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I can too accessorize…!

Jake Cleland made this copy of a continental seax and it can be yours for £750.

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.

Google Images is chock full of seax porn. There are tons of independent makers. Ooo, this is a nice one.

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!


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 22, 2013, 11:23 pm

No ‘proud to be anything’ badge for me – but I did get a rather nice gold Valkyrie badge. Not sure whether I hope she’ll protect me at war, or carry me off to Valhalla when I finally fall in battle against the forces of collectivism and mediocrity.

Come to think of it, I’m not even sure whether my Valkyrie would accept a part Saxon, part Brythonic, part Goidelic (Hebridean) Celt.

Still.. I figured, I married one so I might as well go the whole way.

Kipling, of course, ‘got it’:

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.

But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.

When he stands like a ox in the furrow with his sullen set eyes on your own.

And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 22, 2013, 11:33 pm

I also bought a Benty Grange boar pendant. Because, pig!

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: August 22, 2013, 11:43 pm

Beautiful cutlery. But we’re not allowed to carry concealed knives more than 5″ long in Texas. How is “seax” pronounced, anyway? Like it’s spelled, or is it one of those Luxury Yacht = Throatwobbler Mangrove British words?

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: August 23, 2013, 12:32 am

Getting the alphabet on your spangly new freedom sticker reminds me of the contemporary habit that modern youngin’s have; getting a tattoo in a foreign language that is supposed to say “tiger blood” and finding out months later that it actually says “rat poo” or whatever the local slang for douchebag is.

Comment from Nina
Time: August 23, 2013, 12:41 am

I see a lot of people who have knives like these, but they carry them in back.

I think most states allow longer bladed weapons for reenactment, don’t they?

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 23, 2013, 12:47 am

Benty Grange Boar—I like him! Highly recognizable in England, I suppose. I hope you’ll take a nice photo to show us. Pig jewelry is a rarity in the U.S. (unless you’re from Arkansas).
And Badger’s Valkyrie badge too 🙂

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: August 23, 2013, 4:18 am

You also know something about the English word “berjiner” now.

Comment from Mike C.
Time: August 23, 2013, 10:01 am

“In Britain, a seax was carried by men and women alike, and was widely recognized as emblematic of their status as freeborn Englishfolk.”

And there you have the origin of the Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution – free men (and women) have weapons, slaves don’t. Which reminds me I still need to get a holster for the LC9…

Comment from Mike C.
Time: August 23, 2013, 10:14 am

BTW, some of those weapons are drop-dead gorgeous. Enter the world of custom weapons at your own financial peril – I sure can’t afford to.

Comment from Mike C.
Time: August 23, 2013, 10:23 am

I had to link this whole thread over to GCP…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 23, 2013, 11:26 am

Iknow, Mike C., I know. I dipped a toe in the water when I bought a Langouile. It isn’t really a custom knife, but they don’t make yours until you order it. Damn thing was stolen by somebody looking to ‘buy’ my house in Rhode Island. I do love me some knives.

I’m itching for one with a Damasced blade. I know it wouldn’t be traditional Anglo Saxon, but gawd it’s lovely. Something like this would do nicely, but in a tiny, legal-to-carry version.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 23, 2013, 2:59 pm

I go everywhere with a couple of knives. They’re not defensive but general utility blades. When I was a small boy everyone had a penknife. Now, of course, with the usual pigheaded nanny State emphasis on treating symptoms not causes I’d be banged up without hope of appeal if I carried them in the UK. I feel under-dressed every time I’m there. I lost my flickknife last Xmas and I’m still peeved.

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 23, 2013, 4:17 pm

All the men in my family carried/carry pen knives, and that’s in addition to whatever may be strapped on the belt. Husband and Son have “Sunday” knives too—beautiful small single-blades slipped into the pocket of their suit trousers. Son has probably given a Case pen knife to every friend he’s made, because he believes any man above the age of 12 should have a knife in his pocket (and a handkerchief). I kept a pen knife in the drawer of my drafting table for years (and used it almost daily), and I’ve carried a Boy Scout Victorinox in my handbag since 1980, when my son joined Scouts. It really ticks me off that I have to take it out so I can fly.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 23, 2013, 5:39 pm

Technically, it isn’t illegal to carry a blade below 3″ even today in London, David Gillies. But last time I went to Lunar House for a visa update, I got pulled out of the security line and given a hard time for my little penknife. They gave it back to me when I left, but they told me I’d get busted if I was caught on the street with it.

How that can be if there’s no law against it, I do not know.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 23, 2013, 5:46 pm

We just got back from a lovely afternoon picnic at Bodiam Castle. The gateman was wearing Anglo Saxon clothing, including a seax…but it wasn’t a very good one. Plain, 4″ long and only one belt strap.


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: August 23, 2013, 5:59 pm

Should be legally required to carry a blade at least 10″ long in order to vote or operate a pair of decent woolen slacks.

Comment from AndStatistics
Time: August 24, 2013, 3:52 am

Ha! That one didn’t originate in Polish – that’s been at least slang for a sheath going all the way back to Latin. If I’m remembering my Latin correctly, which I may not be. Although, if I had to guess, I’d say it’s been around since about a minute after the invention of the scabbard, in the language of pretty much every tribe that had the tech to make bladed weapons…

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: August 24, 2013, 7:21 pm

Ask your physician if you’re healthy enough for seax.

I just had to do it.

Comment from Brad Ervin
Time: August 25, 2013, 8:24 am

Some girl had been assaulted in a park somewhere in England by some perp using a knife and consumed by insanity. The local constabulary came on the news in a voiceover as the camera scanned a selection of knives found in the perps digs. He said, rather dramatically: “No one has any reason to leave his house with one of these in his pocket.” The top one was my beloved swiss army knife. The one I won’t leave home without.

You can have your seax, but only if it’s plastic or “disabled.”

If they’ve taken away your right to fight back, what good is a weapon anyway?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 25, 2013, 3:04 pm

The problem is that we are no longer a nation of laws, but a nation of men, Brad. I can walk into any hardware store nearby and buy several knives that are technically illegal. And I see people carry ‘illegal’ knives on the street all the time.

For example, I own several of these inexpensive Opinel garden knives. The blade locks (illegal) and is longer than 3″ (illegal), but you wouldn’t use anything else for cutting a great weed out of your lawn. So if I’m caught with one of these in my pocket out here in the country, no prob. But if I’m caught with one in a bar in the rough part of town some miles away, jail time.

It’s not uncommon to see a belt with a Leatherman on it walking around. Same deal. Technically illegal, but not if you can tell a good story.

That isn’t law. Not as I understand it.

Comment from Brad
Time: August 26, 2013, 7:08 pm

The problem is with state enforced capriciousness. And, in my opinion, this is the goal. They know it’s the law; you know it’s the law, but nothing happens till it does.

By all that is good, Zimmerman should be a hero. That Martin is the martyr is the degree to which the new State and its apparatchiks in the media will go. The important point here isn’t which one was black. It’s that Zimmerman was acting outside the authority of the state. He is a greater danger to the state that a hoodlum.

I was waiting for my MOT to be done. It was either late in the day or late in the year as it was dark, glum, chilly, in the front of the little place out in the backwoods of Suffolk. Well, as backwoods as one can get on the island of Britain. I had scanned the three racks a dozen times and stood listening as the lady behind the counter and another lady droned on about some garage that had been found to have been open “all hours.” I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t take it. I said: “He owns the place, if he want to drag in a cot and stay open 24/7 what’s the beef?” The lady behind the counter, one of the owners, said: “Well, he hasn’t got the proper license, has he?”

Another time I ran into a store, happy to get in before they closed as I needed some supplies to finish a project. I dropped an armful of stuff by the register not five minuets later and the lady said: “You can pick up this stuff tomorrow morning.” I replied: “Why would I want to pick it up tomorrow when I am here now?” The lady, a small holder (not exactly Asda), pointed to the clock (5 min’s after 5) and said: “Well, we’re closed aren’t we?”

In an earlier age we were the masters but now we live in abject fear of the leviathan state. And I wonder that we don’t rise up and kill the leviathan but when you talk to the regular joe he is apprehensive. He grasps that, although he might be richer and happier being free, he can always end up with less than he has now. And he can end up in prison, or worse.

And so we all learn to live with our heads down, tiptoeing along our ways. Like Winston in 1984, we learn to break the small laws to feel free. But one day we are caught. Like the guy that found the shotgun in his backyard and took it to the police station only to be made an example of.

When will the leviathan State make an example of you or me as we walk along our way with an illegal blade or whathaveyou?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 26, 2013, 7:47 pm

Preach it, Brad. I couldn’t agree more.

There is an undercurrent, both here and in the US, of real mutinous rage, but nobody knows quite what to do with it. If you throw off the shackles all by yourself, the headline will be, “lone nutter dies in flat standoff.” With the sub-head, “what did he want? What really made him snap? We will never know…”

And, anyway, no-one really wants to do injury to our nice communities and decent neighbors. Just the great heavy pitiless inescapable bureaucracy, and where do you go to strike a blow against that?

Comment from Brad
Time: August 27, 2013, 6:13 am

This is exactly what I say to those that want to shoot the uniforms and badges that would show up on their doorstep to take their guns. Why molest them? They are your neighbors, your friends, your kids. The bastards you want are an evil, wrapped in an office, hidden in a building, ensconced in a security system, surrounded by armed forces….

Go ahead, make their day. The Zimmerman/Martin extravaganza was child’s play next to what they would do to the individual that hampered an agent of the bureaucracy in the performance of his duly assigned duties.

Too cool! As I sat here at the computer, a cicada, attracted by my lamp no doubt, gave me a start. I shook the cicada loose from the drapes, pointing him out to the cat. It was a fair chase and, for a moment, I had reason to worry over the drapes but he just finished eating the thing. I have only an unwanted wing to dispose of. Good cat!

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