Northern Europe, Viking / Norse culture, ca. 9th to 10th century CE. A stunning and exceedingly rare complete Petersen Type L sword. The forged-iron weapon has a straight blade with a slightly-raised midrib as well as sloped blade edges running the entire length and terminating at a tapered point. A thick, integral tang extends outwards from above the blade with a single rivet near the terminal meant to secure a handle wrap. A dramatically-curved bronze guard arches over both blade edges and moves freely along the tang beneath the cast-bronze, cloud-form pommel, both highly characteristic of Type L swords. Concurrent with the Type L designation is how this sword is of the English variant. Type L swords can be classified as "Irish" or "English" based on the frequency of find locations, with the English style being found mainly in Western and Northern Europe save for Sweden. Size: 24.875" L x 2.375" W (63.2 cm x 6 cm).
A Viking's sword was a hugely valuable object, passed down through families as an heirloom, and was probably the most expensive item that a Viking could own. For example, from the hundreds of items found in Viking burials in Iceland, only sixteen are swords; they are more common in other parts of the Viking world, especially in Norway, but were still a high-status item. A sword given by King Haakon the Good (king of Norway from 934 to 961 CE) to the Icelander Hoskuldur in the Laxdaela Saga was worth a half mark of gold, or the value of sixteen dairy cows, which was a tremendous sum of money for the time.
For a similar example, please see: Androshchuk, Fedir. Viking Swords: Swords and Social Aspects of Weaponry in Viking Age Societies. The Swedish History Museum, Studies 23, 2014, p. 584, plate 103: Up 236.
For a stylistically-similar example of a Type L sword of Anglo-Saxon origin with ornate detailing on the guard and pommel, please see The British Museum, museum number 1848, 1021.1: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=65088&partId=1
Provenance: ex-private Green collection, York, England, United Kingdom
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Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age and use, slight bending to overall profile, small loss to bronze guard, blade edges, and tip, with normal oxidation as expected, and light roughness across most surfaces. Light earthen deposits and nice encrustations throughout. Great green patina across bronze guard and pommel.