Early medieval Irish sword

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

Moderator: the_power

Early medieval Irish sword

Postby tri on Thu May 08, 2008 12:02 pm

Hi folks,

Came across this piece this morning, might be of interest to some of you. It's the report on the early medieval sword found in the ringfort at Killyliss in Co. Tyrone.
Killyliss Sword 1003.jpg
Killyliss Sword 1003.jpg (88.38 KiB) Viewed 3650 times
Ignore the horseshoe, pulley block and buckle, later medieval and modern...

The blade survives to a length of 34.7cm although both the hilt and tip are missing. It's a parallel sided blade with a 6.3cm taper to the point. It's fullered on both sides terminating just before the point taper. The fullers are 0.7 - 0.8cm wide and 0.15cm deep. The blade has a max thickness of 0.6cm, thinning to 0.4cm in the point which is lozenge sectioned.

X-ray analysis has shown the blade had been repaired at near the hilt at some point and that the point had also been reworked.

The only parallels for this that I know of are the swords from Lagore that date from c. 650 AD. This sword was overlain by a timber that's been fairly securely dated to between 710-970.

Interestingly, it was found in a wattle lined pit enclosed by two gullies which is the only example I know of from an indigenous early medieval site of an enclosed purpose built latrine...sad the things that get archaeologists excited...

Anyway, if anyone wants to know more the report is by Richard Ivens and is published in the UJA 47(1984), 9-35.

Tríona
User avatar
tri
Active Newbie
Real Name: None Set
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Leixlip, Co. Kildare
Karma: 27

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby claimhteoir on Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:56 am

Does anyone have any early medieval Gaelic sword pictures? I'm familiar with the 16thC ones, but I'd like to get more acquainted with the native ones pre-Viking era and those used by the native Irish in medieval times that we believed were influenced by Viking swords.
User avatar
claimhteoir
Active Newbie
Full Name: None Set
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:27 pm
Karma: 6

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby brendan on Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:23 pm

I don't have pictures but if you are in Dublin the museum on Kildare street has a display case full of Medieval swords...Or are these the ones you are referring to as later? (which could be the case)...in which case ignore me :D

Brendan
User avatar
brendan
Active Newbie
Full Name: Brendan Griffin
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Nomadic
Karma: 66

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby claimhteoir on Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:53 pm

Oh, I've seen some swords in Kildare st. Viking age ones and then the late medieval/early modern ring hilt swords too. Are there any earlier medieval native irish-used swords surviving? I'm thinking 600-1300. Anything in that region and I know, it's a fairly large one! :mrgreen:
User avatar
claimhteoir
Active Newbie
Full Name: None Set
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:27 pm
Karma: 6

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby the_power on Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:11 pm

"The Archaeology of Celtic Britain and Ireland" has some photos of finds; Lagore Crannóg turned up a few. Most look to be very similar to the Roman Gladius, though some are a a few centimeters longer than the average Gladius. There are a few smaller single-handed ones, that seem to be inspired by Germanic scramseaxes.

The military signifigance of Swords has always been exaggerated in folklore, and Ireland is no different. Very few swords were in use here as primary weapons, though the annals hold great stock in them, especially the rediculously over-decorated ones the Vikings sold here. There are many mentions of famous swords changing hands, and Halpin reckons some were being passed around as tribute for up to 400 years.

By 1100, the sword had fallen from use among the Nobles; by the late 1100s, the Axe had taken over as the weapon of choice for a showy type.

John
User avatar
the_power
Active Newbie
Full Name: John Looney
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Dublin 13, Ireland
Karma: 17

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby claimhteoir on Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:30 pm

Oh cool. Thanks for that John.
User avatar
claimhteoir
Active Newbie
Full Name: None Set
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:27 pm
Karma: 6

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby claimhteoir on Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:55 pm

Well, I found it. p285-288 of the Archaeology of Celtic Britain and Ireland discusses such finds.

Here's a picture of some blades attached...
Attachments
Early Irish Medieval Sword finds - Archaeology of Celtic Britain and Ireland JPG.jpg
Early Irish Medieval Sword finds - Archaeology of Celtic Britain and Ireland JPG.jpg (30.58 KiB) Viewed 3370 times
User avatar
claimhteoir
Active Newbie
Full Name: None Set
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:27 pm
Karma: 6

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby Freebeard on Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:27 am

to be honest, there isn;t much out there on "early medieval" swords.

the one place you should look is Etienne Rynne's "the Classification of pre-Viking Irish iron swords".

good read on Iron swords that are classified as early medieval irish swords
-'Dligid Diummus Dermat'

"Wyt ti’n ffrwtin fel gwyddel"
(you are farting like an irishman)
User avatar
Freebeard
Active Newbie
Full Name: Aindrias Ó Broin
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Baile an Chollaig (Ballincollig)
Karma: 15

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby claimhteoir on Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:26 pm

Thanks for that! I'll try get a hold of that one! ;)
User avatar
claimhteoir
Active Newbie
Full Name: None Set
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:27 pm
Karma: 6

Re: Early medieval Irish sword

Postby brendan on Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:28 pm

Oakeshotte also talks about swords lasting with changed fittings.

If you are looking for information on typographies of swords have a look here http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/sword-terms.htm
Oakeshott followed on from Petersen
(I havent read the links but Albion are VERY reputable)

Brendan
User avatar
brendan
Active Newbie
Full Name: Brendan Griffin
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Nomadic
Karma: 66

Next

Return to Early-Medieval

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron