>chilling with a viking historian who used to work at a reenactment center

>chilling with a viking historian who used to work at a reenactment center
>he talks about the value of things back then, like how I'd be worth 400g of silver as a slave
>also says that a decent sword would be able to buy you a village
>mfw I own a spring steel sword that would be considered exceptional during the viking age
>mfw I bought that for like $300

What the frick? Just how fricking valuable have weapons been throughout history? Was an early musket able to buy you a brothel worth of women as well or what?

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  1. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Swords were quite rare in that specific period and area, though I doubt the figure of "a whole village". Muskets were made in a period with much more developed metal production and comparably cheap, cheaper than bows or crossbows in fact.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >cheaper than bows or crossbows in fact.
      Unless you were in Japan.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      to ask a slightly off topic question: how were muskets made, the barrels specifically. I'm told that one method in one era was to start with a long rectangular sheet and hammer it into a tube around a cone shaped anvil but that seems like you'd end up with a lot of imperfections. can any anons shed some wisdom?

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        ?si=c2Xa8pXs6J0Id1gZ&t=227 A vid from the 1960s about how people in the 18th century America built their firearms.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          thanks anon, gonna watch the whole thing later on but just skipping to the barrel forging and watching that it looks incredibly labour intensive

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          this right here is the kind of post I visit /k/ for

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          great shit man, was looking for something like that for a long time, especially the rifling part.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          Fascinating video, thanks for sharing even though, as ESL, I didn't quite get all the jargon

          • 1 week ago
            Anonymous

            Which jargon are you confused on?

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          I don't even need to open the link to know this is the Gunsmith of Williamsburg, which I was going to post if someone else hadn't. Super interesting video to anyone interested in firearms or engineering in general.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          Watched the whole thing. One of the most amazing things ive ever seen. I knew it was labor intensive to make guns back then but holy shit its so much more than i ever imagined.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >like you'd end up with a lot of imperfections
        Uh, yeah. Welcome to the pre-industrial world, dumbass.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >you'd end up with a lot of imperfections
        Not the problem you think that it is. Any imperfections in the bore will be removed by drilling and reaming to final bore diameter, and exterior imperfections will be filed off (if the gunsmith even bothers, as those are more cosmetic than functional).

        There are a lot of potential safety issues involved (minimum wall thickness, voids and impurities, faulty welds, etc.) but the proofing process accounts for all of those. If the barrel survived proofing, then it was safe to use, even if it had some problems that were undetectable without modern non destructive testing. If it could be made to shoot to point of aim, then the bore was straight enough, even if not perfectly straight.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >cheaper than bows or crossbows in f...ACK!
      https://bowvsmusket.com/2015/07/01/16th-century-prices-of-weapons/

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Muskets were made from soft wrought iron with carbon content of 0.05%.
      "Viking spring steel swords" if it implies legendary and mysterious Ulfberht swords were made from 0.8-1.2% carbon steel and properly tempered. It's massively more advanced tech and material and these indeed could cost a fortune.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        Frankish ulfberhts with presumably indian steel are well above "decent".

        • 1 week ago
          KM

          While the original Ulfberth might have been Frankish (this is suggested on linguistic grounds, the actual finds are mostly in the Baltic-Scandinavian region), it's a brand that was widely faked/copied, and last I heard the crucible steels ones are funnily enough thought to be among the knock-offs. As for their place of manufacture IIRC most seem to hold the southeastern Baltic region as the prime suspect.

          Muskets were made from soft wrought iron with carbon content of 0.05%.
          "Viking spring steel swords" if it implies legendary and mysterious Ulfberht swords were made from 0.8-1.2% carbon steel and properly tempered. It's massively more advanced tech and material and these indeed could cost a fortune.

          >Ulfberht swords were made from 0.8-1.2% carbon steel and properly tempered.
          Of all the crucible steel Ulfberth swords in "The Sword and the Crucible" none has the primarily martensite with some cementite microstructure that we'd get from what we consider a proper hardening&tempering today. Only one shows any martensite at all. A number of them shows signs of accelerated cooling, but this is at leats in many of the cases only a matter of rapid air cooling, so not even a slack quench.

          if you want something fun to read, lookup how the nordic economies collapsed because the viking raids brought in so much gold it fricked everything up

          >because the viking raids brought in so much gold
          Really? There's been some spectacular gold treasures found here in Sweden from the migration period, and very fancy gold&garnet sword hilts were clearly in fashion during the Vendel period, but when we get to the Viking age gold is almost entirely displaced by silver.

          • 1 week ago
            Anonymous

            SouthEastern Baltic? The barely discovered region inhabited by at the time, isolated and undeveloped Balts?

  2. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    if you want something fun to read, lookup how the nordic economies collapsed because the viking raids brought in so much gold it fricked everything up

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Deflation is a scary thing and it can END a country.
      Worth/value is what we give things through supply and demand, when that worth is gone, oh boy

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >Deflation is a scary thing and it can END a country.
        Oh, you'd better believe it. I remember my economics textbook introducing the concept by saying, "Inflation, as you know, is bad. Deflation is worse."
        One really bad thing about deflation is how it increases the real value of debt. Good if you're a creditor, very bad if you're a debtor, and we all know what happens if too many debtors - especially very large and important debtors - default on their debt all at once.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Same with the Spanish economy during their treasure galleon era.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_revolution

      >Prices rose on average roughly sixfold over 150 years. This level of inflation amounts to 1.2% per year compounded, a relatively low inflation rate for modern-day standards, but rather high given the monetary policy in place in the 16th century.

      Even centuries later that shit send chills down your spine when you realize what the modern world is looking at.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >Even centuries later that shit send chills down your spine when you realize what the modern world is looking at.
        Except everyone's in debt to apparently no one.

  3. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Working iron in medieval age was a hell of a lot of work.
    First you had to literally dig it out of a swamp (or from the bottom of a lake)
    Then you had to make coke from a shitton of wood (which someone has to get and bury underneath a mound of earth to turn the wood into coke without open flame, and to watch over it for days).
    With coke you could finally get a smelter hot enough to melt that bog iron into one big lump. This could take a whole day.
    Then you have to beat the everliving shit out of it to reduce the impurities out of it. This is very time sensitive thing and has to be done immediately after you take the lump out of the smelter.

    And THEN you have a lump of iron about the size of a small watermelon, which a proper smith could start working into a sword.

    It took a workforce of basically an entire small village to produce anything out of iron. It was hard work. The most expensive thing that most households would even own was an iron cooking pot. Because that's a lot of iron someone would have to dig out of a swamp.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      being a medieval charcoal burner sounds unironically comfy
      >get to spend days at a time out in the bush watching your charcoal
      >everyone around you needs charcoal so you always have a source of income and the respect of your peers
      >even bandits and invading enemy armies need good charcoal so you are much less likely to be killed/raped/enslaved in the event of your village being overrun
      >qt medieval child brides

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >qt medieval child brides
        Fake news. As a peasant you get some fat local peasant girl in her early 20s after she's done fricking everybody else in the village

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          >fat local peasant girl
          You wish, you're getting married to some skinny bag of bones from the other side of the village.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          Nah, young marriages were a thing for the very bottom and the very top of medieval society. Both for the purpose of shitting out babies as fast as possible. For the peasants it means more labor on the farm, for the aristocrats its a way to secure the line of succession and cement political alliances. Mid-20s marriage was something that happened among the "middle classes" of medieval society such as craftsmen or merchants since they'd be well into their 20s before they finished their apprenticeships.

          • 1 week ago
            Anonymous

            >For the peasants it means more labor on the farm,
            It was also for getting land rights.
            If we are talking about serfs who live on fuedal manor that's communal land use. Every household gets their plot from communal land pool. If your boy son lives in your house you get land just for your household and additional mouth to feed.
            Married boy was considered fully grown man, rite of adulthood passage was marriage. So he can start his own household and he gets his own land plot. More land, more crops for you.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          This is a far better situation then I’m currently facing

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Here's a finnish dude going through the whole process in order to make himself a small puukko.
      He skips a step about coke and uses store-bought bbq charcoal.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >swamp (or from the bottom of a lake)
      protip, bog iron is usually not fit for weapons use as it contains way too much phosphor and sulphur to yield a high quality iron. iron/steel for a long thin blade like a sword must be of highest quality and only few places in europe offer that, then you need iron makers and smith that understand the complicated process of refining raw iron into steel and adjusting the carbon content by folding and forge welding repeatedly, and heat treatment was a secret art back then. after polishing and hefting that thing it would be traded long distances and sold several times between merchants along the way, each one taking his cut, at the end you end up with an expensive weapon that could cost the equivalent of what a small village would be worth in monetary output yearly. this is not for a munitions grade sword, but for the highest quality swords.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        Yup. Getting good quality steel weapon would very quickly rack up the cost to ridiculous levels.
        Although there always were the cheap shit-tier weapons available, just like today we have turkish guns.

        I don't think we have that many preserved examples of the shit-tier swords exactly because they broke easily and then someone melted them down to make something actually useful like a frying pan or something.

    • 1 week ago
      KM

      >and has to be done immediately after you take the lump out of the smelter.
      You can do it at any time, doing it straight away when it's still hot form the smelter simply saves you the fuel of having to heat it up again.

      >Then you had to make coke from a shitton of wood
      Having done this myself (pic related), it's in many ways as if you make iron from charcoal and air, with the iron ore simply being a minor addition to spice things up... Roughly speaking we're looking at something like an oil drum of charcoal for a gallon of ore, and that's just for turning it into metal. The smith will need a lot more still. Apparently plenty of regions were essentially deforested to feed the iron industry, and a Swedish peasant making iron to supplement his income may have a dozen furnaces spread around since it was easier to build them than to move the wood/charcoal any real distance to them.

      >swamp (or from the bottom of a lake)
      protip, bog iron is usually not fit for weapons use as it contains way too much phosphor and sulphur to yield a high quality iron. iron/steel for a long thin blade like a sword must be of highest quality and only few places in europe offer that, then you need iron makers and smith that understand the complicated process of refining raw iron into steel and adjusting the carbon content by folding and forge welding repeatedly, and heat treatment was a secret art back then. after polishing and hefting that thing it would be traded long distances and sold several times between merchants along the way, each one taking his cut, at the end you end up with an expensive weapon that could cost the equivalent of what a small village would be worth in monetary output yearly. this is not for a munitions grade sword, but for the highest quality swords.

      >and heat treatment was a secret art back then
      Though a number of sword up until the late middle ages or so simply weren't heat treated, and those that were (in Europe at least) usually only got a "slack quench" instead of the full hardening we basically take for granted today.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        I mean, that's still the case even with steel industry today, outside of purely electrical furnaces. Steel mills tend to be placed closer to coal mining sites than iron ones.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >coke is made from burning wood in low oxygen environment
      That’s charcoal moron. Coke is the same process applied to coal, which in the Western world came much much later.

  4. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    He was definitely talking a bit of shit, swords were common arms and not that frickin valuable, or else they wouldn't be the universal symbol for war. Consider our modern absurdities of a man launching a missile that costs more than he makes in a year at a tank that costs more than he makes in a lifetime. Consider also that war throughout history has never been noted to be inexpensive.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >else they wouldn't be the universal symbol for war
      Spears are that, anon. Look at house crests. It's spears that are featured, not swords.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >swords
      >made out of common yet difficult-to-alloy metal requiring many steps before being worked by a very skilled tradesperson
      >being of the same scarcity in the viking era as subsequent or preceding eras
      NTA but you're dumb as frick holy SHIT

      How can you make such a shamelessly-broad assertion about something that shifted constantly in quality, quantity, status and utility across periods and regions?
      >hurr durr its a symbol for war
      Do you think symbols change across centuries, or were we as a species just assigned "sword = war" the second we evolved from H. erectus? Did you know that the sword icons from your shitty RTS games are NOT indicative of a "universal symbol"?

      >war throughout history has never been noted to be inexpensive.
      Compared to what? A stained-glass shitter? The massive amounts of off-brand lead paint used to coat your childhood home?

      How are you so fricking dumb and at the same time so confident? I'm confident about topics I enjoy and read about, but if I don't know something I shut the frick about the subject because I don't have anything meaningful to contribute. I instead try to listen and maybe learn something, instead of braying like a donkey. I could never just brazenly pretend to know something, it would disgust me terribly. Even if no one else knew, I'd still know and I'd be ashamed. Where is your shame, man?
      Jesus tap-dancing Christ on a dumptruck, where in the hell do these dumb fricks even come from?

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        Feel free to regale me about all of those wars that were waged on the cheap that didn't involve common sidearms.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          yeah good on you for ignoring the rest of it
          >common sidearms
          what the frick are you talking about

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >universal symbol for war
      In a culture formed by high and late medieval europe, with much higher availability of swords. Not by viking age scandinavia.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >uhm akcshually dunning kruger Black person
      Frick off

  5. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Depends on history and where
    But yeah a roman legionnaire gear during the 100-200 you could buy 10-15 slaves for.

    A could things though

    Out of 22,000,000 people only at maximum would 240000 would be legionnaires. Only 40000 of them would be actual soldiers and only 10000 of them would be true infantry.
    Those 10000-15000 would be the very very best 1 out of 20000 best physical and mental humans on 1/4 the planet.
    They'd be averaging 5'11 200-210 lbs. While the rest was averaging 5'4-5'6 110-130 for men. The city nobles of course would be around 5'7-5'8 130.
    Essentially you are dealing with NFL players wearing gear than will allow them to kill 8-10 normal sized people and having 3 to 5 men helping bring food, arrows, gear, horses, spears, medicine around with them.

    Most competent arms had a 3 support to 5 support to one fighter set ups. It really was like an NFL team.
    Fun fact the average army of 40,000 Romans could travel 20 miles a day through mountain ranges as part of daily training with everything.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      roman legionairs were described as manlets by both the gauls and the germans. They certainly never averaged 5 11 outside of german or gaul auxillaries

  6. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    >>mfw I own a spring steel sword that would be considered exceptional during the viking age
    yes, mass production of steel is/was a big deal

  7. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Not sure about weapons specifically but during the medieval period a trained warhorse was almost identical to a top-of-the-line sports car in the modern era
    >Absurdly expensive
    >Has massive upkeep/maintenance costs
    >Only gets used a handful of times a year

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Not to mention they can do things regular workhorses and non trained horses can't. A proper warhorse may even be trained to bite at enemies or other horses on top of not flinching or being scared by a manner of things you'd experience in combat.

  8. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    >I'm a bog standard viking raider
    what weapon do i have?

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Spear and Axe.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Spear and a shield with a handaxe or long knife as a sidearm. If you were wealthy and/or high status you'd also have a chain hauberk.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >spear
      >shield
      >axe or sword
      >60 arrows

      No bow, the arrows are for the designated bowmen.

  9. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Iirc one of the sagas mentions a specific sword being worth 16 milk cows. So a lot, but not a whole village. https://regia.org/research/misc/costs.htm has a table with rough estimates of early middle age Europe costs. A cow then was maybe $2000 in today's money.

    Weregild for killing a slave was $7000 ish. Killing a thegn would cost you $150k+

  10. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Even if Herzog was a bit anachronistic with the Enfield men were sold by thousands for bundles of shoddy rifles

  11. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    >>also says that a decent sword would be able to buy you a village
    Bullshit. Swords were rare but not that rare.

    The Norwegian Gulatinglaw from the late Viking era reads
    >All free and full-legal men shall come to the weapon-thing, or they shall pay 3 øre. Now men shall show their arms, as they are written in the laws. A man shall have a broad-axe or sword and spear and shield of no worse quality than having three iron bars across with a grip that is fastened with iron nails. Now there are 3 øre in fines for each (missing) people’s arms.
    Owning a sword or axe was literally mandatory, sure, most might cheap out and go with an axe but swords weren't rare.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      depending on the time and place swords werent even rare. You have got long knifes/messer which arent really hard to make everywhere in europe. They might not have been "real" swords but close enough to count them as analogs.
      Just compare it to modern machetes (the tools not the mall ninja garbage) and you have a thin long sheet of metal with a sharp edge give it a point and suddenly you have a pretty decent war tool.

      Cities in Germany and Italy were producing plate armour in masses at the end of the medieval time you cant tell me that smiths around europe could not hammer out half decent sword analouges for the troops

  12. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    >also says that a decent sword would be able to buy you a village
    This seems like bullshit, a skilled blacksmith could produce a good sword every few weeks and yet they keep working a hard hot job instead of buying 2 villages and collecting rent.

  13. 1 week ago
    KM

    Well, a village could be quite small... Also we must keep in mind here that there's a lot of history. Things at one place and at one point in time may differ quite a bit form another.
    As one datapoint, the cost of the main arms and armour of a Frankish cavalryman/knight (which at the time was the bulk of the Frankish army, not a relatively small elite within it) in the 8th century was: helmet 6 solidii, mail hauberk 12s, sword 3s, leggings 6s, lance and shield 2s, warhorses 12s each (spare ones were necessary). By comparison a mare would be 3s, an ox 2s, and a cow 1 to 3 solidii. So while swords were likely a bit more expensive up in Scandinavia (many of the sword blades there being imports from the continent) it'd have to be a very poor village or an exceptionally pimped-out sword to buy a village with one. We also note that the sword is a quite minor expense compared to the armour and horses. Generally speaking the cost of arms and armour then decreased over time, we've found barrels full f swords form the 15ht century. (Also, contrary to what DnD and the like tends to suggest plate is usually quicker and cheaper to make than mail if you have large enough chunks of metal to make use of.)

    As for early firearms they could actually be quite cheap, basically any smith could forge-weld a barrel together and since it didn't need to flex crude but thick iron would suffice. A rule of thumb for the 15th century is that a gun cost about 80% of a crossbow of comparable quality and decoration. Gunpowder did cost a pretty penny in the 14th century, but then again, so did bolts and arrows. When the matchlock shows up around 1500 it's also a very simple affair, allowing it to be both cheap and reliable.

  14. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    What a moronic kid thread. Summer in full swing

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Contribute or frick off, boomer

  15. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Around the 12th century, a good decorative sword would cost 1-2 bushels of rich wheatberries; around 90lb of husked high protein wheat kernels. That doesn't sound like much, but that's essentially an entire village's cream of the crop, at its highest yield after 4 years of regeneration and conditioning, during a perfect summer, tended to and monitored by consummate professionals and lifelong experts at recognising every single stalk of the good stuff, for months on end. You can't buy a village for a sword, but it might cost you their annual GDP.

  16. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Lots of good posts ITT. I'm an autist who's read a bunch of books about vikings. One thing I'll add: Swords were pretty expensive, but also pretty common because they'd remain "in circulation" for a long fricking time. A good sword would be passed down from generation to generation, and could be used to kill shit for hundreds of years. It would be continually maintained, repaired, and rebuilt by blacksmiths who likely specialized in working on swords. Swords could still break in a non-repairable fashion, get lost, be buried with somebody, or get recycled into something else- but in all likelihood, when a sword was made, it was probably destined to outlive its owner and builder by a long fricking time. A man might acquire a sword fully expecting one of his grandkids to be killing people with it long after he was dead and buried. If anyone wants to know more about Viking weapons, how they were made and how they were used, I highly recommend the spergs at Hurstwic. Vid related. They've got loads of goofy little skits like this where they act out fights as described in sagas. This is my favorite, just cus the guy plays dirty and draws from concealment.

    They've also got a website up with loads of succinct, to-the-point articles with images.
    https://www.hurstwic.com/history/text/history.htm

    I'll lurk ITT for a bit in case anybody wants to talk more about Vikings or ask for book recs or something.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      I'd like to specify that I'm talking specifically about Viking Age Scandinavia here. Yes, swords were cheap elsewhere in Europe later in the Medieval period. No, you aren't fricking clever for pointing this out.

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