Weapons used by the Vikings

Viking weapons

A Viking would be considered naked without his weapons. It was vital for all true Vikings to possess at least one type of weapons which would be carried on them. The most common Viking weapons include sword, spear and axe while bow and arrow could be seen on some Vikings.

Choice of Viking Weapon

Every Viking was expected to have his own weapon depending on preference and affordability. The spear was the cheapest Viking weapon which made it a common choice of weapon for a Viking. Axes were popular too as they could serve as farm tools.

The laws for a Viking especially a warrior were few and stringent. Every free male Viking should have his own weapon when he reached manhood. They must always be armed with their weapons hung at their bedside within easy reach at night in case of sudden attacks. A Viking was always ready and prepared for war at any time.

Vikings with weapons were the norm in their honour-based society as each must be ready to defend their honour and reputation when challenged. Hence, it was common for duels and feuds in a Viking’s life.

Iron based weapons for the Viking such as sword could be rather costly with the expensive mining and processing of iron. Only very rich Vikings enjoy a full set of weaponry that includes sword, sax which was a short sword, spear, axe and spear with a bow and arrows, chainmail, helmet and shield. Poorer Vikings had to contend with a spear or an axe and a shield. The axe proved useful for farming when there was no war.

Free Viking women and children carried knives which doubled up for farm work while slaves were not allowed to have any type of weapon.

The Viking Sword

The Viking sword was the most expensive type of Viking weapons a true-blooded Viking would choose. It would be primarily made of iron to be very heavy and effective in war. Rich Vikings would sport a double-edged sword of 35 inches long to be deemed respected. Most Viking swords were pattern-welded with wrought iron strips and steel twisted and hammered to form hardened edge blade. Then the sword would be elaborately decorated with a name that would reflect the fierceness of the owner and the power of the weapon.

It was common for Vikings to carry their swords in scabbards which would be worn over the left shoulder to make it easily accessible for right-handed Vikings. Such weapons were commonly found in many Viking burial spots to reflect the honour of the Viking with its utmost trusted companion.

Axes and Spears

Axes and spears were more common among ordinary Viking men. Viking axes come in a variety of designs with battle axes sporting long handles, but light enough to be well balanced and deadly in battle. The head of the battle axe could be of various shapes with a 3-6 inch cutting edge.

Longer axes were later found with longer handles for the warrior to reach the enemy at a further distance. Viking axe heads were also elaborately decorated like the Viking sword for distinction. Ancient Mammen axes with gold and silver inlay were found dated back to 971.

Viking spears were very common with Viking men as these weapons consumed very little iron; hence, the cost was very low to be affordable and effective. Spears were usually thrown at the target from afar or thrust into the enemy at close range. The Viking spears had heads in many sizes and shapes in thin and long options. The Viking spear heads could also be crafted with a wing shape positioned close to the shaft for deadly attacks in battles and fights. Viking spears had iron heads with decorations for a distinguished look.

Defensive Weapons

Viking warriors would also take along some defensive weapons besides their favourite warfare weapon. Defensive Viking weapons include an iron helmet or a chainmail depending on the affluence of the Viking.

Helmets were also another important defensive Viking weapon made of iron with many pieces having a protective nose piece. The Viking shields formed another great defence weapon that could be as wide as one meter. These were made from riveted wooden boards riveted with a central hole for gripping.

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