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Lot 54
A Rare Sword Of Viking Type With Ulfberht Inscription
Mid-10th To Mid-11th Century
28 November 2012, 11:00 GMT
London, Knightsbridge

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A Rare Sword Of Viking Type With Ulfberht Inscription
Mid-10th To Mid-11th Century

In excavated condition, with tapering double-edged blade with shallow central fuller over most of its length on both sides, the forte on both sides cut with the inscription '+ULFBERH+T' (more legible on one side than on the other), hilt comprising flat slightly arched quillons tapering towards the tips, flat tapering tang, and pommel of tea-cosy form
81.5 cm. blade, 96.5 cm. overall


Found in the River Meuse in Belgium or France
Acquired from Robert-Jean Charles, Paris, July 1949

Ada Bruhn Hoffmeyer, Middelalderens tveæggede Sværd, 1954, vol. I, pp. 34, 111 and 186, and vol. II, pp. 7 and 93, pl. 4e
Hoffmeyer, cat. no. 33, pp. 35, 68 and 71, figs. 7 and 14

Petersen's type X. For a related sword see Ian Peirce, Swords Of The Vikings Age, 2002, pp. 124-125

Viking swords with Ulfberht inscriptions have been found across Europe, Scandinavia, Britain and Russia. It is thought that the name is either that of a long-lived family manufactory or a group of closely associated workshops, the possible origin being Frankland, in the area of modern Solingen. One hundred and twenty-two examples were identified by Alfred Geibig in his highly detailed survey published in 1991

For a synopsis of Geibig's work and a further analytical study of the subject see Michael R. Gorman, 'Ulfbreht: Innovation and Imitation in Early Medieval Swords', The sixteenth Park Lane Arms Fair Guide, February 1999, pp. 7-12

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