historical viking sword weight

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historical viking sword weight

Postby fabrice » 18 Apr 2015 10:35

Hej !
I search for historical viking sword weight. I have only found 3 in France for the moment (830 g, 1100g and 1400g).
Do you have sources about weight please?

Thank's for your help !

Best regards,
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Re: historical viking sword weight

Postby Luka » 18 Apr 2015 11:30

All these weights are historical, but 1100gr is the closest to the average.
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Re: historical viking sword weight

Postby Thearos » 20 Apr 2015 17:19

I would have said just under 1 kg, 850-900 g. I'd be curious to know what Mr Admin thinks, if he ever visits this forum.
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Re: historical viking sword weight

Postby Glyn » 22 Apr 2015 17:14

In Ian Peirce's Swords of the Viking Age I could only find two weights listed. It appears both figures were included to draw attention to their unusual heaviness rather than because they are representative.

C777 Universitetets Oldsaksamling, Oslo is described as being 9th Century, 104cm long 86cm blade and "a massive 1.896kg". There is also the comment "Even considering the huge pommel, this weapon has a very poor balance, and consequently does not handle easily".

A later note states in regards to type D hilts "As a type, they are amongst the heaviest swords of the Viking Age. C8095, for example has a weight of 1.476kg (3.25lb)."

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Re: historical viking sword weight

Postby fabrice » 23 Apr 2015 08:08

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Re: historical viking sword weight

Postby admin » 28 Apr 2015 10:54

Unfortunately nobody has bothered to record weights for migration or Viking era swords on a wide scale (and if they have, I'd like to know where!), presumably because a lot of them are incomplete and their weight wouldn't tell us much. However there are a significant number of whole swords from that period (minus the grips of course), so I think it is surprising that more weights haven't been quoted - Ian Peirce even gives a bunch of balance points, which makes it seem bizarre that he didn't give weights in those cases as well!
In any case, from what I have read (and to a small extent handled), I'd say yes - 800-1200g is the normal range. However, there do seem to be a fair number of quite heavy Scandinavian swords, up to about 4lbs. These do tend to be very ornate and you do wonder if some of them were for showing off rather than using (like later bearing swords).
One other thing I have noticed is that blade length (and therefore weight) varied quite a bit. Also, regardless of weight or length, the general tendency for Dark Age swords is a point of balance pretty far from the hand, by comparison to most other sword types.
Overall I'd say that Viking era swords seem to generally be in the same weight range as later arming swords, but with a point of balance further from the hand.

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