Medieval London

King Edward III's Sword

Dublin Core

Title

King Edward III's Sword

Subject

Sword

Description

This sword is believed to have been owned by Edward III, King of England (alternatively known as Edward of Windsor) sometime during his reign (1312-1377).

The sword, studied and analyzed by Dr. Christian Segebade of Idaho State University, was offered for sale in the market for medieval relics and was advertised as property of King Edward III of England.[1] Using accelerator activation analysis, photon activation, and archaeometry, Dr. Segebade attempted to verify the sword’s authenticity via non-destructive testing methods.

In construction, the sword’s total length (from pommel to point) is 110 cm, its maximum breadth is 61 mm, and the maximum thickness of its blade is 4.6 mm.[2] Both the hilt and the grip are decorated in gold, while the pommel is decorated with gold sheet. Moreover, the blade is “made of high quality steel, is tapered, has one middle ridge and no fuller.” (Segebade 418)

According to the ‘Oakeshott classification scheme’, a classification system created by historian Ewart Oakeshott in an attempt to define and classify the medieval sword based on its physical shape, the sword is a ‘Family F, Type XVIII sword.’[3]

In its hilt, the sword bears the emblem of the Royal House Of Plantagenet, that of the Three Lions and Fleurs-De-Lys. This engraving, although not conclusive evidence of its royal proprietorship, indicates some relation to the (originally French) Plantagenet royal family whose members held the English throne from 1154 to 1485–a family from which Edward III was a direct and legitimate descendant.[4]

Through the use of “non-destructive hardness measurements and superficial microstructure,” Segebade and his colleagues were able to conclude that a special hardening technique was used–one identical to a forging method that was “applied frequently in the Viking period and Early Middle Ages.” (Segebade 419) Additionally, the gold material in the hilt of the blade “appears similar to that of pre-Columbian European/African/Asian material” and the analytical results of the blade material “contain trace patterns of medieval steel and low carbon iron ware.” (Segebade 419) Nonetheless, the high variance associated with the molecular structure of legitimate samples of medieval-era gold and steel makes some of these findings ‘barely indicative’ of the sword’s legitimacy.

Despite the vagueness of the sample evidence from the steel and gold of the sword, accelerator activation analysis, photon activation, and archaeometry performed on the remaining parts of the sword confirm the high probability of the temporal authenticity of the sword. However, the question of whether or not the sword truly belonged to King Edward III of England remains unresolved due to a lack of historical evidence and the lack of corroboratory information from military and art historians, and experts of ancient weaponry.


[1] Segebade, Chr. (01/01/2013). "Edward's sword?-A non-destructive study of a medieval king's sword". AIP conference proceedings (0094-243X),  p. 417.

[2] Segebade, Chr. (01/01/2013). "Edward's sword?-A non-destructive study of a medieval king's sword". AIP conference proceedings (0094-243X),  p. 417.

[3] E. Oakeshott, The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: Boydell & Brewer, Ltd., 2004, p.24, Web.

[4] "The Pantagenets." The Official Website of the British Monarchy. The Royal Household, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015. <http://www.royal.gov.uk/HistoryoftheMonarchy/KingsandQueensofEngland/ThePlantagenets/ThePlantagenets.aspx>.

Source

Segebade, Chr. (01/01/2013). "Edward's sword?-A non-destructive study of a medieval king's sword". AIP conference proceedings (0094-243X), p. 417.

E. Oakeshott, The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: Boydell & Brewer, Ltd., 2004, p.24, Web.

"The Pantagenets." The Official Website of the British Monarchy. The Royal Household, n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015. <http://www.royal.gov.uk/HistoryoftheMonarchy/KingsandQueensofEngland/ThePlantagenets/ThePlantagenets.aspx>.

Publisher

Image 1 and Image 2. "Edward's sword?-A non-destructive study of a medieval king's sword." Segebade, Chr. Idaho State University. 2013. p.417-418. Web.

Date

Late Medieval (1300-1485)

Contributor

Philippe Benedit

Rights

Image 1. Idaho Accelerator Centre, Idaho State University, 1500 Alvin Ricken Drive, Pocatello, ID 83201. 

Image 2. Idaho Accelerator Centre, Idaho State University, 1500 Alvin Ricken Drive, Pocatello, ID 83201.

Language

English

Type

Still Image and a scientific inquiry and analysis on a Medieval relic.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Sword

Physical Dimensions

Total length (from pommel to point) is 110 cm, its maximum breadth is 61 mm, and the maximum thickness of its blade is 4.6 mm

Files

King Edwards Sword.jpg
Sword Hilt.jpg

Collection

Citation

“King Edward III's Sword,” Medieval London, accessed July 13, 2020, https://medievallondon.ace.fordham.edu/items/show/25.

Output Formats

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