Armament was an important and vital part of the Viking culture. All free men in a Viking society were required to own weapons. Wealthier Viking noblemen owned a large variety of weapons and armour.
Typically, the richer a Viking was, the greater the number of weapons owned by him. Wealthier Vikings further embellished their weapons with numerous precious decorations.
Most common Viking weapons included spear, javelin, battle Axe and sword. Occasionally, Vikings also used bows on the battlefield and would carry smaller knives as a melee weapon.
The Spear was the most common weapon wielded by Viking warriors. Viking spears were typically made from ash wood shafts topped with blades made from metal. The length of these spears was usually two to three meters.
In general, two types of spears were used by the Vikings. These were the throwing spears and the thrusting spears. Throwing spears were used to inflict damage on the enemy from a distance and were constructed with an eye to their practical utility.
Such spears had narrow spearheads so as to inflict maximum damage from a distance. Thrusting spears, on the other hand, were used in close combat and served as important personal weapons, often well decorated. Thrusting spears carried broader blades which would be useful in stabbing and thrusting at close quarters.
The typical Viking sword was constructed in a way to be effectively used with a shield. So it was a single-handed weapon which carried a double-sided blade and ranged up to 90 cm in length.
Since swords were more expensive to construct and required a significant amount of costly metal, they were usually owned only by the wealthier Vikings. Blades were usually made from iron and steel, welded and twisted together skillfully. The grips were made from wood or horn.
Well-made swords were highly esteemed in the Viking society and would pass down from one generation to the next.
In some cases, wealthier noblemen were buried with their swords and the swords at the occasion had their blades twisted so that they would be of no use to anyone else.
Along with the spear, an Axe was the most common weapon wielded by Viking warriors. Various varieties of axes were used by the Vikings, differing significantly in size and blade shape.
Most notable among these was the Dane Axe which could be as long as the man wielding it and featured a wide blade which was very sharp at the striking end and slimmed down in width as it reached the shaft.
These blades were constructed skillfully so that they were incredibly thin, light and easy to wield for everyday cutting as well as battlefield combat.
A common type of knife used by the Vikings was a single-edged knife that nearly everyone in the Viking society possessed, including the slaves.
The popular Viking knife was called the Seax. This type of knife was longer than the regular knife and often had a broken-back blade. The Seax was highly effective in practical terms in that it was light and small enough for use in everyday cutting and also served as a useful melee weapon on the battlefield.