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The grips of swords were made of several materials. Wood, horn, bone or antler, sometimes wrapped with leather or cloth. The re-enactment swords that we use today are often put through far more punishment than their forebears. <br>
[[File:BrazilNutHiltBrazilNutPommel.jpg|frame|An C11th Brazil nut type pommel]]
A warriors habit was not to strike blade against blade as we tend to do today. This would destroy a sharp blade - just try it with two modern carving knives, and witness the result. The subsequent large nicks in the blade would be impossible to remove short of fire welding in a section to patch the damaged area. As was said earlier, the blades were intended to cut meat. There is also a good chance that striking a wooden shield could trap the blade in the spruce or lime timber, ensuring that your enemies got a free shot at you. Helmets would also not do the edges of your blade much good, even if you did stun your opponent. This left you with just the mail and any exposed flesh as targets. Even the mail might cause you problems. That is why so many of the victims that have been discovered, were probably stabbed with spears, making them vulnerable to being dispatched with a sword afterwards as a crude and bloody coup de gras.<br>
The scabbard occasionally had sheets of silver or gilded bronze applied to it to protect the mouth of the scabbard and the chape. These have also been found in cast bronze, but were very rare in this country. Even the sheet versions were uncommon, and were quite commonly rough and ready pieces of work. The whole thing then had to be hung via a baldric either over the shoulder or around the waist. There were various methods of attaching the baldric to the scabbard, some far more elaborate or permanent than others. The only key thing is that the sword could be drawn quickly and that it didn't let go of the sword if the warrior had somehow inadvertently turned upside down.<br>
[[File:SwordScabbard.jpg|frame|left|A typical C9th Viking sword with it's accompanying scabbard of linen wrapped oak lathes]]
Last updated 28 March, 2005. Article by Ben Levick 1991, Roland Williamson 1999.
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