Sunday, April 04, 2010

Generation 2 Viking Saex

To continue the Viking theme... This is my 10th Century Saex made by Generation 2. A Saex (often Sax) is a large knife, or short sword, that was used by many Germanic tribes during the Migration Period of the Dark Ages, and predominantly in the British Isles and parts of Northern Europe into the 11the Century. Traditionally the Saex was a badge of the freeman in the English Kingdoms. It even makes a heroic appearance in the epic poem Beowulf when the hero uses his knife to hack apart the dragon as they both are near death. The design's hardiness and practicality endeared it to the Danish raiders who adopted it and spread it to their settlements and into the other Viking peoples.
The Saex hung more or less horizontally from the belt at the front and was kept handy. The blade rested edge upward in the scabbard. While this saex displays a more Bowie knife-like profile, many saexes had a clipped, triangular profile that makes them look half-finished to modern eyes.

It was a versatile design. There are many examples of saexes as long as swords, and also as short as a modern pocket knife. But this large knife size seems to be the most common.

There is speculation that saexes at this size were especially useful in the predominate fighting formation of the Viking era, the shield wall. In these close confines, the were quicker and more agile than a long sword, and able to deliver hacks and stabs much like the Roman Gladius of earlier generations.

Generation 2 also makes matching 10th Century sword based on a find excavated from the River Witham in England. I'm saving my lunch money to buy the sword later this year. I'm already on a waiting list with a specialist scabbard maker and I'm hoping he'll make period accurate matching scabbards for both pieces. The scabbard that comes with the Saex is pretty accurate, but the sword scabbard isn't accurate. It would be nice to have a quality, handmade set.

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