Blacksmiths and Viking Swords

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According to custom during the Viking age, it is known that all free Norsemen were required to own and carry weapons. The mandate to own and carry weapons was not only for defensive purposes but also to verify a Vikings social status within their clan. A typical wealthy Viking would have a complete ensemble made for them, consisting of a helmet, sword, shield and a chain mail shirt as well as various other armaments. While a man of less stature might only own a spear and a shield. With the spear, sword and shield being the basic armaments of a typical Viking warrior, the art of the blacksmith was especially essential.

Blacksmiths worked typically with iron. The black color that is the end product would come from fire scale, which is a layer of oxides that forms on the surface of the metal during heating. Blacksmiths made their living by heating pieces of wrought iron or steel until the metal became soft enough to be shaped with hand tools, such as a hammer, anvil and / or chisel.

The wealthiest Vikings would have worn a sword in addition to carrying their spear and shield. Owning a sword during the Viking period was a matter of high prestige. In historical records, a sword has been referred to be valued at half a crown, or being worth the same as sixteen milk cows.

Today people try to recreate the life of the Vikings by participating in medieval fairs. While at these fairs the participants dress up in costumes as Viking warlords. Included in these costumes are Viking swords. Unfortunately wearing a real sword tends to be complicated and this has become strictly regulated. A lot of fairs and convention limit the usage of metal weapons for security reasons. A solution does exist however, where the participant can use a replica sword made of safe material like latex or foam. But most of the time the sword is not realistic.

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Source by Steena Holmes