Frankish Scramasax

Code:  EU19

The Scramasax (also called a seax, scramseax, scramsax, scramseaxe, scramaseax, scramasax, scramaseaxe and sometimes referred to as simply scram, seax or sax) was utilized as both a tool and a weapon. There is debate about the authenticity of the longer name, scramseax.  It is possible that the Saxons derived the name from seax (the implement for which they were known) in much the same way that the Franks were named for their fancisca.  Supporting this theory is the appearance of scramaseaxes in early Saxon heraldry.  The scramasax is a “Germanic” single-edged knife used by several Germanic tribes between the 4th and 10th centuries. The swords occur in a size ranging from a few inches to about thirty inches, the larger ones almost certainly used as weapons (langseax) and the shorter ones as tools (e.g., for eating). “Scram” refers to food and seax to a blade (so, “food knife”).

This short sword is a replica of a type carried by the Franks circa 550.  The sword was manufactured by swordsmith Paul Chen/Hanwei based on the original in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  A similar knife is in the Museum of London. The length is 18 inches, blade 12 inches.  The blade width is 1 3/4 inches and it is very sharp.  Grip and pommel measure 6 inches.  The total weight is 1 pound, 3.6 ounces. Overall, the feel of the sword when carried is very balanced; it is a formidable weapon.

Carried horizontally at the back of the belt and hidden (alternatively, some sources claim it was carried openly in front of the belt), the scramasax provided the spearman with a close-quarters weapon when needed as a last resort. Its broad blade could handle many day-to-day chores. Wearing a scramasax may be been indicative of freemanship.  The ancestry of the scramasax, which evolved from similar weapons in bronze (and later iron) used by the Celts, is portrayed in the decoration of the guard and pommel.


Imperial Weapons