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"Ulfberht" inscription on a 9th-century sword

Ulfberht is a modern transcription of the inscription +VLFBERH+T, which is typically found on 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 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.

Most "Ulfberht" swords are of Oakeshott Type X form. They are found across Europe, mostly in the territory of the Ripuarian Franks but also in Scandinavia, attesting to an intensive trade relationship between the Franks and Northern Europe. 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. ^ 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.
  • 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]