Sword

Date: 10th century

Culture: European, probably Scandinavia

Medium: Steel, copper, silver, niello

Dimensions: L. 37 3/4 in. (95.9 cm); L. of blade 31 7/8 in. (81 cm); W. 4 5/16 in. (11 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 4 oz. (1021 g)

Classification: Swords

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1955

Accession Number: 55.46.1

Description

The richly decorated hilt and pattern-welded blade indicate that this sword was carried by a warrior of high rank, perhaps a Viking chieftain or a Frankish nobleman. The braided copper wires on the pommel may represent an earlier Scandinavian custom of tying a protective talisman to a sword hilt. The pattern-welded blade was forged of intertwined rods of steel and iron, a technique that produced a tough yet resilient blade with a distinctive swirling pattern on its surface. Such blades were treasured for both their practical and decorative qualities.

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