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Seaxes

Seaxes

Seax in Old English means knife or cutting tool. In modern archeology, the term seax is used specifically for the typically large knives that were worn by men in the 5th to 11th century, in the region roughly enclosed by Ireland, Scandinavia and Northern Italy.

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Seaxes

Seax

The general trend, as one moves from the short to the broad seax, is that the blade becomes heavier, longer, broader and thicker. Long seaxes, which arrived at the end of the 7th century, were the longest of the seax. These were narrower and lighter than their predecessors. Initially, these weapons were found in combination with double-edged swords and were probably intended as side arm. From the 7th century onwards, seaxes became the main edged weapon (next to a francisca), sometimes in combination with small side-knives. The rest of Europe (except for parts of Scandinavia) followed a similar development, although some types may not be very common depending on location. In England long seaxes appear later than on the continent and finds of long seaxes (as opposed to knives) remain very rare in comparison to finds of swords throughout the period.

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