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Ufberht gerade.jpg
+ULFBEHT+ variant inlay in a sword from the early 9th century
Type Sword
Service history
In service Approximately 800–1000 AD
Used by Finns
Wars Viking expansion
Production history
Designer Possibly "Ulfberht"
Designed Early 800s AD
Produced 800–1000 AD
Number built 171 found
Weight avg. 1.2 kg (2.7 lb)
Length avg. 91 cm (36 in)
Width 5 cm (2 in)

Blade type Double-edged, straight bladed, slight taper
Hilt type One-handed with pommel, variable guard
Head type acute distal taper, and point

Ulfberht is a modern transcription of the inscription +VLFBERH+T, found on some Early Middle Ages Germanic swords of the 8th to 11th century.

There are many variations of the inscription, including +VLFBERHT+ or VLFBERH+T.[1] The inscription is believed by some to be the name of a Frankish person whose name and manufactury became the basis of a trademark of sorts, used by multiple bladesmiths for several centuries. However given that the person whose signature was on the swords must have been literate others have argued that it is unlikely to have been a mere blacksmith, and they interpret the presence of crosses in the signature to suggest an ecclesiastic to be the owner of the signature. They also reject the notion that the swords to be of Frankish origin since a majority of the swords have been found in pagan realms that were enemies of the Franks, and the Frankish realm restricted the export of swords to those areas.[1]

Most "Ulfberht" swords are of Oakeshott Type X form. They are forged from excellent steel with a very low content of sulfur and phosphorus and up to 1.1% carbon.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Anne Stalsberg: The Vlfberht sword blades reevaluated
  2. ^ Alfred Pothmann (ed.): Das Zeremonialschwert der Essener Domschatzkammer. Aschendorff, Münster 1995, ISBN 3-402-06243-7
  3. ^ David Edge, Alan Williams: Some early medieval swords in the Wallace Collection and elsewhere, Gladius XXIII, 2003, pp. 191-210

Further reading[edit]

  • Alfred Geibig: Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter. Eine Analyse des Fundmaterials vom ausgehenden 8. bis zum 12. Jahrhundert aus Sammlungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Dissertation, Neumünster, 1991
  • Friedrich E. Grünzweig: Das Schwert bei den Germanen. Kulturgeschichtliche Studien zu seinem Wesen vom Altertum bis ins Hochmittelalter. (= Philologica Germanica, 30) Fassbaender, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-902575-18-0
  • Ewart Oakeshott: The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, 1994, ISBN 978-0851153629
  • Alan R. Williams, Methods of Manufacture of Swords in Medieval Europe: Illustrated by the Metallography of Some Examples, Gladius 13 (1977), S. 75 - 101
  • Alan Williams, A Metallugical Study of Some Viking Swords PDF, Gladius 29 (2009), 121-184
  • M. Müller-Wille: Ein neues ULFBERHT-Schwert aus Hamburg. Verbreitung, Formenkunde und Herkunft, Offa 27, 1970, 65-91
  • Ian Peirce, Ewart Oakeshott: Swords of the Viking Age. The Boydell Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0851159140

External links[edit]