Kult of Athena


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Starfire's Viking Sword

Recently, I visited my local Renaissance faire, as I did when I was child, and had an amazing experience. My brother and I were walking along, enjoying meat and mead and all kinds of Medieval festivities, when suddenly, I came upon the Starfire Smithy.

Now normally, these swords - as beautiful as they are (and they are spectacular) - just aren't what I am searching for in a weapon. However, it is said, when love wants to, it will find you. The hand-forged, oil-hardened object of my undying affection was the relatively new addition to their line: the 31" Viking Sword:

I walked over. I picked her up. I held her close. And, she asked for my hand. Our souls, and the souls of my unborn sons, had spoken. We were to be one.

Sadly (happily, love ya hun!), as I write this, I am promised to another. Two others, in fact. With the birth of my first child in April, I am saving every penny I have to make sure he/she has a wonderful education and that they want for nothing.

I know the price tag, around $500, will keep us apart, and that my allocating funds such as these will not be possible.

(It never is, right men?)


Much like the famous Battle of Maldon, I still want to cast one more die to fate and see if my fellow swordsmen - and anyone that has had a dream deferred - will support me in my efforts!

I have decided to bow before the great charity of others - and the gods of Asgaard - to obtain this amazing steel and build:


Through GoFundMe.com, I know that making my dream of Viking steel ownership is within my grasp, and within the grasp of my great and future family. I know that I will - one day - pass this imperishable steel treasure to my son or daughter and tell them the great tale of its origin.

This is my dream.

I am counting on YOU to forge it into reality.

May the All Father watch over you and give blessings to your generosity and your days!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


We all love to handle swords. That’s a given. The look, the feel, the shape, even the smell of the steel gets the juice running to the very best places and gives us a unique rush.

But, what gets them from lumps of steel to exquisite works of art that give us unparalleled protection and endless enjoyment? And, don’t take the easy way out and say Kult of Athena! That’s too simple.

I think the better answer reaches back to a time when a certain group of people were invaluable to everyday society. A place and time when striding destriers thundered across the field and required iron shoes, a time when fields needed to be plowed with shares, and of course, a time when swords, glorious swords, and armor needed to be forged from molten steel.

The answer, of course, is the blacksmith.

For thousands of years, these men and women have harnessed the power of the sun to melt and shape the hardest substances on earth into stunning pieces of art for our giddy enjoyment and ever-growing collections. In this modern day, we still pay forges and swordsmiths thousands, literally, thousands of dollars to bend and hammer, mold and meld, solder and grind intricate pieces of metal – of every color, alloy, and hardness - to fit our weapon tastes and styles.

And, in my experience, there is one that truly stands out about the rest. That man is Tony Swatton from Sword and Stone in Burbank, CA.

Swatton has created a YouTube series called “Man At Arms,” which masterfully creates famous swords and weapons from Hollywood and fantasy. Among his more amazing works (which have earned him 11.5 million views on YouTube) are:
Swatton and his team complete these masterpieces using old school hammers - from way before any of us were born (we’re talking 18th century stuff) - and today’s most modern technology. They have also created swords on a professional, and not just retail, level for some of the best main stream movies in Hollywood (think Zorro and others).

Simply put, the man is a big, burly genius and his SwordSpeak is mesmerizing. His videos (over 6 minutes of dream forging and a tremendously satisfying “in-action” payout at the end) are incredible. Like creating life after acing a chemistry test, the journey is beyond meticulous and painstakingly slow but delivers an unrivaled sense of  satisfaction. I have watched every episode from Season 1 and cannot wait to see what Season 2 has in store.

Check out the full videos below and experience what I am saying for yourself. I’m more than confident you’ll be leaving little droplets of steel-inspired drool spittle all over your keys:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Higgins Armory Museum to Close??

I had planned to bring this blog out of semi-retirement (as I have not posted in almost a year, unfortunately) to write about the latest craze, Zombies, and how we deal with it, but I think for the newest post, this is more important. It would seem that after 82 years of bringing us some of the finest pieces in from hallowed antiquity, the Higgins Armory Museum in Worchester, MA is going to close on December 31, 2013.


This is a very sad day on a number of levels for any fan of the sword, especially myself. The Higgins Armory Museum not only holds a collection of over 500 individual pieces of swords and armor in its collection, but also houses them in one of the finest castle-like structures, complete with Great Hall, I have had the pleasure to visit. We had a beer festival there. See “Ale and Mail” post.

This place holds so much more than just steel. It is a place for children who were born in the wrong era, who wanted to be knights, warriors, and soldiers can see what it could have been like: to dress in the armor of a knight, to hold the sword (safely) perhaps for the first time, and to reenact fascinating ancient military formations. Millions of children warriors, yet unborn, in the countless generations to come, will never get to do this now. Millions will have to wait, hoping, piecemeal, that some sword and armor exhibition will rear its shining head so they can indulge.

It’s tragic. It’s sad. It should not happen. But, as the knights of Europe and the Samurai gave way to the drone, so must these monuments of chivalry give way to....parking lots...fast food places, and other such squalid piles of garbage that will never know how lucky they are to be standing or how disgusting they look in comparison.

However, all is not lost...yet. There is a Facebook group (Save The Higgins), and a legitimate website (Also, Save the Higgins) that is trying to keep it alive. These donation pages, that we can all visit, and make our contribution to, keep this temple to Athena open and running. It keeps the children interested. It keeps the memory of valor, honor, and dedication learning of hand-to-hand combat alive.

Though the board has decided through a vote (one I was not at personally, again, most unfortunate) I, have taken it upon myself to construct a strongly worded letter (innocuous?) and plan to send this letter to every arts grant sponsor and government official I am able to find an email for.

“Good afternoon, My name is Michael Terry and I am writing to you on behalf of the Higgins Armory Museum. It has been brought to my, and the citizens of Massachusetts, that the 82-year old iconic Higgins Armory Museum will be closing on December 31, 2013 if either an alternative plan, or funding can be found to keep the museum open. As a lover of the arts and the culture in our state, I would like nothing more than to prevent such an occurrence and keep this monument to the medieval steel arts alive and well. I know as members of the arts communities and as an organization in charge of financing such projects, you would agree. I would ask that you review the plight of this family run organization and contribute any sort of monetary donations and/or grant money that you can. The task seems overwhelming, but this beloved shrine to artistic world cannot be parceled into other museums and locations, where it can be dissected and eventually made obsolete. For more information, visit http://savehiggins.org/ or contact Ralph Tilllinghast at savehiggins@gmail.com or via phone at: 862-268-1514. Thank you for your kind attention Sincerely, Michael Terry”

We have until December 31, 2013, dear friends, and fellow warriors. Let us try and stand for this hallowed house of the sword, until it becomes relegated to the dreaded “Remember when…”