11th Century Norman Sword

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A rare, authentic post-Viking Norman 11th century sword with Oakeshot type X blade and B1 pommel.

In addition to its fully preserved and minimally fullered blade, the sword also features a rounded iron crossbar, thin tang and mushroom-shaped “tea-cosy” pommel. According to Ewart Oakeshot’s typology, the blade belongs to Type X (4) category (ca. 950-1050/80) with a B1 hilt pommel. This type of blade was used popularly toward the very end of the Viking Age and up through the 12th century. According to Jan Petersen’s typology, the hilt would fall under his Type X.

Norman swords occasionally appear on the market, but are still notably rare. Jan Petersen, in his census for swords of this type, counted less than 50 examples worldwide. The example offered here features a fully preserved blade which itself is uncommon.

This sword type is depicted on the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry (William the Conqueror is shown depicted with a sword featuring a pommel of this type) featuring the 1077 Battle of Hastings and on the celebrated Lewis Chessmen at the British Museum.

Condition: Commensurate with age. Original preserved state. The tang was repaired in the 1930’s, after excavation, with a metal plate, reinforced by hammered iron pins. Excavated in central Germany (a solitary find) during the 1930s; thence to a private German Collection (original catalog number 152 still present on the blade of the sword in German blackletter type); thence to a Munich (Germany) Collection in the 1970s (cataloged as No. 33, tag missing, but photo can be provided of it); thence to a UK private collection. Note: A reliable provenance for these type of swords is uncommon, as a swath of forgeries entered the market during the 1980s and onward via Bulgaria and Hungary.