(About): A Rare Masterpiece of Historical Recreation
Our Valhalla Sword is a masterful historical recreation of the ‘Vesilahti sword’, a partially complete sword dating from the High Viking Age that was discovered in Vesilhati, Finland. Its incomplete state is both a tragedy, and also an opportunity – it has permitted the master-smiths who make our Valhalla Sword to let their imaginations run wild, producing an unequalled historical masterpiece that resurrects a lost sword from the pagan Dark Age.
The Deadliest Weapon of its Ages
The blade of our Valhalla Sword is an undeniable Viking shape. Viking swords arose from the late-Roman spatha, the long cutting-sword that gradually eclipsed the short gladius as the Roman armies became gradually more reliant on mercenary barbarians. This heritage is plainly obvious in our Valhalla Sword – its Geibig Type 2 blade tapers only subtly, the near-parallel edges reaching a short and compact point. These weapons were made to defeat the armor of the Viking Age – broad wooden shields, iron helms, stout cloth, and, in the case of wealthy elites, chainmail. A well-made sword could splinter a shield or sever a limb if swung with sufficient force, and archaeo-metallurgy indicates that some of these swords of the early Viking Age were indeed very well-made, consisting of high-carbon steel edges welded onto a softer iron core.
A Pattern-Forged Blade for a Noble Warrior
The vast majority of sword blades up until the late Viking Age would have been partially or mostly pattern-welded. This is the unique blade patternation resulting from the piling, twisting and reforging of the metal that modern sword-makers and collectors call ‘Damascus steel’. Originally, it is likely that late-Iron Age smiths adopted this technique out of necessity: iron and steel of inconsistent quality could be homogenised to prevent weak-spots by twisting and hammering billets of different grades together. These swords were likely of much better quality (or at least much more consistent) than other contemporary swords, and so the rippling patternation became a desirable mark of quality. As time went on, sword-makers perfected more complex designs, imitating clovers, snakes along the length of the blade, all manner of swirls and shapes, all produced by the cutting, folding, twisting and reforging of the metal. This historically-authentic mark of quality and status is exactly what our Valhalla Sword re-creates. Its blade is hand-forged from a combination of 1095 and 15n10 steels, combining a high-carbon steel with a nickel alloy for contrast, which is then folded over, cut, piled, twisted, forge-welded and folded again, to the depth of 175 layers (!). The result is a stunning and unique repeating pattern which ripples over the blade like water – no blade will have a pattern exactly like yours. As well, the blade has been heat-treated and tempered to 54-55 HRC, meaning that it is a robust and safe blade that will stand up to the rough and tumble of use.
(History): Reproducing A Hilt Rescued from Ancient Flames
The hilt of our Valhalla Sword is a truly special piece of history. The Vesilhati sword’s hilt is a striking example of a Petersen Type Z, characterised by the unusual knobbed crossguard which slopes downward towards the blade, the substantial lower-guard below the grip, and the separate five-lobed pommel riveted onto the lower-guard. Though the originally was once clearly a spectacular weapon, it had been badly burnt at some stage in its life, possibly in a ritual pyre along with its owner. The archaeologist Jorma Leppäaho notes the presence of glødeskall, the characteristic oxide formed by iron exposed to fire – however, he also discerns some surviving details that have given modern smiths, such as those who hand-crafted our Valhalla Sword, rich inspiration. Parts of the hilt are still partially plated with silver that have survived the fire damage – it appears that the ferric hilt was ‘keyed’, scored with dozens of tiny scratches with a fine chisel, and then thin silver laid over it and hammered to lock it into place. This would have resulted in a shining silver guard and pommel, which has been faithfully replicated in our Valhalla Sword. The guard of the Vesalihti sword bears what the archaeologists originally called a ‘Maltese cross’, but such a design would not emerge until hundreds of years later at the very end of the Late Middle Ages. It seems much more likely to be the Auskelis, a symbol representative of the ancient Baltic sun-goddess of the same. Thus we can conceive of the bearer of this sword as a pagan warrior seeking favour in battle from their mother deity – we have replicated this symbol upon our Valhalla Sword.
The grip of our Valhalla Sword is another work of art. The Vesalihti sword’s grip is entirely missing, thus our smiths experimented with a beautiful and carefully contoured design made from bone, sheesham hardwood and brass spacers, resulting in a wonderful finish to the sword. Our Valhalla Sword is constructed with a full-tang, meaning that it is fully-battle ready. This tempered, robust sword can be used in light combat, roleplay and re-enactment, and it won’t let you down. It would be an incredible centrepiece to an historical Viking warrior re-enactment alongside a shield and maille hauberk, or an excellent compliment to a fantasy noble costume.
Total length: 32 ½ inches
Blade length: 25 inches
Blade material: 5160 steel; 15n20 nickel steel (Damascus steel; 176 layers)
Blade hardness: 54-55 HRC
Guard and pommel material: Stainless steel
Grip material: Bone; sheesham hardwood