Viking Weapons and Armour

All Viking men carried weapons but not all were wealthy enough to own a complete set, such as:

>Battle Axe
>Bow and Arrow
>Iron Helmet

All Viking men had a spear and a shield as a minimum. Some also carried Slingshots.


This was a Viking’s most prized possession and not all Viking’s owned one, as they were expensive to make. Swords were passed down through the generations. The older the sword, the more valuable it became.

The sword could be as long as 1 metre (39 inches) and the blade as wide as 4 – 6 cm (2 – 4 inches). It was double edged with both edges being sharp. Often the sword was highly decorated with inlays and adornments in silver, bronze and copper. The more decorative the sword, often the more wealthy the Viking.

The sword was kept in a wooden scabbard covered in leather and carried over the shoulder.

Viking’s gave their swords names such as: Nadr (Viper) and Leggbir (Leg-Biter).


This was the commonest of Viking weapons and was often made by local Blacksmiths using cheaper quality of metal.

It would have an Iron blade and a wooden shaft. The shaft was made of ash and could be up to 2 – 3 metres (6 – 10 feet) in length. The spearhead was 20 – 26 cm (8 – 10 inches) long and varied in shape. Sometimes it was a broad leaf shape and other times it was like a long spike. The spearhead was often decorated.

The spear could be used as both a throwing weapon from distance and also as a thrusting weapon from close range.

Battle Axe

These were a hand weapon that was used in open combat and thrown or swung towards opponents.


These were round and made of wood. Mainly fir, alder or poplar.

They were generally 80 – 90 cm (32 – 36 inches) in diameter although the size may have varied to fit the size of the Viking.

The shield was strengthened with leather and had an Iron circle in the middle called a Boss. This was for protection as it covered the area where the shield was held from behind by a leather handgrip.

Bow and Arrow

These were used both in battle and for hunting.

The bow was made of either yew, elm or ash wood and the arrowheads were made of Iron.

In battle Viking’s would form a line and fire arrows high into the air. These would then drop onto their opponents to maim or kill them.



These were made of Iron in a bowl shape and had a nose guard to protect the face. They could also be made of leather.


A wealthy Viking would have Chainmail that was worn over clothing and could protect them from being cut. This was made up of thousands of Iron rings that were linked and then riveted together. This made them costly which is why they were generally only worn by the wealthy.

More common for Viking men was to wear a type of jacket that was made from thick layers of leather for protection.

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