Weapons were an important part of the Viking society and were considered the pride of Viking warriors.
As the Vikings began attacking European shores from the 8th century onwards ‘Viking Raids’, they came equipped with a wide range of weapons which they used with great skill. Notable weapons wielded by the Viking included Axe, spear, sword, knife, different pole-arms as well as bow and arrow.
Different varieties of each type of weapon were used by the Viking warriors. The spear, for instance, came in variants meant for close combat as well as smaller javelins while the throwing Axe was distinct from the heavier Axe which was meant for closer combat.
The Viking Axe typically featured an iron blade with a steel edge.
There is sufficient historical evidence to show that Vikings actively used throwing axes on the battlefield. Such axes were smaller in size and carried a slimmer blade that was sharp enough to lodge in an opponent’s body when throwing from a distance.
The other major type of Axe was the famous Dane Axe which was typically as long as a Viking warrior and had to be wielded with both hands.
Such an Axe came with a huge and heavy blade which was enough to cut through shields, armor, and helmets when wielded in a downward stroke.
A Spear was one of the most inexpensive weapons used by the Vikings and was typically wielded as a primary weapon by the peasants in a Viking army. Wealthier Vikings carried small spears besides other weapons such as axes and swords.
These javelins typically had narrow and light spearheads which enabled a Viking warrior to throw them over great distances and pierce enemy shields and armor. Larger spears were as long as two to three meters and usually made from ash wood with an iron spearhead.
These spearheads measured between 20 and 60 centimeters in length and in some cases, they were set up with wings to help dislodge them easily.
The Sword was a less commonly used weapon in the Viking armies primarily because swords were more expensive to produce and could be afforded only by the richest in the society.
The standard style of a Viking sword was that of a sword with a double-edged blade that measured as long as 90 centimeters.
Such a sword was meant to be wielded with a single hand so that the warrior using it could carry a shield in his other hand.
Viking bows were usually made from yew wood and were designed so that as much as 90 pounds to over 100 pounds draw force was required to shoot arrows from it. The arrows used by Viking archers mostly had iron heads although in some cases, arrowheads were made from bone or wood.
Given their heavy construction, Viking bows were effective in firing an arrow over a distance as far as 230 meters towards the enemy lines. This suggests that Viking archers may have played a significant role on the battlefield.