River Witham Sword

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by CaPtYnCrOnIc, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. CaPtYnCrOnIc

    CaPtYnCrOnIc The Fighters Guide House Member

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    So I Was looking around @ Realm Collections and came across a sword they claimed to be based on a sword dredged out of the River Witham. In the pic provided in the link below you will see the runes running along the blade and I was wondering how common of a practice it would have been to decorate a sword this way? Historically I mean. That and I found the sword to be very beautiful which is strange for me because I prefer a curved blade opposed to a straight.

    Anyone know more about the actual River Witham Sword?


    http://www.realmcollections.com/pl6396/river-witham-sword.html
     
  2. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Placing some sort of inscription on a sword has been common at some times. The sword itself looks to be a fairly typical Oakeshott Type XII, probably 13the century. More later.
     
  3. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    More information on this River Witham sword (as opposed to the other swords found in River Witham).

    The British Museum dates it to the late 13th century, Oakeshott dates it to the first half of the 12th.

    The sword itself could be a Type X or Type XII, as the blade forms of the two types are similar, and medieval swords were all hand made and therefore vary considerably within a type.

    Regarding Type XII, Oakeshott writes:

    "A broad, flat, evenly tapering blade, generally with a good sharp point and tending to widen perceptibly below the hilt. The fuller is well marked and occupies 2/3 to 3/4 of the blade length. It often starts on the tang within the hilt, and may be double or treble. The grip is a little longer than in preceding types, averaging about 4 1/2". The tang is generally flat with almost parallel sides or swelling a little in the middle. The cross can be of almost any style, though a short, straight one is most common. The pommel, too, can be of any type though the thick disk with strongly bevelled edges (Type I) predominates."

    Inscriptions are quite common on early medieval sword blades, from the Viking era to about 1325 after which blades were most often made without fullers, although flat, fullered blades reappeared in the late 15th century. Early inscriptions were most often smith names (Ulfberht, Ingelrii, and Gicelen me fecit are the most famous) and made of iron hammered into the blade. Silver was used for some inscriptions starting in the 11th century, and was replaced with yellow metal (generally latten, a brass or brass-like alloy) later on.

    The inscription on this sword is yellow metal - probably latten, possibly gold - and seems to read: +NDXOXCHWDNCHDXORVI+

    The inscription defies easy translation. It is most likely a phrase - possibly from the Bible - spelled with only initial letters. That's like writing "TLIMSISNW," instead of "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." But no one I know of is even sure of the language. It may be Latin or Greek, it may be something else, the W might be an upside-down M, and the VI at the end is debatable.

    The sword itself is absolutely beautiful, and of magnificent quality. It would surely have been the prized possession of an English knight or lord, although where he got it (locally, from the great blade-making centres of Germany or Italy, on crusade, as a prize in battle) can't be known. How he lost it - in a flood or accident, in a skirmish with outlaws or in a pitched battle can only be guessed at.

    Here's a picture of the original:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  4. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  5. CaPtYnCrOnIc

    CaPtYnCrOnIc The Fighters Guide House Member

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    Thanks for the info!

    It really help me understand the sword better. I can't see the pic though. I joined the forum but it still wont let me look at it. :(
     
  6. CaPtYnCrOnIc

    CaPtYnCrOnIc The Fighters Guide House Member

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    Ahh..I did a search on the forum and found a few other posts with pics.

    Man I really like that sword alot!
     
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