(About) The Conqueror Before William
Rollo’s Sword is a beautiful handmade blade of the early-high-medieval type that were the apogee of sword design during the height of Rollo’s power as Duke of Normandy – a position he had seized with his own combination of brutality and clever politics.
The Rollo Sword blade is made from polished carbon-steel, which has been lightly oiled to increase its rust-resilience. It echoes the Frankish blades which the Vikings bought from smiths in the Upper Rhine (or plundered from their vanquished foes). Its hilt is a typically stark medieval design – its curved Norman cross-guard is a departure from its Viking ancestors, and speaks to the fact that Rollo and his people were no longer Vikings but Normans. The grip is wrapped in hand-stitched leather. The pommel is in the shape known as a ‘Brazil-nut’, and it bears the marks of its Viking inheritance in the lobes that ridge it. Overall, this sword typifies the dual heritage of Rollo, a Viking warlord serving a Frankish king – it would make a perfect addition to the LARP outfit of an early-medieval warrior or knight.
(History) Rollo, Shrewd Warlord and Shrewder Politician
The semi-legendary Viking warlord Rollo fought a 40-year campaign to forge his people a safe harbour on the Atlantic coast of Europe. We know comparatively little about his life; we aren’t even really sure where Rollo was born. Being a legendary figure whose descendents went on to rule Normandy, England, much of Ireland, Sicily and several Crusader States in the Holy Land, everyone wanted to claim him as ‘theirs’.
What we do know paints him as a vivid and bold war-leader. Rollo carved himself out a territory in Normandy (modern north-western France) in the late 9th-century CE. But Rollo knew when to cash out – although he did so in typical style. He agreed to accept vassal status to Charles II of West Francia, even agreeing to convert to Christianity. But, the histories tell us, when he was told to kiss the King’s feet as a gesture of submission, Rollo said “I will never bow my knees at the knees of any man, and no man’s foot will I kiss”, and instructed his bannerman to kiss the King’s feet instead. The bannerman did so without bending over, grabbing the King’s foot and tipping him over onto his back!
The Rollo Sword is the weapon of a swaggering Viking warlord – take it from him at your peril!
- Total length: 38 ¾ inches
- Blade length: 29 ¾ inches
- Blade material: Carbon steel, polished & oiled
- Guard and pommel materials: Mild steel
- Grip material: Leather