Difference between revisions of "Seaxes"
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Revision as of 19:42, 23 June 2017
The short Seax is also known as a Scramasax, a Hadseax or just a Sax. The term Scramasax comes from Gregory of Tours writing in AD 575, who speaks of "boys with strong knives (cultris validis), which they commonly call scramasaxes (scramasaxos)." in his History of the Franks (IV, 52). It is not known if this name continued in use into the Viking Age.
It is likely that small heavy seaxes were in use up until the end of the C10th but that as a weapon it possibly really belongs to the pre-Viking period. They have only one sharp edge and a thick reverse edge.
Although primarily an everyday tool, in battle it could be used to finish off a felled opponent, and in the case of some ceorls, the scramaseaxe could have been their sole short-arm. Examples found have both just plain iron blades or pattern welded ones as well as inlaid blades.
Most blades were broad, heavy and with an angled back sloping in a straight line towards the point and this is the typical Saxon style.
The Scandinavian style had a more curving back and the Frankish style a more curving blade. Blades were often inlaid with gold, silver, copper or bronze wire beaten into fine channels carved into the iron blade. The grip was of wood, bone or antler and was sometimes carved or decorated. It has attached to the tang of the blade purely by friction and possible glue, never by rivets. The grips never have a crossguard or pommel.
Scramseaxes were always carried in a sheath of folded leather sewn down the blunt side of the blade, which was often decorated.