What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use? Top 5 Viking Weapons

They possessed swords, axes, spears, and wooden shields in addition to wearing iron helmets and chain mail armour. Vikings were adept at using bows and arrows as well. 

The weapons were fashioned of iron and frequently included silver or copper inlay or encrusted. The favoured weapon was the sword. Honour and victory in battle were vitally important to Viking warriors. A warrior was required to go into battle with, or on a raid or expedition with, his master or king. 

A Viking may be called to battle at any time as one of a lid, or devoted group of followers.

What weapons did the vikings use?

The information we have on Viking Age military technology (late 8th to mid-11th century Europe) is based on a small number of archaeological discoveries, depictions in art, and, to some extent, on accounts in the Norse sagas and laws written down in the 14th century.

They possessed swords, axes, spears, and wooden shields in addition to wearing iron helmets and chain mail armour. 

  • Vikings sword
  • Vikings’ shields
  • Viking Axes
  • Viking bows and arrows
  • Viking Knives
  • Vikings spears
  • Vikings siege weapons 

All free Norse men were expected by tradition to own weapons, and they were allowed to have them on them at all times. According to the Hávamál, which claims to be wise counsel from Odin.

“Don’t leave your weapons laying about behind your back in a field; you never know when you may need your spear all of a sudden,” Viking warriors fought on foot.

1. Vikings sword

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

The Viking Age sword had a double-edged blade that could extend up to 90 cm and was designed for single-handed use in conjunction with a shield. It still had a grip that was very close to the Roman spatha, a long, deep fuller, and no overt cross-guard. It was utilised all over Europe and was not just among the Vikings.

Swords were extremely expensive to produce and a symbol of high status. Since they were infrequently used, several of the swords discovered in burials were presumably just fit for decoration rather than use in war or on raids.

They were carried in leather-bound wooden scabbards that were suspended from a strap across the right shoulder, much like Roman spathe. Early blades were pattern welded, which is the process of twisting and forging strips of wrought iron and mild steel together with the addition of a hardened edge.

Attributes that cherished weapons 

A sword was a symbol of great honour. Swords with elaborate decorations and silver embellishments are sometimes owned by people of prestige. Since a fine blade could typically be purchased with just one raid, the majority of Viking warriors would possess a sword.

2. Vikings’ shields

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

The most popular type of defence was the shield. Although graveyard findings generally consist of different woods, such fir, alder, and poplar with a steel or iron shield boss, the sagas particularly mention linden wood for the manufacture of shields. 

These woods feel light in the hand and are not particularly thick. Unlike oak, they are also not prone to splitting. 

Some unique designs of vikings shield 

The Iron Age is when the Vikings’ style of shield first appeared. It is made of thin planking that is shaped like a circle. An iron dome in the centre serves to shield the hand of the shield-bearer.

The shield boss, often known as this, is frequently the only component that has survived after being buried for a thousand years.

3. Viking Axes

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

The axe was the most widely used hand weapon among the Vikings; swords were more expensive to produce and only well-off warriors could afford them. Axes are frequently found in archaeological sites, which is probably due to their use as both a weapon and a common tool.

 The large number of female Scandinavian grave sites that also contain axes lends credence to this. Larger axes with longer shafts and larger heads that were specifically made for use in combat developed, including several kinds of bearded axes. 

Two primary type of axes

The long axe and the hand axe were the two primary axe types employed by mediaeval Norsemen. Early Viking axes featured cutting blades that were 3 to 6 inches long, however later in the Viking age, even larger axes were utilised.

4. Viking bows and arrows

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

Hunting and combat both involved the use of the bow and arrow. They were crafted from elm, yew, or ash. Depending on the weight of the arrow, a 10th-century bow’s draw power could have reached 90 pounds force (400 N) or more, giving it an effective range of at least 200 metres (660 feet). 

The draw force of a yew bow discovered at Viking Hedeby, which was most likely a fully functional war bow, reached well over 100 pounds. 

Material used to make bows and arrows

Depending on their origin, arrowheads were primarily forged from iron and came in a variety of sizes and shapes.

A shouldered tang that was inserted into the end of a wood shaft was typically used to secure the majority of arrowheads to the arrow shaft. There were also some heads fashioned of antler, bone, or wood.

5. Viking Knives

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

The Vikings used two different types of knives. The more typical one was a knifr, a simple, single-edge knife of standard construction. As the only weapon permitted for everyone, including slaves, these are typically found in graves.

Longer variants were probably intended for hunting, battle, or both, while smaller versions were used as general-purpose tools. On the blades of weapon knives, decorative inlays occasionally appeared.

Characteristics of knives 

The design was reminiscent of old-fashioned Scandinavian knives. The blade was straight, with the edge curving upward at the tip to meet the back of the blade in a point, and the tang went through a roughly cylindrical handle. All Scandinavians allegedly placed a high value on the knife. 

This is demonstrated by the enormous number of knives discovered in the graves of not just the males but also the women and children. The seax was the other kind. The so-called broken-back style seax is the kind that is typically associated with Vikings.

 It would act as a machete or arm similar to a falchion and was often a little heavier than the standard knife.

A man with more money might own a larger seax, as some of them function as swords. In comparison to a standard sword, this somewhat rudimentary weapon would be easier to handle and create due to its single edge and thick blade.

 Many examples have relatively lengthy tangs, which suggests they may have had longer handles for two-handed use. The tiny knife-like seaxes might probably have been made by a regular blacksmith.

The Seax, which bears the Saxon name, was widely used by Germanic tribes during the Migration period. It first occurs in Scandinavia in the fourth century and is spread in a pattern from the Irminones region of the lower Elbe to Anglo-Saxon England. 

With the conclusion of the Migration period, its popularity on the continent began to decrease, but it persisted in the British Isles, where the Vikings adopted it.

The enormous, sword-like seaxes, which are more frequently associated with Viking colonies in England and Ireland than in Scandinavia, are not very abundant there.

6. Vikings spears

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

The Scandinavian peasant class’ most prevalent weapon was the spear. The warrior class frequently employed throwing spears; contrary to common assumption, the spear was also the primary weapon of the Viking warrior and fit their formations and tactics well. 

They had two to three-meter-long wooden shafts set on metal heads with hollow shafts and blades that were commonly made of ash wood. The spearheads might range in length from twenty to sixty centimetres, with the later Viking Age showing a trend toward longer heads.

7. Vikings siege weapons

What Weapons Did the Vikings Use?

The Vikings have historically employed a variety of various weaponry, including siege weapons, cavalry, and archery. But they weren’t really their thing. The Vikings were quick to pick up new skills. Naturally, they would pick up new techniques and weapons during battle.

Bows and arrows were used by the Vikings. That is demonstrable by archaeological and literal means. Archaeologists have discovered that many Viking graves contained a collection of weaponry, including a bow and arrows.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What weapons did a Viking use?

Weapons used during the Viking Age included swords, axes, bows and arrows, lances, and spears. Shields, helmets, and chain mail were just a few of the tools the Vikings employed to defend themselves in battle. The Vikings’ access to weaponry relied on their level of wealth.

2. What was the main weapon of a Viking?

The Viking warrior’s preferred weapon was the spear. They were primarily made of ash wood and consisted of two to three metres in length wooden shafts attached with metal heads that had hollow shafts and blades.

3. What is the best Viking weapon?

The axe was the most widely used hand weapon among the Vikings; swords were more expensive to produce and only well-off warriors could buy them. Axes are frequently found in archaeological sites, which is probably due to their use as both a weapon and a common tool.

4. What is a Viking axe called?

Early battle axes like the Dane axe were popular throughout the transition from the European Viking Age to the early Middle Ages. The tool is also known as an English long axe, a Danish axe, and a hafted axe.

You might also like:

Related Posts

Leave a Reply