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What weapons did the Vikings use to fight?

The Vikings fought with swords, axes, spears and bows and arrows.

Viking warriors wore fighting helmets made from leather or iron.  It is often thought that Viking helmets had two horns on the top however the helmet used for raids and in battle did not have horns.  Horned helmets were only used in religious ceremonies and for display.

Viking swords were made of iron with steel edges. The sword was double-edged and relatively lightweight and measured about 90cm in length. The sword handles were often decorated with silver and gold. The Vikings gave names to their swords such as Head-Biter or Hole-Maker.

Viking axes or battle-axes were capable of cutting through enemy helmets and shields.  The axes sometimes had intricate designs engraved on the blades.  They were given names such as Head-crusher.

The Vikings used bows and arrows for hunting and also for battle.  Bows and arrows allowed the Vikings to attack the enemy from a distance.   In large battles, the Viking bowmen stood behind the other warriors and fired their arrows into the enemy by aiming high and letting the arrows fall onto the enemy from above.

Spears were also used by the Vikings.  The spears were thrown and also held and used for stabbing the enemy

When fighting, the Vikings protected themselves with round shields made from wood with a metal boss in the centre.  The Viking shield was lightweight and held by a leather handgrip.  The shield, especially the metal boss, could be used to hit the opponent in a fight.

Some Vikings wore a coat of mail.  This was a vest made of flexible small metal links.  This would give some protection against blows from swords or arrows.  Only the richest Vikings wore coats of mail because they were so expensive to make and buy.

The most powerful weapon the Vikings had was their Longships.


Viking Warrior
with battle axes
Viking swords
Viking helmet