Viking Age Weapons and Armor: Not Everyone Could Afford

Posted by Ms Elly on

Viking Age Weapons and Armor: Not Everyone Could Afford

Although the Vikings has always been famous for their strength, they were not that invincible as some shows depict. The Vikings wore armor and used swords. They used weapons just as other people did. In this blog post, we are to observe some Viking armor of their times.

All free Vikings had the right to possess weapons. Their main offensive weapons included axes, spear, sword, and they sometimes used arrows, bows, and missiles. Weapons were not only used in battle, farming, or fishing, they were worn as the symbols of their owner’s status and wealth.

Axes must have been the most famous weapon of the Vikings. The Viking axes were single-edged and made of iron. Viking axe designs might be different from each other due to the intended use. The axe for battle would be much lighter, thinner, and maneuverable for they were used to crash any body parts of the enemies. The axe for argicultural tasks might be a little bit heavier and were used to build home, chopping wood, or hunting. The poor farmers and warriors used normal axes while the rich might found their pleasure in having their axes decorated with inlays of silver or even gold.

Viking Axe

VIking Axe

Viking Axe

During the Viking age, mail usually was worn in the form of a mail shirt, like the reproduction shown to the right. Typically, the garment was T-shaped, with short sleeves (half to three-quarters length) and thigh length. (Anything longer would make it difficult to ride a horse, although in later periods, slits in the mail placed front and rear between the legs allowed riders to wear longer mail shirts.) The reproduction mail shirt shown in the photo weighs about 12kg (26lbs).

The weight is not particularly burdensome, since a lot of the weight is taken up on the hips by the belt. Regardless, the stories say that sometimes raiders left their mail shirts on board ship when they went raiding, so they wouldn't be weighted down. 

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