Category Archive 'Arms and Armor'
22 Oct 2015

Hiker Found Viking Sword Along Ancient Path in Norway

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VikingSword3

CNN:

[A] man in Norway… recently stumbled across a 1,200 year-old Viking sword while walking an ancient route.

The find, which dates from approximately 750 AD and is in exceptionally good condition, was announced by Hordaland County Council.

County Conservator Per Morten Ekerhovd described the discovery as “quite extraordinary.”

“It’s quite unusual to find remnants from the Viking age that are so well preserved … it might be used today if you sharpened the edge,” he told CNN.

Outdoorsman Goran Olsen made the unusual find when he stopped for a rest in Haukeli, an area known for fishing and hunting about 150 miles (250 kms) west of capital, Oslo.

The rusted weapon was lying under some rocks on a well-known path across a high mountain plateau, which runs between western and eastern Norway.

The mountains are covered with frost and snow for at least six months of the year and not exposed to humidity in summer, which contributed to the sword’s exceptional condition, Ekerhovd said, adding that archaeological remains are often found along the paths.

He speculated that the sword could be from a burial site or may have belonged to a traveler who had an accident or succumbed to frostbite on the high pass.

The sword, which was found without a handle, is just over 30 inches long (77 centimeters) and made of wrought iron. From its type, archaeologists estimate it to be from around 750 AD — making it approximately 1,265 years old — but warn that this is not an exact date.

Swords like this were status symbols in Viking times because of the high cost of extracting iron, Ekerhovd said, and it’s likely this blade would have belonged to a wealthy individual.

02 Oct 2015

The Nugent Marathon Corinthian Helmet

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HelmetMarathon2

photo via Belacqui.

Royal Ontario Museum description:


The Corinthian helmet type is one of the most immediately recognisable types of helmet, romantically associated with the great heroes of Ancient Greece, even by the Ancient Greeks themselves who rapidly moved to helmet types with better visibility, but still depicted their heroes in these helmets. …

This specific helmet (ROM no.926.19.3) was purchased by the Royal Ontario Museum in 1926 [at] Sotheby’s (auction of 22 July 1926, lot 160). A skull (ROM No. 926.19.5) was said at one stage to be inside it, and in this condition was excavated by George Nugent-Grenville, 2nd Baron Nugent of Carlanstown, on the Plain of Marathon in 1834.

17 Aug 2015

Viking Battle Axe

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VikingAxe
An iron battle axe of Viking type with its original wooden haft still intact. Circa 10th /11th century in date, it was recovered from the Robe River, Co Mayo, Ireland.

11 Aug 2015

River Witham Sword

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LincolnSword
A double-edged sword, 13th century, possibly of German manufacture, but discovered in the River Witham in Lincolnshire, England in the 19th century (British Museum 1858,1116.5)

The British Library is currently exhibiting the above sword and is asking for help interpreting the inscription.

One of those objects is a double-edged sword, found in the first section of the exhibition, on loan to the British Library from our friends at the British Museum. The item in question was found in the River Witham, Lincolnshire, in July 1825, and was presented to the Royal Archaeological Institute by the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln. It weighs 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) and measures 964 mm (38 in.) in length and 165 mm (6½ in.) across the hilt; if struck with sufficient force, it could easily have sliced a man’s head in two.

An intriguing feature of this sword is an as yet indecipherable inscription, found along one of its edges and inlaid in gold wire. It has been speculated that this is a religious invocation, since the language is unknown. Can you have a go at trying to decipher it for us? Here’s what the inscription seems to read:

+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+

The comments have interesting guesses.

LincolnSwordInscription

27 Jul 2015

Swedish Museum Contains 1185 Skeletal Remains From 1361 Battle

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VisbySkull
Armored skull from Visby Skeletal Collection in the Fornsalen Museum

Strange Remains:

The Visby skeletal collection at the Fornsalen Museum contains the remains of 1185 people who died at the Battle of Visby in 1361 and is the largest battlefield skeletal collection in Europe. Anthropologists from all over the world come to examine these battered bones to study medieval battlefield injuries. Here’s how these bodies ended up in a museum.

In July of 1361 the Danish king Valdemar IV decided to invade the island of Gotland, Sweden because it had a diverse population that included Danes, was populated with wealthy inhabitants, and was strategically located in the Baltic Sea. A legion of Swedish peasants tried to repel the Danish invasion near the city of Visby, but the inexperienced Gotlanders were no match for the Danish soldiers and many of them were slaughtered during the battle. The fallen Gotland soldiers were buried in three large mass graves, with their armor and weapons, near the city walls. After the Gotlanders surrendered, the island became a part of the Danish kingdom for a short period of time, until the Swedish crown reclaimed it in the early 15th century.

In 1905 Dr. Oscar Wennersten exhumed one of the graves and unearthed 300 bodies. Archaeologists Bengt Thordeman and Poul Nørlund recovered more bodies during additional excavations from two mass graves between 1912 and 1928, bringing the total bodies recovered to 1185.

21 Jul 2015

Irish Mike’s “Destroyer Sword”

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Interesting, but very clearly not at all a good idea.

11 Jul 2015

Elephant Sword

ElephantSword
An elephant sword, these were attached to the tusks of war elephants. India 15-17th C.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

25 Apr 2015

Roman Parade Helmet

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RomanHelmet
Roman Parade Helmet

Roman mask helmet, 1st or more likely 2nd century AD; this facial helmet suggesting to be of Gallo-origin. These are often called ‘parade’ helmets for cavalry sports use, but it has been suggested that they were also used in combat. The psychological effect of being charged by one of these masked warriors would have been formidable. A living statue, god-like and terrifying.

Via Ratak Mondosico.

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I had the feeling myself that I’d seen that face somewhere before.

SilverSurfer1

24 Mar 2015

Italians Wore the Best Helmets

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MilanBurgonet
A Milanese burgonet, bearing the visage of a dragon. Musée de l’Armée, Paris.

Hat tip to Belacqui.

20 Feb 2015

Dug Falchion

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Falchion2
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Dated: 4th quarter of the 13th century – 1st quarter 14th century
Place of Origin: France (Paris, Seine, site du Pont-au-Change)

Source: Copyright © 2015 Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge/Jean-Gilles Berizzi

From Art of Swords.

19 Jan 2015

Gustav Vasa’s Helmet

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GustavVasaHelmet
Burgundian helmet belonging to Gustav I Vasa, King of Sweden. 1540.

Hat tip to Collections & Recollections.

12 Jan 2015

Testing a Bronze Age Sword

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Ewart Park Phase, 700-800 B.C.

Via Art of Swords.

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