Archaeologists Have Discovered An Ancient Viking Sword In Patara, Turkey That Dates Back To The 9th Century AD

The Viking sword unearthed in Turkey is believed to have belonged to a soldier who may have acted as a mercenery for the Byzantine Army.

A Viking sword has been discovered in Patara, Turkey.
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The Viking sword unearthed in Turkey is believed to have belonged to a soldier who may have acted as a mercenery for the Byzantine Army.

Archaeologists have recently uncovered a Viking sword in Turkey that is believed to date back to the 9th or 10th Century AD. The sword was discovered during excavations in the city of Patara, which can be found in the country’s southern Antalya province.

As the Daily Sabah reported, this location was once part of the ancient region of Lycia and Feyzullah Şahin, who is a classical archeology professor at Akdeniz University, has confirmed that the sword that was unearthed once belonged to the Vikings.

It is Şahin’s belief that this particular sword was once in the possession of a soldier who was involved in naval warfare, and the discovery of the sword may shed light on the Vikings known as Varangians, who were often used as highly-skilled mercenaries by the Byzantine Army during the 9th and 10th centuries and who were also utilized as bodyguards for great Byzantine emperors. According to Şahin, the Viking sword found in Turkey is so far the only material proof that shows Vikings in Anatolia.

“Until today, one Viking sword that was discovered during the excavation works carried around Yumuktepe (district) of Muğla (province) was the only material culture remnant that indicated the existence of Vikings in Anatolia. The characteristics of the knob, tang and crossguard can be evaluated within the group of swords that was described by Jan Petersen as K type or O Type.”

Archaeologists are still not certain just how this Viking sword would have first arrived in Patara, but since swords were often placed in Viking graves this could have been one reason for its placement. Excavations where the sword was found have been ongoing on for many years now under the leadership of Professor Havva İşkan Işık from Akdeniz University, and this discovery is the first of its kind in the region.

Many centuries ago, the city of Patara would have acted as a major trading port and naval center for Lycia as it was perfectly situated near the head of the Xanthos River. In fact, the oracle of Patara, which was once located at the temple of Apollo, was so famous that it may have even rivaled the oracle of Delphi.

In 333 BC, this city finally surrendered to the might of Alexander the Great and the grand Lycian Council Building also once stood here during the glorious Hellenistic Period.

With the exciting discovery of the Viking sword that was found in Patara, Turkey, archaeologists should hopefully be able to learn much more about the lives of the Varangians who worked so diligently here during the Byzantine Era.