Damascus Seax - Viking Shortsword
The Viking seax is a very large fighting knife which most warriors would have carried. Seax is a short sword that was used primarily during the early part of the Viking era. It's a one handed single edged weapon. Hilts were made of wood, bone, or horn.
At least a few seax blades were every bit the equal of the finest sword blades from the period. Like the historical original, this blade is a work of art, showing extremely fine craftsmanship.
Saxes were usually carried in a sheath suspended horizontally from the belt. Saxes were carried with the blade upward, so the sharp edge didn't cut through the sheath.
Different length saxes are sometimes referred to by different names, such as langsax or scramasax. However, the usual term that appears in the saga literature is sax and, rarely, but equivalently, höggsax and handsax.
Some people preferred a seax over a sword for fighting. In Grettis saga for instance, Grettir preferred his seax, called Kársnautr, which he took from Kár's grave mound.
One of the more memorable descriptions of the use of a sax in a fight occurs in Brennu-Njáls saga, at the fight on the Rangá described in chapter 63. Kolr thrust at Kolskeggr with his spear while Kolskeggr had his hands full with other opponents. The spear went through Koskegg's thigh. Kolskeggr stepped forward and cut off Kol's leg with his seax, and he asked, "Did that hit you or not?"
Kolr replied that it was what he deserved for not shielding himself. He stood looking at his leg stump.
Kolskeggr said, "You don't need to look: it's just as you think, the leg is gone." Then Kolr fell down dead.
The fight took place near the boulder Gunnarsstein adjacent to the Rangá river, shown to the right as it appears today.
In general, many of the techniques used with the Viking sword and shield seem to apply equally well to sax and shield. The lack of a second edge on a sax prevents the use of any short edge attacks, and the shorter blade means that attacks are likely to be made from shorter range. The short blade also means that it is more easily hidden behind a shield, ready for a quick, unexpected thrust or slash from behind the shield.
A sax was a handy reserve weapon, easily drawn to finish the fight. Saxes, like any other Viking age weapons, were valuable. When they were damaged or worn, the iron was repurposed, and used for some other tool or weapon, such as a knife
Viking-age knives resemble saxes in many regards, and often, the only distinguishing feature is the length of the blade. One convenient dividing line is 8 in (20cm); longer blades are considered saxes, while shorter blades are considered knives. Knives are very common grave finds in Viking-age burials, and some of the knives from the Viking age are quite small.
Knives from graves tend to have a shape that depends on the sex of the person in the grave. Knives from men's graves tend to be straight-bladed with a broken back while knives from women's graves tend to have a curved blade. Perhaps this difference is due to the differing tasks performed by men and women with their knives.
Overall length: 410 mm
Blade length: 280 mm
Blade width: 32mm
Handle length: 130 mm
Overall weight (without scabbard): 450 grams
Grind type: Full flat grind
Handle and scabbard materials: 5600 years old English Boog oak, Sterling silver, Moose antler, cow hide leather.
Blade materials: High Carbon pattern welded mosaic Damsacus Steel
Blade hardness: HRC62