Manage episode 317361751 series 3009846
Swords were enormously expensive weapons 1,500 years ago, and the Anglo Saxon warriors of those times needed a blade that could be used for everyday work and double as a fighting knife or sword. They and warriors of many other Northern European cultures chose the seax, which can be considered either a large dagger or a short single-edged sword.
The origins of the seax are difficult to determine, but early forms of the weapon have been found in 5th century Frankish graves. This is surprising in as much as the weapon gave its name to the people known as "Saxons" who were one of three Germanic tribes who settled in Britain.
The term "scramaseax" is sometimes used in modern descriptions of this weapon, but it occurs only once in a historical account. In his History of the Franks, Gregory of Tours describes how sixth-century Frankish king Sigibert was assassinated by two young men using "strong knives commonly called scramaseax" (cultris validis quos vulgo scramasaxos vocant).