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Home > Auctions > 25th May 2021 > Viking Age Ottonian Pattern-Welded Sword with Inlays

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LOT 0314

GBP (£) 8,000 - 10,000
EUR (€) 9,300 - 11,630
USD ($) 11,220 - 14,030

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£7,200 (EUR 8,370; USD 10,099) (+bp*)

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Viking Age Ottonian Pattern-Welded Sword with Inlays

Mid 10th-early 11th century AD

A German long double-edged cutting sword of Oakeshott Type X with broad tapering blade, the edges bearing evidence of use on the battlefield; wide and shallow fullers to both sides of the blade, one side with an inlaid Greek cross flanked by numeral 'III', the other side with numeral 'IIIIIII' within two Greek crosses, both inlays showing traces of pattern welding; straight guard and broad grip, plain D-shaped walnut style (or Brazil nut) pommel with slightly curved lower edge. 1 kg, 95cm (37 1/2"). Fine condition, cleaned and conserved.

Property of a European gentleman living in London; from his grandfather's collection by descent in 1989; formerly in the family collection since at least the 1970s; accompanied by an academic report by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10690-175184.

See Oakeshott, J.R.E., The Archaeology of the weapons, London, 1960; Thorbecke, J., Das Reich de Salier 1024-1125, Mainz, 1992, p.160; Nicolle, D., Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, vol. I, London, 1999; Peirce, I., Swords of the Viking Age, Suffolk, 2002; the sword has a good parallel with a specimen from Spain, published by Peirce (2002, p.124); with a sword of circa1100 AD, from Germany, in the Donausländische Museum in Komárno (Thorbecke, 1992, p.105 no.20,3); with a sword in Dresden, with the name 'INGELRII' on one side and the phrase 'HOMO DEI' on the other, dated to circa 1100; finally, among other specimens (Oakeshott, 2000, cat.X.9 and X.13;Thorbecke, 1992, p.105 no.19,4), a sword once in the Oakeshott collection with the mark of Carrocium, dated to circa 11th century.

The main characteristics of this typology were the wide Brazil nut-shaped pommel, a wide-spread cross, which was nearly always straight (Oakeshott style 1), and a broad blade of the same shape as the Ulfberhts and Ingelrii swords with a wide and shallow fuller. The added hilt would have given the hand considerably more protection without increasing the weight. 10th century Norsemen referred to this type of sword as gaddhjalt (or 'spike hilt'), referring to the strong taper of the tang rather than some visible characteristic of the pommel. The earlier swords of this typology were inlaid with iron letters, or patterns such as crosses and religious symbols.