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Lot 0048C
Northern Europe, Viking, Anglo-Saxon, or possibly other Germanic, ca. 7th to 9th century CE. Both magnificent and terrifying, an enormous cast-iron double-headed broad-axe with a central socketing shaft. The back end displays a lengthy head of a utilitarian form with a thick shoulder, a gradually-widening body, and a sharpened edge. The other, more prominent blade emulates the form of a traditional skeggox or "bearded" axe, though its brutal appearance and destructive capabilities are magnified via its massive curving blade, the drooping profile replicating the lengthy beards grown by the warriors of this region of Europe. The axe head would have been hafted onto a long wooden pole and secured with leather or textile straps around the upper and lower decorative flares. A truly intimidating weapon from an era in which war reigned supreme. Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 14" L x 7" W x 8.5" H (35.6 cm x 17.8 cm x 21.6 cm).

Throughout history and popular culture, the image of the Viking battle axe has become synonymous with strength, power, ferocity, and even war itself. Typical Viking axes were designed for swift use in battle with lightweight construction able to be swung easily, quickly, and, most important, often. Used in hand-to-hand combat and for grappling during naval boarding runs, the hand-axe was the weapon of choice for most. To meet the demand for those warriors who desired a greater, more awe-inspiring weapon, Viking and Anglo-Saxon metalsmiths created the broad-axe, taking the trailing lower blade of the skeggox form and amplifying its size and devastating efficiency. The utter brutality of the broad-axe is such that, according to military historian Jonathan Trigg, "its weight and power…could literally cleave a mailed man in two [and that] there was no defense against it…" (Hastings 1066, Dundurn Press, 2016, p.65).

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, expected oxidation as shown, small nicks to both blade edges and decorative flares, with small pitting holes, otherwise excellent. Light earthen deposits within socketing shaft. Old inventory sticker on side of smaller blade.

Buyer's Premium

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Huge 7th C. Viking / Anglo-Saxon Iron Broad-Axe Head

Estimate $2,500 - $3,500Jul 19, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA