We are likely to see sword appear in many historical materials as the main weapon in combat. In the Viking time, sword was not a popular weapon though. The most common one was axe which the majority of the Vikings could afford. Viking sword, however, was the weapon for the elite group of the Vikings. It was the symbol of wealth and power, especially political power. Anyone in the Viking Age who could own a sword for themselves was either a great warrior or a man with high social rank.
Sword took the blacksmith a great deal of time and effort to create it. Accordingly, forging a sword cost a lot of fortune.
What Viking Sword Was Like?
What made the Viking Sword stand out the most was its ending point. Rather being acute, it was rounded at the end, which can be seen from seven Viking sword artifact below. This rounded point of the Viking sword had both advantage and disadvantage. On one hand, it strengthened the sword making it more stronger. One the other hand, the rounded point sword was not useful when stabbing or thrusting.
Though both edge of the sword was roughly identical, a warrior should have known how to identify each edge. Because each of them was for different purpose. It depended on the way the warrior held the sword. The front edge of the sword would be in line with the knuckles. The back edge was the other edge.
The warrior would use the front edge for the powerful attacks while the back edge allowed the attacks on the sides with greater reach.
In the past, the Viking smiths could not find enough material for forging a sword. But the Vikings always had a way for it. They made their sword from many lumps that they took from different pieces of smelts. The smith selected the materials he needed for the forging, shaping, twisting, and welding to make different materials become a sword. This process was the pattern welding.
The Vikings tried many ways to prevent the blade from being dull. Even so, their sword could not escape the fate that they were to get dull after combats. In one Viking saga, a king asked his men why their swords didn’t bite. Then his men replied their swords had become to dull to cut anything.
Some broken swords could be reused by welding them back. Some might be used to create dagger or knife.
For it was difficult to create a sword, the Vikings held the sword in the high esteem. Losing a sword to them meant a loss of a fortune. Below are some photos of the archaeological Viking swords.