About Wiglaf's Weapon Widget
What's it for?
Wiglaf's Weapon Widget (WWW) exists to help people find out about mediaeval swords.
It's intended to help reenactors find out what swords were likely to be in use or typical in a particular year, so they know which weapon to take to an event.
It's also supposed to help anyone researching mediaeval swords to understand what was typical by making key data readily accessible.
It could also help anyone making or comissioning a replica sword, to specify something realistic. I've heard raging arguments over whether a blade over 70cm long was possible or not: the data available here makes it clear that it was.
If you'd like the source data from the sword list, for instance so you can compare grip lengths (which don't appear on the results page or full list), then contact me and I can provide you with an extract of the MySQL file.
Obviously the dates given in the widget are somewhat arbitrary, as a "tenth century" style sword might well be something really cutting edge from 895, or still in use in the 1010s. Where the descriptions I've drawn on were vague, I've erred on the side of generosity, but even so don't assume that things are absolutely ruled in or out. WWW provides guideance, not absolute answers.
You may note a blip in the mid-eleventh century, where I've defined the endpoint for the first half of the century as 1070 rather than 1049 as would be consistent with other centuries. This is because of the desire to ensure the full range of likelihoods is show for anyone investigating the battle of Hastings in 1066.
A website is never finished, and I'm not short of ideas for adding to WWW. Planned additions include:
- a top line "the commonest sword for this date is" that gives details of the commonest hilt type and average blade length in the year you've provided
- photographs of the swords featured, and details of where to see them
- extension into later centuries - though this is complicated by overlapping terminology and requirement for more detail (rather than a hilt type, it is necessary to define the style of pommel and guard separately, as a minimum)
If you have any ideas for adding to WWW, I'd love to hear them: contact me.
The information used to compile WWW comes primarily from the works of Iain Peirce and Ewart Oakeshotte. If this site helps you to get started and you want to know more, your next step is to sink yourself into their printed works. Petersen and Wheeler, whose classifications of types of viking age hilts have been used, are also due acknowledgement: without these hilt details WWW would have been fairly pointless!
Special thanks also go to Benedict Coffin, for supplying a useful commentary and feedback, and some of the text and descriptions of hilt types found on this site.
Silk and Slug's Arrow Tasks, a.k.a. TimeGuru was handy in planning out the many pieces of work involved in building WWW.
The swords in the header are all by Armour Class of Glasgow, my sword-smiths of choice.