Normans Weapons

Norman Weapons

Normans came to inhabit regions in northern France in the 10th century, eventually spreading to other regions such as Italy, Sicily as well as the Byzantine Empire. Normans descended from the Vikings and their inheritance directly influenced their style in warfare as well.

Norman Knights

The image shows the weaponry, shields, and horses used by medieval Norman knights

Normans used a wide range of weapons on the battlefield, most of them meant to give the Normans agile battling formations. This was primarily because Normans relied heavily on mounted warriors to win their battles.

Among the most commonly used Norman weapons were the spear, the sword, the Viking Axe and the bow and arrow.


Axe

The use of Axe dates back to the 8th century Viking raids. Vikings would frequently use a throwing Axe as a missile weapon to wreak damage on an enemy from the distance before closing in for hand-to-hand combat. This remained the case with the Normans as well.

Historical evidence shows that by the 10th century, Normans actively used throwing axes on the battlefield. The Norman Axe was designed with a rather short shaft and a uniquely designed blade that was small but very sharp.

Norman warriors would throw this Axe from the distance in an overhand move which would send the Axe rotating towards the opponent.

Norman Knight in armor

This image shows the shields, weapons, and typical clothing used by Norman knights


Bow and Arrow

Norman armies relied significantly on the presence of archers in their midst on the battlefield. Archers in the Norman army carried a longbow which was effective in raining arrows at the enemy front-lines from a distance.

Medieval longbowmen armour and helmets

Medieval longbowmen like this one wore armor and helmets

The Norman bow and arrow was mostly wielded by infantry units but occasionally, Norman cavalrymen also carried the weapon.

Archers were usually deployed at the beginning of the battle where they would rain down hails of arrows on enemy front-lines before the cavalry would come in for actual combat. In some cases, the archers played a decisive role in keeping the enemy from advancing too close.


Spears

A Spear was the primary weapon used by the Norman infantry as well as the cavalry in close combat situations. Norman infantry used the spear as a missile weapon as well, throwing a hail of spears at enemy lines before charging at them.

Such spear used by the infantry was smaller compared to the spear carried by the Norman cavalry which was longer in size.

The design of such a spear comprised of a long wooden shaft topped with an iron head. Normans used this spear in an overhand stance, using it to thrust at the enemy and stab through his armour.

Norman Shields Infantry with Kite Shields

Norman cavalrymen would often use point the spear towards the enemy lines while charging at them.

The force of such an attack was usually enough to shatter enemy shields.


Sword

Swords commonly used by the Norman cavalry were long and double-edged, often reaching as much as a yard in length.

Anglo Saxon Armour

Anglo Saxon Armour

Being expensive weapons, swords were carried only by mounted Norman notables and the Norman infantry didn’t carry any.

Typically wielded in a downward stroke, the Norman sword was sharp and effective enough to cut through the armor and shield of an opponent.



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