually 2-3 hundred years later. I think this fits the bill. Can you send this to me so that I can have it printed out?


Hello Hank,
this polearm is currently on offer on a Swedish auction site, right here:
http://www.auktionsverket.se/dbkatalog2e/kat_...&anr=0

Unfortunately no date is given.

Maybe some of the swedish forum members could tell us what a "SKÄGGYXA" is? A staff-axe? *wild guess*

In order to print the pic out you just have to right-click on the picture and then choose "save as".
Then you can print it out after saving it to your harddrive. Or am I getting something wrong? *confused*

Direct link to the pic: http://www.auktionsverket.se/R601/stor/5001.jpg
View user's profile Send private message
Joachim Nilsson




Usergroups: None


Posts: 510
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:
Wolfgang, Where is this piece, and what is the date given. Frankly I think this is probalby closer than anything else I have run across. It will do all of the things listed for a halberd, and could even be thrown, as is recorded. I have seen other polearms that would also fit the bill, but they were usually 2-3 hundred years later. I think this fits the bill. Can you send this to me so that I can have it printed out?


Just as Wolfgang stated it's to be sold at an auction here in Sweden. The date is set for the 30th of January.

The description "SKÄGGYXA, troligen svensk, böjd klinga med ås, på brunmålad stång; korrosion" means:

BEARDED AXE, probably Swedish, curved blade with ridge, on brown-painted haft, corroded.

No date is given, but I'm guessing somewhere around late 15th/early 16th Century.

Starting bid: 3000-4000 Crowns ($389-$518).

I've been itching to go that auction for quite some time, but since I don't have the money to get serious when it comes to bidding... I'm guessing we'll stay at home.

Best regards,
View user's profile
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2006 2:53 pm    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. Frankly I would be surprised if it were really that late. The workmanship looks a little crude for that time frame. I would have placed it aobut 1200AD or slightly easlier. I would also be surprised if it sold for that little, would expect it to go for at least 1000 US. Best, Hank
Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Joachim Nilsson




Usergroups: None


Posts: 510
PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:
Thanks for the info. Frankly I would be surprised if it were really that late. The workmanship looks a little crude for that time frame. I would have placed it aobut 1200AD or slightly easlier. I would also be surprised if it sold for that little, would expect it to go for at least 1000 US. Best, Hank


I'm guessing it is -just as the piece below it is- a peasant's weapon. Hence the crudeness of the workmanship and also the estimated time period. From time to time really crude looking weapons show up here in Sweden and a whole lot of them are late 15th/early 16th peasant's weapons. It could be older of course -that I won't argue. Happy

I'm guessing that once the auction gets going, the piece in question will probably increase quite dramatically in price (although stranger auction-related things have happened). I once saw an execellent 16th Century Swedish poleaxe go for roughly $2900 though. But the workmanship on that was a lot better. It could go for anything in between the starting bid to say... $1000. Or it'll wind up not getting sold at all.

While certainly not a viking halberd and only slightly relevant to the topic; here's a thread of mine concerning a Peter Johnsson reconstruction of a late 15th/early 16th peasant's polearm that I own.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=1248

Best,
View user's profile
David Martin




Usergroups: None

Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 162
PostPosted: Thu 19 Jan, 2006 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for posting that link, Wolfgang. It looks like it would be a relatively light, fast, and versatile weapon. It does look rather crudely made though, which piques my curiosity regarding what a well-made specimen might look like. I couldn't resist the urge to photoshop the image a bit. The original is on the top:


 Attachment: 19.06 KB, Viewed: 3097 times
5001 - Edited 3.jpg


"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
View user's profile Send private message
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Thu 19 Jan, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Hey guys, Wolfgang and David in particular. That photo shop edition looks great! I wish I had seen that before I left MRL, now I'll have to try and make me one. It really looks good. You know, we can't go back in time to see, but I have a sneaking suspicion that is probably very close to what the original looked like. An original may not have had the blade attacked to the shaft in the rear. The reason I say this is because one could make one without it, and it would work pretty well. But over a period of time the blade might start to warp or torque from the strain of battle. A nice development would be making the blade with a flange that could be attached to the shaft. Let me have some thoughts on this if you don't mind.
By the way, I caught some stuff on ArmouryArchives, where several are saying that the Vikings never used polearms...that all of the sagas are just legends...I like it here...

Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan, 2006 12:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey!

Great thread with many original ideas!
I don´t really have much to add apart from what has been said already.
I tend to think that the weapons described in these late sagas, or late retellings of the sagas belong to a date that is very late viking or high medieval. I also think that there are versions of the viking weaponry that is not always so well known.
Smaller hatchet sized axes for use with one hand have greater variation than many other types. In Birka were found many axes with clear russian origin or influence. Very tomahawk like. In the museum of Jönköpng in sweden I saw and documented a small axe head that was found in a viking grave that otherwise had the typical equipment you see in a warriorts grave. Nothing exotic in the find apart from this axe head.

The bearded axe is interesting. There are many shapes and sizes. The ones (that have been found) with the forward projecting point is normally identified to 15th C. I don´t really see why we could not have them in the 14h C. Earlier than that we are left to speculate on what could have been, but who knows?I don´t know there are any pointy bearded axes to be seen in scandinavian art from 13th C or earlier (and that is the probelm: without find context or depictions in art the dating is going to be rather difficult.)

There are quite a few of these vicked weapons surviving however. I´ve seen many collecting dust in museum store rooms. Sometimes you can even see one on display, but that is not so common. Weapons on display are not popular themes in museumss these days.

I documented one bearded axe a few years ago and this one was dated to the 15th C. We cannot know for certain, of course.
Afterwards I made an axe that was inlfuenced by the original, even if it was not a copy in the strict meaning of the word.

The axe is very light for its size. It really feels like a mix between a short spear and a long axe when you handle it. So far it relates well to what the the saga names Spear-axe. The possible anachronism apart, this has always been my favourite interpretation of the weapon and a dream would be that someone did find such a weapon in a clear 11th C contex. When that happens, the case is clear to me. Big Grin

There is an old pic of me leaning on this axe, to give you an ide of its size. I put a chin length shaft on it and that felt lik a good compromize between reach and ease of handling. Perhaps a longer shaft could be used? This link is to the picture gallrey on site of the Guild of Saint Olaf:
www.olofsgillet.org/images/olofsgillet_023.jpg



 Attachment: 73.27 KB, Viewed: 3080 times
daggeraxe.jpg
The axe is identified as being of eastern origin. Its edge is chisel shaped and would function almost like a war hammer. This type of battle axe was made already in the copper age.


Last edited by Peter Johnsson on Fri 20 Jan, 2006 12:54 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Elling Polden




Usergroups: None

Location: Bergen, Norway
Likes: 1 page
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,575
PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan, 2006 12:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sticking with the hewing spear approach, though.

It is quite consistent, and solves a lot of the issues, like "why haven't any of these been found?"

The bardiche-like axe was apparently a import to scandinavia; Viking broad axes show few tendencies towards stabbing points, and scandinavian "standard issue" axes keep this form well into the middle ages. The ones that do have this shape is called "sharp cornered axe", or "tabar-axe", reflecting its eastern heritage.

There is a medevial/saga weapon with a backspike, the "Bryntroll". This has some times been as double axe, but a broadaxe style weapon with a backspike is more likely...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan, 2006 1:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
I'm sticking with the hewing spear approach, though.

It is quite consistent, and solves a lot of the issues, like "why haven't any of these been found?"

The bardiche-like axe was apparently a import to scandinavia; Viking broad axes show few tendencies towards stabbing points, and scandinavian "standard issue" axes keep this form well into the middle ages. The ones that do have this shape is called "sharp cornered axe", or "tabar-axe", reflecting its eastern heritage.

There is a medevial/saga weapon with a backspike, the "Bryntroll". This has some times been as double axe, but a broadaxe style weapon with a backspike is more likely...


Elling: I agree with you. It is the most probable explanation.
The interpretation with the bearded axe will have to be explained by late influences one way or the other, untill that unique find is made.
I would like to see the import/influence theory for the pointed axe expanded on. I am aware this is what is said about these weapons, but there are many hafted bearded axes to be found in central european art from the late middle ages. As these axes are very common in the scandinavian materialo, it seems to me they were imported rather early on, or actually were developed also here, perhaps with influence from foreign mercenaries. The weapon early on takes on the character of something that was being made by local smiths.

I have yet to do expeiments chopping with broad spear heads. There are a few impressive spear head I´d like to try make reconstructions of. Intresting to see what they can do.

Apart from a broad bladed head, I would think that you need a broad and long socket if the spear is going to be effective as hewing weapon?
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Wolfgang Armbruster




Usergroups: None


Posts: 322
PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan, 2006 1:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The weapon in the pic with Peter Johnson reminded me of something.
Here's a woodcut by the so called "Pertracameister" (probably because his real name is unknown). It features a small axe with a very strange head similar to the one on Peter's picture. It's probably a tool. It's 16th century though Sad
It's from 1520 and apparently deals with the peasant-wars (look at the flag on the left).

Title "of the hate of the people"

http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/8018/pertracameister15206hd.jpg
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan, 2006 10:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This topic has been promoted into a Spotlight Topic.
.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 6:47 am    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Elling's comment on the the berdiche being imported from Russia overlooks one thing...that the original settlers of Russia were Scandanavians...From all I have read there seems to be two types involved, the hewing spear and the mail piercer, so I'm holding out for two different weapons. In one saga there is the comment that the warrior was armed with a small axe shaped like a halberd. Now I don't remember the name of the saga, but will look it up when I get over to Toni's.(My wife and I are forced to maintain two houses, one in Athens and one i Oxford. Since my daughter and grandkids are living with me, I have placed a large number of books at Toni's). I have roughly 800 books devoted to arms and armor. In none of them have I been able to find a polearm that dates earlier than 1100, and most start their polearm comments about 1200. (I am excluding spears) If lack of physical evidence is so convincing, then I am asked to believe that within a short period of time polearms appeared fully developed out of thin air. I can't buy that. I would point out that we have only one Viking helmet, and it in pretty sad shape. We have none of the kettle hats that are sometimes described, nor do I remember seeing any "Norman" style helmets earlier than about 1100AD. Absence of physical proof does not mean that the item never existed. Nor can I buy the idea that because these were written down in the 13th century, the authors merely used contempoary weapons. (this was brought up in armouryarchives) While pictorial art from this time does show contemporary weapons this is due more to the lack of knowledge regarding early Jewish weapons and also current conventions. In writing this would not be necessary, ad the armor is never describe in any great detail. I would point out that everyone doubted the boar's tusk helmet until they found one.
I have a couple of "hewing spears" that I have made from some swords. Not being able to weld up a socket, I inlet the shaft and attached the blade that way, somewhat similiar to many Japanese pole ams. (Although not common, there were European weapons that were tanged rather than socketed). These work quite well, and I've cut through some fairly thick saplings with them. The biggest problem I have is the physical reluctance to make a full force cut with one. The amount of power generated is really impressive, and I don't want to cut through and bury the head into the ground. Will try to take photo and post it this weekend.

Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 6:50 am    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

whoops, forgot one thing. There are a large number of T shaped axes, and axes shaped like the one in the woodcut, that are used as weapons all over the world. India (bulova is the most common), Africa, of which there are several varieties, and even into the Indonesian areas.
Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Greyson Brown




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: Evans, Colorado
Reading list: 15 books
Posts: 739
PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hank,

I for one would really get kick out of seeing your modified swords. Oakeshott mentions a sword that was reforged (I assume it was broken but don't remember if that was stated) as a spear, and still in use in the 12th century. It had a specific name (the sword itself, not the type of weapon), but I don't remember what it was. I am away from my books for the rest of this week (I'm in Vilseck for a class), but I'm fairly certain that it is on or around page 119 in Archaeology of Weapons, if anyone has it handy.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Craig Johnson




PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 8:25 am    Post subject: Good Memory Greyson         Reply with quote

Page 119 bottom

"Some spear-heads are pattern-welded, and may have been reforged from broken sword-blades, like the famous spear Graisda which started in the eighth century as a sword, was re-made as a spear and was still in use in the thirteenth century."

Craig
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Greyson Brown




Usergroups: 
Donating Members

Location: Evans, Colorado
Reading list: 15 books
Posts: 739
PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Johnson wrote:
Page 119 bottom

"Some spear-heads are pattern-welded, and may have been reforged from broken sword-blades, like the famous spear Graisda which started in the eighth century as a sword, was re-made as a spear and was still in use in the thirteenth century."

Craig


Thanks, Craig! That would be exactly the quote I was thinking of.

It probably has more in common with a hewing spear than a halberd (I agree that they were probably two different weapons). Still, it's interesting to consider, and provides an historical precedent for Hank's hewing spears.

The story of a fellow being supported by one of those halberds is really what throws me. If it weren't for that, I could be convinced that they (hewing spears and viking halberds) are the same weapon, but it still wouldn't sit quite right.

The spears that Elling posted have small lugs below the blade, but nothing that I think would stop a man who had already been impaled by the rather wide blade. Many of the "pointy axes" that have been posted would work, but don't seem as spear-like as I have always envisioned the atgeir. Maybe I am just clinging to misconception, but is there some other shape or design consideration that we have not accounted for? Something that would allow blades like those that have been found to impale a man, but still keep him from sliding down the shaft when held upright? I agree with Hank that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence (as is stated in Jared Smith's signature), but I still have trouble saying, "it's out there, we just haven't found it yet." That may very well be true, but then again, it's not an easily defensible position, either.

-Grey

P.S. If any of the above seems contradictory to itself or my previous posts, that because it may very well be. I still haven't made up my mind on this subject, which is part of what makes it so much fun!

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 9:39 am    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Let me add something here. I have had a lot of fun discussing this with you group of guys. I think all of you not only take this sutff seriously, and are also willing to look, think and examine...Hell, I'm not sure of some of it myself. Until I read that one section I was convinced that the socket referred to was a socket like a spear, not what I would term and eye liike and axe, so I'm still dealing with it. For fun I brought this up on armourysrchives, and you never hear such screaming and yelling, of course I mentioned that I did have much faith in SCA research, and I guess that got them ticked off, oh well, I've never been good and winning friends and influencing people anyway....I plan on bsing with this group a long time, but not with the others
Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Elling Polden




Usergroups: None

Location: Bergen, Norway
Likes: 1 page
Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,575
PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now, the saga does not say that he did not slide down, or how long he was hanging there. Wink
It could have been for just a few seconds.
We use this as a "show kill" sometimes; Stab someone, they grab the spear shaft, and you move in and "lift them on the point"
You dont need lugs for that.
Or the point could lodge itself against the back of the ribcage.
Or it could be poetic licence.

The main problem is, if the atgeir was a bardiche style axe, the vikings would need to have some strange aversion towards putting them in graves, because none of them have been found.
(the seem to have had this aversion towards armour... After all, you don't need it in Valhall, do you? )

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 10:40 am    Post subject: Viking Halberd         Reply with quote

Elling, all that you say is quite possible....and the most valid point is that we haven't found one, but that alone is not (to me at any rate) sufficient proof to deny their existence. This would be a big weapon, and represent a major investment in steel. Also it does not to be as personal as a sword or an axe. Swords were much more personal since they could carried all the time, and much can be said for the axxe. But a halberd or hewing spear would be hard to use indoors, and too large to carry around all the time unless outside. Another question. I have read several times that the ell was about two feet. This is what they consider the size in Iceland. Now if that is correct, then you have a halbard with a blade close to four feet in length. This was not unusual with come Japanese pole arms, but I would consider it pretty large. Again, is this poetic liciense? Of course this is all speculation, but I can't believe that the Vikings never used pole arms. Another thing to consider, as mentioned previously, we have no pole arms dating from earlier than roughly the 12th century. The qeustion is why?
Hank Reinhardt
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Viking Halberd
Page 4 of 7 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum



All contents © Copyright 2003-2013 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum