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Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries

A display of swords in my collection.

 

1) Del Tin 2104 Viking Sword with iron cross guard and lobed pommel. Based off of a tenth century original. The broad blade with wide fuller on these swords were clearly meant for cutting and hacking, not thrusting. This particular sword has a 33 inch long blade, which is a bit longer than the average 30 to 31 inch length of Type X. If I ever am fortunate enough to participate in the Battle of Hastings reenactment I would like to wear this sword.

 

2) My personally customized hybrid of the Albion Norman sword's blade fitted with the cross and pommel of the Albion Crecy. As previously discussed this sword is technically a Type Xa because of the fuller length, but I think it easily qualifies as a Type XII. You can compare it directly to the Albion Knight on the far right which is an archetypal Type XII. The slightly different proportions of this sword were exactly to my taste and since Albion didn't offer it, I made it myself. The pommel is Type J which Oakeshott says is rare before 1250 AD, but which he also notes clearly on swords dating to the first half of the twelfth century. I conjecture that a sword of this type saw common use from about 1150 to 1350 AD.

 

3) The Albion Ritter distinctive with it's "Cocked Hat" Type D pommel that is very Germanic. This sword would have been very much at home in the hands of a Teutonic Knight from about 1190 to 1250 AD. This sword is a pure cutter. The distal taper of the 34 inch blade takes it down to such a thin section at the point that it is too flexible for any serious thrusting. This sword will slice through a 2 liter bottle of water and leave the two halves sitting on top each other for a few seconds before the water begins to leak out. This blade type is particular to the Crusader period of the twelfth century and was meant to hack through mail armor.

 

4) The Albion Knight. Quite possibly their most popular sword. It handles like a dream due to the somewhat shorter blade, and the distal taper both in thickness and width. It tapers just a bit to much at the point for my own personal taste, but none-the-less is a beautiful, ultra-functional sword. This is a sword of the thirteenth century. The shortening of the fuller was a response to ever improving armor. With primitive plate armor already appearing in that century a sword that could also deliver a stout thrust was becoming necessary. Broad cutting blades were still the standard form, though, and Type XII was the first step toward cut and thrust blades.

 

5) The sword-hilted dagger produced by Albion for the film Arn the Temple Knight (which I someday hope becomes available in the US). This is my most recent aquisition. I can truthfully say that I have never been terribly excited about a dagger before I bought this one. I consider them to be furniture to go with the sword. However, when I first held this dagger I had the immediate impression that it is a real weapon. It is actually balanced and feels sweet in the hand. It is constructed in the same manner of Albion's swords, meaning that the handle is never going to break and the blade is flawless, sharp, and has a wicked point.

 

I bought it as a companion dagger for sword 2. For the purist there is no pictorial evidence of knights wearing daggers with their swords until about 1300 AD. Can we conclude then that no knight ever did? Certainly not. Early in the Middle Ages daggers were considered cowardly "saracen" weapons. I'm sure there were plenty of knights who saw the usefulness of having a side arm besides their sword before the fourteenth century though.

 

Film makers love daggers and knights are typically shown with sword and dagger as if it was standard issue on a utility belt. To the credit of the costume designers of Kingdom of Heaven they do not show twelfth century knights with daggers. Only the villainous Guy de Lusignan has one, knave that he is! Apparently the makers of Arn were not bothered by this quibbling point of authenticity.

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Taken on July 12, 2007