Viking Spears - Introduction
The most commonly used weapon of the ancient Viking warriors was the spear. It was not as glamorous as a Viking Sword and not as frightening looking as a Viking battle axe, but in the hands of skilled Norse warrior it was deadly.
On this page we provide information on why Vikings used spears, how they were constructed, and we list the ways they were used by these warriors of the Middle Ages.
Most medieval Norsemen used spears for a weapon simply because they were cheaper and easier to make than swords and even battle axes. Spears required less metal and most blacksmiths of the Viking Age were capable of making them, as opposed to the special skill required to make a sword.
Viking Spear Construction
This weapon was made by using a rivet to secure a spear head to a shaft. There were many variations of spears. These variations included differences in spear head sizes and shapes, and differences in the length of the shaft. Spear heads of the early Viking Age were usually around eight inches (20 centimeters) long, where as later ones could be up to twenty four inches long (60 centimeters). Some spear heads had "wings". Spears with this feature are called barbed spears.
There is very little archaeological or other types of information available about the shaft of Viking spears. In the Norse Sagas, which are a great source of information about Viking life and war, there is mention of a spear that was so long that an outstretched arm could touch the rivet. The way this is explained in the Gisla Saga makes it seem like this spear was uncommonly long. The Sagas also mention that some spear shafts were reinforced with iron. For example, in Vatnsdaela Saga, a man named Ingolf had a spear with a broad blade and a shaft that was reinforced with iron.