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Doug Ayen

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Revelation [Jan. 26th, 2003|01:18 am]
Doug Ayen
So, having gotten to the point where I need to finalize the end design of the scramseax I'm working on, I hit the books again and looked at period designs from around the 8th-10th cen. AD. Most of the pieces in the books I have are fragmentary, badly preserved, and generally hard to picture as a finished piece.

One of the books, though, had a well-preserved handle and part of a blade of a 9th century Frankish seax (this is the one I've been using as my base design, but I took a long, hard look at it today, scanned it in and blew it up to life-size, etc.)

Some features of this particular knife that struck me this evening, that I must have noticed subconciously but never really took notice of, are quite, well, blatant.

The pommel is shaped sort of like a shield, only more curvey -- almost like a conventional "heart" shape, but without the indentation. The pommel is also slightly larger than the handle, which is straight sided. Most peculiarly, the guard is angled instead of at a 90 deg. angle.

Then I put it all together. It's a phalloform hilt, intended to be work in a sheath so that the handle sticks out like an errection. Looking at the original, I can even see where, at the very tip of the pommel, the peened-over tang would have protruded in a seminal fashion. Since the pommel and guard are both bronze, this would have been quite noticible.

Since I had this particular knife in mind when I started the project, I guess my subconcious is trying to tell me something. The only question I have is, given the shape of the hilt, what would the original (long since rotted away) sheath have looked like. Something tells me it would have had a couple of large oval decorations somewhere on it.

For those of you with a historical bent, phalloform dagger hilts pop up all the time over history, though few texts I've encounterd will admit it. "Kidney" daggers are perhaps the most common (come on, a guard in the shape of two balls, with a cylindrical hilt, topped with a bulb-shape is supposed to be a kidney?) Some roundel daggers use a similar motif, and I've also seen some swords with similar fittings.

Anyway, should get the grinding and polishing done tomorrow, may even get some of the furniture made. I do wonder what to do for a sheath, though.


[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2003-01-25 10:36 pm (UTC)
wow - that's a hoot.

looks like you're going to have to make some brass knockers to put on the bottom of that hilt... for uh counterweights. yeah, big brass ones.

hee hee
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[User Picture]From: dglenn
2003-01-26 12:26 am (UTC)
Ah! I knew of bollock knives, but didn't realize that phalloform knives were common in other cultures as well. Interesting. I wonder how well a sheath design from a bollock knife could be adapted to the seax.

BTW, your name and user icon were off the bottom of my screen when I saw this post, and as soon as I got as far as, "having gotten to the point where I need to finalize the end design of the scramseax I'm working on,", I thought, "Scramseax?? If this post isn't from Blackanvil, my world is screwy."
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[User Picture]From: rmd
2003-01-26 08:57 am (UTC)
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