I can too accessorize…!
Here’s something I discovered through my friends at the Steadfast Trust: this knife. It’s called a seax. It was common throughout Northwestern Europe. In Britain, a seax was carried by men and women alike, and was widely recognized as emblematic of their status as freeborn Englishfolk. (Not every Englishman was freeborn. At the time of the Domesday Book (1086), 10% of England’s population was slaves. There’s something I didn’t know until recently).
The seax is a single-edged blade with a thick, sometimes bent, spine, a narrow tang (the metal bit that extends into the handle) and a natural wood, bone or leather handle. The blade ranged from a few inches, used for eating and kitchen tasks, to a proper short sword almost two feet long. The seax was usually worn in a scabbard hanging from the belt, sharp side up, in front of the body.
Also, covered in runes. Check out the Seax of Beagnoth, fished out of the Thames in 1857 and now in the British Museum. “Beagnoth” was inscribed on it (probably either the smith or the owner) along with the only known complete inscription of the twenty-eight letter Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet. Because writing is magic.
Seax is the origin of the word Saxon. Also Middlesex, Wessex, Essex and Sussex. From the online OED:
Saxon (n.) c.1200, from Late Latin Saxonem (nominative Saxo; also source of French Saxon, Spanish Sajon, Italian Sassone), usually found in plural Saxones, from a Germanic source (cf. Old English Seaxe, Old High German Sahsun, German Sachse “Saxon”), with a possible literal sense of “swordsmen” (cf. Old English seax, Old Frisian, Old Norse sax “knife, short sword, dagger,” Old High German Saxnot, name of a war-god), from Proto-Germanic *sahsam “knife,” from PIE *sek- “to cut” (see section (n.)).
Also from the same entry:
Accordingly they all met at the time and place appointed, and began to treat of peace; and when a fit opportunity offered for executing his villany, Hengist cried out, “Nemet oure Saxas,” and the same instant seized Vortigern, and held him by his cloak. The Saxons, upon the signal given, drew their daggers, and falling upon the princes, who little suspected any such design, assassinated them to the number of four hundred and sixty barons and consuls ….
Um. We’re sorry? Say, that woke up some old braincells. I bet they don’t teach Hengist and Horsa in Middle School history any more.
This is a lovely example, too. When Chrome translated that page from Polish to English, it informed me that “the vagina is no longer an accurate reconstruction.” So, ummm…I guess we know something about the Polish word for “sheath” now.
Anyway, I have to have one. No, a seax, you fool!
Remember: here. Tomorrow. Six sharp. Dead Pool Round 53!