Anglo Saxon warriors wielded a variety of weapons on the battlefield between the 5th and 11th Century. These included popular weapons such as spears, swords, axes and knifes, less commonly used weapons could be slings and bows and arrows!
Anglo Saxons mostly fought on foot, in contrast to the mounted warriors in most other parts of Europe in the same medieval period. This greatly dictated the choice and use of the weapons they would use during fighting.
Spears were the most common type of weapon used by Anglo Saxon warriors. The kind of spear wielded by them was typically made from wood of a ash, maple or oak tree with a sharp iron spearhead added at the end.
These spears were between 5 feet to 10 feet long and it was common for different warriors to carry various sizes of spears*
Spears were typically used for two types of actions during combat. They were either thrown as missiles from a distance, for which purpose Anglo Saxon warriors would carry multiple spears.
They were also used in hand-to-hand combat. Spears also formed a part of frontline defence when Anglo Saxons used the shield wall formation in countering an enemy attack.
Swords were a highly treasured piece of weaponry among the Anglo Saxon military. Although the Anglo Saxons fought mostly with spears, the most notable warriors or the leading noblemen wielded richly decorated swords.
Swords were often unsheathed and used only when an enemy was already wounded. Typically, Anglo Saxon swords ran the length of nearly 37 inches.
These longswords were fairly heavy and were used to slash and cut with heavy downwards strokes rather than used in piercing the enemies armour.
Anglo Saxon warriors treasured their swords highly and the swords would pass from one generation to another, often with inscribed hilts, gilded pommels and other decorative signs which identified the noble owning of the sword.
Knives were also a part of the Anglo Saxon weaponry. Anglo Saxon warriors wielded knives of different sizes and shapes. Some of them were used on the battlefield as combat weapons while others were simply everyday tools.
These included single-edged knives which were usually between 3 and 12 inches in length, and longer knives which were as long as 30 inches. Knives were probably wielded by such Anglo Saxon warriors who couldn’t afford a sword or as an additional piece of weaponry in addition to the sword.
The Axe was another piece of Anglo Saxon weaponry. Anglo Saxon axes were usually made with curves heads, often in the shape of a letter ‘S’. These axes were used by Anglo Saxon warriors to strike the enemy at a distance.
When thrown with adequate force, the sharp heads of the axes would pierce through the shield of the enemy. The axe remained a popular weapon among the Anglo Saxons during their early period on the British Isles and its use decline soon afterwards.