Viking Weapon Facts

Viking Battle
A Viking Battle

Introduction - Viking Weapons

The ancient Vikings were some of the most famed warriors in world history. These Norse people are famous for their lightning fast and savage raids on costal towns throughout Europe. The Norsemen terrorized these costal towns, and other parts of the world, for almost three centuries during the Middle Ages. The ancient Scandinavians owed much of their success to the strength of their weapons and their skill in using them. The Vikings weapons were usually spears, battle axes, and swords. Occasionally they were known to use bows and arrows and other weapons. Norse weapons were not just for use in battle but were also important symbols of status and wealth. For this reason they were often decorated with valuable gems. Below you will find more interesting facts about Viking weapons written for both kids and adults.

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Types of Viking Weapons

Below you will find a list of the most important Viking weapons along with information on how they made them, and why they were so deadly.

Viking weapons - Swords

A Vikings most prized weapon was his sword. It was his best weapon in battle and was a symbol of status. Because of a lack of resources and knowledge swords were very expensive and therefore many Vikings could not afford them. In fact acquiring new weapons, especially swords, was often the motive for looting and warfare. So valued were these Viking weapons that the owner often gave it a name. A Viking sword was usually double edged, between seventy and eighty centimeters (27.6 - 31.5 inches) in length with a decorated hilt (handle). To make the sword blades both flexible and strong, weapon smiths of the Viking era used a technique called pattern welding. This technique involved hammering together, twisting and re-hammering layers of iron in a fire to add carbon which was critical to the swords flexibility. The Viking age weapon-smiths also included a beveled groove called a fuller, down the length of the blade in order to lighten the weapon.

Vikings Weapons - Battle Axe

The battle axe was one of the most common Viking weapons. It was very successful at cutting through the enemy's armor and inflicting devastating wounds. Axes were a more common Viking weapon than swords because they were cheaper and could also be used for wood cutting. Axes ranged in length from one to five feet and in weight from one to six pounds. A longer heavier axe required the use of two hands, thus making the Viking sacrifice the use of a shield. This of course left him more exposed to the enemy.

Viking weapons - Spear

The most popular Viking weapon was the spear. It could be used for throwing or thrusting. This weapon consisted of an iron blade on a wooden shaft. They ranged in length from three to ten feet. Blades came in many different shapes and sizes such as long spikes and broad leaf. There are stories of skilled warriors catching spears in flight and using two hands to throw two spears at the same time.

Viking weapons - Bows and Arrows

Vikings mainly used bows and arrows for hunting, however there were times when they would use them in battle. Archers were used to kill as many of the enemy soldiers as possible as a prelude to close range fighting. There were situations where Vikings used bows and arrows in nautical battles.