Fake Viking Swords

Forged Vlfberht Swords

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The problem of hoaxes, forgeries and fakes is not one solely limited to the modern world. It was also an issue in the Viking Age, and one that could have deadly consequences for the victim of the fraud.

The swords signed Vlfberht are famous and widespread. They have been the subject of a documentary, and attract much attention because of their reputation as the highest quality of swords. However, not all were as they appear, as the news story for this item shows. Precisely because these swords had such a good reputation, inferior quality swords were produced with his name on them, and probably sold at a premium. However, these inferior swords would probably have shattered very quickly in combat. The broken remains of swords of this type has been interpreted as weapons that broke in battle.

Little is known of Vlfberht, but Anna Stalsberg has written a re-evaluation of the swords that includes comments on who he might have been, and provides background on Viking Age swords in general. She suggests that he was not the smith, but rather the overseer.