(About): A New Type of Sword for a New Kind of Warfare
The weapons of the Late Middle Age – the pike, the halberd and the crossbow – arose to counter the magnificent advances in plate armor made in a world spiralling rapidly towards modernity, but none has entered the public mind so deeply and permanently as the great-sword. Darksword Armory have here reproduced one of the finest examples of the late-medieval two-handed sword, the Danish war-sword, with all of its unique features and quirks, resulting in a spectacular weapon that would be as happy being wielded with a harness of plate as it would being eye-popping wall-candy.
A Type XVIIIe Blade – Uniquely Danish
The blade of our Danish Sword is a masterpiece of late-medieval design, hand-forged by Darksword Armory’s skilled smiths in their artisan workshop in St-Laurent, Quebec. The specific geometry of our Danish Sword follows the elegant two-handed swords which emerged as plate armour reached its zenith in the first half of the 15th-century, and which were in use until the 18th-century, well into the Age of Gunpower. It conforms to Oakeshott Type XVIIIe – this unique design is so unusual that Oakeshott felt it deserved its own sub-type designation. They are so characteristic of swords made in Late Middle Ages Denmark that in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, Oakeshott remarks that “it may be said that they are a characteristically Danish type”. Their cocktail of design features are rarely seen all together in one weapon outside of Denmark: they have a long blade of bastard- or two-handed length, which is a stiff diamond-shape in cross-section. Almost all of them have an even taper from the hilt, ie. the blades get steadily narrower, resulting in an enormously long and sharp point. Like our Danish Sword, they have a narrow ricasso, within the boundaries of the blade edge, giving it a striking leaf-shape rarely seen in European swords since the Celtic blades of the Iron Age. It also usually bears a deep and narrow fuller running part of the length of the blade – our Danish Sword reproduces this exactly.
If there’s one thing that can be said about Darksword Armory, it’s that they really know how to make a blade. The hundreds of combined years of metallurgical experience wielded by their master smiths shines through in every weapon that they hand-make, and the blade of our Danish Sword is no exception. It has been forged from 5160 spring steel – this is a fantastic analogue to the late-medieval steels that would have been accessible to Northern European smiths in this era. Blast furnacing and finery processes meant that domestically-produced high-quality carbon steels were more available than ever – at least, in small quantities to elite patrons. Whilst consistency of manufacture had improved in leaps and bounds from the High Middle Ages onward, they were still less so than modern steels, and so the use of 5160 allows the subtle art of Darksword’s smiths to shine through time after time. It is also differentially tempered at two different hardnesses at the edge and the core, meaning it exhibits a fantastic combination of edge-retention and core flexibility, weathering the knocks and scrapes of re-enactment, roleplay and light combat easily.
An Iconic Hilt with a Deadly Secret
The hilt of our Danish Sword is as striking and dramatic as its blade. The metal parts of the hilt are forged from mild steel, a rugged material that becomes pliable and minutely workable in the hands of an experience smith. The cross-guard is a spectacular downward-curving crescent with wickedly pointed terminals. Each side of the guard has been fullered to reduce its weight, demonstrating fantastic attention-to-detail. The quillon-block is wide and robust, reaching a point at the fuller, providing an excellent presence to the blade. The grip is deliberately oversized, as can be seen on almost all examples of Type XVIIIe swords – the grip is an extremely generous 9 inches in length, permitting a variety of different hand-grips as would have been used in the complex contemporary sword-fighting styles. As with the historical originals, it the grip is segmented by grip-rings and bound in leather for a stable grip surface. The pommel is a stunning fluted globe-shape, corresponding to Oakeshott’s Type R forms which appear throughout the medieval period, stemming from Frankish designs in the 9th-century – its appearance in later-medieval Denmark may well have been seeded by the popularity of fine Frankish blades from the Upper Rhine for use in making Danish Viking swords. The pommel of our Danish Sword has been extremely carefully-weighted, resulting in a point-of-balance that sits just at the shoulder of the sword’s ricasso: the result is that, despite being a large, two-handed sword, it handles effortlessly, perfectly balancing presence with agility – it is utterly unsurprising that Darksword rank this as one of their most popular blades across their entire range. Oh, and the ‘deadly secret’? Read on to find it!
In all, this is a true sword-wielders sword. It is designed with a full-tang construction, where the hilt components are all threaded onto the keyed tang of the blade, the end of which is hammered flat to securely lock it all in place. This means that it is fully-battle ready, able to be used safely in situations all the way up to light combat with similarly-hard blades. Our Danish Sword is a masterful weapon that is historically accurate enough to pass even the most stringent re-enactment critique, and it would be a fantastic addition to a Northern-European mercenary or noble. It’d also go fantastically with a fantasy-inspired roleplay – a fierce sword-maiden or a black-hearted fallen paladin. Such a glorious historical reproduction couldn’t fail to impress in any context.
(About): The Elite Series Danish Sword
There is a truly special option available to only the most discerning of sword-collectors – the Elite Series Danish Sword. Drawing on centuries of heritage techniques, the Elite Series is hand-forged from stunning pattern-welded Damascus steel. The master-smiths at Darksword Armory have taken four different grades of steel for their special contrasts – 1095, 5160, L-6 and O1 – and forged them together to produce a sword etched with the ripples and swirls of the sword-smith’s craft. Pattern-welding is an ancient technique, dating back to the Iron Age, where a smith would pile billets together, forge-weld, stretch, cut and fold them until they form layers of steel differentiated by composition. The Elite Series swords have incorporated this finest of smithing skills, replacing all of the metallic pieces with this composite pattern-welded steel. It simply must be seen to be believed.
Each Elite Series Danish Sword has a totally unique fingerprint: not even the finest smith in the land could reproduce the patternation of your sword. Such a weapon is not made lightly: the Elite Series are limited to a run of only 100 – once they have been sold, Darksword will not ever make another. Every one will ship with a special Certificate of Authenticity bearing the Elite Series wax seal, as well as the personal signature of Eyal Azerad, Darksword Armory’s master-smith and founder. As well, they come with an upgraded scabbard in a gorgeous rich leather with an interwoven sword-belt. This is a rare opportunity to own an absolutely unmatch piece of sword history – it will become the envy of your LARP group or your re-enactment club. Not to be missed!
(Curiosity): The Danish Sword in Combat
The world that birthed the Type XVIIIe Danish sword was a world away from that which birthed the Danish Viking sword. As the Viking period progressed, kings of the Viking lands became less and less interested in raiding, and more interested in acquisitive power-politics. King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark was incredibly foresighted in this regard, uniting Jutland, Zealand and Norway into a single state in the 10th-century CE, as well as introducing Christianity to shore up his rule. However, at the end of the 1300s, the aristocracies of Denmark, Sweden and Norway achieved something that Harald could only have dreamed of: the personal union of all three kingdoms into one imperial state with an elected monarchy: the Kalmar Union. It was this political juggernaut, formed to stave off the aggressive expansionism of the Germanic Hanseatic League, that birthed the devastating Type XVIIIe sword.
The historical originals of our Danish Sword were made as a hybrid weapon for amoured combat: its stiffness was both incredibly effective at puncturing through weak-points in plate armor when used to stab, and also made the sword capable of delivering stunning percussive blows. The fighting styles used by wielders of these weapons combined these methods, using the narrow ricasso as a secondary grip to deliver precise thrusts, beating the articulations in an opponent’s armor into locked-up immobility and forcing submission with crashing blows from the edge of the blade, or even reversing the sword to make use of the hilt’s ‘deadly secret’: armored fighters would use the points of the curved cross-guard like a pick-axe against gorget or visor. This Type XVIIIe was amongst the most devastating battlefield weapons of Late Medieval Europe.
Looking for more Swords? You’ll find them here!
Total length: 50 inches
Blade length: 39 inches
Blade width: 1.5 inches
Blade material: 5160 steel / 1095, 5160, L-6 and O1 steels (Elite Series)
Blade hardness: 60 HRc at edge ; 48-50 HRc at core
Guard and pommel material: Mild steel / 1095, 5160, L-6 and O1 steel (Elite Series)
Weight: 2 lbs. 15 oz.