The Petersen Type Z: A Blade for a Changing Age

Let's take a closer look at this LARP foam sword made by FakeSteel Armory.

Vikings weren't just raiders! Their era, filled with exploration and cultural exchange, also saw a flourishing tradition of swordmaking. Among these warriors' blades, the Petersen Type Z stands out as a symbol of the Viking transformation in the 11th century. If space is given to the typology, I would probably point out that type Z has several sub-variants, and this is meant to imitate the Anglo-Saxon one.
This sword owes its name to archaeologist Jan Petersen, who developed a classification system for Viking swords. The Type Z is easily recognized by its unique hilt. Imagine a guard that curves downwards on the sides, like a spatula. The pommel, often boasting five distinct lobes, adds a touch of elegance. This design wasn't just for show – it provided a comfortable grip and solid hand protection in the heat of battle.

The blade itself usually follows the Geibig Type 4 design. This broad, well-balanced sword was perfect for both slashing and thrusting attacks, reflecting the changing nature of Viking warfare. As quick raids evolved into intricate battles, swords needed to adapt to both defense and offense.

Dating back to roughly 980-1050 AD, the Type Z represents a later development in Viking swordsmanship. Compared to earlier designs, it hints at a shift towards a more professional warrior class. Unfortunately, archaeologists haven't unearthed many original Type Z swords, making them even more fascinating for both researchers and enthusiasts.
While the historical Petersen Type Z sword was a formidable weapon, the LARP world offers a safe and exciting alternative for those who want to experience the thrill of Viking combat.  For LARPers, a well-crafted foam replica of the Type Z provides a realistic look and feel without the danger of a real blade.

These foam swords prioritize safety while still capturing the essence of the design, featuring the downturned guard and five-lobed pommel that make the Type Z so recognizable.  LARPing with a Petersen Type Z foam sword allows participants to immerse themselves in Viking culture and engage in dramatic battles with the confidence that they are using safe equipment.

The Petersen Type Z Viking sword remains a captivating example of Viking weaponry, and for LARPers, it's more than just a replica – it's a portal to a world of adventure. Its design embodies the changing nature of warfare, offering a tangible connection to the lives and battles of these legendary warriors.  So, next time you step onto the LARPing battlefield, consider wielding the Petersen Type Z and carving your own epic saga.


Written by Tamryn Moonshadow

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