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Viking Sword

10th century
European, probably Scandinavia

The richly decorated hilt and the blade with patterned welding indicate that this sword was carried by a high-ranking warrior, perhaps a Viking leader or a Frankish nobleman. The braided copper wire on the hilt may represent an earlier Scandinavian custom of tying a protective talisman to the hilt of the sword. The patterned-welded blade was forged from interwoven bars of steel and iron, resulting in a strong but resilient blade with a characteristic swirling pattern on the surface. Such blades were valued both for their practical and decorative qualities.