Viking Weapons

Viking weaponsVikings were great warriors. Late in the 8th century they left their homes in Scandinavia and began their raids. It was the beginning of the Viking Age. Their weapons and warfare tactics terrified Europe. Contrary to the widespread misconception, Vikings did not wear horned or winged helmets. In battle, they valued usability, not visual effects. The only authentic extant Scandinavian helmet dating back to the Viking Age was found in Gjermundbu, Norway, and it has no horns. Also, massive double axe was not the preferable weapon of the Norsemen. Viking axes were rather light and used single-handed. The most valued weapons for Norse warriors were their swords. Vikings even gave names to them. They also used large round shields and long spears.

Photo: Viking weapons. Courtesy Steve & Jemma Copley. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 2.0 Generic Licence.

Viking Shield

by Viking Rune 06.01.2012
Thumbnail image for Viking Shield

For defense, Vikings used large circular shields. Usually, the size of the Viking shields varied between 30″ and 36″ (75 – 90 cm). The shield excavated at a Viking fortress Trelleborg (Denmark) in 2008 was 33,5″ broad. No less renowned are shields from Gokstad Viking ship burial (Norway). With the end of the Viking Age […]

The Cawood Sword

by Viking Rune 05.02.2011
Cawood Sword

The Cawood sword is probably the finest Viking sword ever found. It was discovered in the River Ouse near York in the 19th century. The pommel type is characteristic for the Viking Age swords, while the shape of the guard is more like the ones found in 12th century weapons. This fact inclined many to […]

Ulfberht Viking Swords of Inferior Quality Detected

by Viking Rune 20.01.2009
Viking swords

According to a report in The Guardian, published in December 2008, Viking swords in some of the most famous weapons collections are counterfeit. However, the age of the fakes is the same as the one of the genuine swords, about a thousand years. The fact is that the best swords that were used by the […]

Viking Helmet from Gjermundbu, Norway

by Viking Rune 08.01.2009
Gjermundby Viking helmet

Contrary to a widespread delusion, Viking helmets did not have horns. The only helmet that may be unmistakeably attributed to the Viking armor was found in 1943 in a burial mound near Gjermundbu, Norway. The mound contained many other artifacts of the Viking Age, such as swords, sheath fittings, chain mail and several tools. The […]