The transition of the single edged fighting knife to the double-edged dagger in early medieval Europe is shrouded in the mists of time. When we look to the art of the period, very few examples of the fighting dagger in use appear. There are even fewer extent examples that may date to the early medieval period. The ones that have survived have little or no context. So we are left to research and comb through the written record to solve the story of the early medieval dagger.
We have made two daggers that fall into this era and we think represent the earliest forms of these style of combat knives. Check out our video review of the Crusader Dagger and the Morgan Bible Dagger.
These daggers are often described as looking like small swords and they certainly must owe some of their development to the early development of the medieval sword. One of the better sources to find examples of these knives in art are battle scenes from illuminated bibles. One of the most famous is the Morgan Bible, a page of which is represented below with the dagger in the illustration highlighted.
We have been involved with looking for references to these early daggers for some time, but the depictions are rare. The earliest example seems to be pictured in the Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis. 1023 Book XIV, see the video for a look. But it is just an illustration of equipment with it difficult to ascertain size or author’s context for the examples.
If you are looking to add a early medieval dagger of this type to your kit might we humbly suggest these two pieces from Arms & Armor.
These can both be ordered with scabbards. Let us know if you have any questions.
Check out a good discussion of early daggers on MyArmoury