Historical knowledge

Viking weapons

As well as their ships, weapons are also popularly associated with the Vikings. Indispensable on plundering raids and for self-defence, they were an important part of the daily lives of Scandinavians. We are familiar with a number of types of weapons, which demonstrate how war was waged 1000 years ago. Archaeologists find them in graves, lakes, near fords and at battlefields from the Viking period. Each find is a small piece in the large jigsaw puzzle of Viking warfare.

In the Viking Age a number of different types of weapons were used: swords, axes, bows and arrows, lances and spears. The Vikings also used various aids to protect themselves in combat: shields, helmets and chain mail. The weapons that Vikings possessed depended on their economic capacity. Whereas swords were the costly weapons of the elite, axes and lances were affordable to the warriors of the broader population. There are, however, variations in the preservation of the various types of weapons and equipment. For instance, relatively large numbers of swords and axes have survived until today, whilst finds of helmets and chain mail are extremely rare.

Discover the weapons and battle equipment of the Viking Age. These items were indispensable on plundering raids, for self- defence and provided protection in battle.

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